Ramblings: Wheeler Scoring Goals, Crosby Lugging the Pens, Aho, Stamkos & Kakko (March 6)

by Cam Robinson on March 6, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Wheeler Scoring Goals, Crosby Lugging the Pens, Aho, Stamkos & Kakko (March 6)

 


The Canes and Bruins met on Tuesday with both teams salivating over the two points. The Hurricanes are trying to stay up on the Wild Card teams, while the Bruins attempt to keep a leg up on the charging Maple Leafs. 

 

Sebastian Aho scored the first two goals of this game bringing his season total to 29. That matches the mark he set a season ago as a sophomore. The 21-year-old has been magnificent in 2018-19, but especially in the back half. His 41 points in 32 games since December 23rd sit fourth in the league behind Patty Kane (51), Nikita Kucherov (51), and Sidney Crosby (45). 

 

Heading into this season, Aho was drafted somewhere between the fifth and seventh rounds. Does anyone see him slipping out of round two next year?

 

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The Hurricanes allowed the next three goals– including a Patrice Bergeron shorthanded tally. After Justin Williams tied things at three, we went to overtime. There, David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk continued their torrid play, connecting on the OT winner.

 

Since David Pastrnak went down with a thumb injury on February 12th, Krejci has 11 points in nine games, while the 22-year-old, DeBrusk has 12.

 

Marcus Johansson left this game and did not return. That could be good news for Danton Heinen owners who were likely expecting their asset to slide out of the top six when Pasta returned.

 

Jaroslav Halak grabbed the victory as the Bruins continue to give both netminders a regular rotation leading up to the post-season.

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Micheal Ferland left the game and did not return. 

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The Sens took on the Isles and Craig Anderson looked to put a 10-game losing streak in the rear-view mirror. You read that right, the 37-year-old hadn’t posted a victory since December 17.

 

Over that same time frame, 90 other netminders have recorded a victory – including Andrei Vasilevskiy’s 21 victories.

 

In predictable fashion, Anderson and the Senators found a way to lose this one too but at least they made it to the shootout. The Isles took the 5-4 win with a team effort. 10 players recorded a point, while Robin Lehner won his 21st game of the season.

 

Both Lehner and Thomas Greiss have 0.928 save percentages. That’s good for a share of the third-best mark in the league for goaltenders with at least 20 games played.  Lehner did leave this one late in the third. the team recalled Christopher Gibson on an emergency basis – likely telling for Lehner's availability for Thursday. 

 

Barry Trotz, ladies and gentlemen.

 

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If the Penguins are going to make the playoffs it’ll be on the back of their captain. With a goal and two assists on Tuesday, Crosby has 13 points in his last five games – including a goal in each of those contests. Hell, he has 24 points in his last 12 games!

 

The 31-year-old now sits fourth in league scoring and is on pace for 108 points in 79 games. Yet somehow it's likely he ends up outside of the top three producers.

 

I love it.  

 

Here’s a look at the beautiful aerial dish he gave to Jake Guentzel on the winner. That stands as Guentzel's 33rd tally of the season. Another young star.

 

 

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In the marquee matchup of the evening, Winnipeg and Tampa Bay squared off in Florida. These are two heavyweights, but it was the Lightning who did most of the punching on Tuesday defeating the Jets 5-2.

 

Stamkos (1+1), and Kucherov (0+2) led the way for the Bolts who now sit with a 51-12-4 record. With 15 games to play, the Lightning need 12 more victories to set the all-time wins record held by the 1995-96 Red Wings.

 

With his first period tally, Blake Wheeler scored his sixth goal in the Jets previous 70 minutes of hockey. Not bad for a pure setup guy.

 

 

Connor Hellebuyck left the game after taking a Kucherov slapper right off the mask resulting in a cut. Laurent Brossoit came off the bench in relief and gave up a Stamkos tally almost immediately.

 

 

Hellebuyck returned to the cage a few moments later and didn’t appear to be suffering any ill effects from the blow.

 

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Obligatory 2019 draft talk!

 

Kaapo Kakko scored another goal this morning in Finnish Liiga action. It’s his eighth in his last eight games, and he has 13 in his last 15 contests. His 20 goals in 41 games are one behind Sasha Barkov’s U18 scoring record.

 

This kid is making a serious push to go first overall this June in Vancouver.

 

Of note, he’s been playing exclusively on the wing the past couple of months after dabbling down the middle to close out 2018.

 

 

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Cam Atkinson recorded his career-best 36th goal of the season on Tuesday, while Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 29 as Columbus defeated New Jersey 2-1 in a shootout.

 

The 29-year-old, Atkinson has been extremely consistent this season, but you can’t help but wonder what his future production holds. With the impending loss of Artemi Panarin, and Matt Duchene likely willing to weigh his options, it could be down to the studs in Ohio.

 

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Ben Bishop made 28 stops, John Klingberg scored a second-period even-strength tally, and the Stars shutout the Rangers 1-0. 

 

Alexander Georgiev made his second consecutive start for New York and played well in this one stopping 31/32. the Rangers are likely trying to gauge what they have in the 23-year-old Russian netminder. With Igor Shestyorkin slated to cross the pond this summer, there may be a logjam for NHL ice. 
 

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Anaheim dealt Arizona their first loss in seven games, and also a big blow to their playoffs chances with a 3-1 victory on Tuesday. The Yotes sit two points behind Minny for the final Wild Card spot. 

 

Darcy Kuemper lost for just the second time in two months. Here's hoping you grabbed him when we told you too before the calendar flipped to 2019. 

 

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Filip Zadina scored the first of many NHL goals on Tuesday evening. The 19-year-old had been rolling nicely in the American League before earning this recall. He skated on a line with Andreas Athanasiou and Luke Glendening at even-strength and tallied this one on the power play. 

 

 

However, it was Nate MacKinnon who provided the victory for the Avs in overtime. Mikko Rantanen set him up for his third point of the evening. Now imagine adding Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko to this lineup next season. 

 

It's going to happen. 

 

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The Canadiens took on Kings in sunny California on Tuesday evening. They did so without the league’s youngest player, as Jesperi Kotkaniemi was a healthy scratch. It’s the first time the 18-year-old has sat in the press box this season, as coach, Claude Julien expressed some concern that fatigue was creeping into his game.

 

It should be noted that the youngster suited up in 84 total games last season – split between the Finnish Liiga and international tournaments. Prior to that, his career-high had been 41 contests. Despite averaging just 14 minutes a night with Montreal this season, the wear of 66 NHL games for a rookie is real.

 

There shouldn’t be any concerns about Kotkaniemi moving forward. He’s a spectacular playmaker with a bright future.

 

The Habs took care of the lowly Kings 3-1 with Carey Price recording his 28th victory. Price now sits with a 0.918 save percentage on the season – jumping him into the top-10 amongst regular starters. It's been a solid bounce-back campaign for the 31-year-old. 

 

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