What we learned last week in the NHL
Lessons learned from the last week of play in the NHL:
►Dean Lombardi is mad — or a genius
Although his team is desperate for scoring, the Kings’ general manager acquired goaltender Ben Bishop to be a co-No. 1 with Jonathan Quick during the 21 games that will determine whether the Kings make the playoffs. Huh? Lombardi’s theory: A winger who would make enough of a difference would cost too much financially and in assets, and he can’t give up first-round picks after having spent one on 16 games of Andrej Sekera and another on a season of walkaway free agent Milan Lucic. With deep goaltending and a team defense that has greatly limited opponents’ scoring chances, he’s counting on some underachievers — that would include you, Anze Kopitar, and you, Marian Gaborik — to step up. Translation: He’s hoping for a lot of 1-0 wins. If Lombardi loses this bet and the Kings miss the playoffs for the second time in three seasons, it could be the last bet he places in this job.
►Forsberg leading Predators toward the playoffs
Nashville forward Filip Forsberg scored a month’s worth of goals in his last four games. After recording hat tricks against Calgary and Colorado, he scored once and added two assists against Washington on Saturday and scored a goal against Edmonton on Sunday as the Predators completed a crucial homestand at 3-0-1. They’ve moved up to third in the Central Division, a long climb after their terrible start.
►Wild, Canucks report cases of mumps
The Central-Division race could be altered by an outbreak of the mumps. The Wild, which has a narrow lead over the Chicago Blackhawks, said Monday forwards Zach Parise and Jason Pominville were diagnosed with the disease and other members of the organization that have symptoms would be tested and placed in isolation for five days. Parise and Pominville will miss a stretch of three games in four days that began Monday. The Vancouver Canucks had to scratch five players last Saturday after one was confirmed to have the disease and four others showed symptoms.
►Wild is going all-out for playoff run
The West-leading Minnesota Wild added size and depth by acquiring center Martin Hanzal and rugged forward Ryan White from Arizona for a first-round draft pick this year, a second in 2018, and a conditional 2019 pick that could be a second-rounder if the Wild wins two playoff rounds this spring. That’s a lot of picks, but Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher is going for it this season. Asked during a conference call with reporters what kind of message the deal sends to his team, he said players had sent him the message that they’re ready to roll. “They believe we’re a team that can compete and contend and I think this was the appropriate response from management and ownership,” he said. “Right now we’re just putting our chips in the middle of the table for this year. … We know it will be tough. I think our thought is we may as well take a swing and see how far we can go.” With Hanzal and Bishop off the trading block, there might not be much drama just before Wednesday’s noon Pacific time trading deadline.
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