For all of you who forgot what day it is today, Happy April Fools! I hate this day. You just can't trust anything you read or hear about and you are screwed if you wake up and don't recall right away what day it is.
While we are on the subject of deception, how about those Ottawa Senators? Talk about a split personality, they have got to be the streakiest team in the league. It all started very early in January, when they lost five games in a row and then followed that by winning 11 in a row and 14 of 16 games heading into the Olympic break. Ottawa stumbled after returning from the time off, going 1-7-1 and now they have won five straight games. Bizarre.
Unless the Sens are able to overtake division rival Buffalo, Ottawa will almost certainly play New Jersey or Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs. Drawing the defending Stanley Cup champs wouldn't be an ideal first round matchup for Ottawa, but at least the season series is tied at two games a piece. The Senators lost the first three games against New Jersey this season (3-2, 3-1 and 4-2), but beat the Devils (3-0) in their last meeting.
It will be very interesting to see which Ottawa team shows up for the playoffs.
There is little doubt in my mind that Brian Elliott is the biggest reason for the Sens current five game winning streak. In the first two games of the streak, Elliott posted back to back shutouts. The next game, Elliott bested future Vezina candidate Ryan Miller of the Sabres in recording a 41 save victory.
In games four and five of the streak, Elliott only had to face 22 and 21 shots against, but he had to be sharp as both games were one goal affairs. The last one was against the lethal Washington Capitals. He was also named the NHL's first star of the week.
Swedish rookie sensation Erik Karlsson has nine points in his last five games. Coach Clouston deserves some credit here for how he's handled the young defender, not giving him big ice time until he was ready. Providing protection by pairing him with the veteran behemoth Sutton seems obvious, but sometimes coaches don't always do the obvious. Karlsson was voted the Best Defenseman at the World U18 and U20 (better known as the World Junior Championship) tournaments. If for some reason you can still add Karlsson to your keeper league roster, do so immediately.
That other Swedish guy in Ottawa has an eight game point streak on the go and 13 points during that stretch. How can you not respect Daniel Alfredsson's consistent level of competitiveness? He's 37-years-old and still a point-per-game player for heaven's sake!
Peter Regin has a point in each of the last five games. He's been given added ice time and is pulling some shifts with the aforementioned Alfredsson and Jason Spezza, which helps explain the point streak. The 23-year-old Dane had 47 points in 56 games in the AHL last season. When everyone is healthy on the Sens, Regin currently falls just outside of the top six.
Jason Spezza has eight points in his last three games.
Only one lonely point over 13 games in the month of March. He's also a woeful minus-11 in the month. That's not very good if you happen to be the second highest paid player on the team. Alexei Kovalev (Sens fans already knew who I was talking about!) is the grossly underachieving player we are talking about. Still, he is supremely talented and if he can somehow regain a little of his magic in the playoffs, all will be forgiven.
David Krejci has 14 points in his last 11 games. The interesting thing is that he has two points in six of those games...Dennis Seidenberg has nine points in his 15 games as a Bruin, but only one has come via the power play. He is on pace to play 83 games this season.
Patrik Elias has six points in his last five games played...Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner only have four points each, while Ilya Kovalchuk seems to have found his way with eight points in those same five games.
With three points last night against Florida, Raffi Torres has five points in his eight games as a Sabre and ten points in his last 13 games.
The guy Buffalo and Torres lit up yesterday was Tomas Vokoun. Over 11 games in March, Vokoun has a 3.27 goals-against-average and 0.902 save percentage.
Atlanta Thrashers goalie Ondrej Pavelec has two wins and two overtime losses in his last four starts. He has a stellar 1.71 goals-against-average and 0.949 save percentage during that period…Johan Hedberg has four wins and two losses in his last six games while recording a 2.51 goals-against-average and 0.919 save percentage. With the Thrashers fighting for their playoff lives, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them run with the hot goalie in Pavelec.