Daniel Spevak is a writer for The Checking Line - Flyers Edition. This is a part of a multi-part series breaking down the potential finalists for the NHL's annual awards.
The Hart Trophy is awarded to the player deemed to be the most valuable each season.
While a lot of players fit the bill of being good and are capable of putting up statistics, only a handful fit the description of being the most valuable to their respective teams. Here are the players that have been keys to their club’s success.
Phil Kessel - Toronto Maple Leafs
Kessel has had quite the season. He’s tied for fifth in the league with 80 points, and has a career-hi...
The Islanders continued their 6 game road trip on Thursday night visiting the Tampa Bay Lightning and took a well-earned 2-1 shootout victory over the co-leaders of the Atlantic Division. On the current trip the Islanders have now recorded points in 4 of the 5 games.
The first period looked like a good night for Chicago: the Blackhawks held the Lightning to zero shots on goal for twenty minutes, while getting a dozen at Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop.
Holding an opponent without a SOG in a period was something the Blackhawks hadn't accomplished in nearly 67 years - since December 4, 1946, in fact. But such a solid feat would not be enough.
In the second, the Blackhawks leapt out to a 2-0 lead. Patrick Kane scored in the first minute. About eight minutes later, Bishop went to play the puck behind the net, and ended up being caught out to dry instead; Brandon Saad cleaned up a puck on the doorstep and created a power play goal for...
All 30 teams in the NHL know the type of talent Sean Couturier possesses.
Only one, the Philadelphia Flyers, have the fortune of saying that they are possession of his talent.
On the April 3 trade deadline, a handful of teams asked the Flyers about the 20-year-old Couturier. San Jose wanted him in exchange for Ryan Clowe and Ottawa wanted him for Ben Bishop.
The Flyers didn’t bite though, opting to hold onto Couturier rather than deal him for a potential rental forward with no goals or an unproven starting goaltender. They did, however, exercise the notion of trading him for a top, young defenseman or top line scorer.
Couturier was glad this deadline ended, especially for him trying to focus on his play rather than if he's going to get moved.
(Pictured: Sean Couturier celebrates with Jay Rosehill and Erik Gustafsson after setting up Rosehill's goal in the third. John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY)
The Flyers fell short of the Ben Bishop sweepstakes and went for plan B.
The Flyers acquired goaltender Steve Mason from the Columbus Blue Jackets, giving them a strong back-up goaltender for Ilya Bryzgalov. Bishop, who they were targeting, was traded to the Lightning earlier.
The Flyers gave up a 2015 third round pick and Michael Leighton for Mason.
The New York Islanders controlled about forty minutes of hockey tonight against the visiting Ottawa Senators but surrendered four unanswered goals in the final period of the game to lose 5-3 in regulation.
Matt Kassian would get the scoring started with a redirection just 6:23 into the first period after Sergei Gonchar let go of a wrister from the point to give the Sens the early lead, but Keith Aucoin would answer with his fifth goal of the year just before the end of the period.
Kyle Okposo made a nice spin around pass from behind the Sens net to find Aucoin to bury the puck through Ben Bishop's five hole. Josh Bailey had the secondary assist.
Despite the tie score, the Islanders created several turnovers in the Senators end of the ice - most notably during shifts from the Okposo-Nielsen-Bailey line.
The Islanders will kick off 4-game home stand tonight when they take on the Ottawa Senators for the third and final time this season. After a difficult 3-1 loss to the Sens back in February, the Isles took the most recent matchup with a pair of stellar shootout goals by the likes of Frans Nielsen and John Tavares.
So far this month, the Isles are 5-1-1, which has currently placed them 3 points out of the 8th and last playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. The Isles have also improved on their dreadful home record, going 3-0-2 in their last 5 games at the Nassau Coliseum.