It’s hard to believe there’s only one week left in this season, huh? Let’s get to the capping.
BLUE JACKETS 4, ISLANDERS 3 (OT)
-- The remarkable thing about Columbus is that its eight-game winning streak is just a piece of a bigger run through much of March, as CBJ has won 11 of 12 games since March 10. It also highlights how big of a hole they were in, though it's tough to really blame them all that much considering the absurd torrent of injuries they dealt with this season.
(In a lot of cases I roll my eyes at injury excuses, but this is one of those exceptional instances.)
The Islanders, meanwhile, are essentially the opposite of CBJ as they've only won four games since March began. Fittingly to this bizarro comparison, the Isles had such a cushion that they should be fine, though they may fall to the wild card level.
-- John Tavares nabbed a goal and an assist, giving him 79 points on the season. He's now two points behind 2011-12's peak of 81 points and he's already set a career-high with 35 tallies. I imagine some troll columnist somewhere is blaming him for the Islanders' slump, because that's just how hacks work.
(I picture the word "leadership" thrown in there, maybe with a hamfisted mention of his -1 rating.)
-- Jack Johnson now has a goal in three straight games, giving him eighth overall. He's hit the eight-goal mark for a third time in his career.
-- As I've mentioned before, Ryan Johansen's been a consistent bright spot for CBJ. He's now on a nine-game point streak.
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CAPITALS 5, CANADIENS 4 (SO)
-- Considering the fairly high score of this one, you'd think that there would be a barrage of SOG, yet Washington only had 19 while the Habs only produced 27. Obviously this wasn't best-ever work from Braden Holtby or Carey Price, but Holtby has to feel nice that he's just two wins (39) behind Price (41).
-- Alex Ovechkin scored two more goals on Thursday, giving him 52 on the season, the Capitals franchise record and fuel to laugh at us for thinking that anyone else had a chance to win the Maurice Richard this season.
-- With a three-assist outburst, John Carlson now has more assists this season (40) than points in any other year (he hit 37 twice before). Throw in a career-high 11 goals and he's destroyed his previous high marks. He's only 25, so Washington could enjoy quite a few more years like these if he's legit (and his shooting percentage isn't out of the ordinary, really).
-- Speaking of career-highs, P.K. Subban set a new high bar with his 15th goal and is already enjoying the best points year of his career with 57. He can tie last year's peak of 43 assists with one more helper, too.
SENATORS 2, LIGHTNING 1 (OT)
-- Every time "this Andrew Hammond thing" seems like it's going to finally crash to reality, he makes another argument that he might just be legit. He's won two in a row to improve to 16-1-1, growing the sample size of his argument.
One way or another, I wonder if Ottawa tinkered with starting Craig Anderson enough that it might cost them a playoff spot, though a minor Hammond injury obscures things enough that maybe the Senators are the only ones who would truly know.
-- Mark Stone scored a goal and an assist, giving him a four-game point streak (two goals, three assists). He now has 20 goals and 36 assists for 56 points in 75 games. His shooting percentage (14.8) is high enough to argue that he might slow down a bit in 2015-16, yet he's a solid option in deeper leagues.
-- Kyle Turris has one more point (57) than Stone and one fewer point than the 58 he scored last season.
-- Anton Stralman and Matt Carle figure to carry a big workload with Tampa Bay's significant defensive injury issues. Stralman was already a borderline pickup before this, so I'd say give him a shot if you need D.
BRUINS 3, RED WINGS 2
-- Boston got a little lucky in this one, as Detroit generated a 26-15 shot advantage through the first two periods but only entered the third up 1-0.
-- Stephen Weiss got an assist and a goal in this one, continuing a really odd season for one of the worst investments of the latest-post lockout era (how many more of those will we have, by the way?).
-- Brett Connolly finally debuted for Boston last night - you think they make that trade again if they knew he'd take a month to play? - collecting two assists for his trouble. All joking aside (OK, one extra joke: perfect name for Boston), he's an interesting guy to watch, though he hasn't done enough at the NHL level to justify being the sixth pick of the 2010 NHL Draft (at least yet).
