The Week That Was.....10/7-10/13
It's Monday, that means time to take a trip around the NHL and all its happenings over the past week.
|TAMPA BAY||5||3||2||0||6||2||18||14||4||1-1-0||2-1-0||1-0||3-2-0||LOST 1|
Boston Bruins : The Bruins only had two games last week, a 2-0 loss at home to Colorado, and a 3-1 road win in Columbus. Milan Lucic is off to a hot start with 4 points (2 G, 2 A) in 4 games. Newcomers Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson are off to slow starts as they just have one assist apiece to start the year. It's not that they are not trying as Iginla leads the team with 14 shots on goal and Eriksson is not far behind with 12. According the the Boston Globe, it was the Bruins' approach that caused Nathan Horton to leave in the offseason.
Buffalo Sabres : The Hawks got a look at the winless Sabres over the weekend, and they have a lot of room for improvement. They are one of only two winless teams in the NHL, and have a league low 1.00 goals per game average. They have given up only 2.67 goals per game which has them right in the middle of the pack. Ryan Miller continues to look like the old Ryan Miller, as he plays for the big free agency pay day this upcoming summer. The coaching staff is still trying to figure out where to play Mikhail Grigorenko. Tonight they get to welcome back Jason Pominville, who will play his first game in Buffalo since being traded to Minnesota last season. The Sabres have to get a regulation win at some point and hopefully it comes tonight against Minnesota.
Detroit Red Wings : The Wings split their two home games this past week. They lost 4-2 to Phoenix on Thursday but bounced back with a 5-2 beating of Philadelphia on Saturday. Detroit will have a much busier week ahead with four games, including a matinee in Boston today. Henrik Zetterberg has gotten off to a hot start with 4 goals and 2 assists in five games. The defensive pairing of Kyle Quincey and Brendan Smith started the year a combined -9, which led to Smith being scratched on Saturday. JJ from Kansas posted his 5 game review which includes some analysis.
Florida Panthers : The Panthers did not have themselves a very good week, and I sense this being a theme for the season. They started with a 2-1 loss at Philadelphia, who everyone has been lighting up this season. The week also included two more bad losses, 7-2 at Tampa Bay and 3-0 at home against Los Angeles' backup goalie Ben Scrivens. The lone bright spot was their home opener; a 6-3 win over Pittsburgh that included 10 points from the line of Thomas Fleischman, Brad Boyes and Alexander Barkov. Only Edmonton and the Rangers have given up more goals than the Panthers so far this year. I guess a new scoreboard is a big deal when the product on the ice is not very good.
Montreal Canadiens : The Habs spent the week in western Canada getting the know the teams of the Pacific Division. The road trip did not start off well with a 3-2 loss in Calgary. The Canadiens went on to win their next two games in Edmonton and Vancouver. Both goalies played well in those victories, with Peter Budjai making 27 saves on Thursday and Carey Price giving up just one goal on 40 shots Saturday night. Lars Eller is showing no ill effects from the nasty hit that ended his playoff season last April. He has 5 goals in 5 games and his tied with P.K. Subban and Brendan Gallagher for the team lead in points with 7. Eyes On The Prize does a great job breaking down the film of the Habs' western road trip.
Ottawa Senators : The Sens have yet to play a home game this season and the west coast has not been very kind to them. They were only able to get one point in three games in California; a 5-4 OT loss in Los Angeles. Bobby Ryan made his return to Anaheim on Sunday night and was probably very happy he was traded before having to wear those horrid Mighty Ducks uniforms. The Sens will play their final game of this road trip in Phoenix Tuesday night before being rewarded with home games against New Jersey and Edmonton, which should get them back on the right track. Silver Seven recaps the ups and downs of Ottawa's second week.
Tampa Bay Lightning : The Bolts took 4 out of 6 points this week with wins over Florida and Buffalo but dropped a back and forth game to Pittsburgh, 5-4. The Lightning are just two games into a seven game home stand. In fact, they don't play another road game until October 27th. The Bolts currently have a +1.2 goals per game differential, mostly due to the great start from goalie Ben Bishop, who is currently day to day with a lower body injury. If Bishop can continue is excellent play, Tampa could be a surprise contender in the Atlantic Division. Speaking of surprises, enjoy this great surprise from Tampa's military salute the other night. Is it getting dusty in here?
