Nick Jehamy | November 30th, 2019
Week six of the NHL Weekly Roundup is here! Touching on last week’s headlines, the Pittsburgh Penguins are fighting through injuries and keeping up the pace going 2-1 on the week where most of the issues are actually coming from their goalie play. The Edmonton Oilers top two stars are keeping up their pace as discussed last week, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl put up three and four points respectively this past week.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have shown new life under new coaching and are back to playing the style of hockey we expect from this talented squad. In other coaching news, Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters has resigned, a few days after allegations that Peters directed racial slurs at players when coaching in the American Hockey League. Let’s see if Geoff Ward can keep the team together and moving, let’s get on to our stars of the week!
Three Stars of the Week
Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers
Another New York forward is on this list this week, this one though plays at MSG. Center for the New York Rangers, Panarin has been a shining light for the Rangers this season. The New York Rangers are keeping themselves in the hunt in arguably the best division in the league right now, the Metropolitan Division and Panarin can take a lot of the credit for that as he currently leads the Rangers in goals, assists, points, and plus-minus! This week Panarin boosted those stats putting up eight points and a league-high seven assists for the week. Panarin had at least one assist in each of the Rangers four games this week, including a three-assist game against the Minnesota Wild, where Panarin had an assist on every goal scored in the Rangers 3-2 overtime victory. Keep an eye on Panarin this week as he plays against his former team the Columbus Blue Jackets, in Columbus, on Thursday, December 5th.
Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets
Goaltender for the Winnipeg Jets, Hellebuyck has been consistent all season long, currently third in the league in save percentage, sixth in goals-against average, and after this past week’s performance is tied for the lead in wins. This past week the Jets won all three of their contests and Hellebuyck was easily the man of the match for the two out of three that he started. In his two matches started this week the Jets won 5-1 and 3-0, but Hellebuyck actually picked up all three wins this week! In the Jets’ first match of the week, starting goalie Laurent Brossoit was pulled from the game with what seemed to be a cramping issue, Hellebuyck came in with the game tied, picked up five saves and the Jets broke the tie to give Hellebuyck and the Jets the win. His stat line for the week ended with an outstanding 0.46 goals-against average and .984 save percentage, saving 61 out of 62 shots against him.
Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres
Center for the Buffalo Sabres, Eichel is on pace for his best season yet. The Sabres had an amazing start to the season and have fallen off since then, but the fifth-year star is on an eight-game point streak at the moment. Eichel scored three goals and tallied five assists in the Sabres four contests this week averaging two points per game. He also had a +5 plus-minus over this week’s contests. Eichel’s biggest game this week came against the newly rejuvenated Toronto Maple Leafs, where he scored a goal and had two assists to help vault his team to victory and give the Maple Leafs their first loss in the Sheldon Keefe era. Eichel’s eight points this past week have moved him into fourth in the Eastern Conference in points, and seventh overall in the league.
Team on the Rise
Winnipeg Jets (This Week: 3-0)
The Winnipeg Jets have been quietly rising through the standings week by week, winning two matches then losing the third, but the Jets now are finally putting it all together. Winning all three of their matchups this week, and being 8-2 in their last ten games, the Jets have jumped up into second place in the Central Division and fourth in the Western Conference. The star of this team right now we discussed earlier as one of our stars of the week, Connor Hellebuyck, goaltender for the Winnipeg. We mentioned his place among goaltenders statistically earlier in his highlight, but aside from his comparison to others in the league, let’s look at the comparison to his past. Hellebuyck currently is on pace to have his best season overall in average goals against as well as save percentage, looking to have his third straight +1,800 save season. The Jets offensively have just been keeping pace to stay positive in goal differential, with no one player carrying the rest, Winger Patrik Laine leads the team in assists and points, Jack Roslovic leads in plus-minus, and Nikolaj Ehlers leads the team in goals as one of only two players with ten or more goals. This week the Jets had a +8 goal differential, but the goalies aren’t going to average 1.33 goals per game all season long like they did this week, so let’s see if the Jets offense can pick up the pace and keep this team rising on.
Team on the Decline
Montreal Canadiens (This Week: 0-3)
Before I get into this week’s team, I want to bring up an honorable mention. Honestly, if this was the worst team of the week instead of team on the decline, this team would be here right now, but as I said a few weeks ago I refuse to put the Detroit Red Wings here again and say the same things all over again until they show some type of improvement first. The Red Wings week was so bad I had to mention them here, going 0-4 on the week, being shut out twice, and only scoring two goals while giving up 19! Now to our actual team on the decline.
