Fantasy Pool Forward Notes: Malkin's 50th, Purcell Hatty...
(4/8/12) With the final day of regular season action completely jammed packed with games, there are a number of forward highlights to report, so here we go.
In Pittsburgh, Evgeni Malkin notched his 50th of the year with 12 seconds to go in the second period. It's the first time "Gino" has reached the 50 goal plateau in his entire career; his previous high was 47 back in 2007-08. His 109 points is the second highest total of his career (113), and with it Malkin takes the Art Ross Trophy. Crosby, Kunitz (2 points each), Dupuis, Jagr and rookie Brayden Schenn (1G, 1A) all hit the score sheet. Schenn is definitely a sleeper heading into playoff pool drafts; he sits 15th in Flyers' scoring, but he is a top 6 forward for a Philly team that could "shock the world." The Flyers/Penguins series is your high risk/high reward matchup in Round 1. Our advice: if you are after one side on draft day, talk up the other at the table.
In Winnipeg, it was all about the Lightning. As already reported, Steven Stamkos got his 60th of the season and locked up the Rocket Richard Trophy. If it weren't for that goal, Teddy Purcell would be the top headline from the game, as he recorded a hat trick and finishes with 24G and 65 points on the year - setting new career highs in all offensive categories. Next year, if the Lightning can get their act together defensively (eghm... goaltending), this team could be a force to reckon with.
In Detroit, Chicago escaped with a 3-2 win on goals by Sharp (1G, 1A), Stalberg (his 22nd of the year), and Kane in the shootout. Datsyuk and Franzen responded for the Wings, and Holmstrom picked up an assist on Datsyuk's tying goal late in the third. (Playoff pool note: savvy veterans like Holmstrom have a way of showing up at crunch time.) It was an exciting game, with posts and crossbars ringing loud. The single point for Detroit means they will play Nashville in Round 1, while the win locked up the #6 spot for Chicago, and they will play Phoenix.
In New Jersey, Ilya Kovalchuk remains red hot with two more goals in the Devils' win over Ottawa; he has 5G and 3A in his last 5 games. Petr Sykora (3G, 2A in his last 4GP) scored his 21st while skating on the second PP unit - assists to Henrique and Zubrus.
In Boston, Tyler Seguin scored twice (but fell just shy of the 30 goal plateau), as did Brad Boyes (where has he been for the last 2 years?). Marchand also scored, Bergeron with 3A and Vanek with 2A.
In Calgary Bobby Ryan scored twice (30 & 31), as did rookie prospect Akim Aliu (2G, 1A in the final 2 games this year for Calgary). Aliu has been toiling away in the AHL and ECHL for years, so it will be interesting to see if this offensive spurt at the end of the season develops into anything next year at training camp.
Other notes: Nicklas Backstrom had 2A, and Ovechkin finished with 38 goals on the year, in the Caps win over NY. The Rangers appear to be fading at the wrong time - they've lost 2 straight and 3 of their last 4.
Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole both upped their lofty goal totals on the year to 33 and 35 respectively as the Habs put the final boot to what amounts to an incredibly disappointing season for the Leafs - one that started with so much promise. The Joffrey Lupul injury was key there.
In Columbus, Rick Nash played and scored his 30th of the year, while Cam Atkinson was at it again with 2 more goals - he finishes the year with 5 goals in the final 2 games. Prospal had 3 points (and finishes with 55, which is respectable for the "Rollercoaster"), Brassard with 2 assists.
In Florida, Mikael Samuelsson led the way with 1G and 2A, ending the year with 4 points in the final 2 games. Weiss notched his 20th of the season. Marcel Goc had 2 points.
Radim Vrbata got his 35th of the year and Taylor Pyatt scored twice as the Coyotes locked up 3rd in the West on a win over Minny. Heatley scored and finishes the year with 24 goals and 53 points - his second straight year of decreased point totals.
David Perron got his 21st of the year in the Blues' win. With 42 points in 57 games, he's your best Blues forward heading into the postseason.
In Vancouver, the Canucks locked up the President's Trophy with goals from Henrik Sedin, David Booth and Sami Pahlsson. With a terrific stretch drive, the Canucks look poised to make a go of it once again this spring. Luongo got the shutout - go figure!
Finally in SJ, the Sharks came storming back to catch the Kings 3-2 in OT and take the 7th spot in the West. Mike Richards, Justin Williams, and Patrick Marleau are the forward scorers. Although Dan Boyle (D) is the man of the match, scoring twice, including the OT GWG.
There you have the final forward update for the regular season. Remember: the trends leading into the playoffs are vitally important for tagging playoff sleepers, the likes of the enigma that was John Druce. Good luck at your draft!