When you look on the schedule and see contenders facing teams that are already thinking of the draft and of summer vacations, it’s tempting to pencil in a “W.” That’s not always how things shake out, but in Friday’s case, the three of four matchups that seemed obvious ended up going as expected. Hence, those teams took care of business.
(The Stars vs. the Ducks was the exception, as both teams are in playoff position.)
Let’s review Friday in the NHL:
Old, new, and the usual
- Still-very-young Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones scored two goals to help Columbus take care of business against Detroit. Read all about that CBJ win, and their general upward trend, in this post.
- Matt Cullen, 41, continues to look quite spry lately. For one thing, he scored a gorgeous goal for his 10th of the season, which was also his fifth goal in 10 games:
Not long after, Cullen seemed like he might score off of a nice Charlie Coyle feed, but was robbed. Perhaps that makes it “OK” that his assist came on an empty-netter, then?
- Then there were the usual suspects. Jamie Benn collected a goal and an assist while Tyler Seguin collected two helpers as Dallas found a way to gut out a tough regulation win against Anaheim. Meanwhile, Eric Staal scored the game-winner to help Minnesota eventually beat Vancouver 5-2 in a game that was closer than that until the final minute. Staal already has 37 goals this season.
It was quite a showing from goalies in losing efforts, and 35 came up on three occasions.
Ryan Miller made 35 saves for the Anaheim Ducks, including stopping all 32 of the Stars’ shots at even-strength. Dallas went 2-for-2 on the power play to beat Miller and the Ducks, however. Mike Condon stopped 35 of 37 shots on goal as well, including a chance that left Johnny Gaudreau shaking his head and muttering to himself.
Anders Nilsson didn’t have quite the same game as the others, including not making 35 saves. He did face 35 shots, however, stopping 31 of them. As you can see in that GIF in the section with Matt Cullen, some of those were high-difficulty shots, too.
Ryan Getzlaf couldn’t grind out a win or even a charity point for the Ducks, but he’s been outstanding lately. He scored a nice goal, giving him 12(!) points in his last five games and 50 in 44 contests this season. This actually broke a four-game multi-point streak.
Maybe the NHL should create an assist trophy? If so, would it be named after Adam Oates, Wayne Gretzky, or someone else?
Some numbers behind the widely-shared belief that the Blue Jackets have two dangerous scoring defensemen in Seth Jones and Zach Werenski:
Nice stat from that Min win:
Blue Jackets 3, Red Wings 2
Flames 2, Senators 1
Stars 2, Ducks 1
Wild 5, Canucks 2