If every night of NHL action was as wild and weird as Monday, I’d probably never complain.
Whoa whoa whoa whoooa wait, I forgot to add “about hockey” to the end of that statement … and even that probably isn’t true, let’s be honest. I’d definitely continue complaining either way, whether those gripes were about pucks or like, the fact that I’m still watching “Vinyl” even though I kind of hate it.
(Is it a sign that I’ve gone soft that I don’t punt shows like I used to?)
Anyway, it was a pretty zany night, so enjoy.
Editor's Note: This is your chance to try FanDuel risk free! Sign up today and if you lose your first contest, you’ll be refunded the entry fee up to $10. Play now.
KINGS 5, BLACKHAWKS 0
-- Jonathan Quick stopped all 32 Blackhawks shots for his fourth shutout of the season. That's his 41st career shutout, leaving him unmatched among U.S. born goalies. At 30, who knows how many more he might add to his total?
Aside: 16 of the shots he stopped were on Blackhawks power plays.
-- I'm not so sure about how long this will last, but Kris Versteeg sure nailed his audition on a line with Milan Lucic and Anze Kopitar. Versteeg scored the opening goal (which means a GWG) and already assisted on the Lucic goal that made it 2-0.
Lucic's at 17 goals on the season, and his 44 points already match last season's total.
Lucic's been awfully streaky lately. From Feb. 14-Feb. 28, he failed to score a single point. March has been a different story, with that 17th goal extending a six-game point streak: three goals and five assists for eight points).
-- Andrew Ladd probably had the roughest game of any Blackhawks skater (Corey Crawford's night was rougher, but Ladd might lead the skaters division). He naturally didn't score a point, also suffering a team-worst -3 rating. He still did some nice peripheral things: two SOG, two blocked shots and a whopping seven hits.
-- The Blackhawks went 0-for-6 on the PP and are in that much more danger of being the third seed in the Central.
FLAMES 7, BLUES 4
Yeah, this game was especially weird.
-- Michael Frolik generated the second hat trick of his career in a pretty interesting fashion. First, he scored two shorthanded goals on breakaways. He scored an empty-netter to get his third tally of the night. Not many happen that way, I'd wager.
Sean Monahan actually passed up a chance at his own hat trick, instead getting the primary assist on that ENG, finishing the night with an impressive two goals and an assist. Johnny Gaudreau collected three assists of his own.
-- Jake Allen didn't make it through the entire game, giving up four goals on 17 shots while being pulled midway through the second period. Anders Nilsson was thrust into a rough relief gig as his Blues debut, giving up two goals on 14 SOG.
-- Paul Stastny is on quite the roll. He scored two goals on Monday, pushing him to a meager nine tallies and 37 points in 53 games this season. This four-game point streak carries a chunk of that output: three goals and four assists for seven of his 37 points.
-- Beyond that hat trick, Allen getting pulled and the Blues seeing their six-game winning streak end, there were other interesting wrinkles to this game. The first period featured at least two really weird carom-off-the-boards-type goals, and some dude won a car thanks to a weird local promotion.
Everything was happening.
DUCKS 7, DEVILS 1
-- The Kings didn't get to pull ahead any further than the Ducks thanks to this win. It was a great reminder of Bob Murray's patience, as Bruce Boudreau became just the sixth coach in NHL history to generate at least 200 wins with more than one team. Sticking with the Kings for a possible Pacific Division title is an incredible leap from seeing their coach being on the hot seat.
-- Jakob Silfverberg collected his first career hat trick and also generated an assist in this game. He now has 12 goals, one short of tying last season's career-high. He has a ways to go to match his point total of 39 from last season (he has 27 now), but it's still nice production.
Granted, there was the notion that maybe Silfverberg was primed for a bigger breakthrough after seeing how well he played during the 2015 postseason ... but, you know, small sample sizes.
-- Ryan Kesler enjoyed great, virtually identical Monday outputs. Each forward generated a goal and two assists while also grabbing two penalty minutes. Some of the peripherals were a little different beyond that, but still, good stuff.
-- Frederik Andersen has been winning (or not getting a loss) at an impressive rate. March 11 was his only defeat since Dec. 21. Overall, he's 19-9-6 with a .921 save percentage and one shutout.
