The hockey community was dealt a huge blow Saturday night when the founder of Capgeek.com, Matthew Wuest, announced that his site would be shut down, effective immediately, because of health concerns. Matthew’s site was a game-changer for anyone who loves hockey. Health comes first, and I wish him nothing but the best.
Saturday’s slate included 10 games, many of which were full of offense and not a lot of goaltending.
Let’s get to the recaps:
SENATORS 3, BRUINS 2 (overtime)
— It’s hard to believe that 39 games into their season, the Bruins are on the outside looking in (by two points) when it comes to the playoffs. When the Bruins were at their height, they weren’t giving up late leads. Still think this roster is too good and coached too well to count them out.
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— Bobby Ryan got the game-winner for the Senators, extending his points streak to three games. He also has four goals in his last two, giving him just 11 on the year. Ryan was a pretty explosive scorer in his earlier days with the Ducks. It’s pretty clear he needs to play with an elite center; he’s not going to take over a game on his own.
— Kyle Turris was drafted by the Coyotes to be a frontline center, but it has taken him time to develop into a usable player, which he’s become the past few seasons. He’s fringy, at best, as a first-line guy, though at 25, there’s still a chance he becomes a little more.
— Craig Anderson (26 saves) has really been very good this season. You’ll just have to take any wins as bonuses at this point.
— Tuukka Rask is still an elite goalie, despite a 2.59 goals-against average and .909 save percentage. Even the best have their down periods. We know the talent is there for him to really kick it into gear. The Bruins are still trying to get it together in front of him.
— Speaking of one of those defenseman, Torey Krug scored his eighth in the win. He has four points in his last five games.
PREDATORS 7, KINGS 6 (overtime)
— These are not Barry Trotz’s Predators, that’s for sure. Of course, Peter Laviolette would’ve loved to wrap this game up in regulation, instead of coughing up a late 6-3 third-period lead. Even worse, the Kings scored three goals in 1:27. Jeff Carter’s 11th with 34 seconds remaining forced overtime.
— The mark of a good team is depth. The Predators got goals from seven different players: Ryan Ellis, Mike Fisher, Olli Jokinen, Mattias Ekholm, Mark Arcobello, Colin Wilson and Roman Josi. Only two players were left off the scoresheet.
— Amidst what has been a stellar first half of the season, Jokinen has been invisible. His struggles have been masked by how good this team has been. Three goals and five points in 37 games is not what the Preds were hoping for when they signed him to a two-year, $9 million deal. Perhaps he’s starting to thaw from that awful start: a goal, three points and nine shots in his last two games.
— You know things are going well when you give up six goals (three in the final 1:27) and end up winning in overtime. Pekka Rinne’s allowed to have these outings once in a while. Even after his worst performance of the year, he still has a 2.00 GAA and .929 SV%. He also leads the league with 25 wins.
— The Kings skaters didn’t play a bad game, but their goalies did. Jonathan Quick gave up three goals on nine shots. Martin Jones was slightly better, giving up four on 16 shots. It’s very hard to survive no matter what team you are. That they even got a point is pretty amazing.
— Alec Martinez (goal, two assists) and Anze Kopitar (three assists) both had strong games thanks to the late burst. Martinez has been sneaky good this year, with 16 points. He might not be a bad addition at the lower end of your defensive stable.
— Don’t expect too many games in which Dwight King leads the Kings in goals (two) and shots on goal (six). He’s close to his 15-goal, 30-point pace from last season.
DEVILS 5, FLYERS 2
— Jaromir Jagr is truly an ageless wonder. He became the oldest player to record a hat trick, setting a new record which was previously held by Gordie Howe in 1969. Jagr last recorded a hat trick in 2006. Saturday marked the 15th hat trick of his career. He told reporters after the game this was the first time, in a game, that he ever wore brand-new skates that he’d never broken in. Jagr might not have that game-breaking ability anymore, but he is still a bull around the net. As long as the Devils continue struggle, I’m not sure Jagr stays with them all season.
