The Nashville Predators were among the worst teams offensively last season, which encouraged them to sign Viktor Stalberg to a four-year, $12 million deal over the summer. Stalberg had 23 points in 47 games last season with the Chicago Blackhawks, but he might have done better if he wasn’t limited to an average of 14:07 minutes per game.
The thought was that his playing time would increase when he moved from one of the deepest teams in the NHL to a Predators squad with an anemic offense. Instead, Stalberg’s ice time has actually gone down significantly this season — and that was before he was made a healthy scratch on Thursday. Consequently, he has no points in six games.
To be clear, it’s not because the Predators’ offense has been any better in 2013-14 — so far they’re actually averaging fewer goals per game — although their defense and the now injured goaltender Pekka Rinne have guided them to a 6-4-1 start.
Still, Predators coach Barry Trotz feels that limiting Stalberg’s playing time right now will help him in the long run, according to the Tennessean. Especially after Stalberg started the season on the sidelines with a shoulder injury, Trotz is taking it slow as the 27-year-old forward gets used to his new team and system.
“It is never fun watching,” Stalberg said. “It is embarrassing, too; I have to be better. It is up to me to make a difference out there, so I will do everything I can once I get back in and try to get it going.”
The Nashville Predators will face the St. Louis Blues tonight.
Trotz said Stalberg is out tonight… Sticking with the same lineup
McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.
With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:
1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP
As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.
Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.
The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.
Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.
Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)
Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.
Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.
McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).
The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.
They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.
The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.
Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.
The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.
The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.
Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style