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Hockey Daily Dose

Dose: The Spirit of Spite

by James O'Brien
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Well, the final week of the season is upon us, and it looks like there is plenty of room for drama.

Monday's games feature two awfully interesting matchups (Winnipeg at Minnesota and Los Angeles at Vancouver), although obviously every game matters for owners, many of whom are in the final week of championship head-to-head matches.

Normally I just look at the previous evening's games in the Dose, but I'll try to at least take a cursory glance at the upcoming day's contests this week. You'd still be best keeping abreast of news and personnel tweaks through your normal outlets, however, as I don't think I'll have the time to provide anything definitive. Better a little something than nothing though, maybe, right?

Anyway, let's look at Sunday's five games on a holiday of spite around the NHL.

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-- Ouch, ouch, ouch. Yes, Ottawa churned a point out of this one, and have really put together an admirable effort, but losing in the SO really hurts. This loss means that Ottawa cannot control its destiny even by beating the Penguins in a head-to-head game on Tuesday. Oof ouch pow.

-- Both teams clearly played to win here; Toronto finished with 38 SOG and Ottawa had 45. Toronto really came out on fire with a 22-12 SOG advantage in the first period before Ottawa took over (33-16 through the rest of the contest).

-- Erik Karlsson's had quite the season, setting a new career-high with his 21st goal and now having 65 points. His 283 SOG rank fourth in the entire NHL this season, so a healthy Karlsson seems like a perfectly reasonable choice for regular 20-goal seasons, at least when the bounces are merely even.

-- Eric Brewer's had a surprising run, at least by his standards. He generated two assists on Sunday, giving him four points in five games. Nothing spectacular, yet obviously very nice stuff in daily formats.

-- Andrew Hammond saw his three-game winning streak end, yet he still only has one regulation loss (17-1-2) to his name. Truly remarkable stuff.


 -- Jonathan Bernier broke a seven-game losing streak with this victory, and did so in a big way (obviously). It's just his third win since March began, so I'm not sure how many fantasy owners benefited from this.

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-- Wow, have the Flyers ever taken it to the Penguins this season. Look at the results in 2014-15 (they've also won eight in a row against Pittsburgh stretching back to 2013-14):

April 5: Flyers 4, Penguins 1

April 1: Flyers 4, Penguins 1

Jan. 20: Flyers 3, Penguins 2 (OT)

Oct. 22: Flyers 5, Penguins 3

-- This game was all about power plays. Philadelphia went 3-for-4 while Pittsburgh managed to go 1-for-2. You can't really fault the Penguins' overall effort (47 SOG to just 20 for Philly), but it looks like special teams let Pitt down.

-- Brayden Schenn is having quite the run, including Sunday's one goal and two assists. In the last three games, the 23-year-old has generated three goals and three assists for six points in the past three games.

Considering his age and pedigree, don't be shocked if Schenn has a nice season in 2015-16, at least in leagues with hit stats (198 this season). Schenn's 45 points in 2014-15 is a new career-high, besting last season's 41.

-- Hurray, Steve Mason is now at .500, improving his record to 17-17-11 thanks to two straight wins and a 3-0-1 mark in the past four contests. He stopped 46 out of 47 shots and bumped his save percentage to .929.


-- Washington clinched a playoff berth by beating Detroit. The Red Wings fell into the wild card rankings, as Boston dominated Detroit in their season series. I'd say that the Red Wings have an easier closing schedule this week, but Boston has the tiebreaker advantage, so it could be an interesting stretch.

-- Mike Green hit the 10-goal mark with some surprise, as he's generated three (along with two assists) in the past four games. It's his fifth season in double digits goals-wise at 29.

Green now has 45 points in 70 games (he had 38 in the same span in 2013-14).

-- Matt Niskanen generated an assist, giving him 30 points on the season. It's been a letdown to some extent, but he's been on quite the streak overall. Since March 16, he has nine assists in his last 10 games.

-- Braden Holtby became the third goalie to hit 40 wins this season, delivering huge returns on what were likely minimal draft investments. Ben Bishop (38 wins) and Jaroslav Halak (37 wins) are the only other goalies who have a chance to hit 4-0, but they'd need to win out.

Holtby is now 8-1-1 in his last 10 decisions.

-- Alex Ovechkin grabbed an assist on Sunday, giving him 80 points (one more than he generated last season). He also has a +11 rating in 2014-15 and +58 in his career, for those who were losing their minds about his -35 in 2013-14.

-- Decent enough first full season for Evgeny Kuznetsov. He has one goal and three assists in the past four games to give him 36 points in 78 contests. The 22-year-old has tantalizing potential depending upon who he lines up with next season.


-- Max Pacioretty suffered an upper-body injury in this one. There are obvious concerns regarding a concussion here. With Montreal's playoff spot - if not its division title - locked up, I'd be surprised if they risk Patches too much this past week.

Then again, NHL teams are generally still pretty dopey about this stuff, so just keep an eye open for updates.

-- Tomas Plekanec is finishing the season on an awfully strong note, having scored two goals and two assists in the past two games, including a tally and two helpers on Sunday.

Since March 14, he has five goals and eight assists for 13 points in his last 12 games. Honestly, I think he can be quite productive if placed with the right linemates, which always seems to be a question mark with his current coach behind the bench.

-- Carey Price improved to 42-16-6 on the season with a fantastic .935 save percentage to go with nine shutouts. The Vezina's basically in the bag, now it's just a matter of whether voters give him the Hart or not.

-- Brendan Gallagher with career-highs in goals (24), assists (23), points (47) and even plus/minus (+21). The 22-year-old seems like he's in line for some 30-goal seasons before he's done.


-- Could Jake Allen elbow in on the Blues' starting job come playoff time? While Brian Elliott has struggled a bit lately, Allen is on a roll with three straight wins. Since 2015 began, Allen is 10-1-2 with a few abbreviated appearances.

-- Olli Jokinen scored a goal and his mugshot looks both sad and funny.

-- Kevin Shattenkirk generated three assists in his last two games. He went three games in his return without a point, but maybe this is a sign that he's getting his legs back under him.

-- Alex Pietrangelo has three points in his last two games, too, giving him 45 points on the season. Solid stuff overall in 2014-15, even if it felt like he might take a bigger step after scoring 51 points for the second time in 2013-14.

-- David Backes scored 26th goal of the season, one less than last year. He's ticked the usual boxes: 57 points (matching 2013-14) and hit 100 PIM on April 2.

For a full list of injuries and suspensions, click here. Go to Rotoworld's NHL page for breaking hockey news and more.

James O'Brien
James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.