— Scott Gomez was the biggest beneficiary of Jagr’s big night, assisting twice, but also getting a goal of his own. There’s no way he can keep this up, though nobody could’ve expected 11 points in 17 games, either.
— Cory Schneider (18 saves) got to breathe for once. He shouldn’t get too comfortable with that kind of support, though.
— So this is what life is like for the Flyers without Claude Giroux? The cut to the back of his leg isn’t supposed to be serious, but he’s worth monitoring at practice early in the week. The Flyers play Tuesday.
RANGERS 6, SABRES 1
— This game was pretty much over midway through. The Rangers scored three consecutive power play goals. Derick Brassard got his at 8:46. Chris Kreider less than a minute later and Rick Nash 1:25 after that. New York has one loss over its last 11 games. The real test will be during their California road trip, which begins Wednesday with three games in four nights.
— Dan Boyle is starting to show more confidence with his new team. He had a rough go of it early on after he broke his hand and it took him some time to get up to speed. He has five points in his last five games, which is big considering he has just seven all season.
— All you have to know regarding the Sabres in this game is how their social media team reacted after the loss. They decided to highlight the fact the Zemgus Girgensons got a game-high 14 face-off wins on Twitter. It’s the little things, I guess.
— Michal Neuvirth lasted 12:34, giving up four goals on nine shots. You almost felt bad for him out there as many of these shots were point-blank and uncontested.
CANADIENS 4, PENGUINS 1
— Montreal has now won six consecutive games, and nine of its last ten. Certainly great results, though there are red flags surrounding their shot production at five-on-five.
— If Carey Price continues to play like this, though, it won’t matter. Price made 30 saves for his fifth straight victory. He’s given up a total of six goals during the streak. Even more impressive, you have to back to Dec. 6 to find a time when he allowed more than two goals.
— Max Pacioretty has become a lock for at least 30 goals and 60 points. That he has 136 shots on goal also shows this 16-goal, 15-assist season is no fluke.
— David Perron should be scooped up in all leagues. He scored on his first of six shots Saturday, and he played with Sidney Crosby. He played 15:47, with 32 seconds on the power play, of which the Penguins had just one. Don’t let the six goals and 20 points scare you off. This was a guy who put up 28 and 57 a year ago. It would not be surprising to see him post near a point-per-game pace from now on.
JETS 5, MAPLE LEAFS 1
— I severely underestimated the Jets this season. I thought they had a decent forward group but never expected the defense to play this well. Dustin Byfuglien, who played on the blueline Saturday, was a beast. He got a goal, assist, five shots on goal and three hits in 23:51. Coach Paul Maurice called him the "best player on the ice.”
— Bryan Little extended his points streak to six games, with a goal and two assists. With 15 goals and 30 points, he’s on pace for a career season. He could topple his career-high of 31 goals, though he’s shooting at a 21% clip right now, so be wary.
— The Leafs’ slide is going to be long and it could get very ugly. Two wins over their last nine games. The shots on goal numbers give you a good idea of why Toronto could struggle to make the playoffs: 40 to 21 for the Leafs.
— Credit the Leafs’ front office for the signing of Mike Santorelli, though. He has nine goals and 25 points. I don’t think he’ll be making $1.5 million next season.
STARS 7, WILD 1
— The Stars are surging and are now almost within grasp of a wild-card spot. Dallas is 18-14-5 and four points out of the playoffs, which seems like a minor miracle when considering how they started the season.
— Dallas got offense from all over the lineup. Vernon Fiddler scored twice. Brett Ritchie, Erik Cole and Tyler Seguin all had a goal and an assist. Antoine Roussel and Colton Sceviour potted the other ones.
— Ritchie has scored in his first two NHL games. He played just 12:34, but he is intriguing as someone who been an offensive contributor wherever he's played. He’s just 21, but it would not surprise me to see him get time on the second line eventually, especially with how much of a black hole Ales Hemsky (12 points) has been.
