NHL 2017-18 Recap Week 24 – Final stretch to the NHL Playoffs, McDavid heating up, Stars sink
With less than ten games left in the NHL season, pretty much everything is up for grabs in the Western Conference. It’s more than likely the Predators will be the top seed and the Golden Knights will be the second seed. But it’s possible both could not win their division because of the Jets and Sharks. Third place in both division and the wild card spots are wide open though. There are basically five teams(Ducks, Kings, Blues, Wild, Avalanche) fighting for four spots thanks to the Stars slide. More on them below. All five teams have a legitimate chance at getting in but the one with the biggest disadvantage is the Ducks. That’s because their regulation and overtime wins, which is the first tiebreaker, is by far the lowest at 35. There’s almost no way they will be able to fix it either.
Things I like
1. In the Eastern Conference, only the Maple Leafs are really locked in to their playoff spot. They might be able to move up but that’s doubtful. The Lightning will get the top seed unless the Bruins catch them and then they will get the top spot. The Metropolitan is pretty much all up for grabs, although the Capitals have the inside track at the division title. The Panthers are the only team that can spoil the top five Metropolitan teams from getting in. The Panthers have also played the fewest games but still have the regulation and overtime wins tiebreaker over the Devils.
2. Since the start of 2018 only Evgeni Malkin has more points than Connor McDavid. But McDavid has vaulted to the top of the scoring race and looks poised to capture his second consecutive Art Ross trophy and his second straight 100 point season. This will probably be just the start of a decade long dominance in scoring by McDavid. But it’s not over yet. Malkin, Nikita Kucherov and Nathan MacKinnon will all have something to say about the race. McDavid has ten points in his last four games.
Things I don’t
1. The Dallas Stars are the latest team to play themselves out of the playoffs.Last year was a disappointing season for the Stars. But they had injuries and goaltending issues that gave them a pass. However, this season they don’t really have a legit excuse. The Stars have only one win in their last ten games, which just isn’t going to get it done. They also lost in spectacular fashion against the Bruins. They took a 2-0 lead into the third period at home only to see the Bruins tie it up. That isn’t that bad but then they failed to clear the puck out of their own end multiple times in the closing seconds. This enabled the Bruins to score with 11 seconds left to win the game in regulation. They then followed it up with a pathetic home loss to the Canucks. The Stars are also way too top heavy and require their star players to do almost everything. Unless they can acquire some secondary scoring in the off-season, they may miss the playoffs next year for a third year in row.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Alex Petrovic vs Michael McCarron
Luongo takes a stick to the back and Petrovic defends his honor pretty well. Until the very end of the fight that is.
Garnet Hathaway vs Brenden Dillon
This was a really good fight. It was dominated by Dillon first, then Hathaway and then it went back and forth.
Goat of the Week
Detroit Red Wings
A sloppy pass combined with a sloppy effort to rain in the pass leads to a breakaway the other way and the only goal of the game. This play kind of sums of the Red Wings season.
Stat Line of the Week
3/25/18 Winnipeg 5 vs Nashville 4
In a much needed win for the Jets in their bid to to wrest first place from the Predators, Kyle Connor had a goal and an assist. Connor is on his way to a 30 goal season in his first full NHL season. The former first round pick has given the Jets some nice scoring depth. He has nine points in his last six games and he is second in goals on the team.
500 – Career wins for Wild coach Bruce Boudreau
4 – Goals for Anze Kopitar who is now one shy of tying his career season high
8 – Game scoring streak currently for Clayton Keller of the Coyotes
1 – NHL goal for Ethan Bear of the Oilers, someone to watch out for next season
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
March 19, 1935 George Hainsworth became the first goaltender in Toronto Maple Leafs history to win 30 games in one season. The milestone 30th victory of the year was a 5-3 win against the visiting St. Louis Eagles.
March 20, 1928 Goaltender George Hainsworth recorded his 12th shutout of the season (and the 26th of his career) and Howie Morenz scored his 6th career hat trick and added an assist in the Canadiens’ 5-0 win over the visiting New York Americans.
March 21, 1985 Washington’s Bobby Carpenter became the first U.S. born player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a season; the milestone came in a 3-2 loss at Montreal.
March 22, 1967 Toronto’s Bob Pulford became the 6th player in franchise history to score 200 goals as a member of the Maple Leafs. The milestone came in a 5-3 loss to the visiting Montreal Canadiens.
March 23, 1939 Rookie Mel Hill scored his second straight OT goal (this time at 8:24) to give the Bruins a 3-2 win over the Rangers, in Game 2 of their Semi-Final series. Hill went on to record one more overtime goal in the series, won by Boston in 7 games.
March 24, 1953 Detroit’s Terry Sawchuk tied an NHL record with his third straight playoff shutout, a 7-0 Red Wings win over Boston, in Game One of the Stanley Cup Semi-Finals at the Olympia. Ted Lindsay had two goals and two assists to lead the scoring.
March 25, 1951 Detroit’s Alex Delvecchio played in his first NHL game, rookie goalie Terry Sawchuk earned his 11th shutout of the season and the Wings became the first NHL team to get 100 points in a season, with a 5-0 win over the visiting Montreal Canadiens.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
1. San Jose
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.