As far as Thursday's playoff implications go, here's a quick blurb about every game that matters to the postseason (sorry, Carolina - Philly). Scrolling back up after I wrote it, I realize that I probably want some sirloin at an inopportune hour.
Ottawa vs. Rangers - I wouldn't assume New York will bow down now, even with the Pres locked up.
Detroit vs. Montreal - Motivation, but not really desperation, for both sides here.
Lightning vs. Devils - Tampa Bay still hopes for Atlantic Crown while New Jersey's rotating between dead inside and pesky.
Boston vs. Florida - The Panthers are out, but I'd wager that they want to spite the B's, who might be a little tired after getting their behinds shipped to them.
Chicago vs. St. Louis - Many stakes and hopefully some steaks.
Minnesota vs. Nashville - Steaks and stakes, but less of them.
Winnipeg vs. Colorado - The Jets can't stroll, as the Avs are just weird enough to care.
Los Angeles vs. Calgary - A whole steakhouse full of stakes.
Vancouver vs. Arizona - The Coyotes are burnt to a crisp.
Anyway, let’s transition from stakes and steaks to shutouts.
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CAPITALS 3, BRUINS 0
-- Braden Holtby now has three shutouts against the Bruins this season, stopping all 88 shots they sent his way (including 27 on Wednesday). That bumps him to nine goose eggs on the season and 41 wins. He's going to get rich this summer, even as an RFA.
-- Marcus Johansson's had a very nice season, scoring 20 goals for the first time and now a new career-high with 47 points. I still think of him as mostly a passer, but maybe he should keep firing that shot.
2013-14: 18 goals, 61 assists for 79 points (and a -20 rating) in 82 games
2014-15: 18 G, 59 A for 79 P (+7) in 81 GP
Funny, it seems as if no one found any time to bash Backstrom's -20 amid all the -35 hysteria for Alex Ovechkin. I know that's a big gap, but it's INTERESTING that it was never/rarely mentioned.
-- The Bruins scoring lines kept getting mixed up in this one, and they never received a single PP opportunity to grab an easier scoring chance or two. Rough one.
-- Zdeno Chara might enter the playoffs or the offseason (depending on the final two games and other surrounding bubble contests) needing a walker at this pace. It seems like he's banged up in every contest.
STARS 4, DUCKS 0
Benn's been on quite the run as the Stars also have played well recently. In 11 games since March 19, Benn has nine goals and 10 assists for 16 points.
-- It's amazing how many players can vacillate between barely getting an NHL gig and contributing nicely on a top line. Patrick Eaves is really taking advantage of some reps with Benn and Tyler Seguin, scoring three goals in the past two games and four points in three. Could be worth a pickup on Saturday if you're low on options.
-- Jhonas Enroth grabbed his first shutout as a member of the Stars, only needing 19 saves to do so. To his credit, he's now on a three-game winning streak in which he's allowed four goals total. As unconvinced as I am about the Swede, I could envision some lucky fantasy owner who's only grabbed him during his random good runs.
-- It's hard to tell if he's being rested or kept out of games because he's injured, but either way, Ryan Getzlaf sat out another game. I'd be careful about starting him unless there's a confirmation.
-- His partner-in-crime suffered in this one, too, as Corey Perry ended up with a -3 rating and two SOG for his efforts.
BLUE JACKETS 5, MAPLE LEAFS 0
-- Columbus bests Dallas in the “charming yet unnecessary hot streak” category, as they’re now 10-0-1 in their last 11 games.
-- On the other end of the spectrum, the Maple Leafs finish with one of the worst road runs in ages. They went a ridiculous 1-21-3 in away games once 2015 rolled around and have the fewest away victories. (More zany numbers here.)
-- This was just the second shutout of Sergei Bobrovsky's season, but he earned it with 35 saves. He's one win shy of two straight 30-win seasons.
-- To put things mildly, Ryan Murray's career hasn't worked out just yet, as injuries have railroaded every year since he was drafted second overall in 2012.
-- Come on, Scott Hartnell. Take a stray penalty to hit 100 PIM, why don't you? That 98 just seems wrong right now. The 58 points are nice, though.