NHL end-of-season wrap-up

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Will have the Rangers’ wrap-up at another time.
This is from the NHL:

TO-THE-WIRE PLAYOFF RACES, OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES

HIGHLIGHTED 2010-11 NHL REGULAR SEASON
NEW YORK (April 11, 2011) — It took until the final minute of the final game of the National Hockey League’s 1,230-game regular season to determine the 16th team that qualified for the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs — in fact, until just 13 seconds remained in that 1,230th game, when an empty-net goal settled matters, giving the Chicago Blackhawks a chance to defend their championship. The entire Western Conference bracket had remained utterly unpredictable until that moment. On the other side of the draw, four Eastern Conference teams were battling for the final three playoff spots until the final weekend.

From puck drop in North America and Europe in October through the Winter Classic in Pittsburgh on New Year’s Night and the Heritage Classic in Calgary in February through a stretch run as wild as any in memory, the 2010-11 NHL regular season was one for the history books. What follows is a sampling of some of the more remarkable and noteworthy achievements of its thrilling 186 days and nights:

V is for victory — The Vancouver Canucks did something that only the legendary Montreal Canadiens squads of the late 1970s have been able to do since expansion — lead the League in most goals scored and fewest goals allowed. Excluding shootout goals, the Canucks were tops in scoring with 258 non-shootout goals (one more than Detroit) and stingiest in allowing goals with 180.

The Canucks barely missed becoming the first team since the 1984-85 New York Islanders to lead the League in power-play percentage and penalty-killing. Vancouver’s power play was the best in the NHL at 24.3 percent, and the Canucks were third on the penalty kill at 85.6 percent –barely behind Pittsburgh’s League-leading figure of 86.1.

O Brother, where art thou? — For the second straight season, a Sedin born on Sept. 26, 1980, won the NHL scoring championship — just not the same one. One year after Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin led the NHL in points, twin brother Daniel topped all scorers with 104 points, five more than Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis. The Sedins are the first brothers to follow one another as scoring champions, and the first twins to top the League in points. They could also become the first brothers to win the Hart Trophy — Henrik was the NHL’s most valuable player last season; Daniel has a good chance to take home the award in June.

Tim Terrific — Tim Thomas started the season as the No. 2 goaltender for the Boston Bruins. He ended it as the most successful stopper in NHL history. The 2008-09 Vezina Trophy winner didn’t get the call in the Bruins’ opener against Phoenix in Prague on Oct. 9. But after a 5-2 loss, he got the call a day later and delivered a 3-0 shutout. Thomas spent the rest of the season as the Bruins’ No 1 goaltender, and finished the season with a 31-save performance against Ottawa on Saturday — giving him an NHL-record .938 save percentage, .001 better than the mark set by Dominik Hasek in 1997-98.

Life begins at 40 — Teemu Selanne and Nicklas Lidstrom are proof that age isn’t a barrier to greatness.

Selanne, who turns 41 in July, became only the third player to average more than a point a game (80 in 73 games) after his 40th birthday, helping the Anaheim Ducks on a late run that put them into the playoffs. Appropriately, it was Selanne who scored both goals in Friday’s 2-1 victory against Los Angeles that clinched the postseason berth — he had saved the Ducks’ season in March by setting an NHL record with four game-tying goals in the final minute of regulation, all in games the Ducks won in overtime.

Lidstrom will turn 41 during the first round of the playoffs later this month — and like Selanne, shows little indication that his game is slipping. Detroit’s captain had his best offensive season since 2007-08 with 62 points, including 16 goals.

Jon be nimble, Jon be Quick — Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick simply refused to lose in the tiebreaker. Quick was a perfect 10-0 in shootouts this season, matching the most shootout wins by a goaltender in one season and equaling Mathieu Garon’s 10-0 mark in 2007-08. One reason for Quick’s perfect record was the sharpshooting of teammate Jarret Stoll, who scored nine times in 10 tries — the best success ratio by any player with 10 or more attempts in the six-year history of the shootout.

