What we learned from the past week in the NHL:
The Ducks have an appetite for postseason play
After they unraveled in the third period of a loss at Vancouver last week and were teetering out of playoff position, left wing Andrew Cogliano said their performance against the Kings on Friday would be crucial.
“We’ll see where, individually, we are mentally and where we are with our hunger to be in the playoffs,” he said.
That hunger seems strong: they rallied to defeat the Kings in overtime and did the same to Colorado on Sunday despite losing goaltender John Gibson to an injury after the first period. They’ve won when they had to, beating teams that also urgently needed points, but the pressure is still on.
“The next one is going to be bigger,” coach Randy Carlyle said Sunday. They’ll have to be just as hungry to gobble up the next two points.
Golden Days for the Knights
Forward William Karlsson got the nickname “Wild Bill” because he’s quiet and hardly wild. But his scoring exploits are. His spectacular between-the-legs short-handed goal Saturday against San Jose allowed the Golden Knights to clinch the Pacific Division title in their remarkable first season and lifted him among the league leaders with 42 goals.
According to the NHL, only five players have scored more goals for a team in its inaugural season: Blaine Stoughton scored 56 for Hartford in 1979-80; Wayne Gretzky scored 51 for Edmonton in 1979-80; Blair MacDonald had 44 with Hartford in 1979-80, and Joe Malone had 44 for Montreal in 1917-18. Vegas set a record for most home wins by a team in its inaugural season, 29.
You can start the day as an accountant …
And end it as the first star of an NHL game. Scott Foster, a 36-year-old recreation-league player, usually has a nice meal and good view from the press box when he’s the designated emergency backup goaltender for the Chicago Blackhawks. But he was called into action Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets after starter Anton Forsberg was injured during pregame warmups and backup Collin Delia had leg cramps in the third period.
Foster stopped all seven shots he faced in a 6-2 victory and got star treatment, including chants from the crowd. His brief fame ended when the Blackhawks called up goalie J.F. Berube, but the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League offered him a good job — as its emergency backup accountant.
Classy all the way
From their NHL debuts in 2000 through their announcement they will retire after this season, 37-year-old twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin have been role models with their sustained excellence and involvement in charity work in their adopted hometown of Vancouver, Canada.
Henrik (1,068 points with three games left) will retire as the Canucks’ all-time leading scorer. Daniel (391 goals with three games left) will retire as the club’s top goal scorer. They combined to lead Sweden to an Olympic gold medal in 2006 but never won the Stanley Cup, though that doesn’t diminish their achievements.
“Being part of the Canucks family for 18 seasons has been the best period of our lives. But it’s time to focus on our families and life after hockey,” they said in a letter released Monday. “It’s time to let the next generation of young players lead the Canucks.”
They will be missed.