Drop the Puck: Week Seven
The balance of power still lies in the West with the Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings, and Vancouver Canucks all sustaining fast starts while the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals continue to lead the field in the East. Meanwhile, Steven Stamkos and Sidney Crosby traded points this week as the scoring race heated-up.
The Week in Hockey
Sunday, November 14
The New York Rangers started off the week routing the Edmonton Oilers 8-2. Marion Gaboriak had a hat trick and an assist for four points and Alexander Frolov scored a goal and three assists. Niklas Backstrom continued his strong play in goal, making 37 saves as the Minnesota Wild defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1.
In Chicago, the Blackhawks defeated the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in overtime 3-2 as Viktor Stalberg got the game-winner.
Monday, November 15
The Rangers continued their hot start to the week with a 3-2 overtime thriller against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist seemed unstoppable for most of the game until Chris Kunitz and Matt Cooke scored just :38 seconds apart to seemingly seal the deal for the Pens. The Rangers scored a short-handed goal by Marc Staal just :29 seconds later, sending the game into overtime with Ryan Callahan getting the game-winner for the Rangers.
The Flyers and Boston Bruins continued their strong play in goal, with Tim Thomas notching another shut-out. The St. Louis Blues and Kings both lost 6-3, starting-off their weeks on the wrong side of the ledger, a trend that would continue for Los Angeles.
Tuesday, November 16
The Montreal Canadiens cooled off the Flyers, 3-0, as goalie Carey Price continued his red-hot ways, making 41 saves. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs snapped an 8-game losing streak with a 5-4 win over the Nashville Predators behind two goals by Kris Versteeg.
Wednesday, November 17
Twenty-four teams were in action on Wednesday night. The evening featured overtime wins by the Colorado Avalanche and the Wild, with Backstrom’s second consecutive strong showing in net. The Carolina Hurricanes routed the Ottawa Senators 7-1 behind Eric Staal’s five-point effort with a hat trick, the best offensive performance of the night.
Goalie Thomas won his second consecutive game of the week, while the Washington Capitals continued their hot streak with a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Meanwhile, the Penguins rebounded with a 3-1 win over the Canucks, with Marc-Andre Fleury making 29 saves. Peter Budaj had the game of the night in goal with 40 saves in an overtime 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks and Marty Turco posted a shutout as the Blackhawks defeated the Edmonton Oilers 5-0.
Thursday, November 18
Both Boston and Montreal recorded shutouts but not by the goalies you might think – instead of Thomas and Price, it was Tuukka Rask and Pekka Rinne in goal for the Bruins and Canadiens respectively.
On the other side of the spectrum, Tampa Bay defeated the Flyers 8-7, with Martin St. Louis leading the way with five assists for the victorious Lightning. Toronto posted its second win in a row, defeating the hapless New Jersey Devils 3-1.
Friday, November 19
The Wild posted their third straight win of the week with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings as did the Avs with a 5-1 win over the Rangers behind Matt Duchene’s three points. The Columbus Blue Jackets gained their second consecutive victory as goalie Steve Mason recorded a whopping 47 saves in a 4-3 victory.
The Atlanta Thrashers posted a rare shutout over the Capitals behind back-up goalie Ondrej Pavelec, playing in only his eighth game of the season. The Phoenix Coyotes and Penguins posted overtime victories, with Sidney Crosby notching 4 points including the game-clinching shootout goal.
Saturday, November 20
Twenty-two teams were in action for Saturday night’s games. Montreal recorded its second consecutive shutout of the week, this time with Price stoning the Maple Leafs 2-0 on 30 saves.
The Kings rebounded after two consecutive losses with a 4-3 shoot-out victory over the Bruins with goalie Jonathan Quick making 38 saves. In a 4-1 victory, the Florida Panthers behind Tomas Vokoun’s 39 saves handed the New York Islanders their 12th consecutive loss. Colorado won their fourth consecutive game, including their third win in four nights, with a 4-3 shoot-out win over the Dallas Stars.
The Flyers and Capitals accounted for nine goals as the top two teams in the East met and the Flyers prevailed 5-4 in a shoot-out. The Rangers defeated the Wild 5-2 as Marian Gaboriak notched an assist in his return to Minnesota. St. Louis Blues’ goaltender Jarsolav Halak bounced back with 35 saves in a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils, continuing the Devils losing ways.
A 4-0 record this past week has pushed the Avalanche into first place in the Northwest Division. Goalie Peter Budaj sparked the streak with three of the four wins.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus posted a 3-0 record, defeating the Kings, Sharks, and Ducks. Steve Mason was a rock in goal in two of the games and Steve Nash recorded his 11th and 12th goals of the season.
Phoenix won two straight games this week as part of a 5-game winning streak. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov posted his fourth straight win while Ray Whitney leads the team with 14 points.
New York Islanders
The streak has reached twelve games . . . and counting.
With 12 points, the Oilers are by far the worst team in the Western Conference.
Four straight losses have landed the Ducks back in the middle of the pack.
These players made an impact this week.
Steve Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
19 goals, 34 points. His 19 goals in 20 games have folks talking about 50 goals in 50 games.
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
14 goals, 33 points. A four-point game on Friday night brought “The Kid” within 1 point of the scoring lead.
Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes
9 goals, 23 points. Staal’s five-point night helped him get closer to the top of the leader board.
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
8 goals, 26 points. Five assists brought St. Louis into the top 5 in the scoring race.
Shutouts were back in vogue this week in the NHL as several goalies continued their hot streaks.
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
12-6-1. 2.00 GAA.,.932 save %. The #1 star in net two weeks in a row.
Michal Neuvirth, Washington Capitals
12-3-1. 2.63 GAA, .912 save %. Neuvirth is tied for the lead league in wins.
Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
10-1-1. 1.49 GAA, .954 save %. This guy keeps winning and keeps stopping pucks.
Antero Nittymaki, San Jose Sharks
Nittymaki is 7-2 with a 2.07 GAA for the Sharks.
Until next week – hit the ice running and don’t draw any unsportsmanlike penalties.