Nick Jehamy | December 29th, 2019
Welcome to Week 10 of our NHL Weekly Roundup! I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and the short week of hockey we had. Even with three days off for the holidays, we were blessed with numerous exciting games this past week. Let’s jump right into things, here are our three stars of the week.
Three Stars of the Week
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
The Bruins finally took a game from the Eastern Conference-leading Washington Capitals in glorious fashion winning 7-3, this part due to the efforts of Patrice Bergeron who has been on fire since his return from injury. Since his return, Bergeron has tallied a point in seven of nine games, with ten points in that span. Six of those ten points came this week alone as Bergeron has a three-game multi-goal streak currently intact, scoring two goals in each of his last three games. in 30 games played this season, Bergeron has put up 34 points and has been a goal-scoring machine in his return, with the likes of Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak playing at the level they have been, Bergeron’s play of late is just the icing on the cake to the Bruins outstanding offensive power this season.
David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins
Pastrnak is a name that every hockey fan should already know with the season he has had so far. Leading the league with 28 goals so far on the season Patstrnak is always a threat to put the puck in the back of the net. This week Pastrnak’s efforts aren’t being celebrated for his own goal-scoring, but for setting up his teammates to do the scoring instead. Through three games this week the league-leading scorer bolstered his points numbers by tallying six assists. This is a recent trend of Pastrnak’s, the Bruins forward hasn’t scored a goal in five games, but in those five games, Pastrnak has a streak of at least one assist per game. The Bruins star now is at 56 points on the season with an even split 28 goals and 28 assists.
Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators
The veteran goaltender for the Ottawa Senators was only in net once this week but that one performance was spectacular enough that I decided to make him our third star of the week. If you didn’t see it already, Anderson made a save that will be a candidate for save of the season in his herculean efforts to lift the Senators over the Buffalo Sabres. Anderson gave up one goal en route to the Senators 3-1 victory. He did not have much defensive help in this contest though as the Senators let through 44 shots on goal, 43 of which Anderson saved. Those 43 saves add to Anderson’s impressive career total in which he is currently 27th all-time in the NHL in saves.
Team on the Rise
St Louis Blues (This Week: 3-0)
Normally I stay away from the teams on top for this accolade but the Blues have been on an outstanding run and even though they have only kept the lead they already had in the Western Conference, they have made a rise in the overall league standings in which the top end of the Eastern Conference seemed to control. The Blues are currently on a seven-game winning streak in which the last three came this past week. The Blues this week were victors over the San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, and Winnipeg Jets in which they scored a total of 14 goals in those three matches. This offensive prowess isn’t piggybacked by one specific player, the Blues are one of the most all-around teams in the NHL right now and this week’s set of games showed it.
Four different players scored multiple goals this past week, including team-leading scorer Brayden Schenn and powerhouse defenseman Alex Pietrangelo who each put up six points on the week. This also included one goal and four assists from the team points leader David Perron. If the offensive showing wasn’t enough, the play by their goaltenders has been just as solid. Aside from their most recent showing giving up four goals to the Jets, the Blues goaltenders have only allowed 1.83 goals against per game during this streak led by Jordan Binnington. After this past week, the Blues have extended their lead in the Western Conference and jumped over the Islanders and Bruins into second place in the NHL.
Team on the Decline
Edmonton Oilers (This Week: 1-2)
The Oilers have fallen out of the top three in their division and are barely holding on to a wild card spot at the moment. The Oilers went 1-2 this week and 2-7-1 over their past ten games. A past ten games line like that can be concerning for anyone, but a team that has the top two points leaders in the entire NHL doing this brings more concern. The Oilers salvaged a 4-3 win from the Montreal Canadians before losing 4-2 and 5-1 to the Vancouver Canucks and the Calgary Flames, neither of which is a bad team but with them being division rivals and literally the team above them and the team below them these are not the games that they can afford to be losing.
Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are top two in points and assists in the National Hockey league currently as well as tied for fifth in goals. Sadly though it seems the Oilers’ success relies on the play of these two as well game to game. Both players scored in the Montreal victory, but only McDavid scored once between the last two games. This offensive reliance is needed even more with the poor play between the posts. Mikko Koskinen started all three of this week’s games giving up an average of 3.88 goals with a .870 save percentage. Bringing his season statistics to 2.76 goals against per game and a .914 save percentage. This mediocre performance is then backed by an even worse performance between the post by backup goaltender Mike Smith who has a GAA over 3 and a save percentage below .900. Between the lack of depth offensively and weak play between the posts, the Oilers need to find help somewhere if they want to stay in the playoff race.
What to Watch for the Week Ahead!
Two Big Injuries in One Short Week
The Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs have both taken big blows to their everyday lineups. The Sabres first-line winger Jeff Skinner wasn’t on pace to have one of his best seasons, but with 11 goals and eight assists on the season so far he is a solid contributor to the Buffalo team that is one point out of the top three in their division. Skinner is expected to be out 3-4 weeks with an upper-body injury.
The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without rookie Ilya Mikheyev for at least three months after severing several arteries and tendons in his wrist after it was cut. Mikheyev is third in goals and fourth in assists among qualifying rookies so far this season. He has been a strong asset to the Maple Leafs most recent run and will be missed by the team over the span he is out.
The Young Guns are Firing Away
There are some great rookies in this year’s class, but this is more than just the rookies, keep an eye out for these players that are under 21, some of which haven’t even broken out of their teenage years.
- Andrei Svechnikov is in his second season and isn’t even 20 years of age yet. Out of all the players who started the season below the age of 20 in the National Hockey League, Svechnikov may be the one to keep your eye on the most. Svechnikov currently has 37 points on the season with a 12 +/-, scoring 16 goals and 21 assists for the Carolina Hurricanes. The second-year forward already tied his points total from last season not even halfway through this year.
- Rasmus Dahlin may not have the goal-scoring prowess similar to Svechnikov but the Buffalo Sabres young defender is looking to break 40 assists on the season as he has tallied 19 through the teams first 39 games, with him only playing in 31 of them. Dahlin also recorded two goals on the season so far and is a solid defender for the Sabres lineup.
- Turning 20 this past September, the Ottawa Senators Brady Tkachuk has been a bright spot for the Canadian team so far this season. The 2018 first-round pick has 13 goals and 11 assists so far on the season, which puts him just on pace to break the 50 points mark for the season if he stays on track. Tkachuk was chosen for the NHL All-Rookie Team at the end of last season and is already on pace to improve on those numbers.
Games of the Week
This week we have two matchups between the top two teams in their respective divisions, as well as the 2020 Winter Classic.
New York Islanders @ Washington Capitals – Tuesday, December 31st
The first of the divisional matches is the Metropolitan Division battle on New Year’s Eve between the league-leading Capitals and the currently worrisome Islanders. The Islanders have dropped three straight and are only two points ahead of the wild card position which they can find themselves in if they don’t return to form.
Nashville Predators @ Dallas Stars – Wednesday, January 1st
The 2020 Winter Classic this year will be played in Texas, hosted by the Dallas Stars. The Nashville Predators will be coming into Dallas for the New Year tradition that is always fun to watch.
St Louis Blues @ Colorado Avalanche – Thursday, January 2nd
The second one versus two matchups we have is in the Central Division between the surging St Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche. These two are currently at the top of the Western Conference and every time they face off it is a must-watch game.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images