Welcome back to another exciting edition of the bi-weekly online publication known as Plagens Points.
Since the last installment, things have really tightened up on top of the Atlantic Division, and Jaromir Jagr has continued to rattle off milestones. The Panthers have two very important home games coming up later this week; tomorrow at 7:30 pm against Ottawa, and Saturday at 7 pm against Philadelphia before the team heads back on the road for a three-game swing beginning Monday at 7 pm in Brooklyn against the Islanders.
IMPORTANT HOCKEY THINGS
- Entering Thursday’s action, the Panthers are in the midst of a logjam atop the Atlantic Division. With Boston’s 1-0 overtime win over Tampa Bay last night, the Lightning and Bruins are tied with 83 points, while the Panthers have 81 points. Working in the Panthers favor, though, is the fact that Tampa Bay has played 67 games and Boston has played 68 games, while the Panthers have played 66 entering Thursday’s game against Ottawa. The Senators last three games have been decided by a goal; a 4-3 shootout loss at Carolina Tuesday, a 2-1 home loss against Dallas on Sunday, and a 3-2 win in Toronto on Sunday.
-As for Jagr, he moved into sole possession of third on the all-time points list with an assist in Monday’s 5-4 overtime loss to Boston. The assist was Jagr’s 1,851’s point, and it happened in his 1,613th career game; he moved into sole possession of ninth on the all-time games played list Monday. The assist marked the 1,108th in the career of Jagr, who is sixth on the all-time list for helpers and one of just six players to reach the 1,100 assist mark. Only Wayne Gretzky, Ron Francis, Mark Messier, Ray Bourque and Paul Coffey have more assists than Jagr. Next up on the all-time points list: Mark Messier sits in second all-time with 1,887 points; 36 ahead of Jagr. With just 16 games left this season, Messier’s total is an incredibly tall order for this season, but it would certainly be within reach next season.
-Jussi Jokinen’s seven-game assist streak snapped last time out, but he extended his point streak to eight games with a second period goal. Jokinen has a goal and eight assists for nine points over his current eight-game run. Jokinen’s career-best point streak is 10 games, and it came while he was a member of the Carolina Hurricanes from 1/28/10 to 3/2/10. Jokinen finished that season with a career-high 30 goals and 65 points. At the moment, Jokinen sits second on the Panthers in points with 47, but he leads the Panthers in assists with 35 on the campaign. Jokinen is one assist away from tying his career high of 36 helpers, which he reached with Pittsburgh during the 2014-14 season and with the Panthers last season. Jokinen’s +14 is a career-best.
-Jiri Hudler notched two goals in his first home game as a Panther on Monday against Boston, including the tying goal late in the third period that ultimately forced overtime and helped the Panthers gain a point. The Panthers only play Eastern Conference teams the rest of the season- Saturday’s game in Arizona was their last regular season game against the Western Conference this season- and Hudler has 48 goals and 122 points in 159 career games against Eastern Conference foes according to the fine folks over at hockey-reference.com; an average of .767 points per game.
-Jonathan Huberdeau was one of the best Panthers on Monday night, registering assists on each of the first two Panthers goals. Huberdeau had missed six games, including the entire recent five-game road swing. With 16 games remaining, Huberdeau is four goals and eight assists away from tying his career-highs; both of which were set last season. This month is typically a big one for Huberdeau; he has 26 assists and 35 points over 41 March games in his career. OTHER RELEVANT THINGS
-I was able to make a couple visits each to two of my favorite food establishments in the world during that last road trip. In Denver, I had back-to-back lunches at Café Rio; perhaps the greatest Mexican quick serve chain in the universe. In Arizona, I had back-to-back lunches at the king of all dining establishments on Earth, In-N-Out Burger. It was my first time having In-N-Out in Arizona, and you’ll get a closer look at my dining experience there very soon, right here on this very website.
-Am I the only one who believes that the large drink from Panda Express is a wonder of the world? It’s the size of most water coolers or scuba tanks. If you get one, you won’t be thirsty again for quite some time.
-I mentioned this about a month ago, but the new Killswitch Engage album will be available to the masses on Friday. I’ve been informed by the magic of email that mine has shipped, and it’s en route to my place of residence.
-I’ve been an customer of Interpunk.com for years, and recently purchased 30 random CD’s for a grand total of eighteen bucks. I should have them soon, and if you follow along @DougPlagens, you’ll find out about all that and more.
-Tweet the broadcast; you might hear your Tweet read during games. And you can tweet me and our old pal Alex Donno (@AlexDonno), and you’re tweet could be read on the weekly Panthers Insider Show. Tune in every Saturday at 9:00 AM to join in the fun.