With just a few meaningful NHL games left, it looks like the Detroit Red Wings consecutive playoff streak record will stay intact. As much as I wanted it to end, they are all but assured of number 23 in a row. The only races with much intrigue are the final wild card spots. Probably, what the NHPLA wanted when they implemented that change. Both 2nd and 3rd divisional spots in the East are up for grabs but you already know the teams, just not who gets home ice. The only other mystery is San Jose or Anaheim for the Pacific crown. That will more than likely be decided when the two meet in Anaheim.

So back to the final wild cards. In the West, it’s basically been Dallas and Phoenix going back and forth. Nashville and Vancouver have ever so slight chances but don’t hold your breath. Either is pretty much eliminated with a loss. Although Dallas has the points lead and the game in hand it could go either way. But Phoenix hasn’t been helping themselves lately by losing four in a row. Since they play each other in the last game of the season, I really hope that games decided who gets the final spot. In the East… well let’s just say last team standing. Columbus, New Jersey, Washington and Toronto can all win it. Columbus is still in the drivers seat with the current point lead and the tiebreaker in hand. Because of those things, Columbus should get the wild card despite having three games against opponents who need points for playoff positioning. New Jersey has the 2nd best chance to get the final spot. Toronto was all but eliminated with their loss to Winnipeg and Washington, well, they just aren’t very good.

Things I Like

1. The Anaheim Ducks have had a pretty decent season thus far with a few ups and downs but nothing like their past week. In fight for the Pacific Division crown, the Ducks found themselves down 0-4 to the Winnipeg Jets and 0-2 to the Edmonton Oilers. Against the Jets the Ducks scored one in the 2nd period and then three goals in the 3rd period, with the game tying goal in the final seconds, to cap their largest comeback in team history. They then scored 16 seconds into overtime to win the game. Against the Oilers the Ducks scored three goals in the 3rd period to win their second comeback game in a row. Their magic wore off against the Nashville Predators as they found themselves down 0-3 and unable to recover, falling 5-2. On the one hand it’s great that the Ducks never give up, no matter the score, and find ways to win games even when they aren’t playing their best hockey. On the other hand, you won’t be able to fall behind against good teams in the playoffs and expect to comeback all the time. None of the three teams they recently played will be in the playoffs. They also just lost to the Oilers 4-2. Being down big to four teams that won’t be making the playoffs is not a good sign for the Ducks.

2. Well if you would have told me the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche would both finish ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks, I wouldn’t have believed you. The Blackhawks were due for a down year but it’s not like they have played that bad since they amassed another 100 point season. But when two other teams in your division also have over 100 points, and you pile on the unfortunate injuries down the stretch, you’re looking at a first round exit. Speaking of those other two teams… St. Louis and Colorado met in a game that didn’t really mean that much to either but it sure didn’t seem that way. The hit on Kevin Shattenkirk by Patrick Bordeleau started it all. Shattenkirk ended up with a broken nose but the hit by Bordeleau wasn’t illegal or that bad. He did slightly leave his feet, which you aren’t supposed to do, but if it wasn’t for Shattenkirk’s own stick being in the wrong place at the wrong time he wouldn’t have gotten his bloody nose. After a few other penalties we had two more major scrums. Honestly it was kind of a disappointment, as I was expecting worse, considering all of the penalty minutes.

Things I Don’t

1. NBC Sports Network has a lot less errors than the Versus Network it replaced but they are not without their own gaffes. After the New Jersey Devils win over the Washington Capitals they displayed a post game graphic saying that both the Devils and the Capitals were in 4th place for the wild card despite the fact that the Devils had one more point than the Capitals. They also said that Alex Ovechkin scored his 49th gaol. How do you miss that one?

2. With just about a week or two left in the season, all of the scoring races are basically over. Sidney Crosby won the points category and Alex Ovechkin won the goals category. The assists race is somewhat close but when do we get all gaga over the assists category? So much for the suspense in the scoring categories down the stretch.

3. I feel really bad for the Toronto Maple Leafs, I really do. After there tough playoff exit last season, the Maple Leafs were in a good position to make a return playoff trip. But losing eight in a row really crushed their chances. I’m concerned that management will do something drastic to shake up the team. One poor stretch does not mean you have a poor team. What they really need is a veteran presence who has been there done that and scores clutch goals. Jaromir Jagr would fit that bill perfectly for them. Not sure if there is any interest in either direction but he would help them out so much, even if it’s just for one season. I do know Jagr only plays in the Eastern Time Zone so at least Toronto matches in that respect.

Fights of the Week

Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.

Krys Barch vs Matt Carkner

A decent fight with a food good ones that connected.

