Nick Jehamy | November 25th, 2019
Week five of the NHL Weekly Roundup is here! This week we saw teams near the bottom of the league starting to pick up the pace and put together win after win, and some of the teams higher on the boards showing their weaknesses and dropping in the rankings.
The New York Islanders continued their immaculate run as of late, now tallying up 16 straight games with a point which is a new franchise record (15-0-1) and haven’t lost in over a month. Rookie defenseman Cale Maker who we talked about in the last edition of the Weekly Roundup has recently been on a tear, tallying another five assists and two goals this week to put him at a total of 25 points on the season through 22 games. Now let’s get into our stars of the week!
Three Stars of the Week
Brock Nelson, New York Islanders
Center for the New York Islanders, Nelson came into this week with four goals and eight assists on the season. Through the Islanders three contests this week Brock Nelson has doubled his goals for the season scoring another four, as well as tallying up three assists and a +3 plus-minus. The numbers this week are solid alone, but Nelson’s contribution came in his timing of these goals. All three of this week’s matches for the Islanders were overtime contests meaning every goal and assist was crucial in their victories. Two of these overtime victories came in back-to-back matches against the Pittsburgh Penguins, where Nelson scored the game-winning goal during each overtime! Nelson has been a key asset in the Islanders’ recent run, jumping up to second in total points on the Islanders, only behind the team’s young star Mathew Barzal.
Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins
Goaltender for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Jarry has only started five games this season as the backup behind Matt Murray but has capitalized on every opportunity given to him. The Penguins played four games this week, winning the first and last matches while losing in overtime in the other two to the Islanders. Tristan Jarry was in net for both of their victories this week, giving up only one goal in each match. Jarry totaled 68 saves on the week with a .971 save percentage, giving him a .945 save percentage on the season and a 1.80 goals-against average. The Penguins have been hit with the injury bug as of late, which seems to have affected their performance, only winning two of their last six matches, both of which, Jarry was in goal. Don’t expect to see a great amount of Jarry on the ice this season, but when he is in there giving Murray a day off, he comes in to compete and be a crucial part of his team’s success.
Arizona Coyotes Goaltending
My third star is going to a goaltending tandem, the duo of Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper for the Arizona Coyotes. Darcy Kuemper has been a major bright spot for the Coyotes, Kuemper is leading the league in save percentage and goals-against average on the season so far. This week Kuemper’s two starts were a 3-0 shutout victory and a 1-3 loss to a rejuvenated Toronto Maple Leafs squad. Complementing Kuemper is Raanta, who’s one game in net this week was a 3-0 shutout victory. Combined this duo had two shutouts, 98 saves, one GAA, and a .970 save percentage! Combined on the season, Arizona’s goaltenders have given up the lowest goals-against average, currently at 2.22 per game.
Team on the Rise
Dallas Stars (This Week: 3-0)
The New York Islanders have been on a tear as of late and everyone has been looking at their streak, but they aren’t the only ones who have a point streak going. The Dallas Stars have won nine of their last ten matches and have an overtime loss in the other one. This week the Stars won all three of their matches and scored at least five goals in each. The Stars had a very bad start to the season, starting 1-7-1 it was not looking good for them, but they’ve looked like a whole new team as of late with offensive play that we did not see from them at the start of the season, scoring at least three goals in eight of their last ten matches. There are no standout offensive weapons on the team that has carried the team on their backs, but instead, the whole team has been producing as a unit with goals and assists coming from everyone. This week’s three-game stretch was led by Jamie Benn with four goals, but nine other players on the team scored a goal in this span as well, with 14 players also tallying at least one assist! All this talk about offensive production though is not to overshadow the other key part to the team’s success, their goalie play. Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin combine to hold other teams to 2.26 goals per game on the season which second only to the Arizona Coyotes. Just like the rest of the team, neither goalie completely outshines the other, this Stars team is a complete squad from top to bottom to watch out for.
