Tuesday night was brimming with games - quite a few with startling results - so let’s slide right in.
CAPITALS 4, KINGS 0
-- Thanks to other bubble teams winning, the Kings are now in a sobering spot behind Colorado (ninth, 55 points in 51 games), Minnesota (10th, 54 points in 50 games, more wins and regulation/OT wins) and Dallas (11th, 54 points in 50 games, more wins and more ROW) in the race to catch one of the two wildcard spots. Considering the fact that they've been lousy on the road (5-11-6) and face a road-heavy finish (13 home games vs. 19 away contests remaining) ... yeah, it might not be too early to panic.
-- Troy Brouwer scored two goals to hit 15 on the season. Since 2013-14, he has 40 goals and 29 assists. Quite an amusing imbalance, especially since he doesn't shoot a ton (16.7 shooting percentage this season, 14.5 mark in his career with easily less than two SOG per contest).
-- The SOG tally was even at 27 apiece, yet the Kings got 14 of theirs in the final frame when they were haplessly in catch-up mode. Perhaps things would have run more smoothly if they got more than one power-play opportunity?
-- Braden Holtby now has two shutouts in his last three games and has gone three straight games without allowing a goal in regulation (his lone GA came when Max Pacioretty won Jan. 31's game for Montreal in OT). He's now tied with Marc-Andre Fleury for the league lead with six shutouts.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday's NHL games. It's just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Wednesday at 8pm ET. Here's the FanDuel link.
BLUES 2, LIGHTNING 1 (OT)
-- This matchup would make for an odd Stanley Cup Final series, but I wouldn't be thunderstruck if it happened, either.
-- Brian Elliott improved to 16-5-2 as the Lightning peppered him with 30 shots. He also grabbed his second assist of the season.
-- With Kevin Shattenkirk out multiple weeks, Alex Pietrangelo will carry quite the workload. He didn't score a point on Tuesday, but with 27:15 TOI, it's clear that he's the go-to blueliner. Jay Bouwmeester also received a significant amount of ice time (24:33, no PP time).
NASHVILLE 4, MAPLE LEAFS 3
-- Yikes, 10 straight losses for Toronto. The best news remains the same: this nightmare road run ends on Feb. 6.
-- As expected, Nashville is getting very nice production from its defensemen. Shea Weber scored his 11th goal while Seth Jones collected his fourth. Roman Josi has nine and both Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm have five apiece. The nice bonus is that they're getting plenty of production from forwards, too.
-- Again, there's a solid chance they might slow down, but Mike Fisher and Colin Wilson are another nice Predators one-two punch that really can't be dismissed any longer. Fisher's long been a nice two-way complementary part, but this is an especially surprising amount of growth.
-- Cody Franson generated his 30th point of the season, three short of the career-best mark he set last season. Right in time for unrestricted free agency. Toronto can't win.
-- It seems like Pekka Rinne is approaching a return, but Carter Hutton's playing solidly enough that he doesn't have to feel as rushed. Nashville's generated at least a standing point in five straight games with Hutton in net (3-0-2). Not every start has been pretty, but not bad.
SABRES 3, CANADIENS 2
-- Um, what?
Look, I'm no stranger to thinking that Montreal isn't as good as its record might indicate but ... wow. Buffalo had lost 14 games in a row, and it wasn't like Washington losing a stretch of one-goal games lately. They were getting smeared and generally have resembled one of the no-joke worst NHL teams in recent memory.
These are the kind of losses that can lose division titles.
-- I imagine this season must be taking its toll on Sabres fans, but the franchise is better off taking its lumps and getting one of two seemingly surefire All-Star players (like, real All-Stars, not OK guys getting weird Latvian love like Zemgus Girgensons) for their trouble.
-- All three of Buffalo's goals came in a 3-1 first period, so even Montreal's considerable shot advantage only means so much. Hey, even Carey Price will have an off night here and there, though.
-- Jhonas Enroth ended an eight-game losing streak by stopping 32 out of 34 shots. The Swede only has two wins since Dec. 20, when his flash-in-the-pan hot streak ended.
CANUCKS 3, JETS 2 (OT)
-- Was Evander Kane really the problem for Winnipeg? I doubt it, but I guess sometimes these things need to happen.
That said, it only really reignites daydreaming about Kane in a happier hockey place. Imagine putting him in, say, Dallas or Calgary?
