NHL Network Radio Presents Two Man Advantage – News and Notes, Week of December 13th

NHL

Head coach Travis Green of the Vancouver Canucks looks on from the bench during their NHL game against the St. Louis Blues at Rogers Arena November 18, 2017 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

PACIFIC DIVISION

Anaheim:   Randy Carlyle said Corey Perry’s evaluation of his lower-body injury puts him at “week-to-week.” He says the team will have a better timeline next week.

Vancouver:  Travis Green has done an outstanding job as the first-year bench boss in Vancouver as the Canucks were one of the leagues early season surprises. Brock Boesser is a leading candidate for rookie of the year.  Entering play on Wednesday, Boesser leads all rookies in goals with 16 and his 28 points is tied for tops among rookies with the Islanders, Matt Barzal.

Injuries to Bo Horvat, Brandon Sutter, Sven Baertschi and the forced retirement of Derek Dorsett has taken its toll on roster depth.  This past Saturday, the Canucks lost for the first time in regulation (10-1-3) when leading after 40 minutes as they surrendered three third period goals to Calgary in a 4-2 loss.

Vegas:  The Golden Knights 3-2 shootout loss to Carolina on Tuesday was their first loss in overtime or a shootout at the T-Mobile Arena.  The Golden Knights are 7-2 in games that go past 60 minutes.

William Karlsson who leads the Golden Knights with 15 goals in 30 games is having a breakthrough season.  Karlsson had 15 goals in his previous 162 games as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Arizona: You have to consider that the Arizona Coyotes may be a little road weary.  The Coyotes have played 21 road games.  No other team has played more than 17 and their 33 games played overall in the first 66 days of the season is the most games ever played in the opening 66 days of the season in league history.

Rookie Clayton Keller who still leads the team in scoring has been without a goal in the teams last 17 games. Only Buffalo with 67 goals scored have scored less than Arizona’s 75.

Edmonton:  Look who’s climbing the ladder in the scoring race.  Connor McDavid who had a goal and three assists Tuesday at Columbus now sits third in the scoring race with 39 points.  He trails both Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos by three points for top spot.

The Oilers win over Columbus on Tuesday the Oilers was just their 5th in 17 games vs Top 16 teams.

From Oilers radio play by play man, Jack Michaels. “17 days ago the Oilers were 27th in goals per game.  They have scored 27 goals in their last 5 wins to climb into a tie for 12th.”

The Oilers have been a model of inconsistency this season having won back to back games just twice.  They will get a crack at a third time of stringing together a pair of wins when they travel to Nashville to play the Predators on Thursday.

Los Angeles:  Wednesday, the Kings are scheduled to practice at Lasker Rink in Central Park barring any inclement weather.

Tuesday saw the Kings NHL season high win streak halted in New Jersey with a 5-1 loss to the Devils.  The loss put an end to Jonathan Quicks 6 game win streak.  Quick had given up just 9 goals in those games was victimized for all five by New Jersey.

Anze Kopitar is having a bounce back season.  He has already surpassed last season goal total of 12 with 16 in 32 games.  He has been involved in 39% of the team’s goals this season and he is doing it without Jeff Carter who has missed the last 26 games and is not due to return till February.

Like the Devils did on Tuesday, you best knock off the Kings in regulation. The Kings have won 28 overtime games since the three-on-three format was introduced at the start of the 2015-16 season, five more than the next closest team, which happens to be Calgary (22).

San Jose:  Keep an eye on Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell.  He could be the next most sought-after backup goaltender.  Dell recorded his second shutout of the season last Saturday in the Sharks 5-0 win over Ottawa.  Dell is a UFA at season’s end and the Sharks last summer inked their top AHL goalie Troy Grosenick to a two-year deal.  Stay tuned.

It was a quiet start to the season offensively for Sharks defenseman Brent Burns who scored 29 goals last season but since scoring his first goal of the season on November 24 in Vegas, Burns has tallied three more and now has four goals in his last 10 games combined with 7 assists.

The Sharks power play has also been on quite a run of late scoring two power play goals in each of the last three games.

Calgary:  Sam BennettSaturday vs Vancouver he scored his first game winner in 24 months.

 

 

CENTRAL DIVISION

Minnesota: Devin Dubnyk was forced to leave Tuesday’s game versus Calgary with a lower body injury.

 

Nashville:  The Predators have swapped their backup goaltenders five times since Nov. 16. I asked Peter Laviolette if he has put thought into Juuse Saros receiving extended time in the AHL.  Lavy says its all about the team being successful and Sarros continuing his development

Dallas:   Defenseman Marc Methot is out for 4-6 weeks after arthroscopic knee surgery. He is skating and the Stars hope he can return to play before Christmas. Methot last played November 6 vs WPG  Center Martin Hanzal is week to week with a hamstring injury

Following last Thursday 3-0 loss to Blues, the Stars are 0-6-0 vs top 3 central teams

In their last five road games, the DallasStars are 4-1 and have outscored their opponents 15-9. That’s a 1.80 GAA over that span.

