Ryan Dadoun

Hockey Daily Dose

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TOR, VAN now in playoff spots

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Don't look now, but the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks now possess playoff spots after beating New Jersey and Calgary respectively.  With that, if the playoffs were to start today, six of the seven Canadian teams would be participating, which is far more than people would have guessed going into the season.

 

You got to take that with a grain of salt of course.  Vancouver might possess of a playoff spot now thanks to its six-game winning streak, but Los Angeles is just a point behind and has played in two fewer games, so the Canucks' hold is very fragile even after enjoying such a prolonged hot streak.  From a standings perspective Toronto is in a bit of a better spot as the Leafs are tied with Boston in points, but has played in three less games.  However, Toronto has some major question marks with their third period struggles being the most glaring example.

 

Even still, it's fair to say that this has been an encouraging half a season for Canadian teams.  The Montreal Canadiens have bounced back in a big in 2016-17 thanks to Carey Price getting healthy, Ottawa has enjoyed some strong goaltending too after finishing near the bottom of the pack in goals allowed last season, Toronto's rookie core has been everything the Leafs could have hoped for, Edmonton finally seems to be taking a step forward after years of setbacks in its rebuilding efforts, Calgary has enjoyed some strong goaltending, first by Chad Johnson and more recently from Brian Elliott, Vancouver's riding a hot Ryan Miller, and even Winnipeg, the only Canadian team not currently in possession of a playoff spot, has to be very encouraged by what rookie Patrik Laine has done.

 

We'll see if the second half of the campaign gives Canadian teams as much reason for optimism.

 

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MAPLE LEAFS 4 DEVILS 2

 

Toronto established a 4-0 lead in the first period that was held for most of the night.  However, the Maple Leafs once again struggled in the third period.  They were outshot 14-0 in the final frame and the Devils' PA Parenteau and Jon Merrill scored in the last 3:32 minutes of play.

 

That ended Frederik Andersen's bid for his second shutout of the season, but he still turned aside 30 of 32 shots.  He has a 17-8-7 record, 2.61 GAA, and .920 save percentage in 32 starts.

 

Cory Schneider got the start for the Devils, but he stopped just two of five shots.  Keith Kinkaid stepped in late in the first period and surrendered a goal on nine shots.

 

Auston Matthews netted his 21st goal of the season.  He also extended his point streak to eight games.

 

Tyler Bozak had a goal and an assist last night.  That gives him eight goals and 23 points in 35 games in 2016-17.

 

PANTHERS 2 PREDATORS 1

 

Juuse Saros kicked out 32 of 34 Panthers shots last night.  He's allowed just four goals in his last four starts, but nevertheless holds a so-so 2-1-1 record in that span.

 

At the other end of the ice James Reimer saved 28 of 29 shots.  He has a 6-5-3 record, 2.49 GAA, and .918 save percentage in 16 contests.

 

Jonathan Marchessault scored the game-winning goal in the third period.  It was his 12th marker and 25th point in 33 games.

 

Greg McKegg accounted for the Panthers' other goal.  That gives him two goals and four points in 22 contests.

 

Craig Smith accounted for Nashville's marker on Friday.  He has seven goals and 14 points in 38 games this season.

 

BLACKHAWKS 2 HURRICANES 1

 

Scott Darling led Chicago by turning aside 39 of 40 shots.  He has a 11-4-2 record, 2.31 GAA, and .925 save percentage in 19 contests in 2016-17.

 

Artemi Panarin netted the game-winning goal.  That was his 16th goal and 40th point in 42 games.

 

Jonathan Toews scored the Blackhawks' other marker.  He has seven goals and 20 points in 33 contests in 2016-17.

 

Victor Rask scored Carolina's only goal.  That gives him 11 goals and 28 points in 39 games.

 

Cam Ward kicked out 22 of 24 Blackhawks shots.  He's allowed just two goals in each of his last three starts, but has a 1-2-0 record over that span.

 

AVALANCHE 2 ISLANDERS 1 (Overtime)

 

Calvin Pickard saved 35 of 36 shots on Friday.  That ended his personal five-game losing streak where he surrendered a total of 22 goals.

 

Johnny Boychuk was the only player to best Pickard.  He has five goals and 13 points in 36 contests.

 

Thomas Greiss kicked out 37 of 39 Avalanche shots.  He's allowed just two or fewer goals in each of his last four starts.

 

Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist, snapping a four-game point drought.  He's up to 10 goals and 27 points in 39 contests.

 

Gabriel Landeskog also found the back of the net for the Avalanche.  That gives him seven goals and 13 points in 29 games.

 

CANUCKS 4 FLAMES 2

 

Ryan Miller turned aside 44 of 46 to earn his fifth straight win.  He faced a staggering 23 shots in the third period alone, but saved 22 of them.

 

Meanwhile Brian Elliott only had to face 13 shots in the entire game, but he managed to block just nine of them.  That snapped his own five-game winning streak.

 

Michael Frolik netted both of Calgary's goals.  He's up to nine markers and 23 points in 41 games this season.

 

Markus Granlund scored twice and registered an assist.  He has nine goals and 17 points in 41 contests.

 

Michael Chaput found the back of the net in the first period.  It was his first goal and fourth point in 29 games.

 

DUCKS 3 COYOTES 2 (Overtime)

 

Ondrej Kase scored with just 36 seconds left in overtime.  Of his four goals this season, two are now game winners.

 

Mike Smith mishandled the puck which led to Kase's goal.  He still stopped 32 of 35 shots, but he's now lost each of his last eight games.

 

Chris Wagner also scored against Smith.  It was his third goal in 23 games in 2016-17.

 

Anthony Duclair assisted on both of the Coyotes' markers.  He's struggled this season with just nine points in 36 contests.

 

John Gibson stopped 21 of 23 shots last night.  This was his third straight win, giving him a 15-9-7 record.



Ryan Dadoun is an Associate Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or check out his blog.
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