-- Bryan Little has two straight one-goal, one-assist games, giving him 20 goals and 42 points on the season. His best season goals-wise was 31 in 2008-09 while his best overall production was last season's 64 points. He's actually on a 64-point pace as we speak.
-- Mathieu Perreault is now on a three-game pointless streak with just three SOG in that span. Don't panic ... unless you invested in him in a way that assumed his hot run was sustainable. If that's the case ... then, yeah, panic.
PANTHERS 4, ISLANDERS 2
-- Man, the Florida Panthers are a tough team to figure. I just thought I'd throw that out there.
-- Jimmy Hayes is a bit perplexing even amid perplexing Panthers, unless you just resign yourself to accepting that he's something of a Brouwer-like imbalanced big guy. He scored two goals (including the GWG) to give himself 15 goals versus just seven assists on the season.
-- Anders Lee has similar stats: two goals last night, now 15 goals vs. 5 assists. It would help if these two took a lot of penalties so I could confidently recommend them.
/Observations that would make head coaches hate fantasy.
Jump for more recaps.
AVALANCHE 3, STARS 2 (SO)
-- Quite an odd shot output for Colorado last night:
First period: four SOG; Second: four SOG; Third: eight SOG; OT: eight SOG.
Even with that stronger finish (the Stars only had one OT SOG), Dallas still won that overall shots battle 32-24.
-- Ryan O'Reilly scored a goal and an assist, giving him four points in a four-game "please trade me somewhere happy" run.
-- Tyson Barrie scored his fifth goal and 30th point. He's eight shy of last season's breakout 38 points, though it would be tough to approach 2013-14's 13 goals in 64 games. It wouldn't hurt to fire the biscuit a bit more often, though; he only has 87 SOG in 51 GP. A player with his talent should have at least 102, if you ask me.
WILD 3, BLACKHAWKS 0
-- Well, I can't say I really saw this one coming, either. Especially from a SOG standpoint: Minnesota crushed Chicago in the first two periods in particular (35-14) including a bewildering 24 SOG in the second period alone. Wow.
-- How much must it burn the Oilers to see Devan Dubnyk playing like this? Actually, what it really might argue is just that Edmonton's a graveyard for goalies. Maybe.
Either way, the Wild would be outrageous not to give Dubnyk the No. 1 job and just get out of way, at least for a good chunk of this month.
-- Odd stats from Corey Crawford. Normally, you'd expect the Blackhawks to prop him up, but his 19-12-2 record obscures some nice individual work (.920 save percentage). This isn't to say that his record is outright awful, just that Chicago has such a rich recent history of inflating stats that it's weird to see it go the other way.
-- Mikko Koivu made a big impact: one goal, one assist, +2, two PIM and seven SOG. With just a 6.3 shooting percentage, there's reason to hope that he may finish the season on a better note.
-- Marco Scandella fired eight SOG. Yowza.
DUCKS 5, HURRICANES 4
-- Another odd SOG pattern as Anaheim dominated the first (13-2), the second was even and then Carolina really turned it up (17-5) to make it more-or-less even.
-- Ryan Kesler sees some very quiet stretches, but right now he's on a torrid stretch. With a goal and an assist on Tuesday, Kesler now has three goals and two assists for five points in as many games.
-- Hey, a sign of life from Alexander Semin, who scored just his second goal of 2014-15. Man.
-- Frederik Andersen is 28-7-5 as of Feb. 4. How far can he take this team in the playoffs?
COYOTES 4, BLUE JACKETS 1
-- After losing the first four games of their eight-game road trip (mysteriously mostly against West teams), the Coyotes have won three of four games.
In some ways it's reasonable to wonder what good this does, but 82-game seasons are long, so having the occasional ray of light probably isn't so bad.
-- Sure, the loss included five goals allowed and an early pull but ... hey, two out of three wins ain't bad, especially for Mike Smith.
-- Brandon Dubinsky didn't score, but this is the kind of line his owners up for: five PIM, one SOG and six hits. OK, a little more offense would be nice, but Dubinsky was quite the multi-category gem in 2013-14.
DEVILS 2, SENATORS 1
-- Robin Lehner's probably lucky he got the contract that he did, isn't he?
-- Cory Schneider has been lights out lately, going 6-1-1 with fantastic individual stats since the new year.
-- Neither team exceeded eight SOG in any period. Snore.