This is the penultimate article of the regular season. Please provide any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Thanks for reading this season.
Highlighted players include the second center in Tampa on a roll, an Olympic hero showing no signs of slowing, Henrik the King on Broadway, a scoring winger in Canada's capital out for the season and the current No. 1 D-man in Pittsburgh struggling.
First Liners (Risers)
Matt Duchene, C, COL - Notched his 46th assist Tuesday and added a goal and an assist Thursday, giving him points in 14 of his last 16 games. With those points, Duchene sits 17th in league scoring with 70, setting a career high.
Matt Cullen, C, NAS - Cullen is finally having a hot streak, notching three goals, three assists and a plus-four rating in his last three games. Ride him while he is hot.
Valtteri Filppula, C, TB -
Notched an assist Thursday, ending his point streak to 10 games during which he has scored 14 points. Heck of a darn good free-agent signing by GM Steve Yzerman.
Antoine Vermette, C, PHX -
Vermette's solid season continued Tuesday, as he scored his 24th goal, 13 of which have come on the man-advantage.
Jordan Staal, C, CAR -
Posted two assists Tuesday and although he was shut out Thursday, he still has 12 points in 14 March games.
Vincent Trocheck, C, FLA -
After scoring more than two points per game with OHL Plymouth last year, Trocheck was leading AHL San Antonio with 41 points when he was promoted March 5. Trocheck, selected 64th overall in 2011, has a respectable three goals and an assist his first 12 games in the NHL.
Jakub Voracek, RW, PHI -
Voracek notched the only goal the Flyers scored in the team's 3-1 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday. He has three goals and two assists in his last four games, and after a very slow start, he now has 21 goals and 33 assists in 72 games this season.
Jiri Hudler, RW, CGY -
Hudler notched his 16th goal of the season, giving him three points in four games since returning from injury. Overall, he leads the Flames with 47 points in 66 games after tallying 27 in 42 contests a year ago.
T.J. Oshie. RW, STL -
Oshie, the shootout hero for the U.S. against Russia in Sochi, notched his first hat trick of the season. This has been a magical campaign for Oshie, as the hat trick gave him career highs in goals (21) and points (60) along with a plus-24 rating.
Ryan Callahan, RW, TB -
Scored two goals Thursday, giving him eight points in 11 games as a Bolt. Who had Cally outscoring St. Louis in the pool?
Jiri Tlusty, LW, Car -
Tlusty extended his modest point-streak to three games with 13th and 14th tallies on the season in Carolina's 3-0 win over Florida on Thursday. Those two points tallied by Tlusty puts him on a point-per-game pace over his last seven, mildly salvaging what's been a disappointing campaign for the winger.
Zack Kassian, LW, VAN -
Kassian tallied a goal for the second straight game Thursday, which comes on the heels of his posting four assists Sunday. Given that he has just 13 goals and 12 assists in 65 contests this year, I am unsure where this recent scoring spree has come from, but take advantage of it for as long as it continues.
Tyler Toffoli, LW, LA -
Toffoli extended his point-streak to three with an assist in the Kings' 3-2 win over the Penguins on Thursday. After a good start and then a demotion, Toffoli has been red-hot since his promotion, scoring 13 points (two goals, nine assists) in his last 17 games.
Tomas Tatar, LW, DET -
Tatar scored twice in Detroit's 5-4 loss to Montreal on Thursday, his third straight multi-point game. In addition, he now has 18 goals on the season while posting seven points and a plus-eight rating in his last six contests. Tatar and Gustav Nyqvist have kept the Red Wings afloat in the playoff race lately.
Taylor Hall, LW, EDM -
Hall potted a goal and an assist Tuesday, giving him 67 points in 66 games. The one negative and not surprising since he is an Oiler, is the minus-15 rating.
Brent Burns, LW, SJ -
Burns went through a major cold spell midseason, but he looks to be back on the beam. Over the last 13 games, including the first period Thursday, Burns has seven goals and five assists, giving him 21 goals and 21 assists to go with his stellar plus-29 rating.
