PENGUINS POWER DOWN JETS
Normally, the Penguins’ big three getting 13 points between them in an 8-4 win would be headline news, but the chances of you adding Sidney Crosby (four assists), Evgeni Malkin (two goals and three assists) and James Neal (hat trick, helper) are at zero.
Now, adding someone like Tyler Kennedy (two goals) or Matt Cooke (two assists)? That’s getting harder to deny. Since Crosby came back, Kennedy has six points (a pair of two-assist games and one two-goal games) and Cooke has done the same (except he has a pair of two two-goal games and one two assist game) in four games. How sustainable are those runs? Over a long haul, not at all, but if you need offense over the stretch run, they’re worth a shot at this point.
(In fact, I’ll probably give one or both of them a deeper look this week, perhaps after the Penguins play the Predators to beef up the sample size ever so slightly.)
THREE EURO MILESTONES
Going back to Malkin, he was one of three players who reached impressive milestones on Tuesday.
Geno scored goal No. 200 (and 201) in that 8-4 victory. Beyond building a nine-point buffer for the Art Ross Trophy, he reached that 200-goal mark at 25 years old. He’s had moments of being more of a passer but with 43 tallies on the season, one cannot help but daydream about what kind of goal totals he can put together.
Speaking of the “how many career goals?” question, Ilya Kovalchuk hit the 400 mark on Tuesday. He did so in 771 games played, meaning more than a tally every other game. He’ll turn 29 years old in April, so let me ask: what’s his goal ceiling? 600? 650? The guy’s sounding like a Hall of Famer, even if he's had plenty of detractors over the years.
Finally, Marian Hossa hit the 900-point mark. He’s been a great semi-steal in Chicago because Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and even Patrick Sharp grab most of the hype, but with that many points and a Stanley Cup ring at age 33, I can’t help but wonder if he has “HoF” potential too.
Johan Hedberg came up big in what some are calling what might be his last start of the season. I’m still not convinced that the Devils would be for-sure better off with Martin Brodeur instead of him, but perhaps that’s just me - and the Devils don't care what I think … Every now and then, Scott Clemmensen has his moments – like keeping the Philadelphia Flyers at a single goal in a 2-1 win … Mike Richards might just have his game back. Don’t get too excited about Dustin Penner despite his amusing goal, though … The Maple Leafs are so done. The players supposedly had heart-to-heart talks, but I cannot help but imagine them all crying like Ben Stiller in "There's Something about Mary" instead of pumping each other up.
Shane Doan seems in line for a suspension for his elbow on Jamie Benn. Wouldn’t blame you for dropping him, even, considering the fact that you can’t put him on the IR and he could be gone for some big fantasy games. Obviously, don't give him up until you know for sure, but you'd be VERY wise to start putting together a replacement plan … Speaking of Benn, keep an eye on injury updates about him. He took a brutal beating against the Phoenix Coyotes … Taylor Hall participated in Edmonton’s morning skate, but be careful with him. Teams in the cellar don't rush young stars back with little to play for - and Hall's had a rough season … Nicklas Lidstrom could be back by Saturday … Jimmy Howard might be on the shelf after aggravating his groin injury, so keep an eye on who might start for Detroit with Joey MacDonald banged up. For some reason Ty Conklin doesn’t seem like a sure thing, either, so Jordan Pearce might actually get a chance or two. Yikes … Curtis Sanford’s season is over … Craig Anderson is VERY close to being back. (Click here for the full injury list.)