Nick Jehamy | December 8th, 2019
Week seven of the NHL Weekly Roundup is here with another great week of hockey behind us! With the resignation of former head coach Bill Peters, we saw the Calgary Flames win both of their matchups this week under new coaching. The Bruins continue their points streak going 2-0-1 on the week, but taking a surprising overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. We also saw two skaters tally their 100th career goal during this past week, one being Washington Capitals John Carlson and the other being the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Victor Hedman. Speaking of Carlson, let’s look at our stars of the week!
Three Stars of the Week
John Carlson, Washington Capitals
As just mentioned, the Capitals star defender scored his 100th goal this week in their 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings Wednesday night. Carlson didn’t settle though and scored a second outstanding goal later on, completely fooling Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. We talked about Carlson last week in what to watch for and he did not disappoint, the Washington points leader keeps padding his stats as the Capitals run over team after team. Along with the two goals scored against Los Angeles, Carlson scored a total of three goals on the week and added four more assists in the Capitals dominant week where they won all four of their matchups. Both games Carlson scored in this week he had the game-winning goal. On top of that, he added on to his plus-minus for the season, with a +7 on the week, bringing up his total on the season to +20. With 43 points through 31 games played, Carlson is on pace to obliterate all of this previous bests in goals, assists, and points, at his current pace he would eclipse 110 points, something only done by two other defensemen in NHL history, Paul Coffey and Bobby Orr.
Brendan Gallagher, Montreal Canadians
Right-Wing for the Montreal Canadians, seven-year veteran Brendan Gallagher added on to his team-leading goals scored by producing a goal in each of the Canadians last three games. The Canadians were our team on the decline last week, but snapped their losing streak with a strong win against the New York Islanders, where Gallagher started his short goal streak, he then scored again in the Canadians loss to the red hot Colorado Avalanche, and in their most recent game, he scored against the other New York team, the Rangers. Gallagher added an assist to his stat line this week as the veteran’s success has been a big telltale of when the team succeeds as well. With the Canadians in the weaker of the Eastern Conference divisions, they are currently in the thick of things and are going to need Gallagher to continue this success going forward.
Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins
Goaltender Tristan Jarry is now our first player to be on multiple editions of our “Three Stars of the Week”. Surprising being that he wasn’t even the team’s number one goaltender on the depth chart. His excellent play has shown and he has been in goal a majority of the Penguins recent games, starting seven out of the last ten. Matt Murray had a rough time against the St Louis Blues to start the week for the Penguins in a 5-2 loss, so in their second game in back-to-back matches against the Blues, Jarry was put into goal. Jarry played lights out as the Penguins went on to shutout the Blues 3-0. That wasn’t it for Jarry though, as after the Blues the Penguins took on the Arizona Coyotes, and Jarry repeated his immaculate performance posting a second shutout in three days. 61 shots were taken against him in these two contests and 61 were stopped, adding two more wins to Jarry’s season total. With these performances, Jarry is now leading the league in goals-against average and save percentage out of all qualified goaltenders, placed him above the Arizona Coyotes Darcy Kuemper who has been at the top for a majority of the season.
Team on the Rise
Colorado Avalanche (This Week: 3-0)
The Colorado Avalanche have gone through their ups and downs so far this season, from starting out as one of the league’s best teams to suffering from some injuries and slipping down the mountain, and now back to playing like the dominant force, they showed us they could be at the start of the season. The Avalanche took all three of their wins in regulation this week as they now have a five-game winning streak going, and have won seven of their last ten. The Colorado Avalanche’s success can be seen on both sides of the puck, offensively Colorado is third on the season in goals scored only behind the red hot Capitals and Bruins. This offensive surge has been led by their star skater Nathan MacKinnon who is third in the league in points and fifth in goals, as well as arguably the rookie having the best season so far Cale Makar.
The Avalanche defense and goalie play has been just as solid though, sixth in the league in goals against, the Avalanche this week are averaging two goals against per game, which is the goals against they averaging for the last eleven matches. This consistency defensively has a huge part of the Avalanche’s success because this is a team that can light up the scoreboard. On that point, the Avalanche have only scored less than three goals twice in the past ten games, averaging 3.90 goals scored per game! With some of their big names coming back from injuries like Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen, the Avalanche are a team to fear to play against this season.
Team on the Decline
Columbus Blue Jackets (This Week: 0-3)
I should just make a separate update section on the miserable Detroit Red Wings who are now on a ten-game losing streak, no one wants to hear about them again though, so this week’s team on the decline is the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets for most of the season were an average to a slightly below-average team, nothing really special but hanging in there nonetheless, well that “hanging in there” positivity has slipped away. The Blue Jackets last ten before this week was 6-3-1, well this week they dropped all three of their matches and showed no sign of life. Center Pierre-Luc Dubois is the only skater for Columbus that has double-digit goals scored, and that is just barely with ten goals. That statistic gives you a hint at this next one already, the Blue Jackets are tied for second to last in goals scored in the National Hockey League, tied with the woeful New Jersey Devils and only ahead of the league’s worst team the Detroit Red Wings. This offensive struggle is the reason for the Blue Jacket’s disappointment as of late. Over the last two weeks, the Blue Jackets are averaging only two goals per game, scoring 12 in six games, but that is also influenced by one standout five-goal game which without they scored seven goals in five games.
Defensively the Columbus Blue Jackets are a middle of the pack team, they are dead center in the league for goals against and they give up the third least power-play opportunities to opposing teams in which they kill about 80% of the time. Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo has also been slightly below average this season, posting a 2.85 goals-against average and .900 save percentage. Overall nothing stands out when looking at the Blue Jackets, they have no one area of the game or player driving them ahead and seem like they are slowly fading away to bottom.
