There were eight games last night, so let’s jump right in.
BLUES 3, PENGUINS 2 (OT)
-- Jake Allen improved to 19-6-4 on the season, even with a mediocre .906 save percentage. Quite an odd span of games in March:
March 24: 24 out of 26 saves, win
March 22: 23 out of 25 saves, OT/SO loss
March 21: 10 out of 12 saves, non-decision
March 15: 28-save shutout
March 1: 21 out of 25 saves, OT/SO loss
-- Alexander Steen continued a strong couple weeks with the OT GWG, giving him 24 goals and 62 points in 72 games this season. Steen scored five goals and three assists for eight points in his past seven contests.
-- Steve Downie's odd-but-effective season rolls on with his 13th goal of the 2014-15 campaign. His new totals: 13 goals, 27 points, 223 PIM in 65 games.
-- The weird thing about Sidney Crosby's season is that it's his second-best raw total (74 points) behind last season's 104 points since 2009-10. He had 66 points in 2010-11 (41 games), 37 in 22 games in 2011-12 and 56 in 36 games in 2012-13. Crazy how much injuries have skewed his stats since that Winter Classic nightmare.
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WILD 2, ISLANDERS 1 (SO)
-- John Tavares now has a goal (last night) and an assist (previous game) in his past two games. It makes that blip of a week that much odder; from March 10-17 he failed to score a point and suffered a -7 rating in four games. Odd.
-- Kyle Okposo wasn't immune to that bad week, but his season's interesting now: 15 goals and 46 points in 52 games played. His retina issue throws things off, yet it seems like Okposo can back up his breakthrough from 2013-14.
At least if Tavares isn't far away from him.
-- Zach Parise's been steady this season, although March has been his best month of 2014-15. He has four goals and 11 points in 12 games with a fantastic +9 rating. Pretty nice year, at least in this time of tempered offensive expectations: 29 goals, 57 points and a +18 rating in 67 contests.
KINGS 4, RANGERS 2
-- Whether the Kings make the playoffs or not, Los Angeles cannot really complain about what Jonathan Quick's work in the past two months;
February: 8-3-0 with one shutout and a .928 save percentage
March: 7-3-2 with two shutouts and a .925 save percentage
Quick's best month was October, at least considering his .942 save percentage, but that's some great stretch run work. Some might even want to throw the word "clutch" around.
(I roll my eyes at much of that talk, although I'm far more on board with people being positive about it than claiming someone lacks this subjective element.)
-- Speaking of Kings who are picking things up, Anze Kopitar now has a four-game point streak: one goal and six assists. His broader work this month has been quite strong, too.
Again, the West's playoff teams are NOT rooting for the Kings. I don't think they'd even deny it.
-- Man, if Marian Gaborik could just stay healthy (thoughts that could crop up for a solid decade). He has 23 goals in 60 games, not that short of Jeff Carter's 26 goals in 73 games. Then again, Carter would probably have even more tallies if he was riding shotgun with Kopitar ...
-- Dan Boyle broke his five-game point streak with an assist. It was also his second helper in his past 15 contests. He hasn't scored a goal since Feb. 12. He's still getting plenty of ice time, too.
BLUE JACKETS 5, DUCKS 3
-- This one had to sting a little bit: the Ducks generated 40 SOG versus just 27 for Columbus.
-- One goal and one assist for Ryan Johansen, who matched last season's 63 points in nine fewer games. Many doubted he'd do this, huh? Columbus is getting such a deal with his newest contract ...
-- Ryan Kesler has the most points (46) that he's generated since 2011-12 (49) and is one goal away from his seventh 20+ goal campaign.
-- Scott Hartnell generated a hat trick, giving him 25 goals on the season. With 96 PIM and 53 points in 68 games, he's delivering what his more optimistic owners were hoping for.
COYOTES 5, RED WINGS 4 (OT)
-- His offense has been spotty, but another round of kudos to Mark Arcobello. With two goals and an assist (including the GWG) last night, he now has 11 points in 19 games with the Coyotes. Don't see much of a reason why Arizona can't at least reward him with a cheap extension to be a third or fourth-line forward next season.
-- Henrik Zetterberg quietly keeps trucking along. Two assists give him 61 points in 68 games, still respectably close to being a point-per-game guy. Hard to believe he's only 34, to be honest.
-- With 41 points this season, Justin Abdelkader matched his combined point production from 2012-13 (13 points in 48 games) and 2013-14 (28 points in 70 games). He's also only a penalty minute short of matching his 2012-13 to 2013-14 total of 65 combined, as he has 64 PIM this season.
LIGHTNING 4, PANTHERS 3
-- Normally I'd remark more sarcastically about Florida being in Jay Bouwmeester-era playoff purgatory, but with how bad this team has been for so long, there's not much of an excuse not to try to win as many games as possible. They don't seem too far from being a solid wild card team, either.
-- Really important aside: as someone who's only enjoyed a couple years of having a dog around when allergies haven't been crippling, I've never really looked at the Panthers logo and wondered if the cat would accept a belly rub until now. Feel like this is pretty pertinent information, and I'm definitely not mentioning this just because I feel like we could all use a break from me telling you about point streaks for a second.
-- Brandon Pirri now has 18 goals and two assists. Allow me to cast my votes for a Pirri season in which he has 50 goals and three assists.
-- It wouldn't shock me if Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Jaromir Jagr ended up being a very nice line if Florida re-signs Jagr for next season. Jagr said he wants to come back, so why not? The team still struggles to draw free agents, so why not retain a big name who can still play? Can't hurt matters to have a guy who's hoping to rise in some all-time scoring ranks, either.
PREDATORS 3, CANADIENS 2 (OT)
-- It's hard for me to accept Ryan Ellis being a healthy scratch more than just every now and then. Injuries factor into the games played total, too, but when you look at some nice numbers, you wonder why he'd sit at all. He has more goals (7 to 6) and the same amount of points (24) as Seth Jones despite playing 24 fewer games.
I'm not JUST praising Ellis to score points with my wife, either, by the way.
-- Filip Forsberg's slowed down, but with 22 goals and 56 points in 74 games, that's still a heck of a year, especially with six game-winners (including last night's OT clincher). If I were Peter Laviolette, I'd take him aside and say, "Just remember, don't be discouraged and keep shooting away." He's not total trigger-shy, yet I'd want the talented Swede to aim for about four SOG per night in an ideal world.
-- Pekka Rinne's record (39-15-4) is now almost identical to Carey Price's 40-15-5 mark, although Price's save percentage is a significant increment higher (.937 to .927). I doubt many Rinne owners are complaining about that disparity, however.
-- After going six games without a point, Mike Ribeiro collected two assists and a +1 rating on Tuesday night (he even fired two SOG, equaling his total from the previous four games).
CANUCKS 5, JETS 2
-- The final 30 seconds really inflated the margin of victory in this one, as Henrik Sedin and Radim Vrbata each scored an empty-net goal to turn a close 3-2 win into a 5-2 victory. Vrbata's really benefited his owners lately; in the past three games, he has three goals, four assists and two-game winners. He's also +4 in that span, interestingly drawing his full-season plus/minus to an even zero.
-- Winnipeg finished the night in a wild card spot above Los Angeles, although the Kings (one game in hand on the Jets) would send them out of the top eight with a win because they have some tiebreaker advantages. As it stands, Winnipeg has a two standings point advantage, however.
-- Harsh or not, it's tough to imagine Winnipeg having too much faith in Michael Hutchinson at the moment. He's been under a .900 save percentage since February, putting the ball back in Ondrej Pavelec's court.