Jarred Tinordi vs Eric Gryba

A good back and forth tussle

Jay Rosehill vs Shawn Thornton

This was good but it was too short, as the refs broke it up too early.

Goats of the Week

Carl Soderberg and Zdeno Chara – Boston Bruins

Soderberg gets it for being somewhat careless on the turnover and Chara gets it for not really hustling on the play. The play being the game winning goal for Detroit. Even if Gustav Nyquist is fast, Chara is big and could have stood in his way or at the very least got his stick in the way and received a penalty.

Dave Bolland – Toronto Maple Leafs

Bolland ends any comeback chance the Leafs hand in a game they really needed. He also does a bad job of trying to correct his turnover.

Stat Line of the Week

04/04/14 Montreal 7 vs. Ottawa 4

Skater

TOI

G

A

+/-

SOG

PIM

Hits

M. Pacioretty

16:31

3

2

3

5

2

2

After being down 0-3 to the Senators, the Canadiens got a goal from Andrei Markov and then it became the Max Pacioretty show. Pacioretty scored or assisted on five of the next six goals. As their top goal scorer, it’s vital that Pacioretty stays at this level for the Canadiens to do anything in the playoffs.

Numbers, Numbers

120 – Penalty minutes in the 3rd period by the Blues and Avalanche
8 – Goals by the Nashville Predators against two playoff teams, Anaheim and San Jose, in their two wins over them
2 – Goals combined for Anaheim and San Jose in those games as they fight for the division title
18 – Point lead for Sidney Crosby over Ryan Getzlaf
3 – Bruins in the top three in +/-, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Jarome Iginla
332 – Hits by Matt Martin, 58 more than Cody Franson

This Week in Hockey History

Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.

March 31, 1964 Detroit goalie Terry Sawchuk recorded his 11th career playoff shutout and Gordie Howe picked up two assists as the Red Wings won 3-0 over the Black Hawks, in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Semi-Finals.

April 01, 1954 Gordie Howe scored two goals and an assist, and set a Stanley Cup playoff record for fastest goal from the start of a game (:09) in a 4-3 win over Toronto, in Game 5 of the Semi-Finals. Ted Lindsay scored the winner at 21:01 of overtime.

April 02, 1998 Montreal Canadiens scored a club record three goals in 37 seconds in the first period, on their way to a 9-4 win against the Buffalo Sabres, at the Forum.

April 03, 1996 Toronto used three goalies in a game (for the first time in NHL history) in a 3-3 tie against Detroit. Johnny Bower played the 1st, Terry Sawchuk the second & Bruce Gamble the 3rd. Bower also took Punch Imlach’s place as coach in the last period.

April 04, 1976 Montreal set a new NHL record for most wins in a season, with their 58th of the year, a 4-3 victory at Washington. The Canadiens broke the old record of 57 wins, set by Boston in 1970-71.

April 05, 2003 Peter Bondra became the Washington Capitals all-time scoring leader (passing Mike Gartner) with 2 goals (to give him 790 points) in a 5-3 win over the visiting Penguins. Bondra’s second goal gave him 30 goals for the 9th time in his career.

April 06, 1994 Rookie Alexei Yashin scored a goal and added three assists to lead the Senators to a 6-5 win against the visiting Washington Capitals.

Rankings

The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.

Top 5
1. Boston
2. Montreal
3. Los Angeles
4. NY Rangers
5. Chicago

Bottom 5
30. Buffalo
29. Toronto
28. Florida
27. Phoenix
26. Philadelphia

Alex Mueller

Author: Alex Mueller

Alex Mueller graduated from Temple University with a minor in journalism over a decade ago. He’s been writing about NHL hockey, on and off, since the Fall of 2009. He’s written for Pucking Awesome, the Checking Line and now Hockey Recaps. He played goalie at San Diego Ice Arena. His first novel, Bobby Sterling vs Truth, is available on Amazon now.

http://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Kevin-Shattenkirk-1024x574.jpghttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Kevin-Shattenkirk-150x150.jpgAlex MuellerWeekly RecapsAlex Ovechkin,Anaheim Ducks,Carl Soderberg,Chicago Blackhawks,Colorado Avalanche,Dave Bolland,Detroit Red Wings,Eric Gryba,Jaromir Jagr,Jarred Tinordi,Jay Rosehill,Kevin Shattenkirk,Krys Barch,Matt Carkner,Max Pacioretty,Patrick Bordeleau,Shawn Thornton,St Louis Blues,Toronto Maple Leafs,Zdeno Chara
With just a few meaningful NHL games left, it looks like the Detroit Red Wings consecutive playoff streak record will stay intact. As much as I wanted it to end, they are all but assured of number 23 in a row. The only races with much intrigue are the...