Kari Lehtonen’s numbers as a starting goaltender this year:  4-2-1 Record, 2.29 GAA, .914 Sv%.  He has held the opposition to two or fewer goals in five of his eight starts.

 

STL: The Blues injury list continues to grow.  Jaden Schwartz will be re-evaluated in six weeks (lower body injury), Alex Pietrangelo is nursing bumps and bruises and was put on Injured Reserve on Tuesday and Jay Bouwmeester is dealing with a nagging injury and missed the Blues 3-0 loss to Tampa.

There must be concern though when it comes to Schwartz. In his six full NHL seasons he has missed 64 games and has missed time in each of the last five seasons.  Since 2014-15, the Blues offense has averaged 3.0 goals per game with Schwartz and 2.36 GPG without him. In that span, the club has a record of 137-65-14 (.667 points-percentage) with him and 30-20-11 (.582 points-percentage) without him (per @jprutherford)

Blues defensemen were the talk of the league the first two months scoring a combined 21 goals in the first 21 games of the season. They then went seven straight games without a defensive goal before Colton Parayko scored in last Thursday’s win.  Jay Bouwmeester followed that up with a goal in their win Saturday against the Red Wings but they have been held off the scoresheet the last two games.

Winnipeg:  Overtime has not been kind to the Jets who are 0-5

Chicago:  Duncan Keith is still in search of his first goal and we are 31 games into the season.  Keith last regular season goal came March 16 at Ottawa.  That is a span of 42 games.

Give credit to the Blackhawks who after dropping 5 straight have now won 3 consecutive games but it has been a struggle.  They needed overtime to knock off Buffalo and Florida and were held scoreless until the third period Sunday versus Arizona before going on to a 3-1 victory.

Colorado: Last season was not a December to remember for the Avs who went 3-12 and essentially eliminated themselves from playoff contention.  The Avs started this December dropping their first four contests but followed that up with wins over Florida and Pittsburgh before falling to the Caps 3-1 on Tuesday night.

 

METRO DIVISION

Columbus: John Tortorella subscribes to theory, if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it all.  Here is a transcription of his post-game media conference after the 7-2 drubbing at the hands of the Oilers on Tuesday.

“I know you have a job to do, but I’m not answering any questions. There’s no sense in me trying to answer questions about tonight. Okay? Sorry about that. Good night.

The loss on Tuesday was the Jackets first in six home games versus the Oilers and it marked the first time this season Torts has made an in-game goalie change as Sergei Bobrovsky was lit up for five goals on 26 shots.

Cam Atkinson, a healthy scratch on Saturday vs Arizona was back in the line-up in Tuesday’s loss to Edmonton.  Atkinson was kept off the scoresheet in his 16:39 of time on ice.  It was the first time since 2015 Atkinson was a healthy scratch.  It’s been a struggle for Atkinson who has just 6 goals and 9 points in 26 games this season after coming off a 35-goal season last year.

In case you missed it, Artemi Panarin had a 5 assists last Friday night with 5 different goal scorers and 5 different second assists

NY Islanders: Monday’s 3-1 home victory over the Caps marked the first time in 8 games the Islanders did not surrender a power play goal.

 New York Islanders coach Doug Weight said he recently read an article that listed the top 12 candidates for the Norris Trophy at the quarter mark of this season and was stunned by the absence of one name.

“How can Nick Leddy not be on that list?” Weight asked. “He deserves to be in the top three right now. I’m not being a promoter. I’m being honest.”

Washington: TJ Oshie (upper body, day to day) did not skate again on Thursday.  No clear timetable for his return.  Caps have won 5 straight at home heading into Tuesday night vs Avs.

Despite being held off the scoresheet on Tuesday, Tom Wilson has three goals and eight assists in his last 15 games and 15 points (5g, 10a) through 26 games this season.  He is on pace for his most productive offensive season since his 2015-16 season (23 points, 7g, 16 a).

Don’t try and get into a high scoring game with the Caps this season.  The Capitals are 18-1-1 in games where they score at least three goals and 14-0-0 when they score at least four goals

New York Rangers:  5-2 win over Jersey on Saturday marked their 10th win in last 11 at home after losing 6 of their first 8 (2-4-2)

Jesper Fast has scored 6 goals in the past 8 games.  He scored 6 goals in 68 games last season

Coach Alain Vigneault said Zibanejad is not yet cleared for contact and would need at least one full practice before dressing to play. The Rangers fly to Ottawa tomorrow, and will face the Senators, Zibanejad’s former team, on Wednesday.

New Jersey: After surrendering 5 goals in each of their last two games the Devils turned the tables putting a five spot on the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.  Shocking since they did against Jonathan Quick who had only given up 9 goals in his last 6 games.