Toronto Maple Leafs : The Leafs have gotten off to a fast 5-1 start and have themselves a 4 point cushion in the Atlantic standings. They have the great record despite being outshot by nearly four shots a game, which is driving Corsi lovers up the wall. Can they keep this up even though advance statistics say they should not be this good? I don't know but it will be fun to watch. Dave Bolland has started his Toronto career with 3 goals, in including an overtime goal on Saturday in Edmonton. Joffroy Lupul has 8 points (5 G, 3 A) so far. A big key to the Leafs' success will be keeping both of these guys on the ice as much as possible. Pension Plan Puppets believe that goaltending is still the key to the season.
|NY ISLANDERS||5||2||2||1||5||1||16||13||3||1-0-1||1-2-0||1-1||2-2-1||LOST 2|
|NEW JERSEY||6||0||3||3||3||0||11||21||-10||0-0-1||0-3-2||0-2||0-3-3||LOST 2|
|NY RANGERS||5||1||4||0||2||1||9||25||-16||0-0-0||1-4-0||-||1-4-0||LOST 3|
Carolina Hurricanes : The Canes seem like a team that should be much better than they are, that is at least on paper. They are off to a .500 start (2-2-2) which is not horrible. Little Nathan Gerbe leads the team with 3 goals. Jeff Skinner has 2, both of which have come on the power play. We will get a look at the Hurricanes on Tuesday as the Blackhawks make their only trip to Raleigh. The Canes will be missing goaltender Anton Khudobin for some time after suffering an injury on a play almost as ugly as those black sweaters.
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Columbus Blue Jackets : The Jackets split their two games this past week with a 4-1 win in Buffalo and a 3-1 home loss to Boston. The NHL missed a big marketing chance by not having the Blue Jackets play a home game on Columbus Day. But, we all know that the NHL and marketing are like oil and water. I thought the Jackets would have a tough time making the post season but as of know New Jersey, the Rangers, Washington and Philadelphia are dumpster fires. The BJs take to the road this week with games in Detroit, Montreal and Washington. Columbus is getting some good production from their defensive core as they have scored 11 of the team’s 30 points through 4 games. That evens out the defense being a combined -4 so far. Take a look a PGA pro golfer Jason Day getting his shot on the ice with the Blue Jackets.
New Jersey Devils : Woof! The Devils and the Sabres are the only two teams without a regulation win this year. Despite not having a regulation win, there are still 3 teams below them in the Metro standings. The Devils are currently 26th is scoring with just 1.83 goals per game while they are giving 3.17 per game. That is not recipe for success. This is a team that is been shutout twice already, including by the great Al Montoya last night. In Lou We Trust tells us that the Devils don’t always make backups look great. New Jersy is going to have to find someone else beside Damien Brunner to provide the offense. Brunner has scored 3 of the Devils’ 11 goals on the season.
New York Islanders : We saw the Isles in Chicago on Friday night and they gave the Hawks all they could handle. If they can get some consistent goaltending this year, they could be the team nobody in the East wants to see come playoff time. They have a great combination of skill and grit and Evgeni Nabokov is off to a pretty solid start with a 2.17 GAA and .927 save % in four starts. They pounded Phoenix at home 6-1 before back to back road losses, over the weekend, in Chicago and Nashville. John Tavares is not only an amateur dentist but he is a wizard behind the net as well.
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New York Rangers : Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Alain Vigneault got fired before ever coaching a game in Madison Square Garden. Obviously that isn’t going to happen, but the Rangers start would have had him launched from Philadelphia a week ago. They started the week off with their first win of the year in Los Angeles but all hell broke loose after that. They went on to lose in San Jose, Anaheim and St. Louis by a combined score of 20-5. Ouch! When a teenager is scoring their 4th of the night between his legs, things have gone south. The Blue Shorts currently have a goal differential of -3.20, which is just God awful. One thing that the Rangers could be encouraged about is Brad Richards scoring 4 goals in his first 5 games of the year. According to Jake Emen of Yahoo, the Rangers are lost until Henrik Lundqvist regains his form.
Philadelphia Flyers : The Flyers wasted no time in making a change behind the bench but it hasn’t seemed to change much on the ice. Philly is 1-2 under new head coach Craig Berube. The Flyers’ power play unit has stumbled out of the gate, going just 2 for 27 on year. This is a harsh difference from a year ago, when the Flyers boasted the 3rd best power play in the league, scoring at a 21.6% clip. Captain Claude Giroux only has 1 assist and is a -3 in six games. His poor start is leading to questions if he is healthy or if his is cracking under the pressure of wearing the C. I think it is just a slow start that happens to everyone. In the end Giroux will be right up there with the rest of the league’s elite players. If not, the Flyers are in for a very long season. Travis Hughes gave some good insight on how penalties killed the Flyers in their last game versus Detroit.
Pittsburgh Penguins : Some things never change in Pittsburgh as the Penguins are scoring goals in bunches to start the season. Their 4.00 goals per game average have helped them to their 4-1 start. Their power play has converted 35.7% of their chances which 2nd only behind St. Louis’ 37.5%. Sidney Crosby is doing what he always does when he is healthy and that is put up points at a ridiculous rate. Sid has 9 points (5 G, 4 A) and has been producing on the man advantage with 2 goals and 2 assists. Marc-Andre Fleury has started off 4-0 with a 1.75 GAA and .930 save %, which is a fine and good in October but let’s see him hold up in the post season. And in a move that should shock no one; it looks like Pittsburgh will be hosting another outdoor game soon..
