Entering the final week of the NHL season, only three spots are left to be clinched. Only one seed in the East is set, the top seed clinched by the Florida Panthers. The Pittsburgh Penguins becoming a wild card team isn’t something I envisioned, but it very well could. All Eastern playoff teams reached the 100 point mark, the first time that’s ever happened. The St. Louis Blues vs. the Minnesota Wild is the only locked-up series. Although It seems very likely the Edmonton Oilers will play the Los Angeles Kings.
Tuesday has the most important slate of games. The Vegas Golden Knights face the Dallas Stars in a game that might determine both fates. The Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers face off for the division crown. The Pittsburgh Penguins face the Edmonton Oilers in a battle of top players. Sadly, the New York Islanders vs. the Washington Capitals means nothing. And boy, did that cushion grow after the Islanders lost five in a row.
Things I like
The Nashville Predators now have two of something they’ve never had before, a 40-goal scorer. Matt Duchene and Filip Forsberg both hit the mark. Neither had been previously close and Duchene hitting it is surprising. Meanwhile, Roman Josi hit 90 points, making him only the ninth defenseman to do so and the first since 1994. The franchise record for goals in a season is 272 set in 2006-07, and with 253 currently, they will come up short unless they score 20 goals in three games which I guess could happen.
Scoring is up in the NHL this season. The 3.13 goals a game scoring pace is the highest since 1995-96 and 35th highest overall. Scoring over three goals a game makes games more exciting and is where the NHL needs to be. I expect it will only go higher in the next few seasons with how talented the players are.
Things I don’t
- There’s been some interesting news this week regarding Zambonis. Al Sobotka was the Detroit Red Wings driver, and he was fired after peeing in the drain. He has a BPH condition that forced him to pee into it because he would never have made it to the bathroom in time. The person who turned him in is the new driver. I mean, all drains lead to the same place, and nobody saw him doing it. His lawsuit alleges he was fired because of his age and disability.
While two Philadelphia Flyers trainers Jim McCrossin and Sal Raffa allege in court documents that they developed rare medical conditions as a direct and proximate result of repeated and prolonged exposure to the chemicals used in Zambonis. The Zambonis used gasoline and fuel containing or producing carcinogens and were stored in a small, enclosed room and operated multiple times per day.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Jamie Benn vs Luke Schenn
Benn does a decent job keeping up.
William Borgen vs Brandon Duhaime
A decent back and forth.
Goal of the Week
Nick Paul - Tampa Bay Lightning
Shorthanded and between the legs. O, yes!
Goat of the Week
Noah Dobson - New York Islanders
One of the worst turnovers ever. Dobson can clearly tell Derek Stepan is on him, and while Stepan’s stick was on his left when he looked, it’s not like he can’t switch. That’s exactly what he did, anticipating Dobson’s pass. Just brutal. The Islanders lost by three, but two were empty-net goals.
Stat Line of the Week
04/19/21 Florida 3 vs. New York 2
Skater TOI G A +/- S Hits A.Barkov 21:39 3 0 1 4 1
The Florida Panthers continued their tare of the NHL with their overtime winner against the Islanders. Aleksander Barkov recorded his third hat trick with a blast, cleaning up a mess in the middle and a nice tip-in. Barkov now has a career-high in goals and is one away from 40, which would be a career first. His previous high was 35.
1.20 – Points per game average for recently passed Guy Lafleur, 12th all time 9 – 50 or more goal season for Alex Ovechkin, tying him with Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy. He’s also the oldest to do it. 959 – Points for Steven Stamkos, now the all-time leader in Tampa Bay Lightning history, passing Martin St. Louis 2 – Nine games or more winning streaks this season for the Colorado Avalanche 3 – Shutouts in a row for the New York Rangers 5 – Assists by Kevin Fiala against the Seattle Kraken 17 – Game point streak for Robert Thomas, ongoing
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
Top 5 1. Florida 2. Colorado 3. St. Louis 4. Edmonton 5. Toronto
Bottom 5 30. Arizona 29. San Jose 28. Chicago 27. Philadelphia 26. Montreal