Mighty Michael — No player in recent years had scored more than 19 goals in a season in which he was claimed on waivers, so the New York Islanders couldn’t have had any huge expectations when they claimed Michael Grabner on waivers from Florida just before the start of the season. Six months later, Grabner has turned into one of the most dangerous players in the NHL. His 34 goals are more than any Islanders rookie in franchise history not named Mike Bossy and were tops among all first-year players this season. The last first-year players with more were Alex Ovechkin (52) and Sidney Crosby (39) in 2005-06.

Grabner also finished second in the NHL in shorthanded goals with six, one behind linemate Frans Nielsen — the two quickly became the most dangerous pair of penalty-killers in the NHL.

Different path, same result — The Washington Capitals were the top club in the Eastern Conference for the second consecutive year but there were notable statistical differences over the Presidents’ Trophy-winning season of 2009-10. Their goals-against improved (fourth in the NHL at 2.33, compared to last year’s #16 ranking, 2.77) and their goal production dropped (19th, 2.67 this season compared to 1st, 3.82 in 2009-10).

Always be closing — Coaches always talk about the importance of closing out a game — being able to make sure that late-game leads turn into two points. No team was better at it than the New York Rangers. The Rangers took a lead into the third period 29 times this season — and came out with a win all 29 times. They were the only team in the NHL not to lose a point when leading after 40 minutes.

O from D — Byfuglien, who was returned to the blue line by Atlanta after the Thrashers got him from Chicago during the summer, found the net with 20 of his shots, more than any other defenseman. But Anaheim’s Lubomir Visnovsky, who flew under the radar for most of the season, wound up tops among defensemen in assists (50) and points (68).

But perhaps more impressive than the accomplishments of Byfuglien and Visnovsky was the season out up by Nicklas Lidstrom. Detroit’s captain was tied for third in goals (16) and second in points (62) –superb numbers for anyone, but off the charts for a player who will turn 41 during the first round of the playoffs.

California dreamin’— The Stanley Cup Playoffs will have a heavy California presence. For the first time in history, all three California teams will be in the tournament, with the San Jose Sharks finishing second in the West, Anaheim coming in fourth and Los Angeles finishing seventh –setting them up for a matchup with the Sharks.

Shark attack — Goaltender Antti Niemi helped rally the San Jose Sharks from a mid-season slump to their fourth consecutive Pacific Division title. Niemi started 34 consecutive games from Jan. 15 through April 4, going 25-4-4 with a 2.05 goals-against average and .929 save percentage.

Sweep dreams — The Philadelphia Flyers, the Atlantic Division champions, won all six games against the New York Islanders this season; Pittsburgh, which had the same number of points as the Flyers, went 4-1-1.

But the most dominant team vs. team performance belongs to the Minnesota Wild, which won all six of its games against Edmonton by two goals or more. The three home victories give the Wild 16 in a row against Edmonton at the Xcel Energy Center. That’s the second-longest current home streak by one team against another: Nashville’s 4-1 victory against Columbus on Friday was its 17th in a row against the Blue Jackets at Bridgestone Arena.

The Blueshirts were no slouches at coming from behind, either. New York was tied for second in the NHL with eight wins and 20 points in games in which it trailed entering the final period.

Ouch! — Minnesota forward Cal Clutterbuck retained his title as the NHL’s busiest hitter: he was credited with 336 hits, 27 more than runner-up Tuomo Ruutu of Carolina (and 18 more than his League-leading total last season). L.A.’s Dustin Brown, the last player prior to Clutterbuck to lead the League in hits, was third with 300. Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi earned his bruises by leading the NHL with 236 blocked shots. Both players contributed offensively as well. Clutterbuck had career-highs with 19 goals and 33 points, while Girardi scored 4 goals and led Rangers defensemen with 31 points.

They work hard for the money — Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith was among the 92 players who played in all 82 games (Buffalo’s Brad Boyes and Dallas’ Alex Goligoski actually played in 83 due to midseason trades), he saw more ice time than anyone –averaging 26:53 per game, 29 seconds more than San Jose’s Dan Boyle (who missed six games with injuries).

