Winter Classic number 8, hard to imagine it’s been that long already, featured something old (Boston Bruins) and something new (Montreal Canadiens). New in the fact that the Montreal Canadiens are Winter Classic virgins. Obviously they aren’t new, being an original six team and all. The Bruins are in their second Winter Classic, which other teams have also been in twice, but they are the first team to have now hosted two Winter Classics. Which I don’t really care for. Considering how teams there are, do we really need to have a hosting city repeat after only eight times? I’d love for the Dallas Stars, with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn in their prime, to be in one. AT&T Stadium seems like a great fit but its indoor. The roof is retractable but I’m not sure if that will work or not. But it’s unlikely the NHL would actually feature the Stars in a Winter Classic. But now that they have two top scorers, maybe they will.

As for the game itself, it was the first Winter Classic that wasn’t close. Despite playing at home, the Bruins didn’t get the memo until the start of the 3rd period. And even then, they were outscored. The Bruins defense was atrocious and I felt bad for Tuukka Rask who did his best to keep the Bruins in the game. The first three minutes of the second period looked like a six on four Canadiens powerplay as they spent seemingly the whole time in the Bruins end. I kept counting the Bruins on the ice to make sure they had five. This led to a Canadiens powerplay which, ironically, looked way worse than their even strength play. Both teams were a combined 0-7 for on the powerplay. Most were pretty bad. The Canadiens 3rd goal, though, was just sick looking. With Brendan Gallagher and Max Pacioretty both batting the puck out of the air. This was a big win for the Canadiens who had lost eight of their last ten and their grip on 1st place in the division. But the game wasn’t all that interesting to watch most of the time because the weather wasn’t bad and the game wasn’t close. Probably not what was expected between such old school bitter rivals. The highlight was, as always, Jeremy Roenick interviewing fans and little kids in random places.

Things I like

1. The Florida Panthers have know won a club record nine in a row. Nine in a row isn’t that many so you get the picture of how inept the Panthers normally are. The do find themselves in 2st place, surprisingly, after Roberto Luongo pitched a 40 shot shutout against the Rangers. Jaromir Jagr, Jonathan Huberdeau, Jussi Jokinen, Aleksander Barkov, Vincent Trocheck and Reilly Smith lead a nice balanced attack. The good news for the panthers is that only Jagr and Jokinen are old. Despite narrowly missing the playoffs last season, I didn’t have them pegged for a playoff spot this season. But the Atlantic division is exceptionally tight. With only six points separating six teams. The Panthers are the only team trending upward at the moment. This will be an interesting division to watch in the second half of the season. There’s a good chance they’ll get five teams in.

2. Uh oh.. Sidney Crosby and the Penguins have woken up. Crosby now has five goals in his last five games. The Penguins crushed the Islanders 5-2 after jumping out to a 5-0 lead. This was a huge game against a division opponent they will battle for a playoff spot. Crosby had two goals and Evgeni Malkin had three assists. But the big thing was, they looked like they were having fun and they were in the right places when they needed to be. If Crosby can stay hot and if the Penguins can play like they did that game, they will be a force to reckon with.

3. So the Penguins crush the Islanders who just crushed the best team in the NHL the Stars, before the Stars rallied to only lose by one in a crazy 6-5 game, who crushed the Blackhawks. So logic dictates that the Penguins will crush the Blackhawks? I guess we’ll find out as they play a back to back home and home on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Which rarely happens. The Wednesday night game is on NBCSN. This current Penguins team could beat the Blackhawks so they should be some entertaining games this week.

Things I don’t

1. What started as a joke ended up with John Scott as captain and in the 3 on 3 All-Star game tournament. I am not assumed. It’s like vote for the worst in American Idol. I mean I get it but it just ruins the whole point of the thing. Should I guy who is consistently a healthy scratch, take away a spot from a much more deserving player? The worst part is, he’s going to look so out of place in the actual game so much so that he will probably end up embarrassing himself and the NHL. I’m not really looking forward to watching him participate in the game. He has a whopping 5 goals and 11 points in 285 games. Be still my beating heart.

Fights of the Week

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

Tanner Glass vs Shawn Thornton

A couple of big boys going at it in a really long fight.

Chris Thorburn vs Chris Stewart

A decent and disjointed fight.

Goats of the Week

Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle and Victor Hedman – Tampa Bay Lightning

Although the Rangers won by three, two of those were empty net goals. So this was the game winning goal and boy did the Lightning screw up. Stralman gives up the puck but it was a good forecheck by the Rangers. The problem was Boyle and Hedman were too busy puck watching and not really being of any use. Just a bad play all around.

Alex Goligoski – Dallas Stars

Not necessarily his fault but you got to try and do a better job of not having the puck redirect off of you into the net. Turned out to a be a big goal, since the Stars lost by one.

Stat Line of the Week

12/28/15 Los Angeles 5 vs. Vancouver 0

Skater

TOI

G

A

+/-

SOG

FO

A. Kopitar

19:37

0

4

3

5

82%

There were a few people I could put there so it was hard to choose. Kopitar had 4 assists and is currently in the mist of a five game point streak. He also won 82% of his 28 faceoffs, which is exceptionally high. Tyler Toffoli just had his five game point streak snapped but had a hat trick in this game.

Other notable mentions were Shane Doan with a hat trick in a losing effort against the Blackhawks in a crazy 7-5 game. Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith both had three point nights in that game in the win.

Numbers, Numbers

40 – Career shutouts for Jonathan Quick who tied Marc-Andre Fluery in way less games. Quick is actually just below Martin Brodeur’s record setting pace.
380 – Goals for Shane Doan, a Coyotes franchise record
.237 – Artem Anisimov’s shooting percentage tops in the NHL with 14 goals on just 59 shots
12 – Goals for Justin Faulk on the powerplay, tied with Patrick Kane for 1st and just two less than his total goal count of 14
73 – Goals for the Anaheim Ducks, dead last with the Flyers the only other team not at at least 90 with 79 goals

Rankings

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

Top 5
1. Florida
2. Los Angeles
3. Washington
4. Chicago
5. Toronto

Bottom 5
30. Buffalo
29. Philadelphia
28. Montreal
27. Ottawa
26. Edmonton

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 12 – The worst Winter Classic, Panthers are hot, John Scott debacle, Sidney Crosby wakes uphttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/winter-classic-2016-1024x578.jpghttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/winter-classic-2016-150x150.jpgAlex MuellerWeekly Recaps
Winter Classic number 8, hard to imagine it's been that long already, featured something old (Boston Bruins) and something new (Montreal Canadiens). New in the fact that the Montreal Canadiens are Winter Classic virgins. Obviously they aren't new, being an original six team and all. The Bruins are in...