Three for one and seven for four. That’s where we are in the NHL season. Ten teams fighting for five playoff spots is all that’s left to be decided. Technically, all the Metropolitan Division teams are still in it. But will assume that Capitals and Penguins are definitely going to make it and the Rangers won’t. Will also assume the Flyers and Devils will make it. That leaves the Islanders, Hurricanes and Blue Jackets fighting for the final wild card spot. The Islanders have the best shot to win because they have the most talent on the roster. They don’t actually play the Blue Jackets and Hurricanes anymore this season though.

But the Western Conference is where the real fun is. Both wild card spots and the two three spots in each division are up for grabs. Each division will probably send four each. The Pacific teams (Ducks, Flames and Kings) are the better teams but one of them won’t make it. Recent history would suggest that would be the Kings but I actually think they will get in. The Ducks and Flames are too erratic but whoever is less erratic will get the wild card spot. In the Central, the Stars, Blues, Wild and Avalanche aren’t playing their best hockey right now. The Avalanche’s magical ride appears to be over. They are overachieving right now. There’s nothing I like about the Wild so the Blues and Stars should get the last two spots there. It’ll be a fun ride the last month and a half of the season.

Things I like

1. Taylor Hall is having a really good month so far. His Devils are in a playoff spot and the team that spurned him, the Oilers, are nowhere near one. And he is definitely bitter about leaving the Oilers so he’ll be relishing making the playoffs while they sit at home. Hall currently has a 18 point game scoring streak going, where he broke the Devils franchise record at 16 games. During the streak, Halls has 26 points and three game winning goals. Including the game winning goal in overtime against the Hurricanes on Sunday. You can tell he enjoys playing with Nico Hischier. Too bad he never really got to play with Connor McDavid.

Things I don’t

1. The Chicago Blackhawks are ending their playoff streak with a thud and a whimper. An eight game losing streak was finally snapped when they pounded the Capitals but it doesn’t change the reality of the situation. That reality is they aren’t very good. They lost to the Coyotes 6-1 and the Wild 3-0 both at home. At the beginning of the year I said they would regret trading Artemi Panarin and picking up Blackhawks who played on their first championship team. And boy did that turn out to be correct. Getting older in this day in age is not the way to go. Coupled with Corey Crawford going down to injury, the Blackhawks never really stood a chance. A 28th ranked power play isn’t helping either. It’s hard to imagine it could even be be that bad. It isn’t going to get any better either as the core will only get older. At least they do have a few promising young players.

Fights of the Week

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

Dale Weise vs Cody McLeod

A couple of big boys throwing haymakers. That’s what it’s all about.

Goat of the Week

Couldn’t find one in a close game this week

Stat Line of the Week

2/14/18 Toronto 6 vs Columbus 3

Skater

TOI

G

A

+/-

SOG

Take

N. Kadri

16:02

3

2

4

4

1

To say that Nazem Kadri likes playing for Mike Babcock would be an understatement. But Kadri figured into almost all of the Maple Leafs goals against the Blue Jackets. His on pace to match his career year from last season. What will be key is whether he can elevate his game in the playoffs or not.

Numbers, Numbers

5 – Overtime or shootout games in a row for the Nashville Predators, streak now broken
1100 – Points for Alex Ovechkin
901 – Points for Evgeni Malkin
8 – Times seven teams scored six or more goals the last three nights
13 – Goals scored by Winnipeg Jets in two of those games

This Week in Hockey History

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

February 12, 1988 Washington’s Scott Stevens scored a goal and an assist for his 300th career NHL point as the Capitals won 6-2 over the visiting New York Islanders.

February 13, 1965 Goaltender Glenn Hall made 31 saves to earn his 60th career shutout in the Black Hawks’ 3-0 win over the Rangers.

February 14, 1954 Detroit’s Gordie Howe scored two goals and an assist, including his 500th career NHL point, in a 5-0 Red Wings’ win at Chicago. It came in Howe’s 492nd regular season game. Terry Sawchuk recorded his 43rd career shutout.

February 15, 1951 New York’s Don Raleigh scored twice and added four assists in the Rangers 7-3 win against the Black Hawks before a record-low crowd of just 4,400 in Chicago.

February 16, 1975 Canadiens’ Peter Mahovlich extended his team-record consecutive game assist streak to 12 straight games and Montreal extended their NHL-record road undefeated streak to 18 straight games (11-0-7) with a 6-3 win over the Black Hawks, at Chicago.

February 17, 1952 Montreal’s Elmer Lach picked up his 354th career assist to become the NHL’s all-time leader in assists. He passed Bill Cowley (who had compiled 353 in his career). Lach’s historic assist came in a 3-2 loss to the Rangers.

February 18, 1999 Panthers’ Sean Burke and Blues’ Jamie McLennan traded zeroes as Florida and St. Louis played to a 0-0 tie at the Kiel Center. It was the Blues’ first scoreless tie in St. Louis since January 7, 1978 (vs Chicago).

Rankings

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

Top 5

1. Pittsburgh
2. Toronto
3. Vegas
4. Florida
5. New Jersey

Bottom 5

30. Chicago
29. Montreal
28. NY Rangers
27. Edmonton
26. Vancouver

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.

NHL 2017-18 Recap Week 19 – Taylor Hall goes streaking, Blackhawks crater, only five NHL playoff spots up for grabshttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Taylor-Hall-1024x576.jpghttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Taylor-Hall-300x300.jpgAlex MuellerWeekly Recaps
Three for one and seven for four. That's where we are in the NHL season. Ten teams fighting for five playoff spots is all that's left to be decided. Technically, all the Metropolitan Division teams are still in it. But will assume that Capitals and Penguins are definitely going...