Team on the Decline
Calgary Flames (This Week: 0-4)
The flame wasn’t just burning out this week, it was completely snuffed out. The Calgary Flames were in the middle of the fight to start the season, but this week was an embarrassment and shows major concerns. Through four matches this week, the Flames won not a single one, not only that but they were shut out in three of them! The Flames goal differential for this past week is -15, giving up a total of 17 goals in four games… and only scoring two. Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm can’t be expected to score every goal for this team, which early on was somewhat the case. With those two players being held to one goal combined in the team’s last seven games, the rest of the group hasn’t been able to pick up the slack. The offense has been a serious problem but that doesn’t take away from the issues on defense and in goal. The Flames goaltenders let in an average of 4.25 goals per game this past week, and goalie David Rittich is second in shots against and saves on the season, but 25th in save percentage. When you put those two together it means the defense isn’t doing its job as well, I don’t care how good a goalie is, the more shots taken on goal increases the chances of one slipping through and the Flames let way too many shots to be taken at an average goaltender. This team has to find a way to fix every aspect of their game or they will be sitting at the bottom of the standings sooner rather than later.
What to Watch for the Week Ahead!
Oilers Offensive Power Duo
The Edmonton Oilers are currently second in the Western Conference but have been playing inconsistently as of late. After a five-game win streak to start the season, the Oilers haven’t been able to string together more than two wins in a row and have lost some games to not so good teams, like their most recent loss to the Los Angeles Kings who are last in the west. The one constant in Edmonton is their power offense led by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. McDavid and Draisaitl aren’t only leading the team in points, but are also tied for the league lead in total points. Both players have 16 goals and 28 assists, adding up to a total of 44 points. Those statistics also put them tied for second in goals and tied for first in assists. These two add up to a little less than half of the team’s total points on the season and in the past week combined to put up a stat line of three goals and seven assists in these three games. Keep an eye on these two going forward, as their continued success will be tied with the success of the Oilers as a whole.
New Life in Toronto
The Toronto Maple Leafs looked uninterested and slow. It was getting embarrassing to watch and the Maple Leafs finally did something about the problem, firing head coach Mike Babcock and naming Sheldon Keefe as the new coach for Toronto. The Maple Leafs’ first game with Keefe at the helm was against a thriving Coyotes squad who came off two 3-0 shutout victories. The Maple Leafs looked like a new rejuvenated team here taking a 3-1 quality win with solid play from the whole team and goalie Frederik Andersen. Keep an eye on the rejuvenated Maple Leafs this week against Colorado, Detroit, and Buffalo.
Injuries Piling Up in Pittsburgh
The Pittsburgh Penguins have been dropping one by one, Kris Letang, Sidney Crosby, Justin Schultz, and Patric Hornqvist (who just returned) have been great blows to the Penguins. Pittsburgh has been able to hold on without these key players with a 2-0-2 record this past week, both overtime losses being to the streaking New York Islanders. The Penguins are currently third in the Metropolitan Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference, with these players out, keep an eye on the Penguins and see if the rest of the squad can keep holding on and keep them contending at the top till their key pieces return.
Games of the Week
Florida Panthers @ Washington Capitals – Wednesday, November 27th
The two highest-scoring offenses face off this week! The Capitals and Panthers are the only two teams with over 80 goals currently on the season at 91 and 84 respectively. Watch the Metropolitan Division leader take on the Atlantic Division leader this Wednesday!
St. Louis Blues @ Dallas Stars – Friday, November 29th
The reigning champions have been hot as of late, going 7-1-2 in their last ten games. They are going to be taking on my team on the rise for this week, the Dallas Stars, who are 9-0-1 in their last ten. This heavyweight battle should be a great one.
NHL Power Rankings
- New York Islanders (3)
- Washington Capitals (1)
- Boston Bruins (2)
- St Louis Blues (4)
- Colorado Avalanche (6)
- Edmonton Oilers (5)
- Carolina Hurricanes (7)
- Arizona Coyotes (10)
- Florida Panthers (13)
- Pittsburg Penguins (11)
- Montreal Canadians (8)
- Dallas Stars (18)
- Vancouver Canucks (9)
- Winnipeg Jets (21)
- Vegas Golden Knights (17)
- Philadelphia Flyers (23)
- San Jose Sharks (22)
- Tampa Bay Lightning (15)
- Chicago Blackhawks (25)
- Toronto Maple Leafs (14)
- Calgary Flames (12)
- Anaheim Ducks (20)
- Nashville Predators (16)
- Buffalo Sabres (19)
- Ottawa Senators (28)
- New York Rangers (27)
- Colombus Blue Jackets (26)
- Minnesota Wild (24)
- New Jersey Devils (29)
- Detroit Red Wings (30)
- Los Angeles Kings (31)
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images