Times columnist Helene Elliott rates the pluses and minuses in the NHL from the past week:
+ Continuing his remarkable recovery from a stroke, Gordie Howe attended a dinner last week in Saskatoon, Canada, where a rink was named for him. Howe, who will be 87 next month and has dementia, was joined by sons Marty, Mark and Murray, as well as Wayne Gretzky, and Bobby and Brett Hull. Howe's family credits stem-cell treatments for his improved mobility.
+ Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury broke Tom Barrasso's single-season club shutout record Friday when he recorded his eighth this season in a 4-0 victory at Calgary. He blanked Edmonton in his previous start and extended his shutout streak to 131 minutes and 40 seconds.
+ Goalie Devan Dubnyk has thrived since the Minnesota Wild acquired him from the Arizona Coyotes for a 2015 third-round draft pick. In his first nine starts, he was 7-1 with a 1.30 goals-against average, .948 save percentage and four shutouts. Minnesota won its sixth in a row Monday and Dubnyk made 22 saves in the 5-3 decision over Vancouver, keeping the Wild in contention for a wild-card playoff spot.
- Forward Evander Kane probably played his last game for the Winnipeg Jets. He was scratched last Tuesday at Vancouver after he reported to the rink in a sweat suit instead of dress clothes, as required, and teammate Dustin Byfuglien reportedly threw Kane's clothes in the shower. The situation was defused when Kane underwent season-ending surgery on a nagging shoulder injury, but it's likely he will be traded this summer.
- The New York Rangers will have to get by without goalie Henrik Lundqvist for at least three weeks. He took a shot in the throat in a game against Carolina and played the next game but felt headaches and dizziness and was pulled from his next scheduled start. Backup Cam Talbot is capable, but the Rangers might seek a veteran goalie as insurance.
- Colorado has dropped off the pace in the West wild-card scramble by losing three straight games — two of them by shutout — and eight of its last 12. The Avalanche's last loss was to Winnipeg, which had lost its previous six games. It doesn't help that Colorado's power play ranks 29th at 12.4% efficiency.