Not all good for New Jersey.  Leading scorer Taylor Hall was involved in a knee on knee collision with Kings defenseman, Kurtis Macdermid.  Hall left the game in the second period and did not return.  He did play long enough to score a pair of goals.  Hall leads the team in points (31), assists (20),  power play goals (4) and is second in goals (11).  The Devils said Hall would not skate on Wednesday and his status for Thursday’s game at Montreal is not yet known.

 

Philadelphia:

Last week the Flyers registered their first three-game sweep in Western Canada since 2013. It also marked the first time they had won all three Western Canada games in regulation since Dec. 27-31, 1996.  During the trip, the Flyers outscored Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver by a combined 13-5 despite being outshot, 108-80.

Tuesday night the Flyers returned home, where they have won just four of 14 games (4-6-4) and have lost six straight, and continued their hot streak winning their fourth overall.

Their recent success is largely due to the play of goalie Brian Elliott.  Elliott went 3-0 during the trip and recorded his 200th career victory. He had a ridiculous .954 save percentage in the three games. Which earned him 3rd star of the week

Since 2005-06, the Rangers have had one No. 1 goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist, and the Devils have had two in Martin Brodeur and Cory Schneider.

The Flyers, meanwhile, have had 10: Antero Nittymaki, Robert Esche, Martin Biron, Michael Leighton, Ray Emery, Brian (Shootout) Boucher, Sergei Bobrovsky, Ilya Bryzgalov, Steve Mason and current incumbent Brian Elliott.

Pittsburgh:  Matt Murray has been activated from IR and will likely start Thursday when the Pens visit Marc Andre Fleuy and the Golden Knights.  Prior to the 2-1 loss on Monday to Colorado where Jarry stopped 26 of 27 shots, his previous 3 games he gave up 10 goals on 71 shots.

Carolina:  The Canes 3-2 shootout victory Tuesday in Vegas gave them their first victory on their current six game road trip that concludes Friday in Buffalo.  In fact, the Canes had lost six straight on the road overall and they had the Golden Knights just their third loss on home ice and the first in games that have gone extra time.

Congrats to Cam Ward as he became the 32nd goalie in NHL history with 300 wins.

ATLANTIC DIVISION

Boston:  Tuukka Rask is riding a four-game winning streak, sporting a .946 save percentage in his last six games.  Rask has allowed just 4 goals during the 4 game win streak

Montreal:  The Habs are back in game action tomorrow, Thursday when they host the Devils.  Montreal has not played since Saturday’s 6-2 pounding by Edmonton, they are off till Thursday vs Devils.

Saturday’s game versus Edmonton marked the 10th time this season the Habs have given up back to back goals less than a minute a part including twice in one game and no surprise they have lost all 9 games.

Of the last 17 goals scored by the Habs, ZERO have come from Max Pacioretty.

Tampa:  The Lightning have won 5 in a row including knocking off two of the best that the Western Conference has to offer.  Last night it was a 3-0 win over the Blues and Saturday it was a 4-3 overtime win over the Jets.  I know, Blues fans will say, talk to us when everyone is healthy.  Fair enough, but for now, bragging rights go to the Lightning who have two more points than the Blues and five more than the Jets despite playing fewer games than both.

Last Saturday, Mikhail Sergachev’s  goal against Winnipeg  gave him 20 points in his first 33 career games, which tied him for the 3rd most by a teenage defenseman in the last 30 seasons

Toronto:  Tuesday’s 4-2 loss at Philadelphia, marked the first time this season the Maple Leafs blew a lead after 40 minutes.  Heading into Tuesday, Toronto was 12-0-0 leading after 2. It was also the first time they had lost a game (now 5-1) with Austin Matthews out of the line-up.

It was also just the 5th loss (12-4-1) in past 17 games for the Maple Leafs.

Congrats to Patrick Marleau who reached the 1100 point plateau when he scored his 11th goal of the season in the loss at Philly.

Prior to the Leafs game at Philadelphia, Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic put together some numbers that may give Toronto fans a cause for concern:

Ottawa: Things continue to spiral downwards for the Senators.  Tuesday’s loss to Buffalo makes it just one win in their past 13 games (1-10-2)

Craig Anderson has lost 7 straight

Goaltender Mike Condon has one win in the 11 appearances this season.

Detroit:  They may want to have all their Saturday games removed from the schedule.  The last two Saturday’s the Red Wings have been on the wrong end of 6-1 and 10-1 scores.  Their next Saturday tilt is December 23 in Boston.

Florida – Monday began a stretch for the Panthers of 5 games in 9 nights, all on the road.  Florida has needed to go past 60 in the first two games, winning in Detroit and losing in Chicago.  They close out the week with games in Colorado on Thursday and Vegas on Sunday.

The Panthers sit 3 points back of the Bruins in the Atlantic but Boston has four games in hand.

Don't miss a minute with SiriusXM Streaming, available online and via the SiriusXM App. You can also try it free for 14 days.