Well folks, this is my last Hockey Dose of the regular season, as Michael Finewax covers the Saturday edition and Jimmy Hascup gets a ridiculous full slate for all the Game 82’s. The good news (or bad news, if you don’t take kindly to folks like me) is that I’ll be writing Doses during the playoffs, too. I’d imagine they’ll clock smaller word counts, although you never know when I-gets-ta-rambling.
(I covered PHT at night on Thursday, so I’m tired. I apparently start to type like Yosemite Sam speaks when I’m fatigued.
… Let’s just move on.)
FLAMES 3, KINGS 1
-- Well, there it is, Los Angeles is out of the playoffs and Calgary punched its ticked in the process. On a night of Improbable Things, this might take the case.
It appears as though the Flames will face the Vancouver Canucks in the first round, by the way.
-- The Flames built a 2-0 first period (Johnny Gaudreau and Jiri Hudler scored the goals, natch) on 15-8 SOG before getting dominated 26-10 the rest of the game. Jonas Hiller has always struck me as the prototypical goalie for "turtle mode" so that should serve the Flames well.
-- Hey, Mike Richards got an assist. Cue the sarcastic applause.
-- Dennis Wideman generated his third consecutive multi-point game with two assists, giving him a goal and six assists in three contests. The hot streak goes a little deeper than that, too, with nine points in five contests.
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AVALANCHE 1, JETS 0 (SO)
-- Ah, the rare double shutout. Ondrej Pavelec lost, yet he's had three straight goose eggs, defying seasons of frustration to be arguably the main reason why the Jets finally clinched a postseason berth for the first time since moving back to Winnipeg.
-- Reto Berra really perpetuates the "this season has been weird for goalies vibe" by outdueling Pavelec with a 41-save shutout that even included a win. Who knows, maybe Berra has a breakthrough in 2015-16.
-- Gotta say, if Winnipeg draws Anaheim, I might be tempted to make an upset pick. The Jets are pretty darn good.
CANADIENS 4, RED WINGS 3 (OT)
-- Detroit didn't win, but the Red Wings clinched a playoff spot thanks to Boston's misfortune anyway. The New York Islanders are also officially in while Montreal remains in first place in the Atlantic Division.
-- Andrei Markov generated a goal and an assist, extending his point streak to six games (two goals, five assists). Quite a season overall now: 10 goals, 49 points and a +20 rating.
-- As bumpy as the ride has been for Jimmy Howard, it's interesting that he has more wins (23) than the 21 he generated in each of the previous two seasons. It probably shows that he's gotten injured a lot more than anything else, but still.
-- Pretty outstanding stuff from P.K. Subban: 15 goals, 60 points, +19 and 70 PIM. Not sure you can ask for much more from a defenseman, at least considering 2014-15's restrictions.
PANTHERS 4, BRUINS 2
-- So, scale of 1-to-10: how much does it hurt that former Bruins forward Brad Boyes scored the game-winner? What about if you add in two assists for Jaromir Jagr, who hit the 1,800 point mark for his career? Ouch, so many ouchies.
-- This must have been really sweet for Roberto Luongo, too. If he can't be in the playoffs, might as well spite the Bruins, right?
-- I don't think the Kings or the Bruins were THAT bad this season, but I get the vibe that each team ran out of gas. It doesn't help when your team is good-but-not-great at scoring goals/attacking, either. A few extra easy wins can be nice, after all.
-- Jonathan Huberdeau has 20 points in his last 19 games. While three assists came before Jagr arrived, it's obvious that lining up with the old vet had some serious benefits and could make him a nice steal for 2015-16. Similar things could be true for Aleksander Barkov.
SENATORS 3, RANGERS 0
-- Ottawa was pretty flat in the first period, but it didn't hurt them, maybe in some part because the Rangers sat just about everyone (except Henrik Lundqvist, who had an injury scare, of course).
With this win and the Bruins' loss, Ottawa only needs a point in its last game to clinch a spot. No more needing outside help to make the playoffs. Remarkable stuff.
-- Andrew Hammond stopped 26 shots for his third shutout of the season. The 27-year-old improved his record to a ridiculous 19-1-2. Unreal.
-- Kyle Turris scored a goal and an assist, giving the 25-year-old 63 points in 81 games this season. Since March 17, Turris has 18 points in the last 15 games. Oh yeah, he’s just 25 years old, too.
