They had an interesting post game conversation on NBCSN after the game was over the other day. The question was which of the three hot teams in the Western Conference would make the playoffs. Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames or Edmonton Oilers. The announcers all picked the Flames and the fans overwhelmingly picked the Avalanche. Which is interesting because I think the Avalanche are the least likely to get in. The Flames are now in 3rd place in the Pacific Division so they would automatically get in. So nice safe choice by the announcers.

But it’s very likely the Flames will stay in that position on the account of the Canucks and Coyotes not being very good. Johnny Gaudreau is also very hot. I have no idea what the Ducks are doing but, since they refuse to make changes, it will be a lost season for them. The Oilers are winning without Connor McDavid so when he gets back, they should be really fun to watch and might possibly be unstoppable. I thought they would make the playoffs next year but they could very well make it this year. As for the Avalanche, their biggest problem is they play in the Central Division. Dallas, St. Louis, Minnesota, Chicago are all above them and will likely remain so. Nashville is also above them but even if they leapfrog them, they would be the fifth team in that division. Five is the most that can get in and that’s assuming the Pacific sends three. So the Avalanche have the toughest road into the playoffs in my opinion.

Things I like

1. The Washington Capitals just keep winning. Them and the Dallas Stars are the first teams to 50 points. They won some tight 2-1 games over the Lightning and Senators recently and then they turned up the scoring and clobbered the Rangers 7-3. They have the fewest regulation losses at six and the best goal differential at 33. They also have six players with at least twenty points. With everyone else struggling in the division, they should coast to the division crown. Of course there’s that matte of them underachieving in the playoffs that will need to be addressed. But with the number one seed, they should be able to get out of the first round.

2. Nothing like tight standings. About ten more games and we will be at the halfway point of the season. In the Atlantic, only four points separate 1st from 5th. In the Pacific, five points separate 2nd from last place. In the Metropolitan and Central it’s not as tight from top to bottom but it’s pretty tight in the middle. The Metropolitan is really struggling right now, with four teams having at least a three game losing streak. This is leading up to be one of the most open and wild second halves of the season in some time.

3. Blake Wheeler has been a solid but not spectacular player in his career. But he’s been under appreciated. He’s currently, and quietly, having a career year for the last place Winnipeg Jets. He’s scoring, for the first time in his career, at a point a game pace. He also had points in eight of his last ten games and now finds himself 8th in the NHL in scoring. Now if he could just get the Jets to win more.

Things I don’t

1. I hate to harp on the Penguins again but no wins since they changed their coach. No goals by Sidney Crosby either. A five game losing streak to boot. So yup, it’s really working. The problem is they started making changes several years to late. It might be too much of a lost cause at this point. It hasn’t really been a positive, confident winning environment in a while. That doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. And now Sidney Crosby is day to day. Fun times in Pittsburgh.

2. I was going to say I felt bad for Jonathan Bernier. After struggling mightily in the beginning of the season Bernier was sent down to the AHL where he shined. He was then brought back to the Maple Leafs where he resumed his struggles. And then you just kind of felt bad for him. I mean he hasn’t even won a game yet in the NHL this season. But then he finds a way to record a shutout win against his former team the Los Angeles Kings for his first win of the season. Happy days in Toronto.

Fights of the Week

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

Derek Dorsett vs Nate Prosser

This was an interesting fight for a lot of reasons. Stumbling and bumbling and a nice uppercut. See for yourself.

Deryk Engelland vs Ryan Reaves

Mostly decent fight between two big men.

Goat of the Week

Paul Martin – San Jose Sharks

Paul Martin casually passes and/or looses the handle of the puck right in front of the net which Artem Anisimov deposits in the back of the net. It was the first goal of the game but it ended up mattering, as the Blackhawks won in overtime from a Jonathan Toews goal, of course.

Stat Line of the Week

Skater

TOI

G

A

+/-

SOG

Hits

V. Tarasenko

17:04

1

2

1

4

2

The Flames brought their seven game winning streak into St. Louis. But Vladimir Tarasenko didn’t mind, as he figured into all three Blues goals as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead over the Flames. Tarasenko has a five game point streak currently.

Numbers, Numbers

5 – shutouts for Corey Crawford, tops in the NHL and a career season high
8 – The point differential between third and fourth in the NHL in scoring
104 – Penalty minutes for Derek Dorsett, the first to 100
10.3 – Powerplay percentage of the Calgary Flames, last in the NHL yikes
7 – Shorthanded goals against for the Arizona Coyotes, double yikes
0 – Shorthand goals for the Arizona Coyotes

Rankings

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

Top 5
1. Washington
2. Florida
3. Colorado
4. Calgary
5. Los Angeles

Bottom 5
30. Montreal
29. Pittsburgh
28. NY Rangers
27. Arizona
26. Vancouver

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.

NHL 2015-16 Recap Week 10 – Capitals keep rolling, Blake Wheeler quietly good, Jonathan Bernier wins, Penguins don'thttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Jonathan-Bernier-1024x577.jpghttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Jonathan-Bernier-150x150.jpgAlex MuellerWeekly Recaps
They had an interesting post game conversation on NBCSN after the game was over the other day. The question was which of the three hot teams in the Western Conference would make the playoffs. Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames or Edmonton Oilers. The announcers all picked the Flames and the...