In the final stretch of the season, goaltenders are starting to draw the most focus around the league. Thus, in this week’s edition of Hot and Not, masked men find themselves both trending up and trending down.
Goaltending will be key for those teams battling for playoff positions. In the Eastern Conference, the Tampa Bay Lightning are in second place in the Atlantic Division and have an important stretch of games coming up, while the Philadelphia Flyers received a bit of bad injury news.
A step up
Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning:/strong> The veteran netminder had been struggling of late, but he picked up an important 2-0 shutout victory against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. He made 32 saves for his fifth shutout of the season, matching his single-season high from 2013-14. He also reached the 30-win plateau for the third consecutive season. Tampa opens a six-game homestand on Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings.
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins are on a six-game winning streak and they're receiving contributions throughout the lineup. However, the captain has been on an offensive tear of late, posting six goals and 14 assists during a 12-game points streak. Since Pittsburgh made a coaching change on Dec. 12, Crosby has 25 goals and 32 assists.
Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers: The veteran forward has one goal and two assists in the past five games to help the surging Flyers remain in playoff hunt. Philly is three points out of the second wild-card spot in the East. Simmonds had eight shots in last week's victory over the Red Wings.
A step back
Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens: The 22-year-old forward went through an impressive stretch recently with eight goals and one assist in five games, but his offensive prowess cooled off last week. He has one goal and one assist in the past five games, but he’s a minus-8 during that span.
Michal Neuvirth, Philadelphia Flyers: At this time of the season, it’s not always about performance when it comes to this category, but sometimes whether or not a player can remain on the ice at a critical point of the schedule. Neuvirth will miss three weeks with a lower-body injury. He finishes the regular season with a 17-8-4 record, including a 2.28 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage in 31 games.
A step up
Michael Frolik, Calgary Flames: Registered a pair of three-point games last week. He scored a hat trick during Monday’s victory over the St. Louis Blues, then followed with one goal and two assists en route to a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday.
Mikkel Boedker, Colorado Avalanche: The newest member of the Avs scored twice for his fourth multi-goal game of the season to help Colorado to a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday. The Avalanche acquired him at the trade deadline from the Coyotes.
Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars: The goaltender made 27 saves en route to a 3-0 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday. It was his 34th career shutout and improved his record to 21-9-2 this season. Dallas has earned points in seven of its past eight games (5-1-2). He also has a 2.85 goals-against average, a .904 save percentage and two shutouts this season.
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings: The Stanley Cup-winning goaltender is 5-0-1 in his past six starts, including three consecutive wins to improve to 37-17-4 overall this season. He has a 2.14 GAA and a .921 save percentage in 58 games.
A step back
Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars The only reason the high-flying forward drops into this category this week is due to a cut Achilles tendon suffered on Thursday, which required surgery on Friday. The injury will sideline him for 3-4 weeks but he’s expected to return for the playoffs. He finished the season with 33 goals and 73 points in 72 games.
Alexander Edler, Vancouver Canucks: The veteran defenseman is averaging nearly 26 minutes per game, but the team is in the midst of a four-game losing skid and Edler is minus-4 in the past five games.