Let the clinching begin. Most of the NHL teams that clinched, you knew they were going to, so it’s not really a surprise. Most of the clinching was done out west, where five teams are in already. Nashville and San Jose should clinch soon. Leaving the only drama for the wild card spot which is now severely lacking drama thanks to Minnesota. Minnesota crushed the Avalanche and won all but one game against then this season. That only loss was in overtime. The Wild have now won five in a row. The Avalanche, while still alive, are effectively done.

The east is a little more muddled but not by much. Washington is the only team to clinch thus far but not for long. Florida got big statement wins over the Lighting and Bruins enabling them to control their path for the division crown. The Lightning are only two points back though and they have the regulation and overtime wins tiebreaker. The Red Wings playoff streak is in real jeopardy, for the first time in a long time. The are currently tied with Philadelphia and only a few points back of the Bruins. Coincidentally, the Red Wings play the Bruins in their 2nd to last game of the season and the Flyers in their 3rd to last game. Those should be really fun games.

Things I like

1. People sometimes decry the use of analytics in sports but numbers don’t lie. Case in point, my favorite stat, goal differential. In the Eastern Conference, all seven teams that have a positive goal differential, are currently in a playoff spot. The remaining teams all have negative goal differentials. The two teams fighting for the final playoff spot, are the two teams with the least negative goal differential, Philadelphia and Detroit. In the Western Conference, all eight playoff teams have a positive goal differential and all the other teams have a negative one. Numbers don’t lie, sometimes it’s just that simple.

2. Something I haven’t said in a really long time is, watch out for the Penguins. Their defensive issue notwithstanding, which may never get fixed, they are rolling. Along with Marc-Andre Fleury not sucking anymore, you now have to deal with their potent offense. Sidney Crosby is back and then some. But now the Penguins have some secondary and third scoring. Phil Kessel, Nick Bonino and Carl Hagelin have all fit in really well. In fact that treo, along with Crosby, were all in the the top 10 for most points in the last ten days. O and keep in mind Evgeni Malkin is injured. The Penguins will get out of the first round this year.

Things I don’t

1. Replay is a frustrating thing. I get the need for having indisputable evidence but sometimes, you just need to connect the dots. Henrik Lundqvist had a save in which his glove was over the goal line. They ended up ruling that not a goal. I can agree with that because A) you didn’t have any indisputable evidence that it was over the goal line because you can’t see the puck and B) you can’t really connect the dots and draw a conclusion that it was because there’s a chance that the puck is towards the front of the glove and not completely over the goal line. However, against the Panthers Patrice Bergeron had a goal that was not called a goal. In the replay it is hard to see the puck. But on one angle, you clearly see that the puck is in the net. You also then see Roberto Luongo kick the puck out of the net. So if you though that the black object was something else, it wasn’t. The only thing that I can think of, for not calling it a goal, was that they couldn’t tell if it was completely over the goal line.

2. The NHL scheduling wizards scheduled two games on Wednesday and three on Friday. Way to build enthusiasm for the run to the playoffs. The also had four on Monday. And of course Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday had their usual dozen games. Spread the love around NHL. No reason to have only two games on a night.

Fights of the Week

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

Josh Manson vs Michael McCarron

Pretty good although mostly uneven fight. Advantage McCarron.

Clayton Stoner vs Chris Neil

Big guys throwing haymakers. And I do mean haymakers. What’s not to like?

Goat of the Week

TJ Brodie – Calgary Flames

This shouldn’t happen on any level. He passed it right up the middle and right to him. Since the Flames lost by one, minus the empty net goals, it was a big deal and a bad way to start the game.

Stat Line of the Week

3/24/16 Toronto 6 vs. Ducks 5

Skater

TOI

G

A

+/-

SOG

PPP

N. Kadri

19:33

2

2

0

2

3

The Maple Leafs are hot for the Maple Leafs. They’ve won five of their last seven which is good. Their young players are also stepping up too. Nazem Kadri hasn’t really lived up to his potential but he has a chance to surpass fifty points for the first time in his career. He had two goals and two assists in a big win against the Ducks including the overtime winner. Things are finally looking up for the Leafs.

Connor McDavid Calder Watch

McDavid stretches his point streak to seven. Notching four assists and a goal in his last three games. McDavid is now 4th on rookie scoring and should end up 2nd overall despite playing in 30 less games which is a significant difference. Calder nomination guaranteed at this point.

Numbers, Numbers

2 – Duos in the top four in plus minus. Toffoli and Kopitar for the Kings and Kunitz and Maatta for the Penguins
12 – Game point streak for Sidney Crosby snapped, his longest of the season
0 – Game winning goals for Max Domi, the only rookie in the top 10 in rookie scoring without one
45 – Wins for Braden Holtby, just three shy of tying the record for most wins in a season
12 – Shorthanded goals against the Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes, yikes

Rankings

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

Top 5
1. St. Louis
2. Pittsburgh
3. Minnesota
4. Nashville
5. Florida

Bottom 5
30. Vancouver
29. Columbus
28. Winnipeg
27. Ottawa
26. Montreal

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 2015-16 Recap Week 24 – Penguins will be a tough out, Replay needs work, Goal differential doesn't liehttps://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/penguins-score-1024x576.jpghttps://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/penguins-score-300x300.jpgAlex MuellerWeekly RecapsBraden Holtby,Calgary Flames,Chris Neil,Clayton Stoner,Connor McDavid,Dallas Stars,Evgeni Malkin,Henrik Lundqvist,Marc-Andre Fleury,Nazem Kadri,Nick Bonino,Patrice Bergeron,Phil Kessel,Recap,Roberto Luongo,Sidney Crosby
Let the clinching begin. Most of the NHL teams that clinched, you knew they were going to, so it's not really a surprise. Most of the clinching was done out west, where five teams are in already. Nashville and San Jose should clinch soon. Leaving the only drama for...