We had a bunch of great games this week. The Kings and Blackhawks renewed their rivalry from one of the best playoff series ever. The Kings were up to their old late heroics as they rallied for two late goals in the 3rd to beat the Blackhawks 4-3. Sadly, that didn’t catapult their season, as they lost to the Bruins in the next game. But it felt like we were right back in the Western Conference Finals for a bit.

Speaking of the Bruins, they continued their winning ways by beating the Islanders 5-2 in a key match-up this week. The game was, wild among other things, a lot closer than the score indicates but the Bruins have now won eight of their last ten and have done so by beating some of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins have finally found themselves and should definitely be playoff bound. They will be a wild card you definitely don’t want to face.

On the flip-side the Penguins lost to the Capitals in a game that they just didn’t play well in. In fact the Penguins are really struggling of late. They are 2-6 in their last eight with a pair of 4-0 losses. Including one to the Washington Capitals in a game that was just plain weird. From the cheap shots in fighting to the Penguins making the Capitals look like a well oiled machine, it wasn’t one of their finest moments. Sidney Crosby has mostly been invisible during the stretch and the Penguins themselves just look like they are missing something. Luckily they have the Oilers up next but there is reason to worry. Evgeni Malkin should be back in the lineup soon though.

Things I like

1. The AHL will finally relocate five professional ice hockey teams to California. It’s about time too. As having to fly from the east coast to the west coast on a last minute call-up is kind of a pain in the ass. While this will mostly benefit the Sharks, Kings and Ducks; it will also benefit the Flames and Oilers. Although one wonders why the Canucks left their AHL team in New York. It will also help to grow the sport in some newer markets where the teams will be located. Cities like Bakersfield, Ontario, Stockton and San Diego. California is already the fastest growing state in terms of hockey players and this should only help increase it.

2. Martin Brodeur finally called it a career but somehow I think that might not be the last of him playing goalie somewhere. But what a career it was. As he holds about 25 NHL goaltending records. The St. Louis Blues stint didn’t really pan out as he hoped but good for him for trying it anyway. Not many players can say they posted a shutout at 42 in the NHL. But he’s happy with his new role as a Senior Advisor to the Blues where he practices with the team and scouts players.

Things I don’t

1. Poor Mike Richards and his strange career. Drafted in the 1st round to be part of the cornerstone of the Philadelphia Flyers, he scored 30 goals twice. But then he and Jeff Carter were perceived to be part of the problem and where shipped off. Richards then became a vital member of two Stanley Cups with the Kings. But he centered the 4th line on the second cup and now has been shipped off to the AHL unclaimed on waivers. Personally, I’m kind of surprised nobody took a stab at him. Richards did score a goal in his first AHL game and I suspect he’ll be back on the main roster, eventually.

2. All-star game ratings were down in the United States (14%) and Canada (down 1 million) which is considered a disappointment but probably not so much since the Winter Classic also decreased in viewership. What’s surprising is that it took such a big hit in Canada. But there hasn’t been an All-Star game in three years so maybe everyone just forgot. The draft and skill competition were fun and so was the All-Star game. A lot of people said it was unwatchable but I thought there was great passing and saves. Sure it’s not like a real NHL game but it’s not supposed to be. Only watching the Canadian Olympic team will have that much talent on a line.

3. The Maple Leafs have lost nine in a row and effectively played there way out of the playoff picture. Which is good and bad. Good because they will get a higher draft pick but bad because heads will roll. There’s a lot of talent on the team but obliviously they are not playing to their full potential. That’s where the coaching comes in. They also have some gaps on the team. That’s where drafting wisely and having patience comes in. The Blackhawks and Penguins did it and that’s why they are where they are. But Toronto never has that patience, because it’s Toronto, and the longer the rebuild goes on the less patience they have. Which effectively makes them their own worst enemy. Good luck Brendan Shanahan.

Fights of the Week

Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a lot easier to do.

Luke Gazdic vs Deryk Engelland

A rock em sock em robots style fight, my favorite kind of fight.

Steve Downie vs Michael Latta

A decent back and forth fight. Latta starts to lose his jersey.

Francois Beauchemin vs Andrew Desjardins

Good fight, Desjardins gets the better ever it.