BLUES 2, BLACKHAWKS 1
-- The Blues clinched the Central Division while the Blackhawks cannot do any better than the third spot (Minnesota has a shot at bumping them). It's fitting that this was a narrow victory as there isn't much of a difference between the Blues, Nashville Predators and Blackhawks in 2014-15.
-- Seems like there's a strong chance that Jake Allen may grab more playoff starts for St. Louis, though it's hard to tell. Keep an eye on various developments come playoff time if you're doing a postseason pool.
-- Brent Seabrook seemingly dodged an injury scare in this one.
WILD 4, PREDATORS 2
-- Filip Forsberg scored his 25th goal of the season, giving him 62 points in 81 games. The Swede is just 20 years old, and with a 10.6 shooting percentage, it's not like this season has been a fluke.
-- Will Nashville's deep offensive options on the backend be a good or bad thing for Seth Jones? I'm not sure, but he scored his eighth goal and 27th point of the season, so it's not like he's totally flopping.
-- Pretty huge for Darcy Kuemper to get a little rust off, as he hadn't played since stopping all 14 shots in a relief appearance back on Jan. 20. I'd be tempted to start him again on Saturday, as the Wild will be boned if something happens to Devan Dubnyk and Kuemper is totally unprepared.
-- Jason Zucker continued his Pirri-like season. With two goals on Thursday and three in his last two games, he now has 21 goals and just five assists in 50 games.
LIGHTNING 4, DEVILS 3 (OT)
-- Tampa Bay still has a shot at winning the Atlantic Division title, although the Bolts' oddest aren't the strongest.
-- Steve Stamkos scored his 43rd goal, breaking his tie for second in the league with Rick Nash (who rested/sat out with an injury). Stamkos, Nash and Alex Ovechkin will probably be the only 40+ goal guys in the league this season unless someone gets a hat trick.
-- Victor Hedman returned to action, grabbing an assist in 22:53 TOI (with almost five minutes of power play time).
-- The Lightning's Big Three Not Named Stamkos were great in this one, as Tyler Johnson (two goals, one assist), Nikita Kucherov (three assists) and Ondrej Palat (three helpers as well) all had three points.
-- Ben Bishop's more solid than elite this season, but hey, one more win would give him 40. Doubt fantasy owners would complain too much.
HURRICANES 3, FLYERS 1
-- Not sure when Sean Couturier will be a fantasy difference-maker, if ever. Still, 15 goals isn't terrible for a guy who's often all-defense, all the time.
-- Jordan Staal generated a goal and an assist, giving him 24 points in 45 games this season.
-- The Hurricanes won, but going 1-for-6 on the PP versus Philly's 0-for-2 shows that they were getting a nice amount of breaks.
-- Cam Ward is one win shy of .500 with a 22-23-5 record. Just living the dream.
CANUCKS 5, COYOTES 0
-- Eddie Lack stopped 28 shots for his second shutout of 2014-15, and his 18th win. He's won two in a row, making 64 out of 65 saves during that span.
-- It's almost comforting to see Mike Smith play really poorly again, isn't it? No, OK, you're right.
Even after that hot month, Smith's full season stats are awful: 14-41-5, 3.18 GAA and .903 save percentage.
-- Alexander Edler is finishing on a strong note, thanks in large part to Thursday's three assists. Five of his 28 points this season have come in the last three contests.
-- Yannick Weber scored two power-play goals to give him 11 tallies overall. His 9.4 shooting percentage says "Don't trust these numbers."
SHARKS 3, OILERS 1
-- Wow, the Sharks managed a whopping 52 shots on goal to the Oiler's 27. That's a heck of a way for Laurent Brossoit to make his NHL debut, and credit to him for stopping 49 out of 51 shots (one of the goals was an empty-netter).
-- Pretty cool that Bryan Lerg scored a goal (and on eight SOG).
-- Plus/minus is not a great barometer, yet it does matter in fantasy. Nail Yakupov's now at a new low with a -35 rating this season, dropping his career total to a ridiculous -71 in just 190 GP.
-- Antti Niemi is 31-23-7 with OK stats, which I imagine is interesting to whichever other team decides to give him a shot this summer.