LCS Hockey: Born Again
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March 25, 2019
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BEAR SEASON
Only three days after giving up a Happy Meal in a 10-2 loss at Washington, the Boston Bruins surrendered a snowman last night at home to the lowly Maple Leafs, losing 8-2. The Bruins actually scored the first and last goals of the game; they just had a slight problem in the middle there, coughing up eight consecutive red lights.

Timmy Thomas was in net again for the Bears, yielding five goals on 23 shots before getting the hook. It's been a rough week for Timmy. In 69 minutes against the Caps and Leafs, he was beaten for 12 goals on 47 shots. That's a 10.43 goals-against and a .745 save percentage. If he keeps playing like that, the New York Islanders will offer him their general manager's job.

Boston sandwiched a 1-0 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers between the two blowouts. Alex Auld was in net for that one. But that's three losses in four days by a combined score of 19-4, all to non-playoff teams.

The Bruins are still in seventh place in the Wales with 77 points, four ahead of ninth-place Buffalo. But the three-game slide is positively shocking, especially considering the Bears were riding a six-game winning streak before the debacle in Washington.

It's rare to see a playoff team implode in such fashion. I just can't wait for Lou Lamoriello to replace Claude Julien behind the bench.


MEANINGLESS MARCH
The Florida Panthers are up to their old tricks. The Cats beat the Penguins last night 5-2, making them 3-0-0 in March. Nothing new there.

Since the lockout, the Panthers are now 22-8-2 in the month of March. Maybe someone should tell them the season starts in October. The late-season surges always provide hope for next season until, you know, they actually start playing the next season. It has to be frustrating for Panthers fans. Aw, I'm just kidding. The Florida Panthers don't have any fans.


SENS CROWNED
The Los Angeles Kings kept the good times rolling, shutting out the Ottawa Senators last night, 2-0. Ottawa is now 0-2-1 on its four-game western swing that concludes Saturday in Phoenix. And it couldn't happen to a nicer group of fellas.

Daniel Alfredsson missed the game with back spasms. The Sens are 1-8-0 this season without Alfredsson, which is either a testament to his importance to the team or a scathing indictment of the rest of the weasels.

Speaking of weasels, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley still can't find the scoresheet. Spezza has three goals and an assist in his last 10. Heatley has just three goals and three assists in his past 13. That's so bad it's terrible.

On a side note, I got stuck with Heatley in my one fantasy league this season. And it's a dynasty keeper league, so he's in for the duration. I tried unloading him last night at our trade deadline, but Zippy wouldn't bite. I offered him Heatley, Mike Richards, and either Pascal Leclaire or Ilya Bryzgalov for Marian Hossa and Marc-Andre Fleury. Zippy passed. Damn chimp.

Anyway, the Sens are now 3-7-3 in their last 13 contests. And I'm loving every minute of it. C'mon, Coyotes!


BOLTLESS
As bad as Spezza and Heatley have been, Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis have been even worse for Tampa Bay. The men with lightning bolts on their pants lost 3-2 at Philadelphia last night, dropping them to 1-7-1 in their last nine, and most of the blame has to fall on their top two scorers.

Lecavalier hasn't scored a goal in his last 11 outings, managing just eight assists during the drought. But even the assists are starting to dry up. Vinny is pointless in three straight and has just three helpers over his last seven. He's also a minus-8 over his last six.

St. Louis isn't any better, posting zero goals, two assists, and a minus-10 over his last nine. But don't worry; I've got St. Louis on my fantasy team too.


SINISTER SIX
Erik Ersberg was in net for the Royalty, stopping 40 shots to blank the Sens for his first career NHL shutout. Los Angeles has used six goaltenders this season. Gee, I wonder why they're in last place?

Aside from Ersberg, Jason LaBarbera, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Dan Cloutier, Jonathan Bernier, and Jon Quick have all seen the L.A. pipes. The carrousel should close soon when Bernier takes over the top spot, but the 19-year-old phenom may not be ready next season. Bernier is 16-13 with a 2.86 goals-against and a .904 save percentage for Lewiston. And those numbers aren't too shabby for the QMJHL. The top goals-against is just 2.65, and .911 is the league's top save percentage.


AVS ROLLING
Colorado beat Anaheim 1-0 last night, raising the Avalanche's record to 5-0-0 since re-signing Peter Forsberg. Good ol' Petey doesn't have a point yet in his two games of action, but he logged another 21:51 in ice time and looked strong, creating numerous scoring chances.

Jose Theodore stopped 27 for his second shutout of the season. He's been in net for all five wins, allowing just seven goals on 139 shots for a .950 save percentage. And really, I 'm sure this late-season push has nothing to do with him being in a contract year. Honest.

Colorado is just one point back of Minnesota and Calgary for the Northwest lead, but the Avs are still just two points up on Nashville for the final playoff spot in the Campbell Conference. The last month of the season should be some wild, wild stuff.


IT HAPPENED AGAIN
The hits from behind keep on trucking. Eric Staal got buried from behind last night by Minnesota's Aaron Voros. Thankfully, Staal wasn't injured on the play and was able to finish the game, but it's just another in a long line of dangerous hits currently plaguing the NHL. Voros should get 10. Send a message. Set a tone.

Erik Cole certainly set a tone, dropping the gloves and going right at Voros. A huge melee ensued. Good times. How incensed were the Hurricanes? Sergei Samsonov actually punched Nick Schultz at the final horn. Samsonov's got spunk. He's been a new man since joining Carolina, collecting 11 goals, 23 points, and a plus-9 in 26 games with the Canes.

I thought Carolina was done when Rod Brind'Amour tore his ACL on Valentine's Day. Including that February 14th contest, the Canes are now 8-2-1 without their captain. That's impressive. The run's allowed them to maintain a five-point lead over Washington in the Southeast, although the Caps do have two games in hand. And chances are only one Southeast team will make the tournament.


TOOTOO OFF THE TRACKS AGAIN
Jordin Tootoo ran Aaron Miller last night in Nashville's 6-2 loss at Vancouver. Miller left the ice with an apparent shoulder injury. Truth be told, it really wasn't that bad of a hit. Hell, for Tootoo it was pretty clean. The problem was the timing.

When there's less than two minutes to go in regulation of a 6-2 game, it's probably not the best time to charge somebody. Tootoo then leveled Luc Bourdon with a cross-check to the face when the young blueliner attempted to come to Miller's defense. Tootoo got five for boarding and two for cross-checking. Bourdon got two for roughing. It really was terrible the way he head-butted Tootoo's stick.





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