Your weekly shot of hockey to go with your coffee
Every team in the league has now played at least 10 games; which is the number of goals the Blue Jackets scored on the Habs on Friday; who then scored five on Saturday to remain on top of the league standings. I think I’ve seen everything now. Anyway, on to the Heat Check!
Hottest Team: Chicago Blackhawks (19 Pts, #1 Central, 8-1-1 in Last 10 Games)
The 10-0 loss costs the Habs the spot for “Hottest Team,” I’m sure they’re really upset about it. Chicago is riding a six-game winning streak to propel themselves into 1st in a Central Division full of good teams. Like their World Series Champion counterparts, the Blackhawks lead the West in goal differential and goals scored.
Runner Up: New York Rangers (20 Pts) — The Rangers lead the league in goals by 8 over Chicago and GD by 12 over Chicago as well. The team already has seven players in double digits for points with five more sitting on nine points. King Henrik’s men can spread the puck well.
Other Runner Up: Montreal Canadiens (21 Pts) — Couldn’t leave out the league leaders. The 10-0 loss puts Montreal’s GD at +11, which is tied for third in the league. Carey Price and Shea Weber continue to anchor down MTL’s defense. And you guessed it, Price was not the goalie in Friday night’s loss to Columbus.
STREAKING PLAYERS: Sidney Crosby (PIT), Artem Anisimov (CHI), Nikita Kucherov (TB), Mark Scheifele (WPG), Michael Grabner (NYR), Cam Talbot (EDM)
Slowest Start: Vancouver Canucks (10 Pts, #6 Pacific, 2-6-2 in Last 10 Games)
The Canucks have lost 8-striaght since starting the season 4-0. Vancouver has by far the worst offense in the NHL and they are a terrible road team.
Runner Up: Detroit Red Wings (13 Pts) — Detroit has dropped five-straight games as they drop below .500 on the season. Jimmy Howard has been stellar to start the season but has taken three of the five losses in low-scoring affairs.
What to Watch For This Week:
Tampa Bay and Florida face off tonight in what should be another great showdown in Miami. Tomorrow sees the Next One versus the Next-Next One as Connor McDavid leads his Edmonton Oilers into Pittsburgh to face Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. This should be on NBCSN, come on scheduling. Oilers/Pens would absolutely draw in a larger audience than “World Series of Fighting.” If ESPN and TNT make time in the schedule for baseball and basketball, you NEED to do it for hockey. The Wednesday Night Game is actually a rivalry on NBCSN as the red hot Blackhawks travel to St. Louis. The Sharks are traveling East for a tour of part of the former Southeast Division. San Jose is in Washington Tuesday night, Tampa Bay Thursday night, and Florida Saturday night. Friday night sees the Blackhawks return home to host the Caps.
Comebacks galore! The Flyers rallied out of multi-goal holes in all three games last week as they beat Detroit in overtime 4-3, edged the Isles in a shootout 3-2, and just fell to Montreal 5-4. The results haven’t been exactly where we would want, some of the toss up games have been losses, but the Flyers are playing the league’s best very close in their losses. I talked about it last week but the Flyers’ offense has been a great surprise to watch! Matt Read has seemed to taper off since starting off the season in full sprint but Claude, Jake, and Wayne are leading the pack for the young guns. Ghost has developed into one of the league’s best defensemen and it’s helping the rest of the D-Core’s play as well. Mark Streit is racking up points, Provorov is developing rapidly, and Del Zotto is finally back in business. The only issue for the team is the first period play. The Flyers cannot start games well and eventually the comeback magic will dry up. I’m sure Giroux and Hakstol are devising ways for the team to come out of the tunnel ready to score 100 goals but we need to see this impact ASAP. The Flyers return home tomorrow to host Detroit for the second time in seven days. The team then travels to Toronto for their first look at Auston Matthews but will need to rebound fast as they host Minnesota Saturday night.
Disagree? Let me know in the comments
(cover photo via)