NHL 2017-18 Recap Week 23 – Bruins the team to beat, Ovechkin nets 600, Blue Jackets hot, Islanders not
The Boston Bruins had a quite a week, First, the Bruins lost two defensemen against the Hurricanes and found themselves down 4-1 in the third period. But the Bruins would not be deterred, as they scored four goals in six and a half minutes to take a one goal lead. They added an empty netter later. This is the kind of comeback win that gives a team confidence for the playoffs. They lost to the Panthers in their next game but that was a trap game because their next game after that was against the Lightning. And the Bruins came out strong in that one. They pretty much dominated the game until the start of third period but at that point they were already up 3-0. This was a statement game for the Bruins. The top seed is also within reach now too. They are now only two points back with a game in hand on the Lightning.
The Bruins have one of the most complete teams in the NHL and are one of the favorites to go all the way. If they do win it all, it will have nothing to do with acquiring Rick Nash. Although it can never be proven now, they had just a great of a chance to win it all without him. The only difference is they wouldn’t have mortgaged their future so much.
Things I like
1.Alex Ovechkin scored his 600th career NHL goal. Leading many to wonder if he can break Wyane Gretzky’s record. The short answer is no. Ovechkin is the 4th fastest to reach 600 behind, you guessed it, Wayne Gretzky and three others. If Ovechkin were to have a chance to break the record he would need to be near Gretzky’s pace not over 200 games behind it. Plus in this NHL, even if older players can still produce, coaches don’t really seem to care. Just ask Teemu Selanne and Jaromir Jagr. Which means in about eight years, he won’t be playing very much at all. So he will need to average 35 to 40 goals the next eight seasons to have a chance. I can see him doing that the next three years but I’m not so sure after that. The bigger problem for Ovechkin is what do those goals mean? I can’t think of a single meaningful goal he has ever scored in a playoff game. I can’t really think of that many key goals in the regular season either.
2. Besides the Predators, no one has been hotter than the Columbus Blue Jackets. This came as a surprise to me but the Blue Jackets have all but punched their ticket to the playoffs now. Seth Jones, especially, and Boone Jenner have been hot as of late. But the Blue Jackets are built like the Predators. Good goaltending, great defense and a very balanced offense that doesn’t rely on any one player. The Blue Jackets have ten players with at least ten goals. Artemi Panarin is the only one with at least 20 goals. Still, I can’t really see them getting past the first round.
Things I don’t
1. The New York Islanders, Chicago Blackhawks and Calgary Flames have all but played themselves out of the playoffs with their past couple of weeks of play. But the Islanders have definitely flamed out the worst. Only one win in their last ten games, the Islanders have sunk to the bottom of the division. For a team loaded with talent, this is a huge disappointment. The last four years the new look Islanders have now missed the playoffs twice and have only won one playoff series. I’m not sure that will be enough to keep John Tavares from leaving.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Matt Martin vs Nathan Beaulieu
A decent fight with punches being thrown even after they lose their balance.
Jason Dickinson vs Nicolas Deslauriers
A fight with a little bit of everything in it.
Goats of the Week
Leon Draisaitl – Edmonton Oilers
As much as I like Draisaitl, he makes an extremely bad pass right to to the Sharks, which they take the other way for the easy goal. The Sharks won by one.
Nick Schmaltz – Chicago Blackhawks
Down by one with the goalie pulled, Schmaltz tries to drag around the Sabres defender but instead runs right into him and coughs it up. The Sabres go the other way to ice the game.
Stat Line of the Week
3/16/18 San Jose 7 vs Calgary 4
Evander Kane has surprisingly fit in pretty well on the Sharks. He’s amassed ten points in nine games so far and given them another scoring option. This was his best game as a Shark so far. He scored four goals to help crush the Flames. It’ll be interesting to see what he does in the playoffs.
3 – Games in a row with no goals for the punchless Canucks
400 – Career wins for Marc-Andre Fleury joining an elite club
1 – NHL team to clinch a playoff spot, the Nashville Predators
1 – Natural hat trick by William Karlsson against the Flames
12 – Game point streak for Nathan MacKinnon currently
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
March 12, 2003 Defenseman Mathieu Schneider registered his 500th career point with an assist in his first game with Detroit, and Tomas Holmstrom added a goal and two assists in the Red Wings 3-2 win against the Coyotes at Phoenix.
March 13, 1999 Jaromir Jagr scored a goal and added three assists to become the first 100 point scorer in the 1998-99 season, as the Penguins won 4-0 against the visiting Flyers. Jagr reached the 100 point mark in a season for the third time in his career.
March 14, 2001 Ron Francis became the first player to score 1,000 points with the Carolina Hurricanes’ franchise (dating back to Hartford). His milestone point came as an assist in a 6-3 loss to the visiting Montreal Canadiens.
March 15, 1989 New York Ranger’s Brian Leetch scored his 22nd goal of the season, to tie the NHL record for most goals by a rookie defenseman (set by Barry Beck in 1977-78); the record came in a 6-3 loss to the visiting Winnipeg Jets.
March 16, 1983 Al Jensen became the first goaltender in Washington Capitals history to win 20 games in one season. The milestone 20th victory of the year was a 5-4 win against the visiting Hartford Whalers. Bengt Gustafsson led the scoring with three assists.
March 17, 1992 Luc Robitaille scored his 100th point of the season for the third time in his career, when he picked up an assist for the Kings, in a 5-4 win against the Winnipeg Jets, at the Forum.
March 18, 1978 Darryl Sittler became the 6th player in franchise history to score 250 goals as a member of the Maple Leafs. The milestone came in a 3-2 Toronto loss to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
5. San Jose
29. NY Islanders
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.