What to Watch for the Week Ahead!
Maple Leafs Issues in Back-to-Back
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been a team discussed by many this season, between their performance changing like day and night, the coaching changes, and some of their better players having some injury issues here and there, the Leafs are hard to put a point on in terms of where they stand overall. Toronto has had two back-to-backs this past week, on the back end of each of those they won one in overtime and lost the other outright in regulation. That one win is the first they had on the back end of a back-to-back this season, going 1-6-1 in the second game of back-to-backs. This may seem like a statistic being looked too much into, but with six of these left, 14 total on the season, it’s a large enough percentage of games that it can affect where Toronto ends up in the standings. Most of these instances going forward are against teams near the bottom of the standings, so if this is an issue of theirs and not just a coincidence, whether it be conditioning or something else, they can drop a few games that should be marked off as “easy wins”.
Can Minnesota Keep Running Wild
Last week we brought up the Boston Bruins and their streak as the Islanders and Stars ended theirs. Well, we have another team streaking, the Minnesota Wild. The Wild are on a five-game winning streak and an eleven game point streak, in which they have a record of 8-0-3. This streak can in part be credited to great play between the posts and on the defensive side of the ice, giving up more than two goals only once during this span. With Devan Dubnyk out, Alex Stalock has taken charge between the posts and has gotten significant help from rookie Kaapo Kahkonen. Kahkonen received his first two career starts within the last two weeks and has picked up the win in both, giving up only two goals in each and boasting a .950 save percentage. Dubnyk being out seems to be for the best as they have completely flipped the switch on the defensive side of things.
The Minnesota Wild have had other injuries issues though aside from their goalie, within the last week they lost defensemen Greg Pateryn and Jared Spurgeon as well as center Mikko Koivu. Spurgeon is second on the team in assists as well as third in time on ice per game, with Koivu also holding 10 assists on the season and being fifth on the team in time on ice per game. The team made up for their losses at goaltender, let’s see how they hold up with these skaters off the ice though. Going from 6-11-1 to 14-11-4, the Wild this week takes on Carolina, Anaheim, and Edmonton to try and extend the run.
Key Injuries of the Past Week
Minnesota isn’t the only team with influential losses this week, here are a few others from the past week to keep an eye on and how the team’s make up for it.
- Toronto sends winger Andreas Johnsson to the injured list. Johnsson has six goals and ten assists on the season and has been a powerhouse during Toronto’s power-play opportunities, scoring four power-play goals so far.
- Nashville Predators center, Mikael Granlund, is currently day-to-day with his last game played on November 30th. Granlund has produced four goals and seven assists through 26 games so far this season.
- The Colorado Avalanche had two key injuries during the past week, center Nazem Kadri and defenseman Erik Johnson. Kadri suffered a lower-body injury on Wednesday and is currently being considered day-to-day. Kadri is fifth on the team in points and fourth in goals with ten goals and ten assists on the season so far. Erik Johnson is currently being considered as week-to-week with an upper-body injury that happened at the beginning of the week. Erik Johnson offensively only has one goal and five assists on the season but has been a defensive animal and leader on this Colorado team where he leads in time on ice per game.
- The Chicago Blackhawks lose a defender and a forward as well in Duncan Keith and Andrew Shaw. Defender Duncan Keith leads the team in time on ice per game with an average of almost 24 minutes per game, also contributing one goal and five assists offensively. Winger Andrew Shaw is a part of the middle of pack group of skaters on the team, one of five players tied for sixth on the team with 10 points, producing three goals and seven assists so far this season.
- Vancouver Canucks lose out on one of their strong two-way defenders, Alexander Edler. Edler has been placed on the injured reserve and will be re-evaluated in a few weeks. Edler leads the Canucks in time on ice per game and has been solid for the team offensively with four goals and 11 assists through 27 games this season.
Games of the Week
Boston Bruins @ Washington Capitals – Wednesday, December 11th
At this point in the season, this is the game we all want to see. Currently the two best teams in the league right now, the Bruins and the Capitals will face off in their second of three matchups this season. The Capitals took the first one but it went all the way to a shootout! I expect another fantastic game here.
Philadelphia Flyers @ Colorado Avalanche – Wednesday, December 11th
Right after the Bruins and Capitals flip the channel over to this matchup. The Avalanche were my team on the rise this week and have been scoring almost four goals per game on average. The Flyers are fourth in the Eastern Conference and have been consistently producing all season and a team to watch out for going forward this season. Wednesday only has three games on schedule but these two are must watch for the week!
NHL Power Rankings
- Boston Bruins (1)
- Washington Capitals (3)
- New York Islanders (2)
- St Louis Blues (4)
- Colorado Avalanche (8)
- Edmonton Oilers (5)
- Arizona Coyotes (7)
- Philadelphia Flyers (16)
- Pittsburg Penguins (10)
- Carolina Hurricanes (6)
- Winnipeg Jets (9)
- Dallas Stars (11)
- Vancouver Canucks (15)
- Vegas Golden Knights (18)
- Florida Panthers (13)
- Tampa Bay Lightning (12)
- San Jose Sharks (17)
- Montreal Canadiens (14)
- Minnesota Wild (26)
- Toronto Maple Leafs (20)
- New York Rangers (21)
- Nashville Predators (19)
- Calgary Flames (25)
- Buffalo Sabres (23)
- Anaheim Ducks (24)
- Chicago Blackhawks (22)
- Colombus Blue Jackets (27)
- Ottawa Senators (28)
- Los Angeles Kings (30)
- New Jersey Devils (29)
- Detroit Red Wings (31)
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images