Washington Capitals : The Caps scored 8 goals in their first two games, but only scored a total of 4 in their last 3. Head coach Adam Oates should spend less time worrying about goals being scored between the legs and more about getting his sputtering offense back on track. Since scoring 3 power play goals on 6 chances on opening night, the Caps have only scored 3 on their 13 chances since then. Braden Holtby has been a disaster to start the year going 0-3 with a 4.04 GAA and just a .873 save % causing him to get shown the door on my fantasy team. Currently the Capitals have no players who are a plus right now. Only Karl Alzner and Alexander Urbom are even and everyone else is at least -1. Japer’s Rink gives us the lowdown on the Caps week 2.
|SAN JOSE||5||5||0||0||10||5||24||7||17||4-0-0||1-0-0||-||5-0-0||WON 5|
|LOS ANGELES||6||4||2||0||8||2||16||14||2||1-1-0||3-1-0||2-0||4-2-0||WON 3|
Anaheim Ducks : The Ducks celebrated their 20th Anniversary Sunday by bringing back such Ducks legends like Stephen King and Ron Tugnut and their horrible Mighty Duck uniforms. After all the pregame ceremonies and retro television graphics, the Ducks put a 4-1 beating on former Duck Bobby Ryan and his Ottawa Senators. The Ducks won both of their games last week, over the Rangers and Sens, by a combined score of 10-1. Jakob Silfverberg, who came over in the Ryan trade, has got 5 points (4 G, 1 A) in the first 5 games of his career in Anaheim. Jonas Hiller has taken control of the goalie situation by going 3-0 with a 1.30 GAA and a .959 save %. He has only given up 4 goals on 98 shots so far this season. Anaheim Calling does a great job reliving the first win in Ducks history.
Calgary Flames : The Flames have been a surprise team out of the gates as they have picked up at least one point in all 5 of their games this year. They had a pair of 3-2 home victories over Montreal and New Jersey this past week. Things will get a bit tougher for the Flames as they embark on a 5 game road trip starting in Anaheim on Wednesday. Calgary is currently 6th in the NHL in scoring, which is good because are 25th in goals allowed. They will need to pick up the defensive side in order to keep earning points because I don’t see how they can maintain their 3.60 goals per game average. Rookie Sean Monahan and his epic hair are having a great start to his NHL career with 4 goals and 2 assists in his first 5 games as a pro. The Hockey Writers give us five secrets to the Flames’ early success.
Edmonton Oilers : Stop me if you have heard this one before; the Oilers can score a ton of goals but couldn’t stop a Bantam team from scoring on them. Edmonton has given up an average of 5.00 goals a game this year, which is the worst in the league. They are wasting some great offensive talent by not putting any defensive talent on the ice. To make matters worse, head coach scratched Nail Yakupov for their game in Toronto on Saturday and he will not see the ice tonight in Washington either. This, of course, has started talk about Yapukov heading back to Russia and the KHL. Poor baby.
Los Angeles Kings : The Kings are enjoying a 3 game winning streak after dropping 2 out of their first three games. They spent their Sunday beating the Florida Panthers, in game that included Daniel Carcillo scoring the game winning goal. I guess the Carter-Richards-Carcillo line really does work, Philadelphia. Jonathan Quick as been strong, per usual, and back up Ben Scrivens has not given up a goal in 74 minutes this season. Jewels From The Crown give as an in depth look at the Kings’ past week.
Phoenix Coyotes : The Yotes have themselves right in the thick of a tight Pacific Division by getting off to a 4-2 start. They bounced back from a 6-1 beating at the Islanders to win three straight road games at Detroit, Philadelphia and Carolina. Former Blackhawks’ farm hand Rob Klinkhammer has been a pleasant surprise by scoring 2 goals and being +4 on the Coyotes’ 4th line. The Yotes have shown some good scoring balance as they have gotten goals from 11 different players so far. Phoenix added some veteran presence to their roster when they signed free agent center Jeff Halpern on Saturday. Five For Howling gives us four reasons why they have righted the ship in Arizona
San Jose Sharks : Hey look kids, the Sharks are on another hot streak to start a season. We have all seen this movie before and it usually ends with disappointment and Jeremy Roenick questioning the manhood of Patrick Marleau. San Jose is a perfect 5-0 and averaging a league best 4.80 goals per game. 16 of their 24 goals have come at full strength which was a problem for the Sharks last season. Will they be able to keep up this scoring pace once the league figures out the Teenage Mutant Ninja Hertl? My answer is highly unlikely. Antti Niemi is making me look good by picking him to win the Vezina this year by starting off with a 1.40 GAA and .939 save %. It is no secret that Todd McLellan will ride his horse nearly every night this year. It will be interesting to see how Niemi holds up if he has to start 70+ games this year. Fear The Fin gives us some reasons why Marc-Edouard Vlasic should get some consideration for Team Canada.
