The Capitals and Maple Leafs met in the third NHL outdoor game of the season. It seems like it’s been even less than three though. NBC did a good job saluting the armed forces and the Olympic gold medal men’s curling and women’s hockey teams. As for the actual game, it’ wasn’t that great. The goaltending was average at best and the Maple Leafs defense was nowhere to be found. It wasn’t a close game either which is surprising since Braden Holtby did not play well. But the Maple Leafs weren’t able to capitalize. Alex Ovechkin scored his 40th goal of the season to inch closer to 600 goals. But this was his ninth straight 40 goal season. One of only six players to accomplish this feat. Since the game wasn’t that interesting, we’ll talk about what we learned from the game.

Neither of the teams will probably go far in the playoffs. However, sometimes games like these points out all the flaws of a team and then coaches make adjustments and they do go far. But the Maple Leafs seem like they aren’t ready for prime time quite yet. Defensively, they need to play a lot better and offensively. they didn’t really show up. I viewed this like it was a playoff game because it was against a playoff opponent in prime time and nationally televised. The Maple Leafs will play against the Bruins or Lightning in the first round and both of those teams have a lot more playoff experience. Seems unlikely the Maple Leafs will advance this playoffs.

For the Capitals, Braden Holtby worries me. I remember when he first burst upon the scene and was phenomenal in the playoffs. This season though, he’s had a lot of mental brain farts. Between this game, a few others and the no moves Nikita Kucherov put on him, I worry about how he will perform with extra pressure in the playoffs. Recently, there’s nothing worse than being on the Capitals in the playoffs. The Capitals will need to get exceptional play from Holtby to advanced past the second round and I don’t think they will get it this playoffs.

Things I like

1. The Florida Panthers are winning so much of late, they’ve played themselves into playoff contention. They’ve won six in a row and eight of ten and even beat the red hot Flyers. Now they occupy the final wild card spot. Something that would have been unheard of weeks ago. The Panthers have also played the least amount of games in the Eastern Conference. Evgenii Dadonov and Aleksander Barkov and both have ten points each in their last six games. Roberto Luongo and James Reimer have been playing excellent n goal lately. The only downside is they don’t have an easy schedule. They also have four games left against the Bruins.

2. Jeff Carter came back from his lengthy injury absence and picked up right where he left off. Scoring goals for the Kings. Carter has three goals back in his first five games back and gives the Kings a much needed additional scoring threat.

Things I don’t

1. The Flames, Blues and Islanders all had playoff positions a few weeks and now it looks likely that none of them will get in. The Islanders and Blues are each 2-6-2 in their last ten and the Flames are 3-6-1. I’m most disappointed in the Islanders because I really thought they had a lot of talent on the team and Mathew Barzal, John Tavares and Josh Bailey were all playing well. But now they are last in their division. This might mean a blowup is coming for the Islanders. John Tavares is also a free agent, which might be a problem too.

Fights of the Week

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

Jamie Oleksiak vs Zdeno Chara

A couple of really big boys going at it. Just a little short.

Tanner Glass vs Duncan Siemens

Not a bad fight, just much slower paced than normal.

Goat of the Week

Although there were a lot of turnovers this week, there were none that I could find that were really bad in a one goal game.

Stat Line of the Week

3/03/18 Tampa Bay 7 vs Philadelphia 6

Skater

TOI

G

A

+/-

SOG

Blk

S. Stamkos

19:06

2

3

2

7

1

Steven Stamkos figured into all the Lightnings’ goals but one in a wild shootout win against the Flyers. Stamkos is starting to play like he did when he first entered the NHL. His goal production is down from those seasons but his assists are way up. That’s a good sign because it means he’s becoming a more complete player.

Numbers, Numbers

8 – Goals scored by the Penguins and the Bruins in the 1st period of the Bruins win
25 – Games played in a row with at least one point for Taylor Hall
12 – Points for Nathan MacKinnon in his last six games
31 – Place in penalty kill and power play, also known as dead last, for the Oilers

This Week in Hockey History

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

February 26, 2002 Brian Leetch became the ninth defenseman in NHL history to score 900 career points when he assisted on Eric Lindros’ goal in the New York Rangers’ 4-3 loss to New Jersey.

February 27, 1997 Kirk McLean became the first goalie in Canucks history to record 200 wins with Vancouver, in a 6-2 victory over the visiting Phoenix Coyotes. Martin Gelinas scored four goals and added an assist, and

February 28, 1983 Pittsburgh’s Rick Kehoe scored his 350th career NHL goal when the Penguins lost 9-3 to the Rangers, at New York.

March 01, 1988 Mario Lemieux scored two goals and an assist in an 8-3 win over the visiting Minnesota North Stars. The two goals gave Lemieux 56 for the year (a new team record) and 200 for his career. He broke the Rick Kehoe’s record of 55 set in 1980-81.

March 02, 2000 Vancouver’s Mark Messier became just the fourth player in NHL history to score 1,700 career points, when he scored a goal in a 3-1 win over the visiting Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

March 03, 1999 Pavel Bure scored three straight goals for his 11th career hat trick in the Panthers’ 7-5 loss to the visiting Colorado Avalanche.

March 04, 1993 Bob Murray played in his 1,000th career NHL game as the Blackhawks lost 4-1 to the visiting Bruins. Murray joined Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull and Eric Nesterenko as the 4th Blackhawk to play 1,000 games and as the first Chicago defenseman to do so.

Rankings

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

Top 5

1. Nashville
2. Florida
3. Boston
4. Tampa Bay
5. Philadelphia

Bottom 5

30. NY islanders
29. St. Louis
28. NY Rangers
27. Vancouver
26. Calgary

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 21 – Capitals vs Maple Leafs outdoors, Panthers rising, Carter back, Islanders tumblinghttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/capitals-vs-maple-leafs-outdoor-1024x576.jpghttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/capitals-vs-maple-leafs-outdoor-300x300.jpgAlex MuellerWeekly Recaps
The Capitals and Maple Leafs met in the third NHL outdoor game of the season. It seems like it's been even less than three though. NBC did a good job saluting the armed forces and the Olympic gold medal men's curling and women's hockey teams. As for the actual...