Through eight March games, Jeff Carter has a point-per-game average with the Kings. Dustin Penner had a couple of points this evening against the Preds, but has just 16 this season. 16.

 

Pavel Datsyuk returned for the Wings and scored, although his team still fell 3-2 to the Sharks in overtime. Valtteri Filppula has 13 points in his past 10 affairs and he needs just one more point to reach the 60-point level.

 

Martin Havlat got the GWG and connected for another marker earlier. Now healthy again and two games into his comeback, he adds an entirely new dimension to San Jose's top six. The two front lines haven't looked, nor have they generally been, nearly as formidable without him on the active roster.

 

The Sedins negotiated their first multi-pointers in three weeks, which has seemed like an eternity for their owners. The final weeks should see plenty of points though. It's the Sedins. Cory Schneider had now won both of his starts in the past nine days, so with Roberto Luongo having lost his past four outings with a boatload of goals against in that time, it means it's time to stand back and let the Schneider crowd battle the Luongo fans in Vancouver. Grab the popcorn.

 

How great - and bad - was Alexander Edler's coast-to-coaster? How Not To Defend 101.

 

So Sidney Crosby not only has five assists in his first two games back, but he has also looked brilliant in the process. Matt Cooke has recorded B2B two-goal efforts and Tyler Kennedy has the same in helpers. Then there’s Evgeni Malkin, who is up to 87 points thanks to his 23rd multi-point result of the season. James Neal potted his 32nd goal of the campaign and he’s continuing to destroy his career highs across the board, including PIM and SOG. Oh – and then there’s some kid from Ontario named Jordan Staal who extended his point streak to 10 games. He has 19 points in 16 starts since returning from the IR.

 

Crosby, Malkin and Staal all healthy at once with a relatively injury-free lineup across the board finally? I wouldn’t want to be the team meeting the Pens in the first round next month. Or the second round. Or the Conference Finals. Or the Cup Finals.

 

The Boston Bruins ended a four-game losing streak in their matinee against the Flyers, which was an entertaining and hard-fought tilt decided by a shootout. It’s been an uneven ride for the Bruins in recent months, but they have the experience to finish the regular season on a strong note, which will hopefully translate into better final weeks from guys like Brad Marchand.

 

Although if the Bruins get bounced early this spring, think of all the time Tim Thomas will have for Facebook! #letfreedomring

 

It was another strong appearance from Ilya Bryzgalov, who dropped his first March decision in eight starts. Aside from the opener of the month against the Isles, where he surrendered three goals in a 6-3 win, he has given up two or fewer in each of those games with four shutouts mixed in there. His last game in February was only a 1-0 loss too.

 

There had to be some questions in the minds of potential Mark Streit owners back at the draft in the fall after he missed all of last season, but with his fourth 40-point campaign in the books it’s pretty clear he’s still an excellent asset on the blueline. It’s worth noting that Travis Hamonic is going on a run to close out the year with six points in his past five games.

 

Speaking of D and specifically D from that Isles/Habs game, it has to be extremely rewarding for his keeper league owners to see P.K. Subban mature so much – particularly in the past month. His overall game is really developing right in front of our eyes and the payoff has come offensively too, with nine points in nine March clashes. Points, PIM, hits and a better-balanced attitude on the ice that reflects a more team-attuned approach. This kid is going to be phenomenal over the course of his career, if he doesn’t get in his own way. If recent changes are any indication, he’s leaving the juvenility behind him. I wish I could say the same.

 

The Leafs beat the Sens 3-1, but among the more interesting notes from that tilt included a fighting major from Sergei Gonchar. Chris Neil and Mikhail Grabovski also tangled and while that’s unusual enough, the fact that Grabo didn’t have his jersey tied down brought his PIM total to 25. It’s possible that little detail will be the deciding factor in some H2H battles this week and at this time of the season with the stakes this high in the playoffs... if that’s not a battle cry for “get PIM as a positive stat the hell out of fantasy”, then I don’t know what is.

 

Really insightful quote from Erik Karlsson on HNIC on something that sounds like so simple, but that we routinely see players neglect to do: “One thing I’ve been trying to improve is every time I turn, whether it’s left or right, I always turn my head first. So if you’re picking up a puck in the corner and you’re going to turn left you just take a look before you turn. It’s not that hard really, but it’s something that I think everybody should work on and maybe it will help you from getting hit or caught with your head down.”

 

Ryan O’Reilly netted his 53rd point against the Rangers in a 3-1 win, which officially gives him more points than his first two seasons combined. His game has been so uniform this season. Jamie McGinn picked up a cheapie assist on the ENG, but that still gives him 10 points in 10 games since the trade on that Paul Stastny line.

 

Gabriel Landeskog added more ammo for his Calder bid and he’s flat-out just a man out there on the ice. He’s easily been one of my favourite blog topics this season and what’s not to love about his all-around game? For my money though, that rookie race will bypass Adam Henrique and come down to Landeskog and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. As long as RNH produces like he has been when he’s in the line-up, I think he’s still played enough games and will have the offensive stats to games played ratio to still win the hardware in a tight race.

 

Plus, that finish would make my pre-season DH Calder pick of RNH-Landeskog come to fruition. The only other ones I remember picking were Malkin for the Hart and Henrik Lundqvist for the Vezina. Six months is a lot of writing ago... no idea what else we even picked on, let alone what I chose for each one.

 

Almost forgot too...Semyon Varlamov's performance against the Rangers was nothing short of spectacular. Lundqvist said as much after the game too.

 

Jaden Schwartz made his NHL debut against Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning and the kid is one of the few players who can say they scored their first goal on the first shot of their first shift. Sans Andy McDonald, he opened with Patrik Berglund and Jamie Langenbrunner. His tally ended up being the GWG and he didn’t look the least bit out of place when I was able to watch. By all media accounts I saw on Twitter during and following the game, he looks like an NHL player right now.

 

Speaking of newbs shining, Marcus Foligno has 1-4-5 in four games on this current call-up. He has looked good and he, Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford have been producing really well.

 

Every couple of Sundays during the regular season I've had an extra blog in addition to Ramblings here on DH. This week is a look at how poolies who have nothing for which to play down the stretch still owe it to themselves to keep paying attention nightly...

 

Should you be so inclined, follow me on Twitter for NHL and fantasy info as a safe mobile notifications options with minimal self-involved dreck in 140-character spurts.

 

Check out tonight’s Live NHL Recap over at Sportsnet.ca for a full rundown, including line combos and PP times.


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Comments (2)add comment

Thomas said:

Kofax
... I know what you're saying, but I'd love to be the team that meets the Pens in the finals or conference finals, means I've got a chance.... Who am I kidding, I'd love the 1st round match up even....

(too obvious I'm a poor Leafs fan?)
March 18, 2012
Votes: +0

Larry said:

Rollie1967
... Edler deked out the entire Columbus lineup by skating in a straight line, its like Nikitin forgot which side of the ice he was supposed to be on.
March 18, 2012
Votes: +0
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