Loading scores...
Hockey Daily Dose

Dose: Crowded East Bubble

by James O'Brien
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

The spotlight might not have been on hockey last night (Royal Rumble! Football! Gillian Anderson teaming up with nostalgia!), but the Dose is here to get you up to date on the games that weren’t snowed out on Sunday.


Editor's Note: This is your chance to try FanDuel risk free! Sign up today and if you lose your first contest, you’ll be refunded the entry fee up to $10. Play now.

 

Don't forget, for everything NHL, check out Rotoworld's up to the minute coverage on Player News, as well as follow@Rotoworld_HK and @cyclelikesedins on Twitter.


SENATORS 3, RANGERS 0


-- This outcome really shines a light on the fact that the East bubble is awfully interesting.


Cross off the Panthers (for now) and Capitals (probably for the rest of the regular season), and there are plenty of teams who can jostle for position.


The second and third seeds are nearly identical in the East: 2) Lightning [56 points], 3) Red Wings [56 points] in the Atlantic and 2) Rangers [57 points] and 3) Islanders [56 points].


The two wild card teams are at 55, while Pittsburgh through Carolina (3-6 in the wild card race, if you wanna look at it that way) are all at 52 points.


It's conceivable that a good number of these situations could change by April, so this may be an interesting run. More interesting, I'd wager, than the Habs and Rangers certainly expected it to be.


-- Chris Kreider returned from his neck spasms, generating a -1 rating, two SOG and four hits. Rick Nash couldn't go because of a lower-body injury, but the word is that he might be back on Monday.


-- Craig Anderson won his third game in four starts (granted, the loss was a disaster in which he was pulled after allowing four goals on just seven shots), nabbing a 35-save shutout. If you managed to avoid that disaster, then you're probably very happy with Anderson. If you sat him BECAUSE of that disaster then ... well, I'm sorry.


-- Mike Hoffman's offense dried up a little bit to start January, but he now has three points in as many games after Sunday's one-goal, one-assist performance. Maybe he's headed for a hot streak?


HURRICANES 5, FLAMES 2


-- Kris Versteeg might be a little hit-or-miss, but he's been a pleasant surprise for Carolina.


With Sunday's two goals (including his second GWG of 2015-16), he now has 30 points in 49 games. That's four short of his total from last season and one more than he generated during 63 games with Chicago in 2013-14.


(I'm cheating there, as he scored seven points in 18 contests before Florida traded him in 2013-14.)


Anyway, the point remains: this is his best go in some time.


-- Rough one for Karri Ramo, who allowed three goals on 19 shots before being replaced early in the second period by Jonas Hiller (who didn't really do a whole lot better, to be honest).


The Flames fell to 7-13-3 on the road so far this season.


-- Jordan Staal is showing some spark lately, even if Sunday's two assists only push him to 25 points in 50 games.


It's been a happy new year, with 10 points in 12 January games. His ice time is up significantly, so maybe he's worth monitoring?


(He could be the author of the “Please don’t trade my brother year.” The foreword would be written by a sad Brayden Schenn.)


BLACKHAWKS 2, BLUES 0


-- There's no question that Patrick Kane is inflating Artemi Panarin's stats, but how far can we go in punishing him for absolutely nailing this opportunity?


He scored his 17th goal of the season on Sunday, his fourth GWG, and he now has 46 points in 52 contests.


Panarin has played a few more games than many of his rookie peers, yet leading the rookie scoring pack by 14 points (Max Domi and Dylan Larkin are tied for second with 32) is a stunning achievement. I'm not sure if Calder voters could - or should - chalk it all up to his polarizing, unstoppable linemate.


-- These two teams combined for 50 SOG, splitting them evenly at 25 apiece.


Corey Crawford benefited with a 25-save shutout, giving him seven already this season (easily the best total of his career).


With 28 wins, he's just five away from a new career-high, so this has been by-far the best season of his increasingly impressive career.


-- Should the Blues trade David Backes? Honestly, that depends entirely on what they might get for him.


Now, if someone would take Backes AND Jay Bouwmeester, I'd maybe not hang up the phone if I were in Doug Armstrong's shoes ...


KINGS 3, SHARKS 2 (OT)


-- Vincent Lecavalier's shooting luck is still pretty insane (four goals on 14 SOG with Los Angeles, a nutty 28.6 percent), but hey ... the Kings are probably already feeling like they got a decent return on that weird trade.


Lecavalier sent this game into OT with a goal with just 13 seconds remaining in the third period.


To his credit, while he's getting super-friendly bounces, his ice time is ... selective enough that it's tough to be too hard on him.


-- I was wondering if nine goals were anywhere near Drew Doughty's career-high. The answer: not really. He generated 16 in 2009-10.


Now, he is closing in on his second-best of 11 goals, so that's cool.


-- Luke Schenn provided nice peripherals on Sunday, if nothing else: three SOG, seven hits and three blocked shots.


-- I really enjoy the line of Tomas Hertl, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. I just felt the desire to share that mostly useless thought with you fine folks.

James O'Brien
James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.