In case you haven’t noticed, Sidney Crosby is right back at the top of the league in points, tied with Connor McDavid at 80. His hat trick against the Panthers last night also gave him 40 goals on the season, becoming the first player to hit the mark this year and pushing him past Brad Marchand for first in the league in goals. And this is all while playing about six less games than most players.
Sometimes I think people don’t give enough credit to Crosby. He’s almost universally recognized as one of the best players in the game so people are always trying to make arguments against him. “But Jonathan Toews has more Stanley Cups” and “Drew Doughty plays better defense.” There are more articles than you would think arguing against Crosby and it’s really time we all sit back and just enjoy watching Crosby do his thing.
The Minnesota Wild had a terrible start against the Winnipeg Jets as they surrendered the first four goals of the game. But halfway through the second period they rallied back to score the next four and tie the game…only to see them give up another goal in the third period and lose 5-4.
The Wild have now lost five games in a row and only have two wins in their past 10 games. They’re far enough ahead in the standings where this slump won’t endanger their playoff chances but its concerning to see them struggle so much almost right before the playoffs. Over their last 10 games, the Wild have given up 19 goals while only scoring 11 and have lost to teams like the Carolina Hurricanes and the Winnipeg Jets.
Dubnyk’s play as of late has been especially concerning. In his last seven games, Dubnyk only has one win and an .890 save percentage while only recording a save percentage above .915 in just one of those games. I wrote about the decline in Dubnyk’s play just a few days ago and it’s only been getting worse. With a .927 save percentage (which granted is still really good), Dubnyk only has the fourth highest save percentage in the league now.
The Canadiens Pull Ahead
With their win over the Ottawa Senators last night, the Montreal Canadiens are now four points up on the Senators for first place in the Atlantic Division. After beating Ottawa 4-3 in a shootout just two nights ago, the Canadiens came out and defeated them again by a score of 4-1.
I know it’s always hard to say which playoff matchups will be more beneficial but if anything, these losses may be better for the Senators. If I’m the Canadiens or Senators, I’d much rather finish second in the division and have to play the third seed than finish first and go against the Rangers. While the Rangers aren’t as threatening as Pittsburgh or Washington, they’re not an easy team to play against and it’s looking like the second seed will have play against the Boston Bruins.
Lindholm Scores Again
With his goal against the Philadelphia Flyers, Elias Lindholm extended his point-streak to seven games, tallying three goals and four assists in that span. Lindholm had a rough start to the year this season but he’s still an incredibly talented froward with loads of potential.
After starting off the year with only nine points in his first 27 games, Lindholm has rebounded with 29 points in his last 33 games. Averaging over 18 minutes a game for the Hurricanes, Lindholm is instrumental to Carolina’s offense. And at 22-years-old, he’s only getting better.
The Kings In Trouble?
With their loss against the Calgary Flames last night, the Los Angeles Kings are now 1-3 in their last four games, scoring only seven goals in that span. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if they were already in a playoff spot but as of now, they’re six points out of a place in the postseason.
It’s getting to be a common theme with the Kings that they seem to almost float through the regular season but turn it up another notch come playoff time. This is fine as the Kings are always competitive in the playoffs but you have to actually qualify first before you can start thinking about postseason success.
It was just two seasons ago that everyone was talking about how tough of a draw it would be to have to face the Kings in the first round. Thinking L.A. would qualify as the eighth seed, people were worried that they would be forced to face them in the first round. However, that year the Kings wound up finishing in ninth place with only 95 points, failing to even qualify. They were more than a competitive team but couldn’t get it done in the regular season.
With only 11 games left to go, we might be seeing a very similar situation playing out. The Kings have almost no chance of catching the Oilers or the Flames (10 and 11 points up respectively), so they’re only real shot at a playoff berth is squeezing into the second wild card spot. For that to happen, the Kings will have to hope either the Nashville Predators or the St. Louis Blues start to slide big time, considering both teams are already six points ahead of the Kings in the standings. It’s going to be a close one for the Kings and they might just find themselves not qualifying for the playoffs this year.