With eight games on last night’s to-do list, there’s plenty to discuss in this Wednesday Dose. Let’s not waste any time, then.
FLYERS 3, PENGUINS 2 (OT)
-- Most NHL rivalries don't move the needle as much as the league probably would like, yet the Flyers and Penguins are generating legitimate "throw out the records when these two teams play"-type work. As much as the Flyers have been struggling, they continue to be a thorn in the side of the Penguins.
-- Maybe it's just that facing the Penguins really gets Claude Giroux's blood boiling. He scored the overtime game-winner and generated a resounding 10 SOG (one-fourth of his team's total) last night. Evgeni Malkin seemed engaged in his own right, even if he was only able to generate an assist on seven SOG.
-- What a brutal 12 months-or-so for Kris Letang, health-wise. If I were him, I'd proceed with caution regarding when to return. Zac Rinaldo’s boarding hit possibly left him with another concussion. We’ll probably know more soon.
-- These rivalry games might not mean automatic enforcer fights to quite the degree they did in many seasons before, yet you'll get to rack up PIM in situations like these. Still weird to see Jakub Voracek so deep in the fray, though.
-- Impressive outputs by both goalies, even if that slips under the radar. Ray Emery stopped 33 out of 35 shots to win his first game since Dec. 23. (One might joke that Emery just feels more at home in games that devolve into chaos.)
Thomas Greiss took the loss, yet he stopped 37 out of 40 shots and has been doing what's expected of him, even if he isn't playing nearly as much as observers - especially Fleury haters - might have expected. With Pittsburgh stumbling, maybe Greiss should get an extra shot here and there?
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BRUINS 3, STARS 1
-- That's now six wins in seven games for the Bruins, who are starting to see more of the Vezina-caliber Tuukka Rask they know and love. Bruins fans can probably take this fact most to heart: since Dec. 21, Rask has only suffered a single regulation defeat.
-- It won't kill the Seguin trade chatter, yet Loui Eriksson scored a goal and the Bruins won last night, which is probably about as much as the Swede can ask from an evening. After scoring 13 points in his first 24 games of the season, Eriksson has 15 in his last 21. Solid improvement.
-- Jason Spezza has one goal and four assists in his last four games. The 31-year-old also has seven points in as many games if you stretch things back a little bit further, so the new year has been going well for him.
LIGHTNING 4, CANUCKS 1
-- Tampa Bay is so loaded that I'm not even sure they would be wise to go shopping for a boost or two at the trade deadline. Alex Killorn is one of the many examples of why this team is borderline unfair to face, as he scored two goals last night to give himself four points in his last four appearances. His 17.2 shooting percentage argues that he's on a lucky run, but even at a deflated pace, he still gives the Bolts yet another forward who can create headaches.
-- It appears as if Matt Carle will be out multiple months, so I'd expect the Lightning's defense to spread the responsibilities of replacing his work collectively. Perhaps a boost for Anton Stralman in particular?
-- Victor Hedman ended a four-game drought with a two-assist performance. Interestingly, the big Swede's generated two points or nothing every night since Dec. 23.
CANADIENS 2, PREDATORS 1 (OT)
-- Mike Ribeiro scored his 10th goal and 39th point of the season, also improving his plus/minus to +15. I know that he can rub people the wrong way, but to the point that he's still available in half of Yahoo leagues? It almost seems like much of the hockey world is sleeping on the Predators.
-- From the Great Nuggets from Your Author's Wife Dept.: This marks the first time that Nashville has lost two straight games in all of 2014-15. Getting a "charity point" certainly dulls the pain, too.
-- The bounces are really going in P.K. Subban's favor recently. He has three goals in four games, including last night's OT GWG. While this season's been up-and-down overall, his 12.8 shooting percentage argues that his luck hasn't been wholly awful. Don't be surprised if he provides a strong end run to 2014-15.
-- Not promising brilliance, but Nashville needs Carter Hutton enough that he's worth a short-term add if you're really aching for netminding. Just expect some struggles.
RED WINGS 5, WILD 4 (SO)
-- The word has gotten bumpier, yet the bottom line is that Petr Mrazek improved his record to 9-3-1 thanks to a 34-save performance. He may get demote to the AHL again once Jimmy Howard is healthy (only to be summoned for occasional starts), although the Red Wings may just opt to go for now instead of later for once by furnishing Howard with a better backup in Mrazek.
-- Remarkable work by Henrik Zetterberg. In the last two games, he has a ridiculous three goals and four assists (including last night's trio of helpers). He also has four goals and four assists in the past three games.
-- This season has not been kind to Mikko Koivu, but he's showing some life. He's on a four-game point streak (one goal, four assists). His shooting percentage is still at an anemic 6.1 percent. yet these are heartening signs for Minnesota's questionable investment.
-- Darcy Kuemper absorbed the loss for Minnesota, yet he stopped 14 out of 14 shots after Devan Dubnyk gave up four goals on just 10 shots. The more things change in Minnesota, the messier the goalie situation seems to get.
OILERS 5, CAPITALS 4 (SO)
-- Is it possible that Washington sat on its 3-2 (and then 4-2) lead in the third period? After generating an 18-15 shot advantage through two periods, Washington produced 5 shots to Edmonton's 14.
-- Either way, a comeback that has to be a confidence boost to an Oilers squad that really needed the morale boost.
-- Consider them mere baby steps, yet the flashes of positive improvement from Nail Yakupov has to leave Edmonton's front office hopeful. Derek Roy has been a solid addition in getting the 2012 draft's top pick back on track.
-- Viktor Fasth is on a two-game winning streak, which is about the only way you can dice things up to make him look like anything but a subpar backup at the NHL level.
RANGERS 3, SENATORS 2 (OT)
-- Seriously, if you can grab a piece of the Chris Kreider - Martin St. Louis - Derek Stepan line, do it. Kreider is in some ways the most appealing option because he's pretty close to matching his linematea' scoring numbers while providing big PIM and hits rates.
-- Continued signs of life from Milan Michalek: one goal last night, five points in his last five games. Michalek managed 60 points in 77 games back in 2011-12, so perhaps that potential laid dormant while Paul MacLean was behind the bench?
-- Kyle Turris in October and November: 15 points in 23 games. Turris in December and January: 15 points in 22 games. Some consistency in an always-changing world, eh?
BLACKHAWKS 6, COYOTES 1
-- This space has not been kind to Mike Smith, especially in 2014-15. It's tough to blame him for a loss in a game in which Chicago generated a 51-36 shot disadvantage, though.
-- Hype machine Teuvo Teravainen scored his first career goal on Jan. 16, and now he has his first assist and multi-point game since he generated a tally and a an assist. Considering his ice time and modest gains, he's clearly a short-term observation.
-- In his 12th career NHL game (and ninth of 2014-15), Lucas Lessio scored his first goal of 2014-15. Lessio, 21, was the 56th pick of the 2011 NHL Draft ... in case you were wondering who he was.
-- I know his gig is about cushy as it can get, as Antti Raanta improved to 7-3-0 with an unexpectedly great .938 save percentage.