Videos by OutKick
The NHL’s playoff picture is starting to take shape, kids.
We know that the Maple Leafs will try to win a playoff series for the first time since 2004 when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning (coincidentally, the Lightning won the Cup that season).
It’s a match-up that will surely have some people squinting at their TVs in a vain attempt at telling the two teams’ jerseys apart.
In the meantime, we’ve got some good stuff from the last couple of weeks of the season while the rest of the matchups take shape.
There are some goals and a healthy amount of rough stuff to get to, but I know the perfect place to start… Mainly because I’d like to pull the Band-Aid off and get it over with…
Best Summation of the Philadelphia Flyers’ Season: This Goal On Samuel Ersson
Things have not gone well for the Philadelphia Flyers — my Philadelphia Flyers — and I felt like this moment was the perfect summation of how the hockey gods have conspired to smite the City of Brother Love once again.
Off a faceoff, the Pens managed to get the puck over to Rickard Rackell who fired a one-timer that was closer to hitting a popcorn vendor than it was to being on net.
But remember, they were playing the Flyers. So, the puck bounced off the glass, over the crossbar, hit Flyers netminder Samuel Ersson in the back, and skittered into the net.
It has been a bad season, but in typical Flyers fashion, it was not bad enough to give them a great shot at a No. 1 pick. Getting that would require a pretty significant stroke of luck and after what I’ve witnessed this season, luck is not one of the Flyers’ strong suits.
“Where Was This Intensity 7 Goals Ago?” Moment Of The Week: Arizona Coyotes
A team with an ever-so-slightly better chance of landing the top pick in the NHL Draft than the Flyers is the Arizona Coyotes. Earlier this week, the ‘Yotes were in the Pacific Northwest for a meeting with the Seattle Kraken.
They may as well have stayed in the desert and gone golfing or looked at cactuses because, upon arrival in the Emerald City, they were shellacked worse than a cheap coffee table.
They lost 8-1. There was some rough stuff earlier in the game, but it was only on the 8th and final goal that things boiled over.
I like when a team shows a little bit of frustration. But the Coyotes were down 4-1 going into the 3rd period. Maybe that was too early to show some frustration or for someone to fire up the boys a little bit. I’d argue that it’s not but to each their own.
Burying a dude in the endboards after going down by seven goals, is a weird time to be frustrated. Like 6-1 and 7-1 are nothing, but 8-1, now they’re angry.
Best Between Your Own Wickets Deke Of The Week: Alexis Lafrenière
New York Rangers Alexis Lafrenière held a dangling clinic against the Washington Capitals on Sunday.
Take a gander at this nifty between-the-legs deke he busted out against Capitals D-man Rasmus Sandin.
Poor dude didn’t stand a chance. That move is lethal. As for the shot, it looked like Darcy Kuemper had a decent read on it, but was just a little out of position and couldn’t reach it.
Impressive stuff from Lafrenière.
Now, that’s more than enough of the Rangers scoring. Let’s look back a bit earlier in the week to check out someone scoring on them, shall we?
Best One-Handed Tally: Jordan Greenway
Sticks are much lighter today than they were back in what historians call “the day.” Track down an old Titan like the Great One used to wield in his NHL days and compare that to a modern composite stick. It feels like you’re trying to score with a two-by-four.
However, while modern twigs may be a lot lighter, one-handed lamp-lightning still requires a great deal of strength.
Buffalo’s Jordan Greenway showed this last week against the Blue Shirts. He turned on the afterburners to get past the defenses and then while using one hand to protect the puck, he used the other hand to shovel one by Jaroslav Halak.
That’s impressive stuff, folks. The Sabres aren’t mathematically eliminated from the postseason just yet, however, their chances seem slim.
At this point, they’d need a lot of losses from the teams ahead of them and a lot more goals like that from Jordan Greenway if they want a shot at being eliminated by the Bruins in the first round.
Sorry… that’s just the reality.
Beer League Moment Of The Week: Alex Killorn
Things got testy between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers, and one of the biggest moments that led to some rough stuff came when Alex Killorn gave Igor Shesterking a good ol’ fashioned snow shower.
Damn. That was enough snow to get Jim Cantore frothing at the mouth (that dude loves precipitation; can’t get enough of it).
Nothing gets under another team’s skin like spraying their goalie and that spraying was especially late. It looked right at home in a men’s league B-division hockey game at 10:30 on a Monday night.
That set off some fireworks.
On a related note, Nikita Kucherov wasn’t one of those sentenced to the Sin Bin in that particular melee, but he found his way there a little less than halfway through the 3rd period.
He was called for tripping, and, boy, he wasn’t thrilled with that penalty box camera.
That’s it for this week’s edition of the NHL Weekly Awards. If you spot anything that makes you think “Hey, this would be a good one for that dude who makes up hockey awards on the internet,” then be sure to send it my way on Old Man Musk’s patented Twitter website: @Matt_Reigle
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle