Thoughts on Anderson vs. Hammond, Carolina youngsters, Russell steps up, and more …
Morning update – Michael Del Zotto is out for 7-10 days with an upper-body injury. He has 17 points in his last 25 games, so obviously the timing here is terrible.
I love late-season NHL hockey and not because of the added playoff excitement, but for a different reason altogether. Once the NFL is done, afternoon hockey on the weekend becomes a mainstay. I love being able to watch a game at pretty much any time of day on Saturday or Sunday.
But that’s not to say the playoff component isn’t reason enough. Boston’s hanging on by the skin of their teeth, with the Senators suddenly pushing hard. But now the Bruins seem to have awakened (4-0-1 in the last five). Talk about leaving it until the last minute.
Leading the way is Brad Marchand, who has five goals and six points in his last four games – including the late tying goal on Saturday and the OT winner, plus a goal to kick things off Sunday. And now you know why the Bruins held onto him amidst all the trade rumors of the past year. Marchand has been a steady 53-55 player and this run has him back on that pace. Amazing that he sees just 26% PP time. If you look at the Bruins big board (here), you’ll see that Marchand is second on the team in scoring, but of everyone in the Top 9, he’s the only player seeing less than 40% of available PP time (well, Milan Lucic is at 39.9% but don’t be picky – I’m painting a picture here). You have to wonder if this hot streak, combined with the danger of missing the postseason, will see Marchand getting more PP time. If he could ever get on the first unit for a full season, he could tally 70 points.
Rookie David Pastrnak is also rolling along, with five points in his last five games. You don’t often see draft picks late in the first round/into the second round making the jump to the NHL as 18-year-olds. Off the top of my head, I can think of one – Patrice Bergeron. What is it about Boston finding NHL-ready players in their later draft position? Think about how much that helps a team. As a Bruins fan, you’ve almost come to expect that sort of thing.
As a Leafs fan, you probably don’t even consider such a crazy notion. Draft a player who can help right away? That’s nuts!
As a Gustav Nyquist owner in one league, I was getting a little nervous about his recent ‘slump’ of seven points in 15 games. His play and heavy ice time Sunday that saw him score a goal and wire six shots on goal eased my mind a little. Sunday’s line combos: