Your fearful leader* is guilty of a little procrastinating in getting started recapping a fairly (though not outrageously) busy night in the NHL, so let’s get right down to brass tacks and wax tracks.
* - By leader I mean slovenly fantasy columnist, of course.
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SHARKS 3, BRUINS 2
-- So, Brent Burns scored his 26th goal of the season on Tuesday, a resounding achievement for a defenseman, although I think Burns’ position should be classified as “Martian” instead. He also grabbed an assist.
(There’s a part of me that is almost a little bummed to see that people are as excited to make Brent Burns jokes now as I’ve been for a while. I guess this is the hockey equivalent of everyone loving your favorite indie band or something.)
-- Nice rookie year for Joonas Donskoi, as a goal and an assist from Tuesday gives him 31 points so far in his debut season. He was the 99th pick of the 2010 NHL Draft and had 49 points in Finland last season.
-- After losing in his San Jose Sharks debut, James Reimer has two straight wins. In this case, he stopped 21 of 23 shots. He saw a week between starts, but if he keeps winning, the goalie duel could really kick in with Martin Jones.
Reimer certainly has the "playing for a job" advantage, in that he's playing for his current gig as well as his future (while Jones enjoys more career stability).
-- Dose veterans probably remember David Pastrnak picking up steam toward the end of 2014-15. Well, it seems to be happening again, as he has four points in three games and five in his past five. The 19-year-old is an interesting guy to watch beyond this season, too.
PENGUINS 2, ISLANDERS 1 (SO)
-- I must admit that I didn't know much about Jean-Francois Berube coming into his first four NHL appearances (he's now 1-1-1 with a promising .924 save percentage).
He was the 95th pick of the 2009 NHL Draft. His AHL stats aren't anything special, but this is his chance to make a case that he deserves to be an NHL backup at some point, whether it be with the Isles or someone else.
(So far, so good.)
-- Marc-Andre Fleury is now on a three-game winning streak, hitting the 30-win mark for the third season in a row. Honestly, I'd almost say that he's been a 30+ guy every year since 2008-09 because the 2012-13 lockout ruined a lot of streaks. Even then, he managed 23 wins in 33 GP.
CAPITALS 2, HURRICANES 1 (OT)
-- The Washington Capitals already clinched a playoff spot thanks in part to this win.
That would be more ridiculous if the Golden State Warriors hadn't already clinched ONE OF THE TOP TWO SPOTS IN THE NBA'S WEST already.
One of my only true beefs with covering hockey is that I have been rendered more or less oblivious to the NBA, which is a bummer since basketball's probably my third favorite sport.
(Worth it, don't get me wrong.)
-- Alex Ovechkin scored the OT GWG for his 42nd goal of the season, while Evgeny Kuznetsov's lone assist on that tally gives the rising Russian 50 helpers. Justin Williams has half of Ovechkin's goals, which sounds unimpressive until you remember that 21 is pretty good these days.
-- Jordan Staal's quietly solid season continued with his 18th tally of 2015-16. I'm not sure if the Selke talk about Staal is overblown (probably?), but he's the Staal to keep in Carolina.
FLYERS 4, RED WINGS 3
-- Big win for the Flyers here, especially since it came in regulation. The Red Wings really seem like they're running out of steam; they have a point lead on Philly for the final wild card spot, but the Flyers hold two games in hand.
-- Both teams failed on the power play in this game, the only difference being that Philly got a lot of chances (six) while Detroit only received two.
The Flyers generated a 46-37 SOG advantage, with 10 of those SOG coming on their power play chances. Perhaps a little home-ice advantage there?
-- Michael Raffl scored two goals, undoubtedly inspiring a wave of cringe-inducing puns along the way.
-- I really don't have any issue with Calder talk for Shayne Gostisbehere, who already has 16 goals on the season. This is now his fifth GWG of 2015-16, and he's managed a remarkable 39 points in just 50 games.
MAPLE LEAFS 4, LIGHTNING 1
-- OK, don't bug your eyes out TOO much; the Maple Leafs tacked on two empty-net goals to inflate the score in this one.
Still, it is a little odd to see the Lightning lose this way, especially since they barely generated a SOG advantage (27-24). Even if the Buds are in scrap mode, that's not a great sign.
I continue to not know what to make of the Bolts.
-- So much for Steven Stamkos killing it against the Maple Leafs. He didn't score a goal and was a -3 in this game. He did get four PIM, three SOG, two hits and two blocked shots, though.
-- Tyler Johnson has to rank close to the top of disappointments in fantasy this season. He's at 12 goals and 33 points in 57 games. He might be lucky that 2016-17 is his contract year.
(I wonder if this down year might be a good opening for Tampa Bay to sign him to a reasonable deal. Then again, I'm not sure exactly what he's worth. Confusing stuff.)
PANTHERS 4, CANADIENS 1
-- Vincent Trocheck might have lost some teeth in this game, but he helped Florida win. He scored a goal and an assist in this contest.
Yes, there have been some lulls here and there, but Trocheck seems to have jumped a level since late January.
-- Aleksander Barkov really may stand as the worthy selection at second overall in the interesting 2013 NHL Draft.
There are some intriguing picks in those early spots, including Sean Monahan at sixth.
-- Al Montoya made 27 out of 28 saves to grab his 10th win of the season. He's one of the best backups in the league this season, if you ask me.
SENATORS 3, WILD 2 (OT)
-- This sure was a low-event game, with the teams combining for just 45 SOG despite the contest lasting through most of overtime until Erik Karlsson won it for the Sens.
(Granted, the Wild did block 25 of Ottawa's shots ...)
Karlsson is now at 73 points, five away from tying his 78-point peak from 2011-12. He'd need a heck of a finish to bag his third 20+ goal season, though.
-- Nothing spectacular from Dion Phaneuf in the early days of his Senators career. In 17 games played with Ottawa, Phaneuf has seven points. I'd like to see him shoot more often, as 22 SOG in 17 GP seems like a waste of one of his best assets: a hard shot.
Not sure if that lack of shooting is more on Phaneuf or the Sens, but that's something to work on for 2016-17.
KINGS 5, STARS 2
-- You won't find better back-to-back performances than the Kings put on between Monday and Tuesday.
First, they clobbered the Blackhawks by a score of 5-0 in Chicago. They rested Jonathan Quick on Tuesday, but the Stars didn't take advantage, so it's a 10-2 run through brutal Central opponents on the road.
-- Amusingly enough, the Kings rode another two-goal burst early in a game, once again with Kris Versteeg generating the 1-0 tally. They were up 2-0 by the 5:25 mark of the first period and ended that opening frame up 3-1.
-- The Stars $10.4 million duo continues to fall flat. Antti Niemi allowed a goal on 11 shots while Kari Lehtonen gave up four goals on 11. That's ... pathetic, and it's not exactly an isolated incident.
-- Not a great night for Kris Russell, who's still getting his feet wet with the Stars. He was a -2 with just a SOG in 23:27 TOI. He's getting quite a bit of ice time, and he's done OK with it, scoring four points in seven games.