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward led all goaltenders in appearances (74, two more than Montreal’s Carey Price) and minutes played (4,318, 112 more than Price). Ward was also the runaway leader in shots against (2,375) and saves (2,191), leading Price by more than 200 in both categories.

High-rollers club ­– Anaheim’s Corey Perry had 31 goals through Anaheim’s first 66 games, then scored 19 times in the Ducks’ final 16 contests to pass early-season sensation Steven Stamkos of Tampa Bay (45) for the League lead. He capped his amazing run by getting Nos. 48, 49 and 50 against San Jose on April 6, capping one of the great four-week spurts in NHL history.

Perry was one of five players to reach 40 goals; Vancouver was the only team to have more than one — Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kessler, who went from 25 goals a year ago. Calgary’s Jarome Iginla finished with 43, giving him four seasons with 40 or more goals and 10 in a row with 30-plus goals.

Though Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin didn’t repeat as the League’s scoring leader, he did finish first again in assists with 75. He’s a big reason twin brother Daniel’s 41 goals included a League-high 18 on the power play.

Amazing but true — The Edmonton Oilers were the only team in the NHL that went the entire season without allowing a goal while playing down two men. In fact, the Oilers were the first team to do so since the 2003-04 New Jersey Devils. Each of the other 29 teams allowed at least three goals while playing 3-on-5.

Electrifying revival — After finishing the first half of the season with a League-worst 10-29-2 record, the New Jersey Devils staged a second-half revival that gave Devils fans hopes for a miracle finish. Under recently-appointed head coach Jacques Lemaire, the Devils went on a 23-3-2 tear to start the second half in the most dramatic turnaround in NHL history.

Kid stuff — Carolina’s Jeff Skinner, who doesn’t turn 19 until May 16, played all 82 games and led all first-year players in scoring with 63 points, including 31 goals. Rookie goaltender Corey Crawford led the Chicago Blackhawks to the playoffs with 33 wins and a 2.30 goals-against average, while Sergei Bobrovsky went 28-13-8 with a 2.59 GAA for Philadelphia. Crawford won the No. 1 job in Chicago after spending most of five seasons in the minors, while Bobrovsky came to Philadelphia as an undrafted free agent after spending four seasons in Russia. Two other rookies also won 20 games — Michael Neuvirth (27) for Washington and James Reimer (20) for Toronto.

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70 Comments

  1. Wow! I didn’t realize Tim Thomas broke the record for save percentage in a season. That’s nuts…

  2. *Always be closing*—Coaches always talk about the importance of closing out a game—being able to make sure that late-game leads turn into two points. No team was better at it than the New York Rangers. The Rangers took a lead into the third period 29 times this season—and came out with a win all 29 times. They were the only team in the NHL not to lose a point when leading after 40 minutes.

  3. Carp
    2 things:

    isn’t it interesting how exciting the conclusion
    of nhl regular season even without a certain pens player
    to spotlight every 30 seconds
    and
    unless i missed it did you ask or care to ask Drury what
    Hank was doing the night they watched the lightning game?

  4. i didn’t go thru all the posts to see if it was mentioned, but it seems the Rangers signed Carl Hagelin :)

  5. If I don’t get Wed’s game on Versus OR MSG+ OR Center Ice you’ll read about me in the newspapers !!!
    Does Versus do regional games ? It’s showing Yotes/Wings game on the direst tv guide.

  6. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " Back to the post season!!"...says Greg L. on

    Im thinking Avery should go watch the Capital practice….

  7. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " Back to the post season!!"...says Greg L. on

    Tony , the game is on TSN and that usually always means no Center ice broadcast…sure hope its on MSG fer ya bigguy!!!

  8. Carp -many thanks for your fine work and extraordinary effort. You do it “the right way”

  9. My word is Carp a posting machine today. Go go gadget posts.

    I think the blog caught whatever is ailing our system at work. We’ve had insane technical difficulties for the past 2 weeks and it’s to the point I want to drop kick the entire thing into the Mississippi.

    From earlier today: a) not Jewish b)not a lawyer(though my sister is) and c) proud survivor of heart surgery for 26 years. So is my Dad, who only Saturday celebrated 7 years since quadruple bypass.

