The Calgary Flames dealt the playoff hopes of the New Jersey Devils a big blow on Monday night with a 1-0 victory. Has there been a more impressive team than the Flames in the last month or so? They've been long out of it but are still playing hard and getting results. Credit Bob Hartley and the entire coaching staff for not letting them check out mentally.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Mark Giordano scored the goal as he's been on a tear over the last month. He's up to 46 points now and will be pushing 200 shots when the season is done. The most impressive thing about Giordano's game might be his plus-12 rating considering he's on the Flames. He probably deserves a little more attention for the Norris and should be a high pick among defensemen next season.
Speaking of next season, where does Karri Ramo get taken next year? He picked up the shutout against New Jersey and has a winning record in Calgary with some fine other numbers to go along with it. You'd think he gets the full time No. 1 duties next year in Calgary and even if they're just marginally better, he is going to have some huge upside. Ramo should be a worth a roster spot as a number two goalie with an outside chance to fill in as the main guy if your squad suffers an injury.
Adam Larsson was a scratch again after getting in three games recently. Jon Merrill is seeing decent power play time now and it appears he is winning the battle for playing time among the two young defenders. Larsson's opportunities were likely hindered this year because the Devils hung around the playoff chase. Had they fallen out of it, Larsson may have received more games in an evaluation process. He is still just 21 years old, but he was a high enough draft pick that the Devils are just going to have to turn him loose at some point and let him sink or swim.
Andy Greene now has just one point in his last nine games. Although he did lead the Devils in shots in Monday with six. I wouldn't expect the world from him next year as he's really struggled since the New Year and has had a difficult time of getting anywhere close to the pace he set earlier in the campaign.
Ilya Bryzgalov with his second straight shutout???? He hasn't lost yet in regulation since arriving in Minnesota and what a story that would be if he somehow leads them to some postseason success after being written off. However, Bryz has had his playoff issues in the past and I would be cautious about using a pick on him in your playoff pool.
Charlie Coyle scored the lone goal for the Wild to give him 12 on the year and five points in his last four games. He was a guy that many were calling a sleeper prior to the start of the year, but he missed some time with an injury that has hampered his production. Had he played the entire year he likely would have been up over 20 goals.
Michael Hutchinson got the start for the Jets and looked steady in his first NHL game. Ondrej Pavelec hasn't lived up to expectations this season and has been outplayed by Al Montoya. Winnipeg is going to have some decisions to make between the pipes this offseason and this piece from Puck Daddy touches on the fact he may be a good buyout candidate.
Dustin Byfuglien will miss the rest of the season with a torn muscle. If I were Paul Maurice and the Jets I would play Byfuglien at forward all season next year. The Jets have one of the more underrated defense corps from