Goats of the Week

Jonathan Bernier – Toronto Maple Leafs

At the start of the third period up 1-0 at home, on the powerplay, things were looking good for the Maple Leafs. But because these are the Leafs, it didn’t stay that way. Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored from just behind center ice on a funny bounce that took the momentum away from the Leafs who never recovered and lost 3-0. As a goalie who has given up a long range shot or two, it can be tough when you aren’t expecting it and it takes a funny bounce.

Jaroslav Halak – New York Islanders

This was another momentum zapping goalie. With the game tied 2-2 in the closing seconds Halak stupidly plays the puck behind the net. Always believed goalies shouldn’t play the puck behind the net but why play it at all with a few seconds left is another question.

Stat Line of the Week

1/28/15 Los Angeles 4 vs Chicago 3

Skater

TOI

G

A

+/-

SOG

PIM

Hits

J. Carter

16:51

2

1

2

5

0

0

Despite his best buddy Mike Richards being demoted, Jeff Carter single-handedly kept the Kings in the game against the Blackhawks. He scored the first two goals and then had a nifty pass to set up the game tying goal.

Numbers, Numbers

14 – Losses in a row for the lowly Sabres. That’s kind of hard to do.
14 – Points in the past 9 games for Patrick Kane, now 2nd in the NHL in scoring
169 – Penalty minutes for Stevie Downie, tops in the NHL by 69
248 – Shots for Alex Ovechkin, tops in the NHL by 44
10 – Tampa Bay Lightning home wins in a row, a franchise best

This Week in Hockey History

Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.

January 26, 1991 Wayne Gretzky celebrated his 30th birthday with his 48th career hat trick and two assists in a 5-4 Kings’ win over Vancouver. The three goals gave Gretzky 30+ goals for the 12th consecutive season.

January 27, 1972 Bruins’ Phil Esposito scored his 13th career hat trick in a 4-2 win over Philadelphia, at Boston Garden.

January 28, 1992 Minnesota’s Neal Broten played in his 761st game with the North Stars, to set a new team record (previously held by Curt Giles), and scored a shorthanded goal to help the team to a 4-3 win against the Whalers, at Hartford.

January 29, 1928 The Finnish National Team played its first official hockey game, losing 8-1 to Sweden.

January 30, 1974 Garry Unger scored his 7th career hat trick, including the 200th goal of his NHL career, to lead the Blues to a 6-4 win over the Oakland Seals, in St. Louis.

January 31, 1982 Five days after turning 21 years old, Edmonton’s Wayne Gretzky scored his 13th career hat trick and added two assists (to begin a 14 game assist streak) as the Oilers won 7-4 over the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.

February 01, 1999 Eric Lindros scored his 250th career NHL goal in the Flyers 4-2 win against the visiting Los Angeles Kings. Lindros became the seventh player in Flyers’ history to score 250 goals.

Rankings

The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.

Top 5
1. St. Louis
2. Montreal
3. Detroit
4. Boston
5. Tampa Bay

Bottom 5
30. Buffalo
29. Toronto
28. Arizona
27. Ottawa
26. Los Angeles

Alex Mueller

Author: Alex Mueller

Alex Mueller graduated from Temple University with a minor in journalism over a decade ago. He’s been writing about NHL hockey, on and off, since the Fall of 2009. He’s written for Pucking Awesome, the Checking Line and now Hockey Recaps. He played goalie at San Diego Ice Arena. His first novel, Bobby Sterling vs Truth, is available on Amazon now.

http://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/kings-vs-blackhawks-1024x578.jpghttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/kings-vs-blackhawks-150x150.jpgAlex MuellerWeekly RecapsAlex Ovechkin,Brendan Shanahan,Deryk Engelland,Eric Lindros,Evgeni Malkin,Francois Beauchemin,Jaroslav Halak,Jeff Carter,Jonathan Bernier,Los Angeles Kings,Luke Gazdic,Martin Brodeur,Mike Richards,New York Islanders,Patrick Kane,Philadelphia Flyers,Recap,Sidney Crosby,Steve Downie,Tampa Bay Lightning,Toronto Maple Leafs,Washington Capitals,Wayne Gretzky,Winter Classic
We had a bunch of great games this week. The Kings and Blackhawks renewed their rivalry from one of the best playoff series ever. The Kings were up to their old late heroics as they rallied for two late goals in the 3rd to beat the Blackhawks 4-3. Sadly,...