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Blog Entry

Winners & Losers: Avs get big win, others miss

Posted on: February 27, 2012 11:55 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 12:31 am
 

By Brian Stubits

There's always a winner and a loser in the NHL, and this is a new nightly look at some of the winners and losers in the biggest games and biggest situations across the league.

Playoff Race

This isn't the trade deadline winners & losers (those are right here!) but from the winners & losers from the actual games that were played.

Winners

1. Colorado Avalanche

They are the one and only team that gets to land on the winner's side tonight. They were the only team who really needed it that scored a big win, taking down the Ducks in Colorado. And just in case there were any hopes left, probably ending Anaheim's playoff hopes in the process.

That deal that the Avs swung for Steve Downie has paid some nice dividends early. In the now four games he's played with his new team, Downie has himself two goals and five assists after notching two helpers on Monday night. Not so bad for a guy not exactly known for his scoring prowess.

With the win the Avs are back on the streaking side as they moved into a tie with the Dallas Stars for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They hold the ninth spot based on playing one more game than Dallas thus far, but with the rest of the West contenders for that last spot falling on Monday night, it's a very big two points.

[Related: Avalanche 4, Ducks 1]

Arnott's head dress. (Jeremy Rutherford)

2. Jason Arnott

The veteran Blues center had two goals to help the Blues take care of the the Flames in Calgary on Monday, arguably the top performer of the night.

With the win the Blues actually climbed back to .500 on the road this season. They've been very good at home and not near as much on the road, but they just rattled off their third road win in a row, perhaps taking care of one of the remaining questions about their ability to win in the postseason.

Perhaps more importantly is the fact that Arnott donned the Weenie Hat for his postgame interview with the media.

Like a lot of teams, the Blues have a postgame award that they hand out to the player of the game. The Rangers have the Broadway Hat, the Blackhawks have the championship belt, etc. The Blues did have a hard hat in exchange for the Weenie Hat.

NHL locker rooms really are fun places after wins.

3. Matt Duchene

The Avs already made the list on the winner side, but I had to include Duchene here.

Duchene gets the award for goal of the night by swatting in the bouncing puck saucered his way by Paul Stastny to give the Avs the insurance goal.

I'm going to take a guess and say Duchene played some baseball growing up. Great hand-eye coordination to finish that one off.

Losers

1. Viewers of Rangers and Devils

Oh sure, Henrik Lundqvist had another shutout and Martin Brodeur only gave up one goal. We could be lauding them for their fine performances. We would, if either had broken a sweat.

Lundqvist pitched a shutout, but the Devils only managed a measly 13 shots. In the entire game. The Rangers meanwhile only had 15. And one of those came on Ryan Callahan's empty-net goal.

Not even the hatred between the two teams could really make up for the general lack of excitement with the game itself being played. Things were just a little clogged up. Not that I blame either team for the way they play, it's just when their two styles come together it doesn't make for incredibly exciting hockey. This game had twice as many goals as their previous meeting.

[Related: Rangers 2, Devils 0 | Video: Clarkson's charge on Dubinsky]

2. Winnipeg Jets

The Jets are in the middle of a long homestand that has allowed them to get back in the Southeast Division race. They've been great on home ice all season in front of their rabid fan base.

That's why it hurts so much to lose to the Edmonton Oilers at home. Having played more games than anybody in the NHL, that's a perfect example of the game they have to win if they want to make the playoffs. Instead, they gave up four consecutive goals to Edmonton in the third period, the second worst team in the NHL record wise.

As a result, they remain two points back of Florida in the Southeast despite having played four more games than the Panthers. They do hold on to the eighth spot in the East but that too is very tenuous.

[Related: Oilers 5, Jets 3]

3. Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames

Each team is on the outside looking in for the last playoff spot in the West and both came up empty on Monday night.

Granted, each was playing one of the monsters of the Central Division, but the end result is the failure to get points out of the games.

It's particularly painful for Calgary, which lost another game at home, falling to the Blues. General manager Jay Feaster guaranteed to TSN earlier this week that his team will make the playoffs. Well if they're going to do that they need to win these games at home, of which they have a lot down the stretch run.

The Kings meanwhile were only able to muster one goal, and it came in the closing minutes. It's been the story for them all season, one which the acquisition of Jeff Carter is supposed to take care of, or at least help. But again, we'll grant them the stiff competition in the Predators and particularly Pekka Rinne. He's been pretty good lately.

