Another week of “How the hell are we supposed to beat the Rangers right now?” as the only way that happened this week was by a superhuman effort by Scott Darling in a 1-0 Blackhawks win. The Rangers are playing inspired hockey right now and it seems like this season might be what dreams are made of for them. Let’s hear it for New York!
Can anyone really feel confident about beating the Rangers right now? At this point, it barely seems like they miss King Henrik. Don’t worry Hank, I still miss you.
A few weeks ago, I said that to have confidence with the Lightning going into the playoffs as serious cup contenders, we’d need Ben Bishop to make an appearance on “Who’s that handsome devil saying no to everyone?”. Bish… come on downnn! Bishop posted a 3-0-0 week with a 2.00 GAA and 0.935 save percentage. Also Mrs. Bishop joins us as well, which is exciting as always.
3-1-0 this week, with Carey pitching two shutouts and maybe getting snubbed by the committee for his third “Who’s that handsome devil saying no to everyone” award, but we’ve gotten more strict with the award. If you lose in regulation like Price and the Canadiens did to the Lightning, you don’t get the award. Still, Carey Price is my hero, episode 3:
There was thought to move the Ducks up to as high as third in the rankings this week, but then they forgot to make an appearance against the Rangers (losing 7-2) so they settle into a still very nice spot in the top five, tied with the Canadiens and Rangers with 99 points.
The key to getting back on track is getting an easy draw against a terrible team, which is just what the Predators got with a matchup against the Sabres (They won handily, 3-0.) but after leading the Central division for much of the season, they find themselves still second to the Blues despite the Blues struggles recently.
Oh boy, the Blues right now. Sure, it sucks to have to deal with the streaking Wild twice in the span of a week, but even more concerning is the lack of offense when it counts recently for the Blues. . It also doesn’t help when you get unfortunate breaks like this.
Getting routed by the Stars is a blemish on the record, but they’ve done very well to stay afloat since losing Kane. Speaking of Kane, t-8 weeks till Kaner.
The Wild are having a great time right now, definitely in consideration for the West’s elite. The key to success is keeping your net minder happy, which is just what good guy Zach Parise is doing by selling Devan Dubnyk a house to make him feel like he belongs there. If no one else is scared of this team yet, I sure as hell would be.
Justin Abdelkader’s lucky broken stick goal rescued a bad week for the Red Wings, who have dropped four of five and are now comfortably settled into the third spot in the Atlantic, likely too far out to catch either the Lightning or the Canadiens at this point.
The worry does continue to some extent with this team, but it may be just an injury-related wall that the team is hitting instead of a telling storyline for the end of the season and the upcoming playoff run. I’m not as confident on that front, but they could definitely be a playoff factor, especially if they draw the Penguins in the first round.
It’s actually unfair how good Alex Ovechkin is as a goal scorer. Anyone that says that Ovechkin is not the best goal scorer in the NHL right now is objectively incorrect. That’s just a fact.
The Senators used to be cooked and now they’re absolutely rolling (14-1-1 in their last 16, which is insane.), now just one measly point back of the Bruins. Erik is happy with the progress.
A big win at Staples on Saturday followed by an expected win against the Coyotes puts the Canucks four points ahead of the Flames for second in the Pacific. A tough stretch coming up, with two and a half weeks of games against the Western conference elite or trap games against the Western conference less-than-elite (Colorado, Dallas) until visits from Arizona and Edmonton to close out the season.
Coutdown to 96 points: After a 1-1-1 week, now need a 7-4-0 finish to hit 96 points from here. The five game road trip upcoming should be telling. It shouldn’t be too hard, this team isn’t the Sharks. They know how to close.
Home ice advantage is likely out of the picture for the Flames, now four points back of the Canucks but they’re holding off the Kings as well as they can. Once again, excited to see them make the playoffs, but not too excited about their chances.
Another week of being very apologetic that the Penguins are this low. I REALLY wanted to move them up this week, but they lost two of three and the Senators kept rolling. I promise if they go at least even in the upcoming week they are guaranteed to move up.
It was difficult to snub Ondrej Pavelec from the “Who’s that handsome devil saying no to everyone?” award this week, as he posted a 0.97 GAA and a 0.970 save percentage in a great 3-0-0 week, but regardless of the snub, the Jets should be feeling much better about their playoff chances and much more confused about Ondrej Pavelec in general. Most people were convinced he was over about halfway through the season.
The “Did you know” segment about the Florida panther will return if the Panthers fall eight points out of the playoff race. With Boston forgetting to play this week, and the Panthers picking up four of a possible six points, that may not happen.
Last week I said “… when they get to the playoffs” but after dropping all four games this week, the “when” is suddenly an “if” again. I won’t lie, we’re rooting against them.
Sure, it may be too late for the Avalanche to return to the playoffs, but it’s not all bad on this front. MacKinnon is almost guaranteed to be good someday, Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly should hopefully return to some kind of form at some point after turning in twin abysmal seasons, Semyon Varlamov should be closer to Vezina level than he is to crap level, and Tyson Barrie is actually turning into one of the best offensive defenseman in the league, actually averaging the second most points per 60 minutes amongst defenseman, ahead of Erik Karlsson, who usually carries the beacon of offensive production from the blue line.
“Terrifying Tyler” returns this week, and the Stars turned in a 4-0 rout of the Blackhawks, which is exactly what I was referring to when I mentioned that the Stars are the trap game on any playoff team’s schedule.
Week five of the “Shark Watch”: All we have left are our tears.
As a little consolation prize in a lost season, the Jackets completed their first Western Canada sweep in franchise history. I promise they’ll be back and Bobber than ever next year.
In the same vein of the Devils probably needing to buy Cory Schneider more than just dinner, this team is 28th in the NHL in goals scored per game, a paltry 2.21, ahead of only the Coyotes and the Sabres (who both score less than two goals a game, which is alarmingly awful), yet somehow they are not THAT far from respectable.
Sports fans in Philadelphia are so distracted by Chip Kelly’s insane reign of terror that they may be ignoring the fact that Flyers coach Craig Berube has played a large hand in wasting a season with playoff hopes and title pipe dreams for the Flyers. It’s important to note that there are actually some very good pieces in Philadelphia and there is no excuse to be fifteen games under 0.500 right now.
The concern of a terrible season goes hand in hand with the concern that the Canes superstar Eric Staal’s production may be permanently on the decline. Luckily for the Canes, it doesn’t seem like that is the case per se, as Staal is consistently creating offense but is just mired in a scoring slump just like any other player. Unluckily for the Canes, it doesn’t seem to matter who they put around him, the slump hasn’t been ending, which speaks volumes to the fact that there’s just not enough talent AROUND him than it is a problem with Staal himself.
A nightmare week for the Oilers, going positive and losing a little ground in the “McEichel Derby” (not my name, but can’t say I’m disappointed). Also, that article came from Buffalo News hockey. They have no shame admitting that these teams are blatantly tanking. At least someone’s honest.
The Leafs are officially eliminated from playoff contention. There used to be hope…
Just remember Sabres fans…
The only reason anyone scrolls down this far on this page:
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