It’s hard to believe that we’re only about a month away from the sprint-spliced-with-a-marathon known as the hockey playoffs. Your witless author decided to go house-hunting with his extremely witty wife to add a few hundred degrees of difficulty to the mix.
That may mean some weird Doses going forward and many more haggard complaints about snow in future Doses. Don’t act like you aren’t excited.
SENATORS 5, FLAMES 4 (SO)
-- Tip: don't ever celebrate a fantasy or gambling (or even fan-related) victory that hinges on the Flames losing until the third period is over. They were down 4-0 after the second period and scored four goals on 24 third-period shots to send this into OT and eventually a losing shootout. Their goal dispersal is resounding: 84 of their 187 goals come in the third period, and 93 of them come in the third + OT. Ridiculous.
-- It seemed like Craig Anderson was going to slow down the Andrew Hammond bandwagon ... until those four goals happened. Why not go with the hot Hammond hand until it more obviously cools? Not much to lose here, really.
-- Mike Hoffman continues his remarkable rookie run, as his goal gives him 24 tallies and 42 points on the season (not to mention a +24 rating on a so-so team). He may very well be a Calder finalist in a very strong year for the award.
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RANGERS 1, BLACKHAWKS 0 (OT)
-- When Cam Talbot was early into his interim No. 1 goalie stint thanks to Henrik Lundqvist’s injury, I mainly recommended him thanks to his plum job and chances at wins. It also seemed a little surprising to me to see him struggle statistically after looking so good in 2013-14, but then again, Anton Khudobin is a prime example of how it’s rarely safe to trust small samples.
Anyway, Talbot’s now just flat-out impressive, to the point where I wonder if he might just earn himself more of a “platoon” role somewhere else next season.
That's been especially true lately, as he's 5-1-1 with two shutouts and a .943 save percentage in his last seven games (helping the Rangers shut out the Blackhawks for the first time since 1969).
-- Mats Zuccarello since signing his contract extension: four assists in three games. Not awful overall, either, with 39 points and a +15 rating in 62 games.
-- It's often difficult to suss out what, exactly, is an issue with a power play that features some big-name talent. My guess? The Blackhawks may want to spice up their PP QB, or really just change the pace in some way.
(Yep, that lack of detail is one of the many, many reasons I'd never be an assistant coach.)
-- Corey Crawford saw his three-game winning streak end, but he's only allowed four goals in his last four games, and two of those contests went beyond regulation. Very nice season from the 30-year-old: 26-14-5, .923 save percentage, 2.23 GAA and two shutouts.
BRUINS 5, RED WINGS 3
-- Jeez, another injury for Jonas Gustavsson. There is only about a month left in the season, and it's hard to imagine "The Monster" backing up Jimmy Howard instead of Petr Mrazek, so maybe Detroit should just go forward with the future plan now?
(That's not to say that Gustavsson hasn't quietly been effective in those rare moments when he's been healthy, though.)
-- Erik Cole has two assists in three games with the Red Wings. Not awful, not exactly exciting either.
-- Gustav Nyquist scored his 22nd goal and 45th point of the season. While last season's run was better (28 goals and 48 points in just 57 games), it wasn't especially sustainable with an 18.3 shooting percentage. He's made a strong case that he can be a guy who flirts with 30-or-so goals going forward, which the Red Wings will gladly take.
-- Speaking of guys with 22 goals, Brad Marchand hit that mark by extending his goal streak to four games (five goals, one assist). With 22 tallies and 38 points, his 82 PIM make him the kind of talented pest many have hoped for. He's just five PIM behind his career-high 87 set in 2011-12.
-- David Pastrnak now has 10 points in his last 15 games. Promising stuff for a guy who's just 18, and the Czech native could very well be a nice steal as the 25th pick of the 2014 NHL Draft.
AVALANCHE 3, WILD 2
-- Semyon Varlamov was a big reason why Colorado avoided a five-game sweep against Minnesota, but he also left the game early with a lower-body injury (though he seemingly was hurt by a puck that struck him up high). Either way, keep an eye out for updates on this matter, whether they come on Monday or later this week.
-- I don't float the "coasting after getting that last big contract argument" often, but Thomas Vanek might be a soft example of that. It's not as if his modest (for his price range) 14-goal, 40-point output in 65 games is bad puck luck; 9.9 shooting percentage is low compared to his 14.4 career mark, but not out of line with the league. Considering how snipers age poorly, the Wild may have made a pretty bad purchase here.
-- Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan O'Reilly are really heating up lately. It's interesting to think how different their contexts are; Landeskog is the captain while O'Reilly might be out of town in the summer. Either way, they're both versatile in their own ways, and they're hot enough right now that Colorado can't be laughed off as a buffer threat.
HURRICANES 7, OILERS 4
-- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins generated one of those rare hat tricks in defeat while the Oilers are one of those rare teams to lose in regulation after building a 3-0 lead.
Hey, at least they didn't shoot holes in their own tank, eh?
-- Pretty tough to believe that Sunday's two goals represent the first multi-goal effort for a shooter as talented as Jeff Skinner. On the bright side, at 22, it's totally plausible that his health will turn around and he'll see much brighter days than these.
-- If you chose Elias Lindholm in FanDuel or have him in a really deep fantasy pool, you were rewarded handsomely with three goals and two assists (all on three SOG). You know, Carolina boasts enough interesting offensive talent that they could actually be solid next season ... for all we know.
-- It's been a flat-out depressing season for Alexander Semin, but holy smokes, the goal he scored last night.
DEVILS 5, FLYERS 2
-- Would Adam Henrique be a bigger deal on a higher-powered offense or would he just be "a guy." OK, maybe that's a touch harsh, but the 25-year-old seems limited to that fringe range, especially since he doesn't do anything special from a peripheral standpoint, either.
-- Poor Michael Del Zotto. Just as he’s feeling it, he goes down with an injury that will keep him out 7-10 days.
-- Andy Greene has a four-game point streak going with one goal and four assists. That one tally came on his only SOG in four contests ... so, no, not too excited about it. Hey, at least he has the weird bio bullet point of being from Trenton ... but Michigan, not New Jersey.
-- Considering how tough scoring is to come by for the Devils, Scott Gomez has to have locked up at least a tryout for next season, right? His two assists give him a very-much-respectable 26 points in 42 games.
-- Perhaps Keith Kinkaid is starting to "get it" at the NHL level? He's won three of four games, with three goals allowed total in those three wins. Of course, he gave up six goals in that loss, so let's not get out of hand with excitement.