[Related: Predators 2, Kings 1 | Blues 3, Flames 1]

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Comments

Since: Dec 29, 2011
Posted on: March 1, 2012 12:09 pm
 

Winners & Losers: Avs get big win, others miss

The Toronto Maple Leafs have become hockey's version of the Chicago Cubs. Wrigley practically sells out every game, despite the franchises' nearly year in and year out losing. Well, welcome to Toronto. It's in fact, almost impossible to get a ticket to the game, regardless of how bad the team is.

The last time Toronto made some noise in the playoffs (never mind 'made the playoffs') was in the 93-94 season. Every time the team advanced, it was pure chaos in the city, even for a first round victory. I could not even fathom the cities minions' reactions to a Stanley Cup!!!! The city would be shut down, I'm sure.

Toronto, as much as I love the city (I grew up there, but am now living abroad), are now LOSERS!! I am, of course, referring to the franchise and those who year in and year out, have hope for the team to win a cup. The city, otherwise, is great.



Since: Jan 22, 2007
Posted on: February 28, 2012 9:38 pm
 

Winners & Losers: Avs get big win, others miss

and what did the kings and Clb give u for carter and richards????



Since: Sep 7, 2007
Posted on: February 28, 2012 8:07 pm
 

Winners & Losers: Avs get big win, others miss

Go Wild.....LOl Losers!



Since: Oct 5, 2011
Posted on: February 28, 2012 4:11 pm
 

Winners & Losers: Avs get big win, others miss

Big Jersey fan here.  The game played exactly to script.  Both teams played hard, but it was pretty boring.  The Rangers have essentially become the Devils of their cup years.  Great team D, all-world goalie, and systematic hockey.  They must be considered favorites to come out of the east.  I will now pour gas on myself in the town square and light a match for saying that.



Since: Feb 28, 2012
Posted on: February 28, 2012 3:34 pm
 

Winners & Losers: Avs get big win, others miss

It's not that great of a deal. Nobody wants dubi hes a 3rd line player.



Since: Jan 22, 2007
Posted on: February 28, 2012 11:30 am
 

Winners & Losers: Avs get big win, others miss

In all honesty and I'll admitt I'm a ranager fan but how can howson turn down that deal down.
If the deal was dubi, tim erixson, jt miller, christian thomas and a 1 for nash plus that burden of a contract  ,,, jeez  what is howson thinking
there is NO WAY he gets a better deal from any team like the one we offered him nor will he in the future
Howson would of had 3# ones, plus JJ, dubi, miller ,erixson, thomas and all that free cap space,, man how is that not a good start to rebuild
CLB fans should be pretty PO'ed if you ask me



Since: Jul 23, 2009
Posted on: February 28, 2012 11:27 am
 

Winners & Losers: Avs get big win, others miss

Well said.  To add to your comment:  even at an advanced age, Marty still has superior puck handling skills.  This limits the opponent's opportunity to dump the puck in and gain control in the zone.  So even with 15 shots, he still worked hard last night limiting Ranger chances.  I don't see him every game, so I can't comment on how much he pushes himself against other teams, but he's said himself that he digs down for that extra gear against the Rangers.



Since: Oct 18, 2007
Posted on: February 28, 2012 10:57 am
 

Winners & Losers: Avs get big win, others miss

Exactly.  Its not by chance that the Rangers' D blocked 16 shots themselves.  They had a very specific defensive game plan going into this game, which they executed by keeping the Devils to the outside and force to take shots further out.  The Devils always tighten up on D when they play the Rangers and the fact that there is still Marty Brodeur in net (no matter how old he is and how underachiving he has been this season), he always rises up his game against the NYR.

If this game happened during the playoffs, you would be praising this game as entertaining as hell.  This is what happens when two teams bring in a playoff mentailty into a reg season game...



Since: Jul 23, 2009
Posted on: February 28, 2012 10:45 am
 

Winners & Losers: Avs get big win, others miss

It takes skill to play defense too. 



Since: Apr 16, 2008
Posted on: February 28, 2012 10:33 am
 

Winners & Losers: Avs get big win, others miss

Didn't say neither team broke a sweat, I said neither goalie. Obviously I know they did, just using a little hyperbole.

I watched the game and pardon me if I prefer a little more skill on display. That said, I still watched it and would watch it again. The fued and player substitutions were interesting enough. I laughed out loud when Tortorella tried to get Rupp on the ice and Boulton bolted off as soon as he did get on.
As I wrote, neither team should be apologetic for the way they play. It's just that when they get together, this is the type of game you're going to get with their styles.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com