The Montreal Canadiens two weeks ago were a very solid 11-5-3, last week they lost all three of their matches but at least picked up two points with two overtime games… but that losing streak is now at six games as they got swept this week and gave up a league-high for the week 20 goals. 6.67 goals against per game is laughable, all with veteran Carey Price between the posts. Price got pulled against Boston early on when he gave up five goals on the Bruins first 11 shots giving him a disgusting .545 save percentage for his time in that game. Backup goalie Keith Kinkaid hasn’t been any better, giving up three goals on thirteen shots against him for the week, both goaltenders sporting a save percentage under .800 for the past week. The Canadiens only have one player with double-digit goals, Brendan Gallagher who has 10 on the season. Arguably the Canadiens best player right now is defender Shea Weber who is second on the team in goals, assists, points, and first in plus-minus. Sadly there isn’t much good to say about the Canadiens right now as they are 3-4-3 in their last ten games and just seem to be sliding downwards in the standings faster and faster.
What to Watch for the Week Ahead!
Points Leader in Washington
The Washington Capitals are tied for first in the Eastern Conference and the whole National Hockey League right now, and of course, leading the team in goals is the star of the team and considered one of the all-time greats, Alex Ovechkin. When anyone thinks of the Capitals the first name that comes to mind is Ovechkin, but as great as Ovechkin is doing, the points leader on the team is coming from the defensive line! Defender John Carlson is leading the Capitals in assists, plus-minus, and in points. Not only that but Carlson is third in the league in assists and sixth in points, the next closest defender in the league points standings is all the way down at 19th, Cale Makar the rookie from Colorado, with ten fewer points than Carlson. Carlson is in his 11th season and his on pace to destroy his past season high’s, 27 games into the season Carlson already is at the halfway mark of his season high’s in all offensive categories. Keep an eye on the Capitals veteran defender going forward as the Capitals attempt to keep up the pace at the top of the league.
Streaks Come to an End, and Others Begin
The New York Islanders and Dallas Stars both were on recent hot streaks. The Islanders went on a ten-game win streak which extended into a 17 game point streak. The Stars had their own seven-game win streak and 12 game point streak. Both of these streaks came to an end this week and sadly not in a competitive fashion. Both teams lost their first game to a below-average team (Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks) with the same score… 3-0. To follow up their shutout losses the Islanders lost to the second-worst team in the league the Los Angeles Kings, and the Stars lost a divisional battle against the reigning champion St Louis Blues. With back to back losses keep an eye on each of these teams going forward, the Islanders with what should be an easy schedule and the Stars with two matches against the rising Winnipeg Jets before the Stars and Islanders standoff against each other next Saturday, December 7th.
As some streaks end, others begin, others here being that of the Boston Bruins. The Bruins are currently tied for the league lead in the standings as they are on a six-game winning streak and ten-game point streak. Led by points leader Brad Marchand and goals leader David Pastrnak, the Bruins are at the top of their game. Trying to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row, but this time take home the cup, and the way they are playing now definitely shows they have a chance to do it.
Philadelphia’s Faceoff King
The Philadelphia Flyers are currently on a three-game win streak and third in the tough Metropolitan Division. Goals, assists, points, these are all great statistics to look at of course, but there is another statistic that is underrated, faceoffs won. Faceoffs in crucial moments can really change the game, and the Flyers have one of the best at it right now. Veteran Claude Giroux has been dominant at the drop of the puck. Third in the league in faceoffs won with 300, Giroux has the highest faceoff win percentage of players with at least 300 faceoffs taken and third overall out of players with at least 200 faceoffs taken, all three being the only ones in that range with a percentage over 60%. Giroux’s time on ice has dropped by two minutes per game and he hasn’t been producing offensively like he has in previous years, but that aside he is doing what he can to help his team in whatever way possible. Keep an eye on Giroux and the Philadelphia Flyers.
Games of the Week
Dallas Stars @ Winnipeg Jets – Tuesday, December 3rd
Winnipeg Jets @ Dallas Stars – Thursday, December 5th
This two-game series between the Stars and the Jets should be a great one. Aside from the Stars’ two most recent games, they have been one of the hottest teams recently in the National Hockey League. Whereas the Jets have one of my three stars of the week and are my team on the rise. These teams are ranked at 9 and 11 on my power rankings and should be exciting matchups to watch.
NHL Power Rankings
- Boston Bruins (3)
- New York Islanders (1)
- Washington Capitals (2)
- St Louis Blues (4)
- Edmonton Oilers (6)
- Carolina Hurricanes (7)
- Arizona Coyotes (8)
- Colorado Avalanche (5)
- Winnipeg Jets (14)
- Pittsburg Penguins (10)
- Dallas Stars (12)
- Tampa Bay Lightning (18)
- Florida Panthers (9)
- Montreal Canadiens (11)
- Vancouver Canucks (13)
- Philadelphia Flyers (16)
- San Jose Sharks (17)
- Vegas Golden Knights (15)
- Nashville Predators (23)
- Toronto Maple Leafs (20)
- New York Rangers (26)
- Chicago Blackhawks (19)
- Buffalo Sabres (24)
- Anaheim Ducks (22)
- Calgary Flames (21)
- Minnesota Wild (28)
- Colombus Blue Jackets (27)
- Ottawa Senators (25)
- New Jersey Devils (29)
- Los Angeles Kings (31)
- Detroit Red Wings (30)
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images