The Edmonton Oilers played a string of gloriously entertaining games this week. First was the Colorado Avalanche that ended in overtime off a lost puck that Nathan MacKinnon found and buried for the win. Next was the Dallas Stars which saw the Oilers score two goals in 43 seconds to take a 3-2 lead in the third. But the Stars scored two goals in 24 seconds seven minutes later to take a 4-3 lead. They added an empty-net goal. Lastly, the Flames and Oilers played a wide-open 80's style game that saw 11 goals scored in the first half of the game. The Flames added three more in the third. Defense was rarely played as the best players were left open half the time. Johnny Gaudreau was magical with five assists and he scored his 200th career goal this week. He's also having his best season and is a free agent this season. Someone will be paying a hefty price.
We are set for some highly entertaining matchups in the playoffs, especially out West. We have a great chance to get the Stars or Vegas Golden Knights vs the Flames or Avalanche in the first round. If you're the Flames, that isn't what you want. Because last time the Flames were a top seed and played a dynamic team, they lost. Interestingly enough, during the Oilers game, the commentators remarked how people weren't being physical with Gaudreau. But they are in the playoffs, which causes the Flames to lose. We shall see what happens.
Things I like
The best division is the Atlantic. The trio of the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Toronto Maple Leafs were joined by Florida Panthers this season, making it even tougher. The Bruins, who had been the final wild card for a while and then moved comfortably in the first wild card, briefly made it to the second seed in the division before falling back to the wild card. Only one point separates the Bruins, Lightning, and Maple Leafs. I don't know if playing one of those teams, the Panthers or the Carolina Hurricanes, in the first round is better. However, I know that this bracket winner will probably face the Avalanche in the finals. The Maple Leafs had a big win over the Panthers on Sunday. This will be fun to watch down the stretch.
In his tenth season, J.T Miller is having by far his best. He already has career highs in goals, assists, and points, and we still have 15 games left. He's racked up seven points in his last four games. The Vancouver Canucks are very much alive for the playoffs after their big win over the Dallas Stars. Where the Stars had every opportunity to tie the game and missed so many open chances, but their still two points behind the Stars and have played three more games.
Things I don't
The saddest or funniest thing this week was the nullified trade of Evgenii Dadonov. The Vegas Golden Knights attempted to trade Dadonov and a conditional second-round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for John Moore and retired Ryan Kesler's contract. This was a salary dump for the Golden Knights. Apparently, the Ducks were on Dadonov's ten-team no-trade list. Neither team knew because the NHL did not have his list on record. If the NHL doesn't file the paperwork correctly, the teams should not be punished. What I don't understand is, did no one talk to his agent? Or was the agent just as clueless? I don't get why he wouldn't want to go to Anaheim either. It's not much different city-wise. Sure, Vegas is a stronger contender, but Anaheim is building something and will soon be back in the playoffs. Dadonov has played well recently, with eight points in his last four games, including an overtime goal against the Chicago Blackhawks. Sometimes the trades you don't make end up being the best ones.
As expected, the New York Islanders are doing their best to make the playoffs. They won seven of nine and leapfrogged everyone but the Columbus Blue Jackets before having tough back-to-back games against the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning. Had the Islanders' arena been done on time, I believe they would be much closer. Mathew Barzal having a down year does not help.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Tanner Jeannot vs Sam Carrick
Lots of punches in this one.
Yakov Trenin vs Sean Durzi
Not as good as the first fight, but still a lot of punches.
Hayden Hodgson vs Tanner Jeannot
A lot of great punches in this one.
Goal of the Week
Roope Hintz - Dallas Stars
Hintz splits defenders and makes a move for the breakaway goal. A very underrated player.
Goat of the Week
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning do a poor job clearing and attempt to make a change anyway, leaving Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak open. That's not a great idea. Pastrnak scores the game-winner and completes his twelfth career hat trick, and he's already tied for third in hat tricks in Boston Bruins history. Pastrnak's second goal was a goal that Andrei Vasilevskiy should have stopped. Both are below.
Stat Line of the Week
03/21/21 Nashville 6 vs. Anaheim 3
Skater TOI G A +/- S PPA F.Forsberg 16:35 2 3 2 5 3
Filip Forsberg had his second career five-point game and, in the process, broke Viktor Arvidsson's Nashville Predators' goals record. Forsberg has already set career highs in goals (36) and points (64). He'll be a free agent this season, and if the Predators want to keep him, they'll need to pay up. Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks continue their nosedive with nine consecutive losses. In fairness to them, they have a lot of injuries.
300 – Career NHL goals for Tyler Seguin 11 – Goals by the Penguins in their win over the Red Wings 51 – Shots for the Maple Leafs against the Montreal Canadiens and their 17 in the Canadiens win 1 – Shutout and a .960 SV% for Minnesota Wild goalie Cam Talbot since the Marc-Andre Fleury trade 3 – Players with 90 or more points, Gaudreau, Leon Draisaitl, and Connor McDavid
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
Top 5 1. Florida 2. Boston 3. Minnesota 4. Colorado 5. Calgary
Bottom 5 30. Anaheim 29. Detroit 28. New Jersey 27. Seattle 26. St. Louis