    Not surpised Kreider is going back to BC. I think he needs another year in college, and so does he, obviously.

    Man, I would LOVE to go to Sweden for those games. Never been overseas before and seeing the boys overseas would be awesome. Sadly, I know no one in Sweden.

    No hockey tonight. Whatever will we do with our time.

  10. Ha. Just call me Mr. Widget (I still don’t know what that means … a guy from the NHL was telling me about all their hashtags or something. I told him we used to put that in brownies when I was a kid).

    Good evening, Sally! Looks like the beard contest is a go … but I need one more confirmation. Probably will have that by tomorrow evening, and we can get the Before shots going. I’ll let youse know.

    jpg, I did ask about Hank Saturday night. It will be in my column on Hank in Wednesday’s paper, and on LoHud.com. And linked here.

    Tony, what do you usually do when the game’s on MSG+? Besides sit there without your pants?

  11. Krissy, those candies rule! Thank you again! And please don’t forget to send me the translation for what is written on my little Ferry mug.

  12. i doubt Carp is around now
    and if he is
    get outta here!!!
    relax
    you posting machine
    have a nice dinner
    maybe an adult beverage
    or two

    we’ll behave…………for awhile.

  13. LinCalPrustBoylahan24 on

    Have a good night ‘Heads! Contending with some interesting weather yet again.

  14. so is clutterbuck
    like a m******
    byfuglien
    or
    is it a variation of a cluster headache?

    btw,
    thanks Carp for getting a lot to us today!

  15. cccp

    yes center ice carries 1st and 2nd round games. every anaheim/nashville game will def be on center ice as versus wont carry those.

    go to nhl.com and the games that dont list versus next to them will be on center ice. if it says versus jip then center ice will still carry it

  16. I’ve yet to get used to tornado warnings. I see them and shrug them off. I’ve survived an October Nor’easter that dumped three feet in under 12 hours, anything after that is gravy.

  17. They say at the Major League Baseball level anyone can hit a fastball if they know it’s coming. Well maybe the same is true for NHL defensemen. I’ve seen Gabby trying to beat the D-man wide quite a bit it seems, never really getting any leverage, he seemed to be skating hard, has he lost a step? Or maybe the D-man knew what pitch was coming. I saw something in the Devils game that caught my eye, shouldn’t have but it did. Gabby skated the puck it into the O zone and he pulled up. I don’t remember what happened on the play other than he had a lot of time and space. Gabby’s weapon is speed but for any weapon you need a counter. Perhaps in focusing on skating hard he’s forgotten to use his ‘change up’.

  18. None of the clowns on NHLN picked Rangers

    They picked Craps in 6 and 7

    They didn’t even pick us as a possible first round upset

    Freaking D-nuzzles

    Btw, last year 6,7 & 8th seeds advanced to the second round

  19. Yeah, I saw that, C3P. They also said the Craps have more “intangibles” with guys like Arnott and Knuble.

    Did they forget we have Captain Clutch, Fankist, and Feds? :P

  20. from Yahoo sports——-“A thing I never wanted to think about: “When C Vinny Lecavalier and D Pavel Kubina(notes) were roommates during the 1999-2000 season, their daily activities included a combination wrestling and pillow fight before turning in at night.”

    yuck. maybe I’ll root for the Pens now over the Tampa weirdos

  21. For what it’s worth, that clown on twitter @incarceratedbob picked the NYR and Canucks to meet in the Finals…

    He’s right sometimes but, he’s still a dopey Islanders fan :P

  22. I think we should “boycott the beard” the the Boys did in 1994. Go back and watch game 7, theres like 2 guys with beards and 1 was Glenn Anderson who im convinced was born with a beard

    BOYCOTT THE BEARD !!

  23. the beard thing was an Islander creation from their glory days. why perpetuate a crappy Fishstick idea?? no beards. you did not see the greats do it. Gretzky, Howe, Orr, Hull, etc

  24. Speaking of beards… Sally, did you see the vid with Dubi from today? Must have took him a week to get that kinda scruff, lol.

