Monday Musings: Roberto Luongo helps out Canucks | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaMonday Musings: Roberto Luongo helps out Canucks

Posted: Monday, April 7, 2014 | 08:00 AM

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By backstopping Florida to a 3-2 over Dallas on Sunday, former Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo prevented his old teammates from being eliminated from playoff contention. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) By backstopping Florida to a 3-2 over Dallas on Sunday, former Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo prevented his old teammates from being eliminated from playoff contention. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

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This week's Monday Musings cover Roberto Luongo's assist to his old team's playoff chances, the solid rookie years of Nathan MacKinnon and Patrick Roy, as well as the NCAA Frozen Four.

Some Monday morning musings from the NHL and the rest of the hockey world to prepare you for the upcoming week that will see:

  • The rescheduled game between the Stars and Blue Jackets in Dallas will be played on Wednesday. It was postponed last month after Stars forward Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench at the 6:23 mark of the first period on Mar. 10. The game will be a full 60 minutes, and will start with the Blue Jackets leading 1-0 -- the score of the game when it was called.
  • In a preview of a possible first-round playoff matchup, the Detroit Red Wings will visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.
  • The San Jose Sharks begin the final week of the regular season one point behind the Pacific-leading Anaheim Ducks, and the Sharks have played one more game. The rivals will meet in Anaheim on Wednesday in a game that could decide the division title.
  • The NCAA Frozen Four begins, with Minnesota vs. North Dakota and Boston College vs. Union in the semifinals of the U.S. collegiate men's hockey tournament in Philadelphia on Thursday. The winners meet in the final on Saturday evening.
  • The NHL regular season will conclude on Sunday with 10 games, including Dallas at Phoenix, a game that may determine the final playoff spot in the West.

Getting by with a little help from a friend

Career victory No. 372 for Roberto Luongo, a win that pushed him into a tie for 14th with Andy Moog on the all-time victory list, may have only prolonged the agony for his old teammates in Vancouver. But in the short term Luongo did the Canucks a favour.

Luongo's 35-save effort to allow his Florida Panthers to score a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars stopped the Canucks from being mathematically eliminated on Sunday. The Stars required two points to snuff out the Canucks' slim playoff hopes.

"We're all professional athletes, we're all competitors," Luongo said afterwards. "Anytime we step on the ice, it doesn't matter what the circumstances are, we want to have that winning mindset and try to win. That's the way I play and it doesn't matter what the stakes are, you want to beat the other team."

Of course, Luongo also could not resist taking to social media following his win.

"You're Welcome @VanCanucks! Glad I could help. #stillonpayroll #15%," Luongo wrote on his Twitter account @Strombone1, referring to the Canucks' paying a portion of his salary as part of the deal that sent him to Florida.

Hitting 60

With his goal and assist in Colorado's 4-0 win in St. Louis on Saturday, Avalanche rookie Nathan MacKinnon reached the 60-point mark to join elite company. Since the 2004-05 lockout-cancelled season, only 10 rookies have checked in with 60 or more points:

  • Alex Ovechkin, 2005-06 Capitals (81 games, 52 goals, 106 points).
  • Sidney Crosby, 2005-06 Penguins (81 games, 31 goals, 102 points).
  • Evgeni Malkin, 2006-07 Penguins (78 games, 33 goals, 85 points).
  • Paul Stastny, 2006-07 Avalanche (82 games, 28 goals, 78 points).
  • Patrick Kane, 2007-08 Blackhawks (82 games, 21 goals, 72 points).
  • Brad Boyes, 2005-06 Bruins (82 games, 26 goals, 69 points).
  • Nicklas Backstrom, 2007-08 Capitals (82 games, 14 goals, 69 points).
  • Jeff Skinner, 2010-11 Hurricanes (82 games, 31 goals, 63 points).
  • Anze Kopitar, 2006-07 Kings (72 games, 20 goals, 61 points).
  • Nathan MacKinnon, 2013-14 Avalanche (78 games, 24 goals, 60 points)

Hitting 50

When the Avalanche won on Saturday, first-year head coach Patrick Roy became the fifth coach in NHL history to win 50 games in his first season behind the bench. The full list:

  • Tom Johnson, 1970-71 Bruins, 57-14-7 (eliminated in first round by Montreal).
  • Mike Keenan, 1984-85 Flyers, 53-20-7 (lost in final to Edmonton).
  • Pat Burns, 1988-89 Canadiens, 53-18-9 (lost in final to Calgary).
  • Todd McLellan, 2008-09 Sharks, 53-18-11 (ousted in first round by Anaheim) .
  • Patrick Roy, 2013-14 Avalanche, 50-21-7 (to be determined).

A family affair

A year ago, the Carolina Hurricanes promoted Jared Staal for his first two NHL games. In the second game, Staal and his brothers/teammates Eric and Jordan were supposed to share an NHL ice surface for the first time with their brother Marc Staal, the New York Rangers defenceman.

Marc, however, had suffered an eye injury in early March and never returned to action in the regular season. So the four Staals missed the opportunity to play together.

But here we are again, in the last week of the regular season, and the Rangers and Hurricanes meet in Manhattan on Tuesday. Word from the Hurricanes, thought, is that there are no current plans to recall Jared from the AHL Charlotte Checkers, where the forward has endured a disappointing season with two goals and seven points in 46 games.

A family affair II

When Union, Boston College, Minnesota and North Dakota gather to play in the NCAA Frozen Four in Philadelphia later this week, the latter three teams each have a set of brothers on the roster.

Minnesota has Connor, Mike and Ryan Reilly from Chanhassen, Minn. Boston College has Johnny and Matthew Gaudreau from Carneys Point, N.J. North Dakota has Mark and Mitch MacMillan from Penticton, B.C.

The last time the sons of Lorraine and Doug MacMillan played on the same team and had a chance to win a championship was when they lost out in the BCHL semifinals with the 2009-10 Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

Mitch, 24, is a left wing in his senior year at North Dakota after transferring two years ago from St. Cloud State. Mark, a 22-year-old forward, is in his third year with North Dakota. He was drafted by Montreal in the fourth round (113th overall) in 2010.

By the Numbers

3 -- Hat tricks this season for Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty to become only the fourth Hab in the expansion era to record three or more hat tricks in a season. Jean Beliveau (three in 1967-68), Guy Lafleur (three in 1971-72 and 1974-75, four in 1977-78) and Pierre Larouche (three in 1980-81) are the others.

47 -- Points for Henrik Sedin to lead the Vancouver Canucks in 2013-14.

0 -- Times in Canucks history that their leading scorer hasn't registered at least 50 points.

44 -- Gold medals won by Canadian national teams at Olympics, world championships and World Cups during Bob Nicholson's time as Hockey Canada president since 1998. Nicholson, 60, announced last week he will vacate his post on June 1.

93 -- Consecutive games Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had played until he sat out Sunday with an upper-body injury. After missing the final 12 contests of the regular season last year with a broken jaw, Crosby played in all 15 of Pittsburgh's playoff games last spring and the first 78 regular-season games this season.

413 -- Wins for Mike Babcock as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, matching the franchise's all-time leader, Jack Adams.

444 -- AHL regular-season and playoff games for 26-year-old defenceman Andrew Campbell of Caledonia, Ont., before he made his NHL debut for the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

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