NHL 2016-17 Recap Week 12 – Centennial and Winter Classics, Blue Jackets bust Wild streak and keep streaking, Coyotes and Avalanche race to the bottom and more
It was streak vs streak as the Columbus Blue Jackets faced the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. It’s very rare to have two teams with at least twelve game winning streaks facing each other. So you’re unlikely to ever see a game like that again.
As for the actual game, the Blue Jackets do what they do best, score goals in clusters. The game was pretty evenly matched but the Blue Jackets scored first and then about three minutes into the second period they scored two goals in about fifteen seconds and before you knew it, it was already 3-0. It’s amazing to me how great of a year Cam Atkinson is having, as he scored two goals in this game. He’ll be just short of setting career highs in all major offensive categories in only half a season.
Now the Blue Jackets have a 15 game winning streak. So what does that mean? Does this streak mean anything? The longest winning streak is held by the Penguins with 17 wins in the 1992-93 season. They didn’t win the Stanley Cup that season but they did the previous one. Tied with the current Blue Jackets is the Penguins in 2012-13 with 15 wins. They famously got their asses handed to them by the Bruins in the Eastern Conference finals. The New York Islanders also had a 15 game winning streak in 1981-82. A season where they won the Stanley Cup. The longest consecutive games with a point streak belongs to the Flyers in 1979-80 with 35 games. They lost the Stanley Cup in that season. Second longest point streak is by the Blackhawks with 30 games in 2012-13. They won the Stanley Cup that season.
So almost all the longest winning streaks revolve around a Stanley Cup. So it’s more than likely the Blue Jackets will ended up there this season. At the very least they should make the Conference Finals.
Things I like
1. What a Centennial Classic that was between the Detroit Red Wing and Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s a shame we will need to wait another 100 years to have another one. We had intense drama in the third period with seven goals, the best period to score goals. Mitchell Marner and Auston Mathews and the other Maple Leafs young guns dazzled with moves to jump out to a 4-1 lead. I thought the game was over ans did most of the fans. But Detroit roared back, getting a much needed goal a few minutes later. Then they scored two goals with the extra skater on, including the final one with a second left on the clock. But the Maple Leafs would not be denied at home. When, guess who, Auston Mathews batted in the loose rebound for the game winner in overtime. It’s great when the biggest stars rise to the occasion in the biggest games. It was reminiscent of Sidney Crosby winning the first Winter Classic in the shootout. And of course my favorite part of Jeremy Roenick awkwardly interviewing fans in the stand was there as well.
2. Back to back outdoor games isn’t a bad thing. But outdoor games are nicer when there is light snow or flurries falling. Light rain would have been cool to but sadly we got neither in either game. But we did had rain on the camera lens because they refused to wipe it off for some reason. The outdoor games tend to be tied until the 3rd period and then one time pulls away. That would be the Blues in this Winter Classic, as they took advantage of some sloppy plays by the Blackhawks. I feel bad for Niklas Hjalmarsson, who played a 2 on 1 as well as I’ve ever seen be played only to see the puck bounce off his skate and into the net. But those are the breaks. The Blues have the Blackhawks number lately.
Things I don’t
1. It’s a race to the bottom for the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche. Despite play in the “weaker” conference this season, neither team has mustered 30 points. The Coyotes just completed a five game home stand where they amassed zero points. The Coyotes are 28th in goals and 30th in goals against. The Avalanche are 30th in goals and 29th in goals against. The good news is, these two teams will pick one and two in the draft. The bad news is, Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine aren’t going to be there. The real problem is neither of these teams draft well. Most high picked players end up somewhere else or are just average players. Nathan MacKinnon has been decent for the Avalanche but if you’re going to be the 1st overall pick, you need to be exceptional. None of the 1st round picks by the Coyotes in the last four years are playing any significant minutes except for Max Domi. I don’t expect any of these teams to turn it around anytime soon. And for the life of me, I still don’t understand why Jarome Iginla is on the Avalanche. He left the Flames for this?
2. It’s not to often you see a starting goalie the last two seasons clear waivers the next season and be sent to the AHL but that’s what happen to Jaroslav Halak. A guy whose been stellar in the playoffs and Olympics. But it’s a what have you done for me lately league and Halak has not delivered. Even being called out by his coach. Sad part is, the Islanders are now actually scoring goals. 23 in fact over their last five goals in which they won four of them. Hopefully he can rejoin the team later. It’s nice to see the Islanders turning the corner though. But the playoffs still seem like a long shot.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a lot easier to do.
Josh Anderson vs Chris Stewart
Matt Calvert vs Mathew Dumba
You get a 2fer in this this clip, as both fights are in the same clip. Lots of great haymakers thrown in both of them.
Wayne Simmonds vs Kevin Bieksa
This fight is great just because Wayne Simmonds apparently doesn’t know how to dress himself and all his clothes came off real easily.
Goat of the Week
Evgeny Kuznetsov – Washington Capitals
Kuznetsov does a no look pass up the middle from deep in his own zone. That pretty much writes itself. It was an easy goal for the Devils who won in the shootout.
Stat Line of the Week
12/28/16 Tampa Bay 4 vs. Montreal 3
Tyler Johnson scored the Lightning’s first and last goals in their comeback win over the Canadiens. Down two goals in the 3rd period, they pressed on. Johnson netted the game winner in overtime on a nifty shot. This despite a great effort by Carey Price. The Canadiens ended up losing in overtime to the Penguins, a few days later, despite another nice effort by Price. A game which they were also leading in the 3rd period. Not a good week for the Canadiens.
62.8 – Attendance Capacity for the Carolina Hurricanes. Dead last and even lower than their normal lows.
17 – Goals for Alex Ovechkin on pace for his worst goal total since 2011-12, even with three goals in his last four games.
0 – Shorthanded goals scored against the Blue Jackets and Sabres, the only two teams with that distinguish.
6- Goals for the Rangers Chris Kreider over his last four games
1.13 – Points per game average this season for Connor McDavid
1.31 – Points per game average this season for Sidney Crosby
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
December 26, 1998 Chicago’s Doug Gilmour scored a goal to give him 1,200 career NHL points. The milestone came in a 3-2 loss to the visiting Philadelphia Flyers. Gilmour became the 27th player in NHL history to score 1200 career points.
December 27, 1967 Pittsburgh Penguins’ rookie Les Binkley and Seals’ rookie goalie Gary Smith recorded the first 0-0 tie in Penguins’ history, in a game against Oakland at the Civic Arena. It was the third career shutout for Binkley and the 1st for Gary Smith.
December 28, 2001 Atlanta’s Ray Ferraro scored to become the 66th player in NHL history to score 400 career goals; the milestone came in a 5-4 Thrashers win over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.
December 29, 1964 Bobby Hull scored twice to lead the Black Hawks to a 4-2 win over the Rangers, at New York. The win stretched the Black Hawks’ undefeated streak to 11 games (10-0-1), and gave them a team-record 7 straight wins on the road.
December 30, 1967 14,366 fans showed up for the L.A. Kings’ first game at the brand-new Inglewood Forum. The Flyers beat the Kings in the building opener, 2-0.
December 31, 1955 Maurice Richard scored the 3,000th goal in Montreal Canadiens’ history, and added two assists in a 7-3 win over the visiting Chicago Black Hawks.
January 01, 1961 Boston rookie Willie O’Ree, the first black player in NHL history, scored his first career goal (the game winner) as the Bruins beat Montreal, 3-2 in Boston.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
4. San Jose
5. NY Rangers
28. New Jersey
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.