PANTHERS 6, HURRICANES 1
-- How cool is it that Jaromir Jagr tied former teammate Ron Francis for fourth all-time in scoring with his 1,798th point? Another question: could he catch Gordie Howe (1,850) if he just played one more season? It should be interesting to see how far Jagr climbs (Mark Messier's at 1,887) before he hangs 'em up.
-- Another milestone in this one: Roberto Luongo now has 400 career wins. Hall of Famer, I'd say.
-- Brandon Pirri is still at two assists for the season, as he keeps adding goals; he's up to 22 after getting one in each of his last two contests.
-- Vincent Trocheck scored two goals and one assist, bumping his season total to 22 points.
BLUES 4, FLAMES 1
-- It almost seems like it's about time that Calgary hit a wall, and at least they got stomped (rather than losing by a narrow margin). St. Louis generated a 43-18 SOG advantage, not even letting up when they carried a 2-1 lead into the third period.
-- I have to admit that I got a chuckle from this one: those wondering if the big Calgary line finally got shut down got a big "No" as Sean Monahan scored his 30th goal of the season, assisted by Jiri Hudler and Johnny Gaudreau. Can we have, say, a decade with at least Monahan and Gaudreau together? Please?
-- Jori Lehtera could be an interesting depth guy to watch. He's generally taken advantage of his opportunities when lined up with some of the Blues' best.
-- Jaden Schwartz already has two more points than last season in 10 fewer games. At 22, he's likely to improve steadily for some time, but even regular 25-goal, 58-point seasons wouldn't be so bad.
RANGERS 3, WILD 2
-- Ryan McDonagh grabbed two assists on this one, giving him four in three games and 29 points on the season. A little disappointing considering his talent level, even with some games missed thanks to injuries.
-- Rick Nash scored his 41st goal, tying the career-high set all the way back in 2003-04.
-- Thomas Vanek has indeed picked up his play lately, scoring 12 points in 14 games since March began.
BLACKHAWKS 3, CANUCKS 1
-- Chicago clinched a playoff spot with its third consecutive win last night. They have a good chance to extend it to four with a game against BUffalo on Saturday. Quite an intriguing closing stretch for Chicago with two games against St. Louis, one against Minnesota and then a season-ender at Colorado.
-- Teuvo Teravainen isn't matching the hype with production just yet, as he scored his fourth goal and eighth point in 29 games this season. Still, you see flashes of brilliance here and there that make you think that the 20-year-old could be a nice piece for Chicago going forward.
-- Corey Crawford stopped 35 out of 36 shots to improve to 32-17-5, leaving him one win short of tying his career-best from 2010-11. He's already hit 30+ wins four times in his career. It's tough to gauge how much of his success is based on his own work and how much is based on Chicago's dominance, but like many other goalies in fantasy, it doesn't really matter as much for fantasy owners. He's a legit option in any format.
-- Derek Dorsett scored his seventh goal of the season, giving him a best-ever 25 points to go with his usually useful 169 PIM. He has 1,024 PIM in 406 career games, by the way.
KINGS 8, OILERS 2
-- With a kind-of-hilarious three-game winning streak, it seemed like Edmonton was going to be a spoiler threat heading toward the final stretch. Maybe that will be true in the Oilers' final four games, but they've gotten smothered in the last two, getting trounced by a combined 13-3 score against the Ducks and Kings.
-- Jeff Carter's having his best regular season with the Kings, scoring 28 goals and 58 points in 77 games. His best work remains with Philly, but that's good stuff.
-- When you look at Marian Gaborik's career stats (372 goals, 749 points in 874 games, one Stanley Cup), you don't get the same "What if?" feeling as you would with added context, considering the fact that he's been in action since 2000-01. That said, it does show that he's not just wasted potential in the form of a broken body, either.
-- Tyler Bunz had some relief work last night. Haha Bunz.
-- Justin Williams' production is basically in line with what he's done lately (at least last season), but I'm still disappointed considering it's a contract year for "Mr. Game 7."
-- Taylor Hall has points in six of seven games since returning from his bone bruise. I wonder if the 23-year-old will ever have a fully healthy season.