We have ten games remaining, and almost nothing is settled. The Washington Capitals are locked into the last eastern wild card, and the Colorado Avalanche are the western top seed. That's it.
The Dallas Stars still control their own fate, but they lost to the New Jersey Devils at home, yeck. More on that game below. The way that team plays sometimes genuinely confounds me.
The Boston Bruins are the most interesting because they have three potential match-ups. The Toronto Maple Leafs, Carolina Hurricanes, or New York Rangers. Most people would prefer the Maple Leafs, but I don't want that this early. The Hurricanes are the most compelling because of their past playoff history. I’m genuinely surprised the Rangers could win the division.
The Nashville Predators and Los Angeles Kings have a chance to drop out. Unlikely but possible. The Kings have a greater chance because of poor play lately and having the least games left, but their remaining schedule isn't difficult.
Things I like
Ryan Getzlaf will retire after his seventeenth NHL season, all with the Anaheim Ducks. He was a Stanley Cup champion in his second season and an Olympic gold medalist twice. He's the all-time franchise leader in points, assists and games played. I lived in southern California for most of my last twenty years. I went to several Ducks games, not as many as I'd like, and they were my favorite team for a stretch when my favorite player Teemu Selanne played there. I always remember Getzlaf as a part of all the teams who failed to advance when they had the talent and couldn't win a Game 7 five times. I hate to be negative, but that's what I'll remember most from those Ducks teams. He's still a hell of a player and underrated because he didn't score many goals, only hitting 30 once.
Auston Matthews continues breaking records. He now holds the single-season Maple Leafs' goals record. They've been around since 1917, so that's impressive. He hit 50 goals in a 50 game span, the first since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96. He also broke the record for most goals by a US-born player in a season. He has 31 points during a 16 game point streak and 58 goals and 99 points for the season. Yes, he's good.
I don't give much goalie love because it's harder, but I'll do so now. Igor Shesterkin continues his strong play and leads the NHL in Sv% and GAA. He picked up another shutout this week. Surprisingly, he only has 4. Mikko Koskinen and Darcy Kuemper kept the Colorado Avalanche versus Edmonton Oilers game to 1-1. Kuemper made 49 saves in the shootout win. I didn't mention it last week, but unknown Logan Thompson played exceptionally well filling in for the Vegas Golden Knights. On Tuesday night, three goalies made 47 saves in winning efforts, Juuse Saros, Elvis Merzlikins, and Alex Nedeljkovic.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Jeremy Lauzon vs Brady Tkachuk
Some good punches in this one.
Luke Kunin vs Mark Kastelic
A fight after a scrum from the same game.
Goals of the Week
Kyle Palmieri - New York Islanders
The Carolina Hurricanes tied it with a minute left, but Palmieri shakes off a defender and scores a nifty goal one-handed with 14 seconds left in the game for the win. More on this game below.
Nico Hischier - New Jersey Devils
Hischier undresses Tyler Seguin for the game-winning goal. The Devils added one more when the Dallas Stars didn't properly reset from trying to pull the goalie.
Troy Terry - Anaheim Ducks
Terry scores a beautiful goal falling down. I guess he deserves to get hit now.
Goat of the Week
Ethan Bear - Carolina Hurricanes
The first Islanders goal was courtesy of Bear fumbling the puck from a pass and then taking too long to do anything. The Islanders do a great job boxing him out, and the Hurricanes react poorly. The St. Louis Blues had the worst turnover this week but they won.
Stat Line of the Week
04/05/21 Florida 7 vs. Toronto 6
Skater TOI G A +/- S Hits J.Huberdeau 21:35 2 3 3 7 3
Jonathan Huberdeau had a big night in a wild game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Florida Panthers scored first, and then the Maple Leafs reeled off five unanswered. You would think it might be over, but these are the Maple Leafs. The Panthers reeled off five unanswered of their own before the Maple Leafs tied it to force overtime. Huberdeau assisted on the first goal and then scored or assisted on the last four, including the overtime goal. He is the first Florida Panther to hit the century mark in points with 104.
1403 – Career NHL points by Alex Ovechkin in 1267 games 1400 – Career NHL points by Sidney Crosby in 1100 games 100 – Career goals for Ryan Suter in 17 seasons 5 – Out of five games were one goal on Friday night, with three settled in overtime 14 – points in six games for Mitchell Marner, the benefits of playing with Matthews 13 – Shorthanded goals by the Maple Leafs, first in the NHL 17 – Seconds between Tampa Bay Lightning goal against the Buffalo Sabres
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
Top 5 1. Florida 2. Colorado 3. St. Louis 4. Boston 5. Toronto
Bottom 5 30. Arizona 29. San Jose 28. Chicago 27. Philadelphia 26. Anaheim