Well after the Sunday of all Sundays – Super Bowl Sunday – here’s some NHL Monday Musings!
I’m still reeling a bit after the Patriots 21-17 loss to the Giants. I had predicted a New England triumph over the G-Men 27-17, so I’m a little touchy this morning (not too mention the lateness of the UK time-zone)!
But despite the loss and the lack of sleep, here’s a few NHL snippets that have caught my attention this morning.
60 Plus! – Evgeni Malkin is the first player to break the 60 point barrier this season. He’s been on fire as of late, and has put the Penguins on his back in the absence of Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal. ‘Geno’ has 15 points in his last ten games, including two game-winning-goals. Pittsburgh is 8-2 in those ten games – and Malkin has really shown his skill and leadership for a team under injury siege.
The King of NY – Henrik Lundqvist is having a season for the ages between the Ranger pipes. ‘King Henrik’ is enjoying his best NHL season, and leads the NHL with a .939 save percentage, and is second in GAA with a 1.82. His six shutouts lead all goalies, and his confidence seems to be rubbing off on his Broadway teammates. In his past five games he’s 4-1, with two shutouts, and he’s helped New York to the top of the Eastern Conference with 71 points. If the NHL season ended today, he would win the Vezina trophy without question, and may even garner MVP attention.
Motor City Maniacs– At the start of the NHL season many experts said that the Red Wings were ‘too old’ to go deep this season! Well the team from Detroit hasn’t listened to any talk of age or decline in skill or organizational expectation! As I write this, the Red Wings sit in first overall in the West, and in the entire league with 72 points. They own the NHL’s best home record (20-2-1) which includes a 17-game win streak at Joe Louis Arena. Rumours abound that this is Nicklas Lidstrom’s last season, and you have to believe that the much beloved captain would love to go out with another Stanley Cup ring – scary for the rest of the NHL.
Sam the Man – This time last week the Oilers’ Sam Gagner was being offered as trade bait! Well if he is indeed on ‘the block’ then the asking price has gone way up! Gagner had an eight point game (4 goals, 4 assists) Thursday against Chicago, and followed that up with a three point (2 goals, assist) effort Saturday against the Wings. He was in on 11-straight Oiler tallies – which is a team mark! He passes Wayne Gretzky’s old record of being in on ten straight team goals. Not a bad week for a guy that was seemingly on the way out!
Well that’s just a few of the top story-lines to keep you smiling on a dreary February Monday! Honourable mention goes to Tim Thomas and his 35-save victory in Washington Sunday. He turned in a solid effort in the midst of plenty of booing from the Capitals’ faithful in reaction to skipping out on the White House visit. He tuned it all out and the B’s got a much needed road win.
Enjoy the games this week wherever you are!
You can follow Murph on Twitter @MurphOnIce