The Sprint to Spring In Full Swing

Team of the Week

Anaheim Ducks (41-27-5)

In what is arguably the NHL's toughest division, the Anaheim Ducks are making their claim to be the fourth Pacific Division team to make the playoffs in the Western Conference, with some terrific play in the past week fueling their late bid for eighth-place. In games they needed to win against teams higher or close to them in the standings, the Ducks up-ended the Kings, the Flames, and then the Stars.The win over Dallas saw the Ducks tie the score with only seven seconds left to go, sending the game to overtime, where they ultimately would claim the 2-points on a goal by rookie Cam Fowler. Currently on a four-game winning streak, the Ducks have a slight grip on the Western Conference's final playoff spot, with only a one-point lead on Dallas and a two-point lead on Calgary. Behind the strong play of 40-goal/40-assist man Corey Perry, who pitched in with a pair of game-winners against the Flames and Kings, the Ducks are shaping into a team that few teams would want to meet in the first-round of the playoffs.

Play of the Week:

Cory Stillman/Erik Cole/Eric Staal (Carolina Hurricanes) 

Tic-tac-toe goals are always held in high regard, with the one put together by Carolina's top-line on Tuesday against the Senators certainly deserving of some high praise. The play started with Erik Cole picking the pocket of a Senators player, forcing a turnover within the Hurricanes offensive zone. Cole quickly fired the puck cross-ice, hitting the tape of Cory Stillman, who was skating down the right wing. Stillman re-directed the pass to his centreman, Eric Staal, who never hesitated and relayed it straight back to Stillman. Stillman one-timed the pass on arrival, beating Ottawa's Curtis McElhinney. The goal eventually stood as the game-winner, as the Hurricanes beat the Seantors by a score of 4-3.

Line of the Week:

Daniel Sedin (LW, Vancouver Canucks)

Currently in the midst of a nine-game point scoring streak (only one off his season-high and two off his career-high for consecutive games with a point), Daniel Sedin is padding his lead on the rest of the league in the Art Ross Trophy race for the NHL's leading scorer. With 95 points and a seven-point lead over his brother Henrik, Daniel is entering the homestretch of the season on a first-place team, a 40 +-goal season and gaining more Hart Trophy consideration by the day. In Wednesday night's game against the Red Wings on the road in Detroit, Daniel scored the only two goals of the game for Vancouver, which was all they would need in a 2-1 victory. His second-period goal on the power-play also gave him possession of the lead in two major categories; passing Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos with his 18th goal on the man-advantage to lead that category, and earning a tie with Washington's Alex Ovechkin with his 10th game-winning goal of the season. Further proving how great things are going for Daniel was the birth of a new daughter on Monday, the third child for him and his wife. 

Milestone of the Week:

Adrian Aucoin (D – Phoenix Coyotes)

The Phoenix Coyotes are putting together the finishing touches on another remarkable season, with the team currently holding home-ice advantage in the tough Western Conference. A big part of their success both this season and last year has been defenceman Adrian Aucoin who provides the team with all the benefits a veteran blue-liner can; physical play, leadership and responsibility when on the ice. Now in his 11th season, Adrian recently passed a major milestone for his career, having played in his 1000th NHL game, becoming the 264th player in league history to reach the plateau. Adrian hit the mark during a 2-1 loss to the Blackhawks in Phoenix this past Sunday, dishing out three hits and blocking three shots in the game. Congratulations Adrian, from NHLPA.com, on this fantastic accomplishment!

Quote of the Week:

It was probably almost 10:30 when I realized we didn't have a goalie going out, so I said, 'Hey, I know a guy pretty well who might be able to fit in. So I gave him a call and texted him. It was a pretty impressive turnaround. He was here in a half-hour.”

- Florida Panthers forward Marty Reasoner discusses having his brother, Adam, fill in for the injured Scott Clemmensen during Panthers practice at Madison Square Garden last week

 

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