This week has cemented a thought that was percolating: the worst weather isn’t the sort that Ilya Bryzgalov likely feared regarding Winnipeg. Instead, it’s when things see-saw between frigid and warm enough to melt the ice (only for that water to once again turn ice-rink-like when it freezes once again).
As it turns out, I was wrong as a kid. The world should NOT be one big Slurpee.
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FLYERS 6, DEVILS 3
-- Good gravy, Shayne Gostisbehere has long since surpassed what even his biggest proponents expected. I'd imagine the Flyers themselves didn't see a 13-game point streak (four goals, 12 assists for 16 points) coming. It's not just cool for rookies, either, as Patrick Kane is the only player with a longer point streak in general (by ... a lot).
It's already a record in the NHL for rookie defensemen.
In Tuesday's case, Ghost got his point via a goal.
-- Nice run lately for Brayden Schenn, with this one-goal, two-assist performance against the Devils being the highlight. He now has three goals and two assists in his past four games, only failing to generate a point in Philly's previous match against NJ.
-- How different would the Flyers' season be if Michal Neuvirth stayed healthy? He wasn't that great on Tuesday, but even so, he's now 12-6-3 with a fantastic .930 save percentage.
CAPITALS 3, KINGS 1
-- Philipp Grubauer (aka "The Goobauer") collected an impressive win here, stopping 39 out of 40 shots for his sixth win of the season. He's on a mini-run, really, because he stopped all 10 shots against Dallas in a rare relief appearance for Braden Holtby.
-- Jonathan Quick's absence was brief, as the Kings goalie played well in defeat (29 out of 31 saves).
-- This is the sort of game Los Angeles is paying Dustin Brown too much money for: an assist, five SOG and five hits.
HURRICANES 2, JETS 1
-- Ondrej Pavelec has been fairly sharp in his first two games back. He won vs. Edmonton via a shootout, allowing two goals, on Saturday. He didn't get the win against Carolina, but with 27 saves on 29 shots, he gave Winnipeg a chance.
It's hard to believe that this isn't his contract year. He's probably been in the Dose's top 10 most mocked players for what feels like centuries.
-- Eddie Lack's season stats still look like a Lacko Taco full of rancid meat (.903 save percentage), but his recent warm-up leaves him with a .500 record at 10-10-3.
He now has wins in three of his last four decisions, stopping 20 of 21 shots in this latest case.
-- Elias Lindholm was the standout for Carolina, grabbing two assists in the victory. We'll see if he's just OK or if he ends up being a guy who just needed a few years to get comfortable in the NHL.
BRUINS 2, BLUE JACKETS 1 (OT)
-- Loui Eriksson continues his compelling contract year run with the OT-winner here, hitting the 20-goal mark. He's very close to matching his 2014-15 stats already: 20 goals and 25 assists for 45 points this season versus 22-25-47 in 81 games last year.
So, even if the Bruins trade Eriksson, there's a chance he still might have his best season ever with them even from a sheer quantity standpoint.
(Quality-wise, this already is.)
-- Looks like all is well for Patrice Bergeron, who scored a goal and went 20-8 in faceoffs.
SENATORS 2, SABRES 1 (SO)
-- Robin Lehner couldn't beat his former team, but he looked pretty good ... continues to look pretty good, actually. He stopped 25 of 26 shots but couldn't win "the skills competition."
-- Buffalo surprisingly dominated shooting, generating a 39-26 SOG advantage highlighted by an 18-8 difference in the second period.
Craig Anderson obviously deserves a lot of credit in making all but one of the 39 saves he was asked to make.
(I'm running out of ways to talk about goalies as this seems to be a recap day heavy on 2-1 games.)
-- A rare respectable night for Matt Moulson (one goal, two SOG), who's become something of an albatross for a Sabres salary structure that mostly points to promise in the future.
BLUES 2, STARS 1 (OT)
-- Sheesh, even these guys couldn't avoid the 2-1 trap. Naturally, I blame the Blues/Ken Hitchcock.
-- Kevin Shattenkirk scored the overtime-winner, giving him a remarkable 10 goals already this season.
I get that he's eventually going to be expensive to re-sign, but is Doug Armstrong really going to let him go while he has Jay Bouwmeester on his payroll? I'm sure he can find someone who still thinks Bouwmeester is some amazing speedy workhorse and not just a boring, average defenseman with decent wheels.,
-- I'm telling you, the Blues are scarier with Jaden Schwartz back in the picture. I'M TELLING YA.
SHARKS 4, LIGHTNING 2
-- Hey, lookitthat, some goals. I feel like a rich man all of a sudden.
-- Speaking of guys teams should really do everything they can to trade in case there are still a few dopey GMs who still like a guy, Ryan Callahan scored just his sixth goal of the season. Isn't that like $1 million per goal now?
All jabs aside, they need to try to float him at all possible. He currently stands as Steve Yzerman's worst move, and it was one that looked shaky from Day 1.
-- Joel Ward, however, was a nice signing for San Jose. He scored his 16th goal of the season and also managed an assist in this game. Joe Thornton had a nice night himself with a pair of primary assists.
-- Aside from a one-goal, one-assist game against Nashville on Friday, Steven Stamkos has been quiet lately. He's failed to score a point in his past two games and is pointless in four of five contests, with that two-point night being the lone exception.
If the Lightning lose him for nothing, don't blame a few fans for griping that they didn't even get a monster Stamkos contract year out of the deal.
I guess that contract year motivation sinks a bit if you know you're going to make about $10M per year no matter what?
DUCKS 5, OILERS 3
-- David Perron continues his flat-out remarkable turnaround since getting shipped to Anaheim.
In 43 games with the Penguins - often but not always playing with talented linemates - he managed just 16 points. He now has 13 points in as many games with the Ducks ... often playing with talented linemates.
He's hot in the more recent perspective, too, with Tuesday's goal giving him three goals and two assists during a four-game point streak.
While he's been lucky since coming to the Ducks (22.2 shooting percentage after only connecting on 4.2 percent of his shots in Pittsburgh this season), he's firing the puck often enough that he could be a regular scorer for Anaheim.
Get him if you can.
-- After going five games without a point, Leon Draisaitl scored his 15th goal of the 2015-16 season. His year still looks remarkable to me: 41 points in 48 games.
Still, the most important sign - OBVIOUSLY - that a guy is struggling is that I got rusty on spelling his tricky name.
That's what it really all comes down to, I agree.
-- Taylor Hall broke a slump of his own to net his 19th goal of the season, giving him 51 points in 58 games (plus 44 PIM and six GWG). If nothing else, Edmonton has the guns to be a dangerous scoring opponent after years when people just imagined them playing that part.