Steven Stamkos is amazing, I fully realize that. I acknowledge it.
Honestly, though, I’m getting a little tired of STAM-SPECULATION. (Spekulation?) Maybe it’s just some crankiness shining through; maybe I’d be refreshed if there was merely a Stamkos speculation siesta.
Anyway, I look forward to that coming to a resolution, likely in the summer. And not JUST because the Stamkos speculation will mercifully end.
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WILD 5, CANUCKS 2
-- Well lookie there, John Torchetti is UNDEFEATED as interim head coach of the Minnesota Wild.
This win ended a horrific eight-game losing streak and was just their second win since Jan. 10.
The Wild stormed off to an especially strong start, producing a 17-4 shot advantage in the first period.
-- Vancouver's two goals came on the power play, with Henrik Sedin getting a goal and an assist and Daniel grabbing a helper. Christopher Tanev looked quite good in grabbing the Canucks' first goal.
-- I get why Vancouver would dangle Radim Vrbata at the trade deadline, but sheesh his trade value couldn't be much lower. Just 11 goals and 23 points with an abysmal -28 rating in 54 games.
He's worth a rental for someone, but maybe for Redbox instead of Blockbuster prices.
/R.I.P. home video industry
BLACKHAWKS 7, MAPLE LEAFS 2
-- That's an eye-popping score, no doubt about it. One thing that might sneak up on you a bit is how much this win was based on Chicago killing it on the power play.
While the Maple Leafs went 1-for-4, the Blackhawks managed a ridiculous 4-for-7 mark on the PP.
-- Duncan Keith generated all three of his secondary assists on the man advantage, so you can probably say that he benefited the most from that special teams dominance.
-- Patrick Kane continues to separate himself from the rest of the Art Ross (and maybe Hart?) pack with games like these: one goal, three assists.
Kane already has 82 points, six shy of the career-high he set back in 2009-10. He already set a new peak for goals with 34.
-- P.A. Parenteau managed a nice game all things considered, getting involved in both Maple Leafs goals (1G, 1A).
ISLANDERS 4, RED WINGS 1
-- The bad news is that Detroit allowed 10 goals in two weird afternoon games in as many days. The good news is that, despite that leaky play, they won one of those games.
Obviously ... this wasn't the win. One area that stands out is faceoffs: NYI won almost two-thirds of them on Monday.
-- Thomas Greiss might have been the MVP of this game, stopping 28 out of 29 shots.
Greiss is now 16-6-2 with a fantastic .931 save percentage, backing up those who thought he was such a good backup that he probably should have gotten a shot at a No.1 job.
(Funny that he didn't when there was a rush on backup-to-starters in the summer, eh?)
-- By scoring his 21st goal, Brock Nelson bested the career-high he set in his sophomore season in 2014-15. He still has nine points to go (33 now, 42 last season) to match his best overall scoring season.
-- Hey, is it starting to click for Ryan Strome? He scored a goal and an assist on Monday, giving him five points in his past five games. You never know when frustrating potential can make way to promising production.
DUCKS 6, FLAMES 4
-- Anaheim is basically the reverse-Wild right now. This win gives the Ducks a 9-1-1 record in their last 11 games, and they stood out for NOT firing their coach, even with the pressure high.
The Ducks are now at least briefly in second place in the Pacific and have at least a reasonable chance to catch the Kings (they probably won't, though).
-- Interesting quirk: all six of Anaheim's defensemen scored a point on Monday. Cam Fowler enjoyed the best night of them all producing a trio of assists.
-- This wasn't just the Ducks feeling like the Ducks again, the Flames saw familiar names produce. Sean Monahan generated three assists, Jiri Hudler managed two goals and an assist and Johnny Gaudreau had a one-goal, two-assist game.
PANTHERS 2, PENGUINS 1 (SO)
-- Forgive me for looking ahead, but it will be interesting to see how Florida plays next season.
I mention that because they're not a great possession team, yet they've enjoyed outstanding goaltending. Al Montoya's .929 save percentage and Roberto Luongo's .925 mark argues that Florida doesn't really see anything but great netminding. What if that drops off next year?
The answer could be: the kids get even better and make up the difference, maybe more.
We'll see then.
-- Injuries are forcing Florida to break up its lines a bit, and I'm wondering if that's why Jaromir Jagr was unable to score a point on his 44th birthday. He got a sweet (maybe literally) birthday cake and a win against the Penguins, though.
-- Alex Petrovic got a little reward for all the bruises from recent lost fights, grabbing an assist in this game.
COYOTES 6, CANADIENS 2
-- So, how long is Montreal going to trot out Michel Therrien to be miserable? It sounds like it's going to last through 2015-16, but how much more can they take?
Granted, it might be tough to rifle through Montreal's comically shortened list of "acceptable" coaching choices ...
OEL had a three-point game (1G, 2A) while Duclair added an assist to his goal.
-- Do the Habs really lack a better option that Mike Condon when Ben Scrivens needs a breather? The organization didn't really have a Carey Price injury contingency plan, and I don't think that should just be shrugged off.
STARS 3, PREDATORS 2 (OT)
-- Tyler Seguin got stitched up thanks to the end of Dallas' previous game, but he contributed to this win, as his assist basically did all but put the puck in the net for Mattias Janmark for the OT winner.
-- Jamie Benn's assist was pretty sweet, too. You don't get to see many goals develop that smoothly in this clunky, defensively rigid NHL.
-- Carter Hutton didn't grab the win, but he's still giving Nashville a chance to stick with strong opponents. Antti Niemi got the W, improving to 21-10-5, giving him four wins in his last five games.
-- The Stars won four in a row, protecting their spot in first in the Central.