Vancouver Canucks : The Nucks are 3-3 to start off the John Tortorella era. They won their first two games of the week over Calgary and New Jersey but ended the week with back to back 4-1 loses to San Jose and Montreal. The Sedins continue to be assist machines as they have combined for 13 helpers on the year so far. Mike Santorelli (who?) leads Vancouver with 4 goals through 6 games. Ex Blackhawk Ryan Stanton is enjoying life in Vancouver as he has 2 assists and is a +3 while averaging 13:35 TOI per game. The Canucks’ power play, which is usually one of their strong points, has yet to catch fire only scoring twice in 19 chances. In case you missed it over the weekend, here is how Montreal got their game winning shorthanded goal on Saturday. LOLZ
|ST. LOUIS||4||4||0||0||8||4||19||7||12||4-0-0||0-0-0||-||4-0-0||WON 4|
Colorado Avalanche : There is no doubt that the Avs are the most shocking team of the early season. Not only are they a perfect 5-0 but they are giving up just 0.80 goals a game. Not too shabby for a team that gave up 3.12 goals per game last season. There is no way they can keep up that pace, but if they can keep it around 2.5 goals a game, with their offense they should be in pretty good shape. The league took notice by giving both their goalies the 2nd Star of the Week today. Nathan MacKinnon is living up to his #1 overall draft pick status by leading the team with 6 points (1 G, 5 A). This should be a fun team to watch because even if they crash and burn Patrick Roy is going to punch someone before it is all said and done.
Dallas Stars : The Stars went nearly a week in between games but they did not show any rust in their 4-1 victory in Winnipeg. Tyler Seguin exploded for 2 goals and 2 assists but goaltender Kari Lethonen left the game with yet another lower body injury. Lethonen has been a really good goalie when he is on the ice, but staying on the ice has been his biggest problem. The Stars and backup goalie Dan Ellis got lit up in Minnesota the following night with a 5-1 loss. They have recalled former #1 pick Jack Campbell which speaks volumes on his progress. Alex Chiasson has been an offensive threat to start the year 3 goals and 2 assists. Dallas will be in trouble this year if the shot differential does not improve. They are currently being out shot by nearly 12 shots a game.
Minnesota Wild : The Wild were supposed to distract Minnesota sports fans from that purple disaster that plays in world’s biggest package of Jiffy Pop, but losing their first 3 games did not make them feel any better. They have righted the ship a bit with back to back home wins over Winnipeg and Dallas. Goaltender Niklas Backstrom sprained his knee during a loss in Nashville last Tuesday but has returned to practice and could be back in the lineup soon. Josh Harding has given up just 2 goals in his two starts in Backstrom’s absence. Harding was helped by his blue liners who are bringing it in front of him.
Nashville Predators : This past week was highlighted by the Preds taking 4 out of 6 possible points and American Hero Seth Jones scoring his first career goal versus the Islanders. Nashville is in last place in the Central but has played much better the last couple of nights. Scoring remains to be a problem as they have only lit the lamp 9 times in their first 5 games. Until they can provide some consistent scoring, I cannot consider them a real threat in the Western Conference. The Preds did get some good news with Viktor Stalberg return to the lineup ahead of schedule.
St. Louis Blues : We all saw the Blues snatch away two points from the Hawks in the final seconds of the 3rd period last Wednesday. St. Louis is one of three undefeated teams left in the NHL. Their next game is Tuesday night against one of the other unbeaten teams; the San Jose Sharks. The Blues boast the league’s top power having converted on 37.5% of their chances this year. Only the Sharks have averaged more goals per game than the Blues, who have put up 4.75 goals a game. Jaroslav Halak has been playing very well to begin the season. He has started all 4 St. Louis victories and has a 1.75 GAA, a .934 save % and the Blues are showing a lot of confidence in him..
Winnipeg Jets : The Jets snapped their 3 game losing streak with their 3-0 win over the Devils on Sunday. Chicago native Al Montoya picked up his 4th career shutout and his first for the Jets. Winnipeg is in the midst of a six game home stand, which will see Montreal, St. Louis and Nashville come to town this week, so now is not the time for the Jets to get complacent. The former Blackhawks in Winnipeg are getting the job done. Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd and Michael Frolik have combined for 15 points (5 G, 10 A) and are a +8 collectively. The strange thing is that Frolik is barely being used on the penalty kill, where he excelled for the Hawks last year. He only has 4:44 of shorthanded ice time this year.