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Hockey Daily Dose

Dose: Cats and Ducks

by James O'Brien
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

No real lead here, but these recaps are meaty, so I think that makes up the difference.


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PANTHERS 2, WILD 1


-- Florida was already on its franchise-best run, so this win extended it to nine straight victories. They now hold a fairly comfortable lead in the Atlantic Division and are "only" nine points behind the Washington Capitals (though the Caps hold a game in hand).


-- Is this the best Panthers team ever? That's sort of like asking which Washington Generals team made the Harlem Globetrotters sweat the most, but STILL.


-- How legit are they, though? There's some argument that they're a little flimsy; they're fifth in PDO (though it must be said that no team is in that crazy "Wow, things are going to really fall off for Toronto" area) and are second in save percentage so far this season.


Then again, they've faced enough injuries - Nick Bjugstad just returned from IR on Sunday - that maybe a potentially healthier roster might pick up some of the slack.


-- At 43, Jaromir Jagr's a fairly credible All-Star. He scored two goals on Sunday to give him 28 points in 36 games (more than any other Panther), and he now has two GWG in his last three games. That beefs up his NHL-record GWG to 132.


With 735 career goals, Jagr is just six away from tying Brett Hull for third all-time in NHL history.


-- Al Montoya deserves a ton of credit for this one, stopping 39 out of 40 shots.


Montoya's now on a four-game winning streak, which is interesting for a number of reasons, including the fact that his second-most recent start came on Dec. 17. His play argues for more Roberto Luongo rest, as he's 6-1-1 with a splendid .938 save percentage, but it's pretty tough to argue with what Bobby Lou's been doing, too.


BLACKHAWKS 3, SENATORS 0


-- Maybe we can quibble with "elite" in real-life terms, but I'm feeling increasingly comfortable with placing Corey Crawford in the elite category fantasy-wise.


He stopped 26 shots here for his sixth shutout of 2015-16, a mark that leads the league. He's also 20-10-2 with a solid .925 save percentage. If you look at his work from the last four seasons, Crawford sure is close to being one of the best.


It's strange to see a guy underrated on such a hyped-up team like Chicago, but Crawford probably qualifies as a little short-changed.


Six shutouts are already easily his career-best (previous high was four in 2010-11). He has 18 overall.


His top win total is 33. If he stays healthy, he could pass that by quite a margin.


-- Unusually bad game for Erik Karlsson: just one SOG and a -1 rating in 31:27 TOI. He's only been under 30 minutes of ice time in one of his last six games so far this season.


-- Andrew Desjardins has collected almost all of his points in the last three games.


He scored a goal and an assist on Sunday, giving him four goals and one assist for five points during a three-game point streak. He only had one point in his previous 32 contests.


ISLANDERS 6, STARS 5


-- Can we cheat the system and ensure that these two teams meet in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final? Pretty please?


-- Huge game for Kyle Okposo, who scored two goals and added an assist. It was a great all-around game, too: five SOG, three hits and two PIM (even rating).


This extended his point streak to three games (two goals, three assists), giving him 31 points in 38 games.


My only beef is that I'd like to see him shoot just a touch more (89 SOG in 38 games, so not awful), although he has a staggering 15 SOG in his past two contests.


The Islanders should just bite the bullet and re-sign him.


/Says guy who wouldn't spend a penny regardless


-- Jason Demers received a game misconduct for boarding Cal Clutterbuck, who was another difference-maker for the Islanders with two goals, three SOG, four hits and a +2 rating in just 12:05 TOI.


-- Valeri Nichushkin came back from his brief injury hiatus to score two goals. The Stars almost stuck with the Islanders even though Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin failed to score a point. Pretty scary that this team can score five goals even on an off night for their two mega-stars.


-- Kari Lehtonen only has one win since Dec. 17 and three since Nov. 24. There was a while where he was playing better hockey than Antti Niemi, but that is clearly no longer the case.


DUCKS 4, JETS 1


-- I'd be jealous of my opponent if I were the Winnipeg Jets.


If the playoffs began today, the Ducks would be in as the third seed of the pathetic Pacific. Meanwhile, the Jets are ranked second-to-last in the West ... and the two teams are separated by a single standings point.


I didn't really like the new alignment from the beginning (at least from a competitive standpoint, being time zone-conscious for travel reasons is smart enough), but this situation really shines a harsh light on the flaws of the setup.


Why not just give an automatic playoff spot to the top teams in each division (or even top two?) and then let the rest duke it out?


-- John Gibson continues to produce stellar work, even if he's living the easy life (no more than 26 SOG faced in his past four games).


He stopped 19 out of 20 shots to win his fourth game in a row. During this stretch, he's only allowed three goals.


-- Could Anaheim still be dangerous? I can quibble about the bumpy path to this point, but they generated a 35-20 shot advantage and seem to be grinding their way to victories.


Corey Perry (one goal) and Ryan Getzlaf didn't light the scoreboard on fire, but four SOG each is a solid sign.


-- The two offensive standouts for Anaheim were Rickard Rakell and Kevin Bieksa, who each enjoyed one-goal, one-assist games.

James O'Brien
James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.