There’s nothing like dynamic duos leading an NHL team. The Penguins won a few Stanley Cups with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and the Blackhawks did so with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The latest duos terrorizing the NHL are Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos of the Lightning, John Tavares and Josh Bailey of the Islanders and Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux of the Flyers.

Of course the strange thing about these duos is only one pair of them plays for a team that will be in the playoffs. The Islanders are in the final wild card spot and the Flyers are just a little bit back but neither are locks to make the playoffs. Normally, if a team has more than two players in the top ten in scoring, they are playoffs locks. Offensively, the Islanders have a really deep team and are currently the second highest scoring team in the NHL. But they are almost dead last in goals against. Jaroslav Halak is having his worst season statistically in his long career. He will need to play better for them to get in. The Flyers are still finding their groove, so it’s hard to say where they will peak. But they still have work to do if they hope to get in.

Things I like

1. Close games is why we watch any sport. Nobody likes a blowout, unless it leads to an epic comeback. On Thursday night we had seven of the ten games go into overtime or the shootout, which made for some thrilling hockey. Four of them ended in the shootout. Personally, I’d like to see them add just another three minutes to the game to try and avoid the shootout. But this will, sadly, probably be something that never happens.

2. A first round pick in 2015, Matthew Barzal of the New York Islanders is off to a great start in his rookie season. Barzal scored his first career hat trick against the Jets and has a four game point streak going. Barzal currently has a one point lead over Brock Boeser for rookie scoring. He has also given the Islanders some added scoring depth.

Things I don’t

1. There’s a very strong possibility we might have a playoffs without the Chicago Blackhawks or Pittsburgh Penguins for the first time since 2006. Currently, the Penguins are on the outside looking in. They haven’t been playing well as of late either. The Blackhawks are also on the outside looking in, although they do have a few games in hand. In any other season I would say they both have a great chance to make it but the parity is too strong this season. I honestly believe that neither will make it. That’s a hard pill to swallow to because I thought the Penguins had a great chance to make it to the finals again. Mostly because I didn’t think the Maple Leafs were ready yet and I wasn’t sure how the Lightning would bounce back. But those two teams are clearly the favorites in the East now. If Crosby and Malkin get hot, the Penguins could make it but I think two long cup runs can leave a team exhausted. The Blackhawks just aren’t the same team they were and that was obvious when they got swept last playoffs. But they didn’t make the right changes and now they just don’t have the skill players necessary, which is a shame because Corey Crawford couldn’t be playing any better than he has. In the super tight Western Conference there is no room for error and I can’t imagine them sneaking in.

Fights of the Week

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

Pierre-Luc Dubois vs Charlie McAvoy

A really decent fight after McAvoy hit DuBois in the head near the boards.

Chris Stewart vs Micheal Haley

Short and sweet with a take down at the end.

Goat of the Week

St. Louis Blues

The Blues get sloppy in the back of their net and and then center the puck in front of their own net and then get sloppy again in the third period. The Blues lost by a goal.

Stat Line of the Week

12/21/17 Anaheim 5 vs. NY Islanders 4

Skater

TOI

G

A

+/-

SOG

BS

R. Getzlaf

24:48

0

4

2

2

2

Ryan Getzlaf had been out for two months but he’s come back roaring. He’s scored in six of his seven games back and currently has a six game point streak. He dished out four assists against the Islanders including one on the game winner in overtime. Oddly, the Ducks are only 4-3 since he came back.

Numbers, Numbers

1001 – NHL games played by the Kings Dustin Brown
801 – Coaching wins for Ken Hitchcock, the third coach ever to reach 800 NHL wins
3 – Goals scored by the Lightning in the final three minutes of the their game against the Wild. Both teams were scoreless until that point.
300 – Career goals for Patrick Kane

This Week in Hockey History

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

December 18, 1976 Goaltender Bernie Parent recorded his 42nd career shutout in the Flyers’ 2-0 win over the Blues at St. Louis. Bill Barber scored a goal and added an assist in the first period.

December 19, 1933 Boston goalie Tiny Thompson made 34 saves for his 41st career shutout, and Bob Gracie scored at 6:24 of overtime for a 1-0 win over the Montreal Maroons. All proceeds of the game ($6,741 ) were donated to injured player Ace Bailey’s wife.

December 20, 2001 Brian Rolston, rookie Andy Hilbert and Rob Zamuner all scored in a 52-second span during the first 6:17 of the game, and Byron Dafoe recorded his 25th career shutout in the Bruins 5-0 win against the visiting Montreal Canadiens.

December 21, 1969 Rookie goaltender Tony Esposito recorded his sixth shutout of the season as the Black Hawks won 4-0 over St. Louis at Chicago Stadium. Esposito finished the 1969-70 season with 15 shutouts, an NHL record for rookies.

December 22, 1985 Minnesota’s Dino Ciccarelli scored two goals and added three assists and Scott Bjugstad collected his second career hat trick in the North Stars’ 8-3 win at New Jersey.

December 23, 1951 Goaltender Terry Sawchuk recorded his seventh shutout of the season to lead the Red Wings to a 4-0 win over Montreal at the Olympia. It was the 19th shutout of Sawchuk’s NHL career.

December 24, 1921 Ottawa’s Harry “Punch” Broadbent began an NHL-record 16 game goal scoring streak during a 10-0 Senators win over the visiting Montreal Canadiens.

Rankings

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

Top 5

1. Tampa Bay
2. Vegas
3. Boston
4. Edmonton
5. New Jersey

Bottom 5

30. Arizona
29. Vancouver
28. Ottawa
27. Buffalo
26. Detroit

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 2017-18 Recap Week 11 – Dynamic NHL Duos, Matthew Barzal Calder candidate, Blackhawks and Penguins playoff runs look overhttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/tampa-bay-lightning-1024x576.jpghttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/tampa-bay-lightning-300x300.jpgAlex MuellerWeekly RecapsChicago Blackhawks,Chris Stewart,Claude Giroux,Corey Crawford,Dustin Brown,Evgeni Malkin,Jakub Voracek,Jaroslav Halak,John Tavares,Jonathan Toews,Josh Bailey,Matthew Barzal,Micheal Haley,Montreal Canadiens,New York Islanders,Nikita Kucherov,Patrick Kane,Pittsburgh Penguins,Recap,Ryan Getzlaf,Sidney Crosby,Steven Stamkos,Terry Sawchuk
There's nothing like dynamic duos leading an NHL team. The Penguins won a few Stanley Cups with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and the Blackhawks did so with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The latest duos terrorizing the NHL are Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos of the Lightning, John...