With less than three weeks remaining until the start of the post season, it’s going to be tough waiting until April 8th before being completely immersed in so many awesome playoff skirmishes. Until then, we’ll have to settle for the battles by teams trying to punch their playoff dance cards.
It feels like it has taken a while to get here, but it finally looks as though Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock is starting to deliver on his potential. He has six points in his last five games and is scoring at a 37-point pace on the season.
In his final season of junior hockey, Pulock recorded 23 goals and 63 points in 66 games. At the end of that season, he managed to get in three AHL contests, recording one point. The next season, he scored 17 goals and 29 points in 54 AHL matches. The following year, he regressed with only seven goals and 24 points in 51 AHL contests, but he did manage to play in 15 NHL games, recording four points. He added three points in six playoff games for the Isles.
Last season, Pulock had 15 goals and 46 points in 55 AHL games, but only dressed for one NHL contest. This season, he’s finding his way with the big club, recording 26 points in 58 matches. The pending restricted free agent will no doubt re-sign with the Isles and will have just turned 24 years of age when next season gets underway. His arrival may challenge Nick Leddy for power play ice time.
Team by Team Quick Hits by Conference
Riley Nash is outscoring his namesake Rick by a wide margin, 17-8, over their last 18 games. The 28-year-old Riley is in the midst of a career season and is on pace to finish with 46 points.
Sam Reinhart started the season with 13 points in his first 44 contests, but over the next 28 games, he has 29 points. He’s been getting a ton of minutes on the top power play unit.
Wings winger Justin Abdelkader is on pace to finish with 37 points. The campaign started very promising with 17 points in the first 23 games, but then he fell off the pace with only eight points in the next 33 contests. He’s now back on track in March, recording six points in nine matches.
Aleksander Barkov has 28 points in his last 22 games and with 22:18 minutes per game, he leads all NHL forwards in average ice time.
In what is a write-off season for the Habs, one player is only three points back of his career best in points and has a legitimate shot at his first 30 goal campaign. Good thing Brendan Gallagher is under contract for another three seasons and his $3.75M cap hit is an absolute bargain for what he brings to the rink every day.
Matt Duchene has been putting up points at an elite level since January 5. He has 33 points in as many games. That’s a far cry from last seasons 41 points. Just a hunch, but next year, he would be a decent bet to surpass 70 points and set a new career hig