Cal Clutterbuck, RW, NYI -
Clutterbuck has scored goals in four of his past seven games, posting a plus-three in that stretch. He has taken advantage of the opportunities afforded him due to the absences of John Tavares
and Michael Grabner
along with trade of Thomas Vanek
. That said, I still think the Islanders should have gotten more than Clutterbuck for Nino Niederreiter
Teuvo Teravainen, LW, CHI -
Teravainen, the Blackhawks' first-round pick in 2012, made his NHL debut Tuesday. Prior to his call-up by Chicago, which is looking for a spark with Patrick Kane
sidelined, Teravainen spent the season in the Finnish Liiga, where he tied for sixth in the league with 44 points (nine goals and 35 assists) in 49 games. He also helped Finland to the gold medal in the World Junior Championship in January, recording 15 points in seven games, so it's clear he has a scoring pedigree. It may take him a while to adjust, but he has all the talent to be a major success.
Ryan McDonagh, D, NYR -
McDonagh scored a goal against the Flyers on Wednesday, giving him seven points in the last five games and 12 points - six goals and six assists - is last 13 contests. His 14 goals and 29 assists are each career highs, and he has to be receiving Norris Trophy consideration along with names like Keith, Pietrangelo, Weber and Kronwall.
Kevin Shattenkirk, D, STL -
Shattenkirk notched his 33rd assist Tuesday and has added nine goals, putting him one point behind his career high set in 2011-12. Even though Chris Stewart
didn't pan out in the Arch City, he was used to get Ryan Miller
, and Shattenkirk for Erik Johnson
straight up was a win for St. Louis.
Shea Weber, D, NAS -
Weber scored twice in Nashville's 6-1 win over the Sabres on Thursday, giving him 20 lamplighters on the season. He has a shot at matching or exceeding the 23 goals he scored in 2008-09.
Nick Holden, D, COL -
Holden has provided surprising well-rounded production for the Avalanche. He notched his ninth goal of the season Tuesday, and when you factor in his 93 hits and 42 blocks over his 44 games, his overall numbers look even better.
Dan Hamhuis, D, VAN -
Hamhuis has just 19 points in 72 games as of Thursday, but lately he has been heating up. He has three points in his last five games and has posted a plus-8 rating over his past seven games for his best stretch of the season.
Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR -
Lunqvist made 30 saves in defeating the Flyers, 3-1, on Wednesday, losing his shootout on a Voracek goal with 1:53 to go. He has won five in a row and now has 30 victories, the eighth time in his nine seasons he has hit that mark.
Eddie Lack, G, VAN -
Lack notched his third straight win Wednesday, stopping 29 shots in the Canucks' 5-2 win over the Wild. Jacob Markstrom
came over in the Roberto Luongo
deal, but he has mainly been relegated to bench duty.
Anton Khudobin, G, CAR -
Khudobin, who entered Thursday's game versus the Panthers with a 2.28 GAA and .926 save percentage over his first 29 outings this season, improved both of those numbers in the win over Florida. Khudobin made 35 saves to notch his first shutout of the year. With Carolina nursing slim playoffs hopes, it will be interesting to see if they stick with Khudobin or go back to Cam Ward
Carey Price, G, MTL -
Price notched his fifth shutout of the season this past week and his win Thursday against Detroit was his eighth in the past nine starts.
Training Room (Injuries)
Henrik Sedin, C, VAN -
Sedin injured his left leg in second period last Sunday against the Sabres and speculation he will be sidelined two weeks. It's been a disappointing year for Sedin, who has just 10 goals and 36 assists in 65 games and was forced to miss the Olympics due to a rib injury.
Pavel Datsyuk, C, DET -
Datsyuk was able to skate during the Red Wings' optional practice Wednesday. If Detroit can hang around the playoff race, they could get Datsyuk back for the last few games of the season.
Nicklas Backstrom, C, WAS -
Backstrom was held off the ice as a precaution Tuesday following a nasty collision during the game with Drew Doughty
. Backstrom suffered an upper-body injury, but he practiced Thursday and said he should play Saturday.
Chris Kreider, LW, NYR -
Kreider may need to undergo surgery and could miss a month due to the injury to his left hand. He was hurt against Columbus but played two games with the injury, before getting scratched against Philadelphia on March 26. While Kreider hasn't been scoring, his speed and size has helped create room for Rick Nash
and Derek Stepan
Kyle Okposo, RW, NYI -
Okposo sat out Thursday's game against the Lightning with a LBI. The injury is not believed to be serious, and Okposo, who has been an up-and-down with John Tavares
sidelined, should be back before too long.
