Not a bad night of hockey. Let’s jump into Wednesday’s games, shall we?
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BLUES 3, BLACKHAWKS 2 (SO)
-- Boy, this was one of those 3-2 games that are actually entertaining. Some of them ... are not.
Maybe that specific hit wasn't bad enough to get a misconduct, but it was unnecessary and not really a "hockey play." It's difficult to feel much sympathy for checks like those, when it's really a matter of sussing out just how dirty it was.
Reaves is the sort of player who could put the Blues in a bad spot in the playoffs, whether it be by taking a penalty like this or just not really being worthy of a postseason shift.
Really, shouldn't that have been obvious anyway? Not every guy who lines up with Kane gets 25 goals, and "The Bread Man" probably deserves more credit for helping Kane to put up career-high totals than he gets. If an inferior talent was in Panarin's place, maybe Kane would be a little closer to his normal (still impressive) production.
-- Jake Allen was flat-out awesome for the Blues, stopping 33 out of 35 shots for his third win in a row. "The Snake" is now 21-13-3 with a nice .922 save percentage this season.
MAPLE LEAFS 4, ISLANDERS 3 (SO)
-- Ah, the “no one REALLY wins” game. I imagine we’ll see many of these as the season winds down.
Toronto is in an interesting spot to provide some of those, though I’d wager that Columbus may edge them in that category. While calling up a chunk of futures means you’re dealing with less experienced guys and maybe some players who flat-out shouldn’t be at the NHL level, there’s more motivation available than your usual tanking crew and some of the young’uns are good enough to score some big goals, most obviously fellas like William Nylander.
Nylander only has two goals (and that many points) in six games, but those two tallies have come in the last three contests.
-- Very nice game by Nazem Kadri: two assists, seven SOG make it easy to accept a -1 rating. I honestly don't know what to expect from Kadri in 2016-17.
-- Nikita Soshnikov continues to make an interesting impression, even if he didn't score. He fired five SOG and scored the shootout winner in impressive fashion.
-- Thomas Greiss has been handed the keys for the Islanders with Jaroslav Halak essentially canceled out of the regular season. He's been great, even if he was vulnerable on Wednesday, and is a very obvious pickup if you DIDN'T LISTEN TO ME ON WEDNESDAY.
(Folds arms, gets super passive-aggressive.)
-- The Maple Leafs generated a 36-27 SOG advantage against the Islanders.
So, if the Isles meekly bow out in the first round again, can we agree that maybe Jack Capuano isn't getting it done? I feel like we've been waiting to see this team make the next step for long enough.
FLAMES 3, PREDATORS 2 (OT)
-- Johnny Gaudreau set a new career-high in getting to three points, and he did it with style, even by his Magic Man standards.
To start things off, Gaudreau scored two goals in 10 seconds midway through the first period. Nashville managed to push the game to overtime to give the Predators a franchise-record 14-game point streak, but Gaudreau saved one of his best moments for extra time.
It seemed like Gaudreau was going to end his shift, but an opportunity arose and he took the puck down the ice to set up the OTGWG. Impressive stuff.
-- Mike Fisher was the difference-maker for the Predators, scoring the tying goal and getting a primary assist on Nashville's first tally.
It's been an underwhelming scoring season for Fisher, who has scored to the discordant tune of 19 points in 57 games.
-- Joni Ortio grabbed his second win of the season. Going out on a limb by saying that he's probably not the answer for Calgary in net, especially not yet.
CANUCKS 3, COYOTES 2 (OT)
-- Couldn't help but note that the Coyotes generated a 51-20 faceoff advantage in this game. Yowza.
-- Alex Tanguay continues to play well in his first few games with the Coyotes. With two assists on Wednesday, his second multi-point contest since joining Arizona (his debut still tops it with two goals and one assist). That gives him five points in three games.
-- The Canucks received four power-play opportunities in this game, but the Coyotes won the special teams battle by going 1-for-1 on the PP.
KINGS 4, CAPITALS 3 (OT)
-- Los Angeles seemed like it might run away with this one, enjoying a 3-0 advantage in the first period. Tanner Pearson was a big reason why, collecting two primary assists.
Carter now has four points in his past two games.
Williams generated a primary assist on the tying goal late in the final frame.
-- T.J. Oshie scored his 20th goal of the season and also assisted on a goal. With 42 points, Oshie has a way to go to match his usual 55-60 point output, but his 20 goals are just one short of tying his career-high.
AVALANCHE 3, DUCKS 0
-- Keep an eye out for updates regarding Sami Vatanen, who left Wednesday's game and did not return because of an upper-body injury.
-- Semyon Varlamov stood on his head once again after Patrick Roy's dumb criticisms. (Jeez, people are probably going to give Roy a bunch of credit for "lighting a fire under Varlamov" rather than just happily riding the wave of his goalies' often-superior play.)
After stopping 37 out of 38 shots to beat Arizona, Varlamov made all 37 saves for his second shutout of the season.
-- Nathan MacKinnon scored a beauty in the first period for what would stand as the GWG, as he connected on a great "alley oop" from Erik Johnson. MacKinnon now has 21 goals on the season, three short of his career-high of 24 set during his rookie season in 2013-14.