  25. If you don’t want to do beard then don’t do it…we won’t get

    We are not Gretzky or Hull or Howe… We are fans and it’s fun for us to support our team this way

    You wanna be out? Be out… As simple as that.

  26. The same “no beards” guy crawled out from under his rock 2 years ago with the same statement about the Islanders and the greats who wore no beards lol

    Being pathetic is for life, I guess

  27. My picks for the Eastern Conf. Possibly 27 more games for the Black & Blueshirts – This is wishful thinking but here we go: Rangers over Caps 4-2, Flyers over Sabres 4-3, Habs Over Bruins 4-2 & Tampa Bay over Pitt 4-3; Semi: Rangers over Flyers 4-3 & Tampa Bay over Habs 4-3: Finals Rangers over Tamap Bay 4-3. Why not. If we we play with grit & Hank stays hot you never know. Western Conference tomorrow

  28. Hank rarely shaves during the season, from what I recall. He said once upon a time that he preferred to be a little scruffy as his mask itches/annoys him when he is totally clean shaven.

    Dubinsky, well, that’s another story. I’m just glad he’s finally gotten to use a razor. :)

  29. Carp = Monster

    Good evening/early morning all!

    All I got is this: Norwegians are tremendously tremendous and bring great luck. Krisy and Anne, I will miss you so much!

    I found out tonight I’m going to be an aunt again!!

    Rangers are in the playoffs. Tiki is getting better.

    Life is good :)

  30. Yeah. I pushed the ” no beards” 2 years ago too. Weird thing is i constantly have a beard all year long. Isnt it ironic ??

    I guess since i always have a beard i’ll shave it off and that’ll be my “playoff beard” ??

  31. Oh and i meant the players shouldnt wear a beard. Fans should grow them big and scruffy and proud !! I just feel Ranger Players are jinxed when carrying on Isle-created traditions. Take it for what its worth

  32. Has anybody seen that McCabe has a “history” commercial…. I think its pretty funny and kind of reaching a bit

    McMonster has one too but his is awesome

  33. Hat trick !!!!!!! Nope, Goal was dissallowed due to a distinct kicking motion

    Fake Hat Trick

  34. Someset

    Unless it was you just now posting under “no beards” , I was actually talking about that poster

    We have a young team…I’m pretty sure it’ll be pretty hard for most of them to grow a beard anyway lol

    And if growing a beard keeps players motivated then why not?

  35. Congrats on being an Aunt again, Mama! Nothing better in the universe, imo.

    Great news on Tiki.

    Good night, gang. One day down, one more to go until game day.

  36. Cccp … nah that wasnt me. I love the playoff beard (if u can grow one) im just superstitious and think it should be an anti-ranger tradition.

    My hereos leetch, richter, graves, mess didnt sport one so thats good enough for me.

    I could care less what other teams do or past allstars have done

  37. If you guys are going to do the beard contest maybe you might want to sign up for the Rangers Beard-a-thon as well and raise a buck or two for the Garden of Dreams – Prust Sayin’

    http://www.beardathon.com/rangers/the-cause.aspx

    Prust, Gabby, Boyle,Stepan, Maloney, Esiason and last but not least Graves are currently in it.

  38. Congrats mama on being an auntie again. I got a little Somerset coming next month (which explains my infrequent posting)

    Its Springtime and Something must be in the air. Lots of baby making happening.

  39. LOL! Thanks all, and to C3 for his unique take on things!

    Must go niters now…..til later. LGR! TA!

  40. C3, can’t wait to hear the same news from you and your “fiance”
    lol, inside joke all.

    yeah wicky, I wicky’d……:)

  41. I recall once some years ago my wife flew out to San Diego to be with my daughter when her first was being born. I had always toyed with the idea of a beard and decided to try it. Well the bloody thing came in as a sort of plaid design, really idiotic looking, but I determined to keep it til she came back. Well I went to pick her up at the Orlando airport, and when she got waiting for the baggage I sidled up to her and growled something and she looked at me in alarm ( at first didn’t recognize
    me) and then said “what’s that fool thing on your face…don’t think you’re going to wear THAT”

    Tell the truth I couldn’t wait to get rid of it. I found it quite uncomfortable.

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