Bobby Ryan, RW, OTT -
Ryan was to undergo season-ending surgery to repair a sports hernia Thursday. He finishes a relatively disappointing year for the Senators with a team-leading 23 goals and 48 points in 70 games; numbers Ottawa likely expected to be higher after it paid a heavy price to acquire him from Anaheim last offseason.
Paul Martin, D, PIT -
Martin will receive an X-ray Sunday to determine how well his hand has healed. If he can get clearance to start stick handling, etc., Martin will have about two weeks to be ready for the start of the Penguins' first-round playoff series.
Kris Letang, D, PIT -
Letang, sidelined after suffering a stroke, is practicing, but there is no set timeframe for him to return. There is a possibly that Letang suits up the final week of the regular season, when Pittsburgh plays host to Detroit, Philly and Ottawa.
Seth Jones, D, NAS -
Jones sat out his second straight game with what's being called an upper-body injury but is believed to be a concussion. It's been a decent rookie year for Jones with 24 points in 71 games, albeit with an unsightly minus-23 rating. Defensemen growth is not linear, so expect stops and starts for Jones, but he has the talent to blossom into an elite blueline in the future.
Niklas Backstrom, G, MIN -
Backstrom underwent a third procedure on his abdomen, which will sideline him for the year. He opened the season as the Wild's No. 1 goalie, but he posted a 3.02 GAA and .899 save percentage over 21 appearances, mixed in with the injury in a disappointed season.
Michal Neuvirth, G, BUF -
A lower-body injury could cost Nevvirth his shot at being the No. 1 in Buffalo.
Mike Smith, G, PHX -
Smith suffered a lower-body injury, likely to his leg, when Derek Morris
knocked Derick Brassard
into and over Smith. No definite timeframe has been given for Smith's absence, but he likely will miss at least another week.
Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)
Ville Leino, C, BUF -
Failed to score Thursday, extending his pointless streak to 12 games. In addition, he's yet to score a goal this season and to add injury to insult, he left Thursday's contest with an upper-body injury.
Mike Ribeiro, C, PHX -
Ribeiro was a healthy scratch for the second straight game Thursday against the Devils. After playing the first 72 games of the season, Ribeiro has watched from the press box the past two contests. He signed a four-year, $22 million deal with Phoenix this offseason after scoring 49 points in 48 games for the Capitals last year. Ribeiro has 45 points for the Coyotes, which doesn't match what he did last year but makes him one of the better scorers on the squad, so it's curious that he is the one sitting.
Daniel Sedin, LW, VAN -
Sedin snapped a 23-game goalless drought Wednesday, scoring his 14th goal of the season against the Wild. Not only did it break Sedin's goal drought but it was his first point in 14 games. I wonder if Vancouver is having buyer's remorse after awarding each of the Sedin twins, four-year, $28 million extensions earlier this season?
Kris Versteeg, LW, CHI -
Versteeg overall has played fairly well for Chicago, notching 27 points in 55 games in the Windy City. However, he has just three goals since Jan. 17.
Tom Gilbert, D, FLA -
We now have an explanation for Gilbert's slow play lately, Gilbert, who scored 24 points in his first 52 games and tallied one goal and three assists in his last 21 games, will miss the remainder of the season with a sports hernia that will require surgery.
Mike Richards, C, LA -
While Jeff Carter
has thrived in LA, Richards has regressed. Richards has just two points in his last 19 games and none in his last six contests.
Olli Maatta, D, PIT -
Maatta's spectacular play has fallen off in recent games, illustrated by a pointless streak that hit 10 games in Pittsburgh's 3-2 loss to LA on Thursday. Maatta has been bearing the weight of making up for the absences of Kris Letang
and Paul Martin
, and despite playing so well leading up to and during the Olympics, he likely should be benched on your fantasy squad given his recent struggles.
Marc-Andre Fleury G, PIT -
The Penguins lately have hit the skids and are fortunate they built up such a big lead in the Metro Division. Few have been immune to their recent issues, and that includes Fleury, who after shutting out the Capitals on March 11, has dropped each of his last five decisions.
Darcy Kuemper, G, MIN -
Kuemper has fallen back to earth lately. After opening his rookie season on an impressive note upon being recalled in January, Kuemper has lost five consecutive decisions, including 5-1 to St. Louis on Thursday. So glad I picked him up in my home league.