The NHL playoffs are set to kick off in a little under a month. Just 12 games are remaining in the 2021 regular season. This means that teams currently on the outside looking in on the postseason race are jockeying for position as they look to lock up one of the final spots. Back with our weekly stock-up stock-down article, Toronto Maple Leafs’ star Auston Matthews is continuing to cement his case for the Hart Trophy. He is the hottest player in the game right now.
The former first overall pick has scored 11 goals in his last ten games to break the franchise’s single-season mark. Along with this, Johnny Gaudreau has also entered his name in for the league-wide MVP award. Leading the Calgary Flames to three straight victories, the 28-year-old has amassed nine points in his last five contests.
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Stock Up: New York Rangers
The Rangers have earned a point in three of their last four games while racking up victories in seven of their last ten. The team is hot on the heels of the Carolina Hurricanes for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. Home to one of the deepest lineups across the league, New York continues to receive scoring from all areas of the lineup. Enjoying the best year of his 10 year NHL tenure, speedster Chris Kreider is pacing the group with 47 goals through 72 contests. After capturing the Norris Trophy as the top defenseman in the game a year ago, Adam Fox cemented his case as one of the top young blueliners in the NHL. The 24-year-old is currently fourth in the league in points at his position.
Stock Down: Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning appear to have hit a wall as this regular season winds down. After playing into the summer in two consecutive years, the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions have hit a rut as of late. Losers of three of their last four games, the team currently trails the Boston Bruins by two points for the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. Struggling to keep the puck out of the back of their net, John Cooper’s group has given up 24 goals over their last five games. Along with this, the group has been unable to get production out of their top-end players. Longtime winger Alex Killorn has managed just one point during April, while Ondrej Palat has gone scoreless in his last ten contests.
Stock Up: Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton has rebounded nicely after being beaten handily by their bitter rival Flames a few weeks ago. The Oilers have won six straight games to hold a firm grasp on second place in the Atlantic Division. They are continuing to be led by their two superstars, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. In his last ten games, the former has racked up 18 points to lead the NHL with 108. Meanwhile, the latter is hot on the heels of Matthews for second place in the league’s scoring race after surpassing the 50 goal mark for the second time in his young career. Tightening up their play in their own zone under Jay Woodcroft, if the team can receive quality goaltending in the playoffs, they are as dangerous a group as any.
Stock Down: Detroit Red Wings
Cooling off mightily down the stretch during the second half of the season, the Red Wings have fallen to 11th in the Eastern Conference Standings. The team has won just three times over their last ten games. Currently in the midst of a rebuild, as they look to rejig their roster back into a contender, the franchise was relying heavily on their young players to compete during the first few months of the year. However, those players have begun to run into the rookie wall as the year winds down. Once regarded as the frontrunner for the Calder Trophy as the game’s top rookie, Moritz Seider has just three points over his last ten games. Furthermore, former first-round pick Filip Zadina has just one goal over his previous five contests.
Stock Up: Dallas Stars
Dallas has been hanging around as the group looks to make a late push into the postseason. Winners of seven of their last ten games, the team currently holds a two-point lead on the Vegas Golden Knights for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Continuing to be the backbone for the team in goal, Jake Oettinger has been fantastic for the group. He is on pace to shatter his previous career highs in his second season in the league. The 23-year-old has won four of his last five starts while posting a .916 save percentage and a 2.48 goals-against average on the year. Paired with the play of their top line, Richard Bowness’s group might be able to salvage their year after a disastrous start.
Stock Down: Winnipeg Jets
Trying to make a late push for the postseason, the Jets won four of five to pull within striking distance of the second wild-card spot. However, the group has gone a pedestrian 5-5 over their next ten games. This has led them to fall eight points back. Struggling to generate on the offensive end, the team has scored just six times over their last three contests. They are now 16th in the NHL in goals per game with 3.03 averaged per matchup. In addition to this, Winnipeg’s power play has also begun to dry up as of late. The group is now one for their last ten with the extra man. With games left against the Colorado Avalanche, Flames, and Hurricanes to close out the year, it appears to be too little too late for the franchise.
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