Take Steven Stamkos
’ start and Corey Perry
’s stretch drive and you’d have a season for the ages.
Stamkos had 21 goals in Tampa Bay’s first 22 games, helping the Lightning to a fast start that should get them into the playoffs. Perry is showing the same kind of scoring touch down the stretch – and he’s carried the Anaheim Ducks
into the top eight in the West.
Perry has 8 goals and 10 points in his last five games, moving him past Stamkos for the League lead in goals with 44. He’s scored those 8 goals on just 25 shots, giving him a 32.0 shooting percentage. Three of the five goals were game-winners, and two of those came in overtime. The other game-winner came Saturday night, when he scored both of the Ducks’ goals in the third period to rally Anaheim to a 2-1 victory in Chicago.
Perry has been on a tear since the All-Star break, much like the one Stamkos was on at the start of the season. The 25-year old has 19 goals in 23 games since the start of February.
Five up — Five players who've been hot:
– One reason for Perry’s hot streak over the last week or so has been the play of Getzlaf, his center. Anaheim’s captain has 10 assists and 11 points in the Ducks’ last four games, during which he’s plus-9.
– Lundqvist has put the New York Rangers
on his back and is carrying them back to the playoffs. The Rangers scored three goals in his three games last week – and Lundqvist turned them into five points, a pair of 1-0 victories and a 2-1 shootout loss in which he stole them a point. Lundqvist leads all goaltenders with 11 shutouts, the most by a Rangers goaltender in more than 80 years.
– Last season’s Vezina Trophy winner matched Lundqvist with two shutouts, though he got a little more help from his teammates – he won both 2-0. Miller finished the week with a 3-0-0 record, allowing just 2 goals on 85 shots.
– Anderson started the week by signing a new four-year contract with Ottawa – and ended it by allowing one goal in a pair of victories for the resurgent Senators. Anderson beat Lundqvist 2-1 in a shootout on Thursday, then shut out Washington 2-0 the next night, giving him an 8-4-0 record since coming over from Colorado last month.
– Boston’s captain had a pair of three-point performances as the Bruins beat New Jersey and Montreal; for the week, he had a goal, 5 assists and was plus-5.
Five down — Five players who are struggling:
– Both Price and the Montreal Canadiens
have been struggling. He lost all three decisions last week and was lifted after allowing five goals in a 7-0 loss at Boston. But not all of the Habs’ struggles are Price’s fault – in his three starts, his teammates didn’t score a single goal.
– The lack of secondary scoring has been a major reason for Chicago’s inconsistency this season. To make the playoffs, the Hawks need more from players like Brouwer, who has gone eight games without a point and 17 without a goal.
– Moulson has gone cold since reaching the 30-goal mark for the second time in as many seasons with the Islanders – he’s gone five games without a point.
– After tearing up the NHL for the first half of the season, Stamkos has struggled to put the puck in the net and has been passed for the League lead in goals and points. He’s gone without in point and is minus-5 in Tampa Bay’s last five games and has just 5 goals in 24 games since the All-Star break.
– A lack of scoring has sunk the New Jersey Devils
’ second-half surge short of a playoff berth. Zubrus has gone six games without a point, during which he’s minus-5, and hasn’t scored a goal in 16 games.
Injuries, news and notes
– The Los Angeles Kings
paid a big price for their three wins last week. The Kings swept Calgary, San Jose and Colorado, but lost two-thirds of their first line – right wing Justin Williams
dislocated his shoulder against the Flames, while team scoring leader Anze Kopitar
broke his ankle in Saturday’s 4-1 win against the Avs.
