A lot, too much in fact, has been made over the annual failure of the San Jose Sharks in the playoffs and any number of reasons gets thrown around to try and make sense of something that seems so inexplicable. Joe Thornton gets customarily thrown under the bus and now with Dany Heatley added to the team there’s a new scapegoat in waiting should the Sharks fail again in the playoffs this year.
One player Sharks fans should be a little twitchy about though is goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. A lot of folks saw Nabokov get torched by Team Canada in the Olympic tournament in Vancouver but since returning from the Olympics, Nabokov’s stellar NHL season has gotten a little bumpier at the time of year the Sharks and their fans want to see things get steady.
Over the month of March (including tonight’s stinkbomb against Dallas), Nabokov has played in 13 games, played 723 minutes and allowed 39 goals, good for a 3.25 goals against average with a .889 save percentage to match it. Beware the Ides of March, indeed.
Comparing his stats to other the other months this season, either March is a statistic outlier or a gigantic red flag for things to come.
October 13 GP 2.53 GAA .912 SV%
November 12 GP 2.17 GAA .930 SV%
December 10 GP 2.15 GAA .934 SV%
January 13 GP 1.95 GAA .936 SV%
February 5 GP 2.79 GAA .926 SV%
April doesn’t provide too many games on the regular schedule for Nabokov and the Sharks to round into playoff shape, but some folks might say they’re already primed and ready for the playoffs right now.
Buffalo Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has experienced plenty of bad injury luck in his winding career, but Saturday presented one of his worst scares.
As you can see from the video above, Colaiacovo received a scary cross-check from Viktor Arvidsson of the Nashville Predators, who received a major penalty and game misconduct.
Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said that Colaiacovo was hospitalized with a “dented trachea” yet is OK, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports.
Frightening stuff from an eventual 4-1 Sabres win.
PHT will keep an eye out for additional updates regarding Colaiacovo’s health (and a possible suspension for Arvidsson).
Patrick Kane set an American scoring record, and added another assist to make it more impressive, but the Los Angeles Kings just wouldn’t be denied.
In the end, Marian Gaborik‘s big night meant more than Kane’s; he scored the tying and then overtime game-winner, both assisted by Anze Kopitar, for a rousing 4-3 overtime Kings win.
Gaborik’s first goal:
And here’s video of the OT-GWG:
Noticing a theme tonight? Yeah, it’s been an evening in which it’s dangerous to assume a lead would stand.
With that, the Kings stick to the No. 1 spot in the Pacific Division, but Chicago shouldn’t feel all bad. The Blackhawks were able to piece together a decent run during their dreaded “circus trip.”
When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.
With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).
As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.
Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.
You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.
Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.
“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?
Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.
Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.
It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.
Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.
On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?
It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?
* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.