— The Wild can be the best possession team in the league and they still wouldn’t win with the goaltending (or lack thereof) they’re getting. Darcy Kuemper didn’t even last half of the game, giving up four on 21 shots. Niklas Backstrom allowed three on 14. They should say goodbye to their playoffs hopes now if this is what they’re going to stick with.
COYOTES 6, BLUE JACKETS 3
— Sergei Bobrovsky didn’t want to speak after this game, and who could blame him? He made 25 of 31 saves, and lost for the second time in regulation since Nov. 29. He got pulled nearly five minutes into the third period. I don’t really have any worries about Bobrovsky, but he has been a bit up and down lately: six goals against, one, four, two, five over his last five contests.
— According to NHL.com, Martin Hanzal was sick. Nobody could’ve noticed that from how he played: one goal, three assists, tying a career-high in points for one game. He’s a very solid player, though offensive upside isn’t that high.
— Sam Gagner scored twice. He has four goals and eight points over his last eight games. He’s not the worst option if you need to fill out your bench.
— There should be no reason why, even after a poor start of his own, Devan Dubnyk doesn’t get the next start for the Coyotes. Mike Smith made his first start since Dec. 22, and gave up three goals on 26 shots in this one. That’s not exactly starting-caliber.
— Ryan Johansen scored with a minute left to extend his points streak to six games. Even his 11 goals and 33 points leave me expecting more from him. Still think there’s another gear he will hit eventually.
CANUCKS 4, RED WINGS 1
— If you played the Sedin brothers in a head-to-head league this week, you probably felt your opponent was cheating Saturday. Henrik Sedin broke a 13-game goal drought with two goals, both of which came on the empty net. Those were his 200th and 201st of his career, and he added an assist on Alexander Edler’s power-play tally. Daniel got three assists in the game, two of which came on Henrik’s empty-net goals.
— Ryan Miller has been very streaky his season. Right now, he’s on one of his good runs. Over his last six games, he is 4-1-1 and has posted a save percentage of at least .925 in all of those games. His overall numbers are still not that great (2.46 GAA, .913 SV%), but the 20 wins are nice.
— Tomas Tatar now leads the Red Wings with 16 goals. He’s scoring at a 16% clip. Even if that dips slightly, he seems primed for a 30-goal season. Pretty incredible, considering this is his second full season in the NHL.
— Jimmy Howard has alternated wins and losses over his last four starts. His 2.08 GAA and .921 SV% are strong, but get glossed over because of a 15-7-7 record.
BLUES 7, SHARKS 2
— T.J. Oshie amassed one-fifth of his entire point total for the season in this game, which tells you all you need to know about how disappointing his season has been. He scored three times — for his second career hat trick — and added an assist. He now has eight of his 20 points over his five-game points streak and five of his 10 goals in his last three games. Suffice to say, he started the year very slowly, but it appears that his numbers will come close to matching the predictions when all is said and done.
— Kevin Shattenkirk and Alexander Steen each got a goal and three assists. Can’t say I foresaw a point-per-game season from Shattenkirk (35 in 39 games). He has easily been among the best fantasy defensemen this season. Twenty-two of those points have come on the power play.
— Jaden Schwartz returned from a broken foot Saturday night. He hadn’t played since Dec. 16. All he did was go out and light the lamp and record an assist against the Sharks. He has 12 goals and 29 points in 32 games.
— Even though Brian Elliott (16 saves on 18 shots) wasn’t all that amazing, the Blues really need to commit to him. Jake Allen should be the backup and Martin Brodeur should be moved out of town to return some normalcy to the goaltending core.
— Seems like all Joe Pavelski does is score. His 20 goals rank fourth in the league, and he has five over his last five games. Pavelski doesn’t carry the sexy name value of other of the league’s top scorers, but he’s really just as good as any of them.
— Antti Niemi … woof. Six goals on 27 shots in 44:58. Alex Stalock came in and stopped one of two. Niemi had allowed six goals total over his last three games. A crippling outing for those in head-to-head leagues. Niemi has generally been pretty good this season, though, so we’ll have to give him a pass.