The Lead Changes Again
Well, Scott's lead didn't last very long. Allan took Scott's 7-point lead after Week Twenty-Four and made a 5-point lead of his own. With only one more week to go, the lead is not very safe, no matter who has it. It is, however, a two-horse race down the stretch, as the gap between Scott and the tie between Wilton and Stacey M. is now 15 points,
Chris Falls Out of the Prizes
The longest streak of weeks being in the prize positions was held by Chris, as he held every prize position at least once over a 16-week span, but Week Twenty-Five saw a bunch of injuries catch up to his team, as he fell down to 5th place, now 6 points out of 4th place. Of course, he could make those points up, assuming his team was healthy, but it does seem less likely, even in a busy week like Week Twenty-Six will be.
Third Segment Race Tightens
Scott's lead in the segment race also shrunk, as it has become a three-horse race, going into the final week of the regular season. Scott holds a 3-point lead over Allan and an 8-point lead over Dale C.. Injuries have been playing a large part in this race and all three teams are dealing with one form or another, which continues to make this whole race interesting.
For the three times that Mike has had the Mover & Shaker nod in a week, he had yet to see a Player of the Week nod from his team... until now. Taylor Hall finished the week as the outright winner of the mention, picking up 9 points in Week Twenty-Five. That was 4 points less than what Mike had all of last week, when he earned his only Basement Dweller nod of the season.
In Week Twenty-Five, Hall started his own 4-game points streak, picking up at least a point in every appearance on the ice. On Tuesday, he got off to a good start, scoring a goal and adding 3 assists against the Sharks, followed up by single helper nights on Wednesday in Anaheim and Friday in Phoenix. Sunday, he capped off his week with another goal and 2 assists, at home to the Ducks.
Despite the Oilers struggles to win games when it mattered, Hall has amassed a pretty good year on the scoresheet, scoring 27 goals and adding 50 assists through 72 games, missing some time due to injury. Hall is currently ranked 13th in pool scoring with his 77 points, scoring at over a point-per-game.
Only 14 forwards have played more than 30 games and averaged more than a point-per-game, which is pretty good company to be in.
There is no better time to be earning a Mover & Shaker nod than when you're battling for 1st place at the end of the year. Allan was able to re-take the lead with a Mover & Shaker week of 33 points. He bettered Scott's week by 12 points and earned himself a bit of a lead, heading into the final week of the season. I suppose the only thing better than this scenario would be getting the Mover & Shaker week to win the pool, am I right?
Allan had a huge week from his goaltending duo of Semyon Varlamov and Sergei Bobrovsky, who each finished the week with 8 points a piece. This cemented their position as the best duo taken in the pool this year, yet they came up empty at the Olympics (snicker, snicker). Allan also had a good week from Corey Perry, who had 5 points, while Brian Gionta and Ryan O'Reilly each potted 3 points. Only three players on his team didn't pick up at least a point, two of which have season-ending injuries and the other spent the better part of the week in the minors.
Allan has 43 projected games left to play down the stretch, compared to Scott's 49, so he'll need to sneak out a very solid week from those healthy players to lock up the win in the end.
It hasn't been a great year for Derek Wyllie, who only peaked at 12th place after Week Seven, but has since hovered in the 15th/16th range before his latest free fall, which has seen him drop all the way down to 20th, thanks in part to his Week Twenty-Five Basement Dweller performance of 10 points.
This is Wyllie's second appearance in the Basement Dweller spot this season, the other coming in Week Twelve. He can thank the pool's worst goaltending, which has a total of 9 wins this year and 0 points (again!) last week. His best player in the week was Patrick Sharp, who finished with 3 points, while five of his active 12 skaters all finished with donuts.
More to his goaltending, only 3.8% of his total points have come from the crease. Dale B., on the other side of the spectrum, has the 2nd-best goaltending, which has accounted for 27.3% of his total points this year.
NEWS AND NOTES
Despite the number of injuries that the Chicago Blackhawks have seen down the stretch before the playoffs, they were still making statements in their line-up, as Brandon Saad earned himself a trip up to the press box for some pretty cold play of late. Saad sat out on Sunday afternoon against the St. Louis Blues, a game which Chicago won, 4-2. I would imagine the demotion will be short-lived, given the injury situation.
Also joining the injury parade for the New Jersey Devils was Ryane Clowe, who has been suffering from a head injury and has missed some time already, including Saturday's game in Carolina. The Devils are still expecting to see Clowe play before the end of the regular season, but I don't suppose they could rush this injury, given the nature of it. He is listed as out day-to-day, but that's about as far as anyone is prepared to take it, by the look of things.
Undisclosed injuries to forward Jussi Jokinen and defenseman Olli Maatta have weakened the Pittsburgh Penguins line-up a little on Saturday, but Jokinen did return to the line-up on Sunday and added an assist to his season totals, while the young Finnish defender also missed Sunday's game. There has been no mention of a timetable for return for Maatta, but no one has said it is anything serious, so it may just work out to be a bit of rest before the end of the year.
The season has come to an early end for Winnipeg Jets forward/defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who suffered a torn muscle in his upper-body. The Jets are long shots to make the playoffs in the Western Conference, so it does seem rather likely that his season is pretty well over now. Recovery from the injury was likely going to be in the number of weeks range, rather than a day-to-day issue.
Also another note on the Winnipeg Jets, forward Evander Kane was a healthy scratch on Saturday night, but it has already been noted that he will return to the line-up on Monday, as the Jets host the Wild.
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