-- Devante Smith-Pelly's hot start to his Devils career continues. He scored New Jersey's only goal, giving him six points in as many games in 2015-16. It is a resounding jump from his Canadiens totals: just 12 points in 46 games.
With a 40 shooting percentage here with the Devils, "DSP" is playing over his head, but maybe he can make enough of an impression to get a more lasting opportunity.
PREDATORS 3, OILERS 2
-- For the sixth time in his NHL career and the first time this season, James Neal generated a hat trick. Neal is now at 26 goals, giving him 207 in 549 career games. He's mostly fallen in this range in his career, with his second and third-best goal totals being two different 27-goal outputs. He's unlikely to match the 40 goals and 81 points he managed riding shotgun with Evgeni Malkin in 2011-12, but this is still good stuff, possibly a 30+ goal campaign.
Neal also has 63 PIM and 93 hits on the season, making him a nice power forward.
-- Pekka Rinne is really delivering for those who were patient and/or those who traded from those who (were honestly understandably) impatient. He's far from perfect even in that time, but Rinne is 9-4-3 with a .918 save percentage since the All-Star break vs. 19-15-7 with a .906 save percentage before the break.
-- Calle Jarnkrok generated two assists, padding his career-high in points to 24 (over 18 last season). He has a golden opportunity on a line with Ryan Johansen and Neal. Maybe he'll produce a little more regularly going forward?
-- Jordan Eberle scored his 21st goal in this game, assisted by Connor McDavid. No doubt about it, Eberle jumps a level or two if he can stick with McDavid more often than not ... especially if No. 87's game played totals approach 82 more often than not.
JETS 5, CANUCKS 2
-- Marko Dano continues to climb as a member of the Winnipeg Jets. This was his best game yet: two goals and one assist with a +3 rating, two PIM, four SOG and two hits. After going four games without a point in Winnipeg, Dano has five points in his last four games.
The Jets are one of those teams that needs to find creative ways to fill their roster with guys who can move the needle. Perhaps Dano might be the latest gem?
-- Alexander Burmistrov collected a goal and an assist on Monday, giving him four points in as many games. Burmistrov's been pretty quiet in his first NHL season since 2012-13: 18 points in 68 games.
-- You know, I thought this season was a step back for Mathieu Perreault, but it turns out that it really hasn't been. He's more or less in the same range as previous seasons:
2013-14: 18 goals, 43 points in 69 games
2014-15: 18 goals, 41 points in 62 games
2015-16: 9 goals, 40 points in 68 games
Beyond the obvious drop in goals, that's similar production. The difference is actually that he's been healthy. Interesting.
-- Mark Scheifele scored his 23rd goal of 2015-16, easily the best of his career. Forty-six points is three shy of his career-high with plenty of season left, and he's been limited to 58 games played this time around. Promising future, no doubt.
Scheifele is now on an eight-game point streak: eight goals and four assists for 12 points. He also has 19 points in his past 13 games. Impressive stuff.
ISLANDERS 3, PANTHERS 2
-- The Panthers carried a 2-0 lead into the third period, and the first Islanders goal - by Kyle Okposo, his 18th of the season - didn't come until 12:50 into that frame. The Panthers fell in regulation because they allowed three goals in about six minutes. Ouchies.
-- Essentially, Cal Clutterbuck does two things: throw checks and score goals.
(OK, the amusingly named winger probably does other things. He's probably nervously awaiting Game of Thrones returning'n'stuff like the rest of us and whatnot.)
Clutterbuck's awkward GWG was his 13th goal of 2015-16, and his fourth winner. He's managed to score those 13 goals on just 69 SOG, good for an 18.8 shooting percentage. He's now at 13 goals, 20 points and 250 hits.
-- Reilly Smith got in his first career fight in this game with another guy who hasn't exactly racked up scuffles, either, in Anders Lee. Smith added 17 PIM to his season total, giving him 23 goals and 29 PIM in 2015-16. With 43 points in 69 games, he's already enjoying a better season than 2014-15. His career-high of 51 points from 2013-14 is in sight while he already has a career-high of goals at 23.
-- Thomas Greiss got his first win since March 3. His next will be his 20th, with 19 wins right now, he has as many victories as the nine and 10 he had in the previous two seasons.
-- Jiri Hudler scored two goals in one game with the Panthers, but other than that, he’s been quiet with zero points in his other five contests. The guy isn’t exactly nailing his contract year.