The final Canadian game of the season brings the Panthers to Ottawa. Consider it a charity case, in which a playoff team is presented to an unfortunate Canadian team.
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* – Stats are courtesy of Corsica.Hockey and Hockey-Reference.com
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The Hat Trick
Locked In: The Panthers come in tonight with a luxury they have not had in some time: knowing exactly where they will finish. Between beating Montreal, and Tampa floundering in the third period to the New York Rangers, the Panthers secured the Atlantic Division crown on Tuesday night. The Panthers went to the final game of the season not knowing where they would finish the last time they did this in 2011-12. Having two games of little to no consequence will be nice to give some players a spell, and work on some specific things in a game environment while that luxury is available.
Just please get through these games healthy!
Ekcellence: This may be a bit lost in the mix of great things that have happened this season: Aaron Ekblad continues to do historic things. According to Hockey-Reference, Aaron Ekblad has played the most games of any defenseman who has played both an 18 and 19 year old season in the NHL. Ever. He has also scored the 3rd most points, with 74, 2 more than Bobby Orr and 4 more than Scott Stevens, both Hall of Famers. He currently trails 2nd place Rick Hampton by just two points.* A mini-explosion over the next two games will leave Ekblad a distant second to Phil Housley, who scored an obsence 143 points combined between his 18 and 19 year old seasons.
* – Larry Murphy is technically on this list as well, collecting 76 points during his 19 year old season, but he did not play as an 18 year old.
King Karlsson: The Ottawa Senators captain has a chance to turn in the highest point total by a defenseman in the Salary Cap era with a single point tonight. Karlsson currently has 80 points in 80 games, which ties the 2005-06 performance of Nicklas Lidstrom. What Erik Karlsson doing is truly remarkable. For a more in depth take, check out this one by Gus Katsaros over at McKeen’s Hockey. The big takeaway: Erik Karlsson’s fingerprints are all over a vast majority of Ottawa’s shot attempts.
Don’t forget to donate to #CatsForACause!