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Pluses and minuses around the NHL

Legend of Senators goaltender Andrew "Hamburglar" Hammond continues to grow

Times columnist Helene Elliott rates the pluses and minuses around the NHL from the past week.

+ The legend of Ottawa Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond, nicknamed "Hamburglar" at Bowling Green for his ability to steal games, continues to grow. On Sunday, he became the fourth NHL goalie to record a point in each of his first 11 career starts (10-0-1) and was tossed a hamburger by a fan. In 12 appearances, he has a 1.39 goals-against average and .955 save percentage.

+ Rookie goalie Mackenzie Skapski was born June 15, 1994, a day after the New York Rangers last won the Stanley Cup. Thanks to the way he and Cam Talbot have played while Henrik Lundqvist recovers from a vascular injury, the Rangers have positioned themselves for another Cup run with five straight wins. Skapski recorded his first career shutout Saturday, against Buffalo.

+ Blues Coach Ken Hitchcock had a colorful description of the defending champion Kings' annual late-season playoff pushes. "They're the big ugly bear that everybody watches," he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "When is he going to look for the garbage? He's looking in the garbage can now. He's entered the dumpster."

- The Winnipeg Jets have done well to stay in the wild-card chase, but injuries make them vulnerable to being passed by the Kings. Depth defenseman Paul Postma, who stepped in Saturday, was injured and will be out several weeks, Coach Paul Maurice said Monday. Center Bryan Little remains out, but defenseman Tyler Myers might return Tuesday. Dustin Byfuglien, injured March 4, skated Monday but gave no estimate for his return.

- The Penguins endured a lost weekend. They had to scratch an ailing Sidney Crosby on Saturday minutes before they faced Boston and lost Evgeni Malkin to an undisclosed injury during their 2-0 loss to the Bruins. Crosby returned Sunday against Detroit but Malkin didn't play, and Patric Hornqvist was injured badly enough to miss at least three games. Malkin might return this week, Coach Mike Johnston said Monday.

- Three straight losses in which they've scored one goal and a 2-4-2 slump are giving the New York Islanders a stern test. They've lost four straight at home and have dropped five points behind the Metropolitan Division-leading Rangers. The Islanders' leadership should be strong enough to pull them through.

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