Studs & Duds - Tuesday 3/19
The War Of Northern Aggression
Vinny Prospal nabbed 3 assists last night as the Blue Jackets downed the Nashville Predators 4-3. He added a +1 as well as 1 block and 1 hit to round out his stats. Brandon Dubinsky, even though held off the scoreboard, managed to win 16 of 18 faceoffs and added 3 hits, both nice for those multicat leagues, and let's be honest if you have Dubinsky on your team it is probably in a multicat league. Columbus is now in a three way tie for the final playoff spot in the West. So even though they 'lost' three big trades to the Flyers, Kings and Rangers, the Blue Jackets are having one of the best seasons in their history.
Someone Should Check To See If Erik Karlsson Is Missing Any Sticks
Sergei Gonchar finished with 1 goal and 2 assists last night in Ottawa's comeback victory over the New York Islanders. Down 3-1 to start the third the Senators scored 4 unanswered goals to secure the win. Gonchar was a +5, had 2 PIMs, 2 blocks and 1 hit to round out a nice multicat night. Patrick Wiercioch also managed 3 points last night getting 3 assists, he was also a +3 and managed 2 shots and 1 block. This duo has managed 21 points in Ottawa's last 8 games and are a big reason why the Senators are holding steady in a playoff spot.
Anybody Have Some Magnesium Salicylate
Talk about trying to carry a team on your back, Shane Doan scored 2 goals last night while taking 11 shots and throwing 13 hits. It wasn't enough though as the Phoenix Coyotes lost 3-2 to the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings. He is on a 30 goal pace this season which is not too bad for a 36 year old who counts 31 goals as his best season. If this team makes the playoffs they will literally go as far as this guy can carry them.
One Is The Loneliest Number
Except in the case of an NHL goalie. Three netminders allowed only a single goal last night, but facing 28+ shots they were anything but lonely all night. Jacob Markstrom stopped 33 of 34 shots in his team's 4-1 victory over Carolina last night for a 0.971 SV%. After 4 losses in a row Markstrom needed this win much more than Florida did to get him some confidence back, but I don't expect this to change much going forward as Florida is poised for a lottery pick this season. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 28 of 29 shots as Pittsburgh beat Washington 2-1. This is the third game in a row where Fleury allowed 1 goal or less. Ondrej Pavelec rounds out the 1 goal goalies making 27 of 28 saves leading Winnipeg to a 3-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. 6-3-1 in their last 10 the Jets are 2 points atop their division sitting in the number 3 spot in the conference.
Four goalies managed to win games while giving up 2 goals last night and posting impressive save percentages. Jonathan Bernier led the way making 40 of 42 saves for a 0.952 SV%. Next were Jhonas Enroth and Cory Schneider each stopping 32 of 34 for a 0.941 SV%. Finally Henrik Lundqvist faced 31 shots and kept 29 out for a 0.935 SV%. This is a nice early week start for teams that own these netminders especially if you are in a league that counts saves.
Mr. Snow Can We Wait A Week Or So To Talk Extension
Mark Streit went pointless last night and was a -3 in a game that saw the New York Islanders surrender a 3-1 lead in the 3rd period. Streit was on the ice for Ottawa's final two goals both of which occurred within the final minute of the hockey game. We know that Streit is known more for his offensive acumen, but he has to figure a way to be more defensively responsible on the nights he doesn't score. This is his third -3 of the season. Also Evgeni Nabokov, another player rumored to be in extension talks with the Islanders, had a rough game giving up 4 goals on only 22 shots. At the end of the day though the Islanders need to overpay these guys just to reach the cap floor so a game like this means very little in terms of the deals they get.
Not Very Handy
The St. Louis Blues line of David Backes, Alex Steen and Chris Stewart combined for a -9 last night and 0 points in a 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. They were on the ice for all 3 Vancouver goals which occured in the first period, in fact 2 of those goals were within the first 5 minutes of the game. St. Louis is right in the thick of things for a playoff spot, however, they are not the dominant team that they were last season. It is easy to just point the finger at the goaltending letdown, but when you have a line give up all 3 of the goals against the problems extend past goaltending. That is not to let Jake Allen off the hook though as 16 saves on 19 shots just isn't good enough either.
What Is Finnish For Needs A Damn Break Already
Pekka Rinne allowed 4 goals on 31 shots last night ending up on the losing end of a 4-3 game with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Rinne has a league leading 5 shutouts but he has also allowed 4 or more goals 7 times this season. In fact since 2/23 six of those 4+ goal games have occurred. If this team is not confident in Chris Mason as the backup they better figure something out and quick because while only 2 points out of a playoff spot they are currently 13th in the conference and if they are to make up ground and make the playoffs they are going to need Rinne to be much stronger than he has been. Get the guy a couple of days off.
Odds & Ends
Columbus extends it's point streak to 11 games now as the team continues to rewrite it's record book. A 4-3 win over Nashville last night leaves them 7-0-4 in their last 11 and tied for the 8th spot in the conference. There is still some work to be done to get into the playoffs and we don't want to jinx them or anything, but things are certainly looking up for this team. Now it looks like the Capitals might be the only crappy team joining the Patrick Division next season.
You Mean To Tell Me
The Pittsburgh Penguins have set a new NHL record. They are the first team to go 3 straight seasons with 10 game winning streaks. At the end of the day I guess it makes sense that something like this would occur more easily in a league without ties, however, given some of the incredible dynasties like the Oilers, Islanders, and multiple Canadien teams I am a little surprised it has never been done before. Given Malkin missed 7 of those games it is real hard not to pick the Pens out of the East if they go into the playoffs with a reasonably healthy roster.