– Washington’s Alex Ovechkin
sat out last week with an undisclosed injury. The Caps say he’ll probably return sometime this week. … The New York Islanders
, the runaway leaders in man-games lost due to injuries, lost another defenseman when Andrew MacDonald
went down for the season with a hip injury that requires surgery. They hope he’ll be ready for training camp. … Eric Boulton
has missed Atlanta’s last two games with a facial laceration. … Calgary’s Niklas Hagman
hasn’t played the last couple of games with concussion-like symptoms. … Carolina defenseman Joni Pitkanen
misses Saturday’s game with food poisoning. … Colorado lost forward David Olver with a head injury and Ryan Wilson
with a knee injury in Thursday’s game. … Dallas has been without defensemen Karlis Skrastins
(thigh) and Niklas Grossman (knee) for the past week. … Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard
left Saturday’s game after a third-period collision. The Wings say he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury. … Pittsburgh goaltender Brent Johnson
sat out games Thursday and Friday with an upper-body injury. … New Jersey defensemen Colin White
and Anton Volchenkov
both left Friday’s game with lower-body injuries and didn’t play Saturday. … Flyers forward Jody Shelley
suffered a broken orbital bone and isn’t expected back until mid-April. … Phoenix lost center Lauri Korpikoski
on Thursday with a lower-body injury. He didn’t play Saturday. … Forward Mikael Samuelsson
missed the Canucks’ last two games with a lower-body injury. … Pittsburgh forward Dustin Jeffrey
will have an MRI on his leg; he missed Friday’s game.
– Carolina defenseman Jamie McBain
returned Saturday after missing six games with a shoulder injury. … Washington forward Eric Fehr
returned after missing two weeks with a shoulder problem. … Buffalo defenseman Steve Montador
returned Saturday after missing three games with a lower-body injury. … Tampa Bay forward Ryan Malone
(abdominal) hopes to return this week. He’s missed more than two months. Another forward, Steve Downie
, was back on Friday after missing nine games with an ankle injury. … Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik
expects to return this week from a broken right index finger. Center Mike Comrie
played Friday for the first time since Nov. 24. He had hip surgery in December.
– Sidney Crosby
has been skating at Pittsburgh’s practices, but there’s still no word when he might be able to return. Another center, Eric Tangradi
, is also sidelined with a concussion but is skating again. … Detroit put goaltender Chris Osgood
back on long-term IR after he suffered a setback in his recovery from sports hernia surgery. … Chicago center Dave Bolland
has missed six games with a concussion and is nowhere near returning. … Ottawa defenseman Sergei Gonchar
has missed four games with a concussion and is likely to sit the rest of the season. … The Islanders said defenseman Mark Streit
, sidelined since training camp with a shoulder injury that required surgery, will not play at all this season.
The week ahead
-- The next-to-last week of the regular season is a hectic one. Eleven of the 30 teams have four games on tap; only two clubs have two.
Games to watch: (March 28- April 3)
Chicago at Detroit (March 28; Versus/TSN2)
-- The Hawks begin a tough last two weeks with the first of their three remaining games against their long-time rivals.
Chicago at Boston (March 29; Versus/TSN2)
-- If the Blackhawks are going to make the playoffs, they'll have to work for it. They make a rare visit to Boston for their second Original Six game in as many nights.
Vancouver at Nashville (March 29)
-- The Canucks are closing in on the top seed in the West and the first Presidents' Trophy in franchise history, but they're ending a four-game trip against a team that's won six in a row and is 7-1-0 at home this month.
New York Rangers at Philadelphia (April 3; NBC/TSN)
-- It's the last meeting of the regular season between the Atlantic Division rivals, who could see each other again in the opening round of the playoffs.
Buffalo at Carolina (April 3; NHL Network-Canada)
-- This could be the make-or-break game for the 'Canes, who are chasing Buffalo for the final playoff berth in the East,
Tough week ahead:
-- This week doesn't figure to be a lot of fun for the Thrashers, who spend it visiting three of the top six teams in the East -- Montreal, Philadelphia and Boston.
-- The Hawks start the first of back-to-back four-game weeks with stops in Detroit on Monday and Boston on Tuesday, then visit Columbus before making a pit stop at home against Tampa Bay.
-- The Stars will have to earn a playoff berth -- they spend the week visiting their four Pacific Division rivals, playing four games in six days starting Tuesday in Phoenix.
Easy week ahead:
-- The 'Yotes spend the week in the desert, hosting Dallas on Tuesday and Colorado on Friday while hoping the rest of the teams they're battling for a playoff berth struggle.
San Jose Sharks
-- It's also a light week for the Sharks, who host Dallas and Anaheim.
-- The Caps are glad to be back in D.C. after a two-week trip. They have home games against two teams outside the playoffs (Carolina and Columbus) before hosting Buffalo on Saturday.