I was reading over some of last night’s results and I thought: wow, Ryan Kesler’s putting up points again.
While I questioned his “elite” star power when I heard that the two-way center was named the NHL 2K11 cover star, it sure seems like he’s beginning to earn that status. He’s been on a hot streak lately and it got me to thinking: which players are on the biggest hot streaks since the trade deadline/Olympics finished?
Using Yahoo’s software to group the top players for the month of March, I think this will give an interesting (though overly simplistic) idea of some of the players who are achieving the most since the over-sized candles were blown out in Vancouver and players found a new home.
Top 10 skaters “overall”
- Daniel Sedin (apparently hits aren’t a big factor in Yahoo’s ratings)
- Paul Stastny
- Mikael Samuelsson (take that, whoever chose team Sweden!)
- Chris Stewart (Colorado’s under the radar power forward)
- Brooks Laich (not sure how he got on here with 9 points, but it’s hard not to “Laich” the choice. Hey-oh!)
- Peter Mueller
- Mike Richards
- Steven Stamkos
- Henrik Sedin (the twins can never be too far apart, can they?)
- Ryan Kesler
Top 5 goal scorers
- Mikael Samuelsson – 9
- Chris Stewart – 8
- Simon Gagne – 8
- Lee Stempniak – 7
- Steven Stamkos – 7
Top 5 assist leaders
- Daniel Sedin – 12
- Paul Stastny – 11
- Henrik Sedin – 11
- Bryan McCabe (!!!) – 10
- Patrick Kane – 10
Top 5 goalies (according to whatever Yahoo! looks at – probably GAA, save %, SO, wins)
- Ilya Bryzgalov
- Pekka Rinne
- Jose Theodore (time to get that contract, Theo!)
- Jaroslav Halak
- Craig Anderson
And, finally, the top 5 in points scored on the powerplay
- Nicklas Lidstrom – 7
- Paul Stastny – 7
- Mike Richards – 6
- Brad Richards – 6
- Brooks Laich – 6
(Weird side note: every stat category had a clear top 5. Every time I got to a sixth player, they had one point lower. The lack of ties strikes me as very unusual. Sorry, I know you don’t care … I’ll go back to the basement.)
Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.
(Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)
You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.
Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.
Letang told his side of the story:
The Capitals disagree:
While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:
No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.
If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.
The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.
(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)
Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.
A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.
First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.
Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.
Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.
In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.
This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.
It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.
(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)
There are a few things we do know already.
For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.
Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.
In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.
There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.
Update: Reports indicate that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is indeed looking into the hit.
As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.
Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.
Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.
Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:
Things could get ugly in Game 3:
One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:
Also, lateness of the check:
The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.
Update: The Penguins won the game 3-2.
Read reactions to the check here.