NHL 2015-16 Recap Week 11 – Stars and Blackhawks collide, Devils scotch tape roster, Johnny Hockey, Canadiens slide worsens
Systematically demolished. When was that last time you could say an NHL team did that to the Chicago Blackhawks in their recent run? Possibly the Kings and the Ducks in the playoffs and that’s about it. In a really fun playoff atmosphere game, The Dallas Stars took it to the Blackhawks in the first of five meetings between the two teams. The game started out pretty even between the teams at a nice fast back and forth pace. But the Stars just started taking over ever facet of the game. They seem to win every race and always get to the puck first. They scored in almost every way you could imagine. And then before you knew it, it was 4-0. Although it felt like it could easily have been 6 or 7-0.
I’m really looking forward to this match-up in the playoffs. Due to the new playoff format, it will more than likely be in the 2nd round. Almost impossible to have them meet in the Conference Finals, which is a shame. Patrick Sharp had two points against his former team. Surprisingly, neither Jamie Benn or Tyler Seguin had any points. Corey Crawford played good but not great. Crawford will need to be great in order for them to beat the Stars in the playoffs. Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith were noticeably gassed. The next game between the two teams is February 6th in Dallas. It’s unlikely the Blackhawks will play as badly the second time around. The tend to make changes, which is why they have been so dominate of late. You don’t want to miss the next game.
Things I like
1. If you like fast paced hockey with lots of scoring chances (who doesn’t?) then you’ll love the battle of Alberta. Featuring two of the best up and coming teams, the Oilers and Flames never disappoint. They played a great game Sunday night, which the Flames won, and you can see a highlight of it in the goat section below. Johnny Gaureau had two goals in the Oilers game. This Johnny Gaudreau goal below was not from that game but it was so amazing I thought it deserved its own mention. At first you thought it was a breakaway, then a lost cause and then it was a goal. Goal number two of his hat trick from that night.
2. The Devils fascinate me in that they aren’t supposed to be very good but they are only a point behind the final wildcard spot in the east. I don’t expect them to get it but the fact that they are competing for it is something. Especially when you look at their leading scorers. Their 2nd and 3rd (Kyle Palmieri and Lee Stempniak) leading scorers weren’t even on the team last season. Their leading scorer (Mike Cammalleri) wasn’t on the team two seasons ago. 1st and 3rd are also journeyman. Travis Zajac is continuing his downward trend and battling injuries. Adam Henrique is the only other scorer and he’s still trying to develop into the player the Devils think he could be. But somehow they still field a competitive team. But the problem with a scotch taped team of other team’s discards is, in the long run, it’s not actually beneficial for the team.
3. Sidney Crosby scored a goal! It’s sad that he’s season has sunk to this. It was his first goal in the past eight games. Which was a game longer than his seven game drought earlier this season. He did have a 14 game drought in 2013-14 so he’s gone longer without a goal. The Penguins were also on a little winning streak until that ended against the Jets.
Things I don’t
1. Remember when I said there wasn’t any need to panic in Montreal? Well maybe they should start. They already relinquished 1st place and they are about to slide into 4th place. With just seven goals in their last seven games it’s tough to win, especially when you give up five or six goals in some of the games. It’s still going to be another two weeks until Carey Price gets back from his injury. Even then, I’m not sure it will matter. The Atlantic is a tough division and if the slide continues, for the next two weeks, they’ll be lucky to get a wild card spot when all is said and done.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Patrick Maroon vs Tanner Glass
More of a grapplefest than a fight but entertaining nonetheless.
Ryan Reaves vs Tyler Randell
This fight is highlighted more for the annoying Bruins commentary, as usual. The fight would have been better if it was longer.
Ryan Kesler vs J.T. Miller
A decent fight. You don’t really see Kesler fight much.
Goat of the Week
Brendan Smith and Pavel Datsyuk– Detroit Red Wings
Smith had time to clear the puck up the boards and so he did. It looked like a pretty good pass off the boards but, for whatever reason, Datsyuk didn’t make any effort to get it and the Devils scored a few seconds later. This is probably more on Datsyuk than Smith. But it was a crucial play as the Red Wings lost by one.
Justin Schultz – Edmonton Oilers
Well, when the NHL site is working properly, the clip will be here.
Stat Line of the Week
12/21/15 Toronto 7 vs. Colorado 4
With the scored tied at three a piece in the 3rd period, the offensive juggernaut? that is the Maple Leafs was unleashed. Tyler Bozak would have had a natural hat trick if it wasn’t for James van Riemsdyk’s goal. Bozak did have an empty netter but it’s still a hat trick. This was a big win for the Maple Leafs beating a hot Avalanche team. They’ve also come alive offensively scoring at least four goals in five of their last eight games.
3 – goals combined in 21 seconds for the Maple Leafs and Coyotes on Tuesday
251– The shot differential between the Stars and Devils. The Stars are tops in the NHL while the Devils are last
3 – Players on pace to score 100 points. A lot less than I thought it would be
7 – Teams with a below .500 home record
9 – More wins on the road than at home for the Sharks who have the worst home record at 4-9
2 – Goals for Ryan Getzlaf, yup a whopping two
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
5. Los Angeles
27. San Jose
26. NY Rangers
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.