Case of the Mondays: March 3-4

What you missed in hot NHL action this weekend. Is it me, or does it feel like the playoffs in here?:


--The Bruins and the Rangers just flat-out don't like each other. The Rangers won this matchup yet again, beating the Bruins in the alleys and in the rink. Of course, it was a thrilling game to watch, even if it did appall random flickers-by sitting in front of TV after church expecting basketball. If these two teams meet in the playoffs, we'll save a ton of dough in the playoffs on travel -- er, it will be a series worth following. The game also completed a weekend sweep over the Bruins for the teams with "New York" in their names.

--In another made-for-TV tilt between two Original Six teams, the Blackhawks edged the Red Wings, but the Wings lost Vezina candidate Jimmy Howard to what is cagily being called a "lower-body injury." Afterward, he later gave it completely away when he told reporters, "Throughout the period it was just getting tighter and tighter. They decided to take me out." The informed speculation here is that he will loosen his laces before his next start and be just fine.

--Nifty note from Elias: "Jarome Iginla reached the 25-goal mark for the 13th consecutive season when he scored in the third period of the Flames’ shootout loss to the Stars. Iginla is the eighth player in NHL history to score 25 or more goals for at least 13 straight seasons, joining Jaromir Jagr (17 seasons), Mike Gartner (15), Marcel Dionne (14), Bobby Hull (13), Phil Esposito (13), Jean Ratelle (13), and Wayne Gretzky (13) in that exclusive club."

--Atop the league standings: The Rangers. Leading the league in points: Steven Stamkos.


--The Maple Leafs are now on an unprecedented one-game winning streak under new coach Randy Carlyle after their hard-fought victory over the completely terrible Habs. Now all the Leafs have to do is win every one of their remaining games, while at least three of the teams above them have to lose half of theirs, in order to qualify for the playoffs. (That's a guess.) Regardless, watch for Carlyle to get at least one vote for the Jack Adams, no matter what he does the rest of the season. The Toronto media are crazy that way.

--Under the category of Guys Who Were Talked About A Lot Before The Trade Deadline (I'm working on something catchier), Jeff Carter and Rick Nash led their teams to surprising wins with two goals each.

--As further proof that Saturday was "Opposite Day," the Sabres beat the Canucks. The Curse of The Gilbert Perreault Roulette Wheel haunts Vancouver to this very day.