There weren’t a ton of games last night, but I don’t have a lot of Piping Hot Hockey Takes® either.
So, instead, I thought I’d throw out a few random facts before getting into the three recaps.
-- The Carolina Hurricanes and Vancouver Canucks are tied for the most home games remaining this season with 10 apiece. Teams that have 9 left: Ottawa, Detroit, Florida and Edmonton.
-- Conversely, the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks have the fewest home games left with five. The Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils only have six remaining.
-- Let's pivot to road games. The New York Islanders only have five road games left. As far as the most away contests: San Jose, Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles face 10 more road games.
Anyway, those were some scheduling bits. Let’s go recapping now.
FLAMES 6, DUCKS 3
-- Well, wow. Anaheim charged off to a 2-0 lead (both Ryan Getzlaf goals) and did not score again until Calgary generated five of its six goals. Another remarkable thing: Calgary scored four of its goals in the last two periods despite only generating seven SOG. That's pretty ridiculous, isn't it?
-- Once again, the Flames' big line generated at least a goal per player. Johnny Gaudreau scored two goals. Sean Monahan hit the 25-goal mark with the game-winner. Jiri Hudler seemed like he would have a quiet night until he scored with about five minutes left.
Wideman's been on quite the tear, generating seven assists in his past four games. He now has 44 points in 66 contests, more than his previous two seasons combined (21 and 22 in two 46-game bursts in 2013-14 and 2012-13). He has a great chance of topping his career-high of 50 points from 2008-09.
Russell has been impressive in his own right lately, scoring two goals and six assists in the past four games. Those eight points represent a great chunk of his 28 from 2014-15.
-- Hampus Lindholm just matched his rookie season total with 30 points, setting a new career-high with seven goals (including last night's tally). It's a crowded situation on the Anaheim defense right now, but I get the feeling he'll get his.
(That said, he has gone without a point in six of eight games.)
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RANGERS 3, CAPITALS 1
-- Yes, the Washington Capitals were without Mike Green and (snicker) Brooks Orpik on Wednesday. It also seems like Nicklas Backstrom was sick, and it's worth mentioning that the Rangers have been a hearty road team for at least the past two seasons.
Still, come on. Washington had not played since Saturday while the Rangers were coming off of a win the night before against a strong Islanders team. The game also took place at the Verizon Center.
It's only one game, but that's the type of contest the Caps should win.
-- NHL Network's Mike Kelly points out a ridiculous stat: Alex Ovechkin now has more power-play goals (21) than the Buffalo Sabres (20).
In case you're wondering, the Colorado Avalanche are the only team in the 20's with 29.
Speaking of goals, Ovechkin now has a six-goal lead on Rick Nash for the Maurice Richard, although the Rangers do have two games in hand on the Capitals.
-- In checking how the Capitals fared on defense without Mike Green in the mix (if you couldn't tell from my derisive chuckle, Orpik's absence doesn't rank as a concern), I was surprised to see that Matt Niskanen received just 26 seconds of PP TOI on Wednesday. Washington's defense is quite odd in that regard overall, actually:
Green - 3:13 PP TOI per game
John Carlson - 1:36
Niskanen - 1:04
No one else averages more than two seconds of man advantage time per contest beyond those three. Hmmm. (Michael Finewax always does great work going much deeper on each NHL team's power play, so check the latest edition out here).
-- Let's say the Rangers decide to shut down Henrik Lundqvist for the season to play it VERY safe. How far could this team - which looks like easily one of the East's best after taking the Metropolitan Division's top spot* last night, by the way - go with Cam Talbot in net? That's tough to say, but he's absolutely on fire right now, having won three in a row and allowing just two goals in that span.
(Things are impressive if you expand the scope quite a bit more, too.)
-- Keith Yandle is getting every opportunity to put up numbers - especially on the power play - yet he still hasn't scored a point in five Rangers games.
I wouldn't panic from a big picture standpoint, yet it might be worth noting that sometimes it hurts to go from being a big fish in a small pond (filthy water and all) to just another flashy purchase in the Big Apple.
* - Not to mention the first spot in the East and NHL as well, for now at least.
MAPLE LEAFS 4, SABRES 3 (SO)
-- Without knowing anything non-alarm clock/nap-related regarding Nazem Kadri’s situation, I don’t really have a problem with “sending a message” from an organizational standpoint. If anything, it’s a perfect time to do so, as Toronto needs to lose as much as they can (at least when they’re facing anyone but the agents of anti-victory known as the Sabres). The key, though, is for the team to make sure this doesn’t estrange the young forward long-term, especially since he still needs a new contract (even if they have all the leverage since he’s an RFA).
It stinks for fantasy owners, but honestly, it probably wouldn’t hurt to see if you can lock up a non-Leaf at this point. At least in leagues with respectable waiver wire talent pools.
-- How many extra games would you need to add to the NHL's regular season for Anders Lindback to hit 10 wins? I'd imagine the normal 82 games won't cut it, especially since Buffalo would probably sit him if he started rattling off wins.
But if tanking wasn't a motivation, just picture how long it would take him to hit 30 victories with his skills and this team in front of him. Such a scenario could drag through March 2016.
(That said, he actually wasn't that bad last night, even making a highlight-reel stop or two.)
-- David Booth is on a five-game point streak (three goals, two assists), generating half of his 10 points from 2014-15 in that span. He's not fantasy relevant at this point, but you could do worse as far as bottom-six forwards go.