Apologies to the Coyotes, but with their next two games against Arizona, the Blue Jackets stand a great chance to match or exceed the Rangers’ 33 points.
There’s only so much to gain from pouring over the schedule, and diving deep into the details can distract you from the truly mind-blowing realization that the Blue Jackets might just be for real.
It’s not just the record or the hot run; Columbus’ +20 goal differential is second to the Rangers’ +28 mark among the NHL’s best. While the Blue Jackets are ranked sixth in PDO – a stat that indicates a team is getting lucky – the Rangers are far and above everyone else.
So, again, a team that was a very popular – and let’s be honest, reasonable – choice to finish dead last in the NHL is in a solid position to get home ice for a round in the playoffs.
Allow that to sink in once more: the Blue Jackets might just be for real.
Despite being the cover star for “NHL 17,” it feels like Vladimir Tarasenko sometimes slips under the radar, at least compared to some of his high-scoring peers.
Games like Thursday’s 5-4 win for the St. Louis Blues vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning should help him get some more attention.
Tarasenko generated his third career hat trick and added an assist for good measure, giving him 13 goals and 27 points in 24 games this season. (You can watch his impressive display in the video above.)
Other Blues who stood out were Alexander Steen (three assists in his first game since Nov. 15) and Kevin Shattenkirk, who managed two goals and two assists. With 19 points in 24 games, Shattenkirk is putting himself in a position to make some big bucks, whether that happens in St. Louis or somewhere else.
The Blues are on quite the run, especially at home.
Edmonton gets the last laugh – and, really, a sigh of relief – yet it’s hard not to marvel at Laine in his own right. As you can see from the video above this post’s headline, he showed off his already-elite release with two blazing power-play goals.
With a pretty road-heavy schedule coming up, the Jets would have preferred a third consecutive win over their another highlight reel night for their fabulous first-year forward, but the Oilers ended up coming through instead.
Video: Giroux gets his authoritative OT-winner this time around
You can only give Claude Giroux these types of chances so many times before he burns you. Badly.
The Boston Bruins survived a resounding overtime opportunity from Giroux on Tuesday (which was understandably forgotten since Philly won in a shootout anyway), but Mike Condon and the Ottawa Senators weren’t so lucky tonight.
Jakub Voracek did a great job setting the table for Giroux, who fired the overtime game-winner home in a 3-2 win against the Sens. With that, the Flyers are on a three-game winning streak.
It’s hard to fathom the Dallas Stars’ minus-22 goal differential, but if you need an explanation, look to nights like these.
The advantage should have been on Dallas’ side. The Penguins were closing off a back-to-back set and likely expended quite a bit of energy trying to come back against the Islanders last night.
Instead, the Penguins were the team that pulled away, dropping three third-period goals on the Stars for a lopsided 6-2 decision. As much as people look for the good in this for the Stars, it’s not the greatest sign when you see quotes like these:
Look, this is a “child’s game” these guys are playing … but yeah, it’s usually not a great sign when the opposing team is talking about how much they enjoyed facing you. Sidney Crosby‘s happy to face just about anyone these days, scoring his 16th goal in just 18 games:
That goal almost feels a little symbolic, doesn’t it?
The Stars are now under what you might call .500 (9-10-6), with three straight losses and just two wins in their last seven games. The scary part is that things have often been even uglier than that disappointing record.
Pittsburgh and Crosby are just the types to shine a light on those issues, too.