I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.

Video: Brad Marchand imposed his will with third-period hat trick


The Vancouver Canucks limited Brad Marchand to an assist through two periods on Monday, but once the final frame rolled around, the high-scoring Boston Bruins forward would not be denied.

Marchand’s third-period hat trick triggered a 6-3 win for the Bruins (with David Krejci also collecting a goal in the final 20 minutes).

You can see Marchand’s trio of goals in the video above, with the eventual game-winner (his second) being especially impressive. (Though it must be said that even his empty-netter was pretty nice.)

Marchand pushes his season total to 35 goals, tying Sidney Crosby for the lead in the Maurice Richard race. This four-point output also gives Marchand a chance at the Art Ross.

The Bruins are now at 80 standings points, solidly placing them in third place in the Atlantic at the moment. From the look of things, Marchand could be a major headache to contain in a playoff series even beyond his pesky tendencies.

Blues didn’t just beat Kings; they won in regulation


The Los Angeles Kings fought hard to try to rally back against the St. Louis Blues, but they simply dug themselves too big of a hole on Monday.

Looking at the standings, you wonder if that might also be the story of their push for a playoff spot:

Wild card races in the West

1. Oilers – 79 points in 68 games
2. Blues – 77 in 68 GP

Kings – 72 points in 68 GP

With every meaningful team outside of the West playoffs losing, the Blues gaining a five-point edge on the Kings is significant enough that St. Louis is likely setting its sights higher.

The Blues are only two points behind Edmonton for a higher wild card spot and two points behind the Predators for the third seed in the Central Division.

David Perron made it 1-0 midway through the game, while Magus Paajarvi scored what would be the game-winner early in the third. Dustin Brown really accelerated the Kings’ charge to tie things up with their only goal, with Alexander Steen‘s empty-netter coming really late.

Ultimately, Jake Allen was the clear standout for the Blues’ 3-1 win. Allen stopped 38 out of 39 shots as the Kings carried much of the play. St. Louis is now on a five-game winning streak and might just have the buffer it needs to lock down a playoff spot.

Flames edge Penguins, push streak to 10 straight wins


There were times this season – and really not that long ago – when it seemed like the Calgary Flames wouldn’t make the playoffs. Things look very different as of Monday night.

With a 4-3 shootout victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Flames extended their winning streak to a remarkable 10 straight games. This franchise hasn’t been so hot since the Flames’ Atlanta days.

Wins also stand as tiebreakers for the Flames, who also moved to second in the Pacific ahead of the Anaheim Ducks thanks to more wins and regulation/overtime wins:

Yes, there are a lot of surprises on display, yet some things might be expected. Johnny Gaudreau steering the ship isn’t too big of a surprise, for instance:

And, while the good times arrived late, it’s also somewhat expected that Brian Elliott has been instrumental to the Flames’ success:

If Calgary keeps this up, the Flames will get a round of home-ice advantage in the playoffs. What a difference a bunch of wins can make …

Video: Predators made life difficult for Jets’ Dano

The Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets traded blows in an eventual 5-4 overtime win for Nashville on Monday.

Marko Dano might be the sorest after that Jets loss, but he’ll likely feel that way in a more literal sense, as he received two significant hits.

In the opening minutes of the game, Cody McLeod received a two-minute roughing minor for a hit on Dano, which you can see in the video above.

That might not have been Dano’s worst moment. Instead, this hit by Ryan Ellis was especially brutal:

There’s no update regarding his condition just yet, but either way, it was a tough night for the Jets forward:

Doan manages to play for Coyotes after scary collision in warm-up


Look, there isn’t much on the line between the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes tonight. That doesn’t mean that a player can’t get hurt.

You don’t even need to wait until the actual game action kicks off to see the hazards, either.

Shane Doan was shaken up after a scary collision with teammate Jakob Chychrun during pre-game warm-ups, as you can see from this GIF:

Doan missed most of the first period, but did manage to take a few shifts, so it looks like the long-time captain should be OK.