Daniel Sedin

Daniel Sedin, Roberto Luongo, and Corey Perry take home first NHL Awards

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Not all of the NHL’s regular season awards are handed out after a red carpet ceremony in Las Vegas after the Stanley Cup final is over and done with. Some of them are decided thanks to the statistics acquired during the regular season rather than put to a vote and the Vancouver Canucks are already picking up a lot of hardware.

Daniel Sedin secured the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s top scorer completing his season with 104 points. Sedin finished five points ahead of Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis and six points ahead of Anaheim’s Corey Perry. Sedin finished the year with 41 goals and 63 assists and figures to be a Hart Trophy finalist after helping lead the Canucks to the Presidents’ Trophy.

Sedin is the tenth different player to win the Art Ross Trophy in the last ten years. After so many years of seeing the likes of Jaromir Jagr, Mario Lemieux, and Wayne Gretzky dominate year after year, parity isn’t just for the standings anymore.

Sedin’s Canucks teammates Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider took home the Jennings Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltending tandem. The pair of goalies allowed just 185 goals this season, the best mark in the league. It’s the first time any goaltenders from Vancouver have won the award and it speaks to the defensive dominance we’ve seen out of the Canucks this season. With all the goals they’re scoring and preventing, it’s easy to see why the Canucks are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Oddly enough Luongo isn’t being mentioned very much at all for Vezina Trophy consideration. With 38 wins and a 2.11 goals against average with a .928 save percentage, he should at least get considered.

Corey Perry’s huge season scoring 50 goals was good enough to get him the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer. Perry’s outburst in the final two months of the season in willing the Ducks into the playoffs and the fourth seed in the Western Conference carried him up the goal rankings and flying past Steve Stamkos on his way to being the NHL’s lone 50 goal scorer. Perry finished five goals ahead of Stamkos while Jarome Iginla was seven back with 43 goals.

All of these players will get to continue making their presence felt in the playoffs as the Canucks are the top seed in the West and the Ducks are the fourth seed. Whether we see them take home more awards will have to wait until the end of June.

Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

Actually …

If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

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Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

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Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.

Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.

Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.

Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:

Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.

Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.

The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it  shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.