NHL 2018-19 Recap Week 8 – Flyers panic, Maple Leafs have great week, Wilson has ups and downs, Refs blow more calls
Sticking with there are no bad teams in the NHL from a couple of weeks ago, it seems like a lot of NHL teams don’t understand that yet. I get that everybody wants to win, that is your job after all. But patience and understanding goes a long way in achieving that. Because there are no bad teams and there are many three points games, you will go up and down the standings quite frequently and you will be prone to streaks. Both winning and losing. The Buffalo Sabres are the perfect example of this. They won ten games in a row. But looking more closely at it, it wasn’t exactly total domination. Nine of the ten games were decided by only a goal and seven of those went into overtime or the shootout. Those games could have just as easily gone the other way. And now they have as they’ve lost two in a row in the same manner. They could easily lose eight more to mirror their winning streak. But somebody should tell the Philadelphia Flyers that.
The Flyers have decided to make a lot of changes only a quarter of the way through the season. They fired their general manger Ron Hextall and two other front office personnel. And that was a very stupid move. The Flyers have a lot of talent but it is obvious they are under performing. But the general mangers job is only to find talent, which they have. It’s the coaching staff’s job, and the players too, to utilize that talent. To make matters worse, the Flyers are only a few points out of a playoff spot. This was just way too much of a panic move. The ironic thing in all this is Ron Hextall, as a former goalie, was never able to find a goalie for the Flyers. The Flyers did have Sergei Bobrovsky but they traded him away because he didn’t want to backup Ilya Bryzgalov, who they gave a ridiculous contract to. Ironically, the general manager who presided over that whole debacle was Paul Holmgren. The guy who just fired Ron Hextall.
Things I like
1. It’s been a great week for Toronto Maple Leafs fans. They’ve won four in a row. Auston Matthews came back from injury and picked up exactly where he left off, averaging a goal a game. But most importantly, the William Nylander saga is finally over. And it ended better than many thought it would, with the long term contract he wanted with the Maple Leafs. But I wouldn’t rest easy fans, this off-season Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, among many others, will all need new deals. Budgeting that team will be loads of fun.
2. Tom Wilson is probably best known for hitting people illegally. He did it again against the Devils, as he was tossed for a hit on Brett Seney. That isn’t why he is in this section though. He’s never been known as much of an offensive threat but he currently has an eight game scoring streak going where he has six goals and six assists. He’s never even averaged a half a point a game in his career but if he can stay out of the penalty box, he can be a great asset for the Washington Capitals this season.
Things I don’t
1.Those pesky NHL refs are at it again. Blowing calls and pissing people off. In real time it was hard to tell if Connor McDavid had scored the game winner in overtime against the Dallas Stars. But on instant replay it was clear he did score. But the refs said no goal and we were all left to wonder why exactly. Luckily, the Oilers ended up scoring a few minutes later. Against the Avalanche, Kris Letang was slew footed behind the Penguins empty net and no penalty was called. It seems unlikely nobody saw it. And even if they didn’t see it, the way he got up should have given away that he was hit. Everyone on the Penguins was irate. The Avalanche ended up scoring an empty net goal because of it. Speaking of irate, David Rittich of the Flames was just that when Jamie Benn skated into him. He wanted goalie interference on the game winner in overtime but he didn’t get it. Personally, I’ll side with the refs on this one as it seemed like he had plenty of time to reset. Just another week in the NHL.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Wayne Simmonds vs Jamie Oleksiak
Not a bad fight but a bit of a size difference made it not as good as it could have been.
Goat of the Week
Vancouver Canucks – All of them on the ice
You don’t see a team lose a game on a shorthanded goal very often but you do here. You don’t see the beginning of the play in this clip but the Canucks were sloppy along the boards in the Golden Knights end twice. Then the Knights took it into the Canucks end where two Canucks do a really crappy job trying to take the puck away from Reilly Smith. Then two more Canucks do a really crappy job defending William Karlsson. The important thing to remember here is the defensemen of the Golden Knights were never going to join in on the play. Which means this was really a 2 on 5. And how do you let a team score when they are outnumbered that badly?
Stat Line of the Week
11/30/18 Washington 6 vs New Jersey 3
Nicklas Backstrom had another game that shows you why he is one of the more underrated players in the NHL. Backstrom had a hat trick and an assist against the Devils in a game that was actually closer than the score indicated. The Capitals tacked on two empty net goals, one of which was scored by Backstrom. As he creeps closer to 1,000 points, Backstrom has had only three seasons where he scored 80 points or more. This looks to be season number four however.
101 – Career goals for Connor McDavid, 235 games played
101 – Career goals for Patrik Laine, 180 games played
3 – Goals by Sidney Crosby in a row, a natural hat tick, in a losing effort against the Colorado Avalanche. The rematch is this week. Don’t miss it.
139 – Hits by William Carrier, 28 more than his teammate Ryan Reeves and 45 more than Cedric Paquette
5 – Unanswered goals by the Ducks in their comeback win over the Capitals after being down 5-1
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
November 26, 1967 Chicago’s Stan Mikita began a team-record 14 game assist streak with two assists in a 2-1 win over the visiting Minnesota North Stars. Doug Mohns scored both Black Hawks’ goals.
November 27, 1948 Frank Brimsek became the first goaltender to record 35 shutouts as a member of the Bruins and Jimmy Peters scored a goal and added an assist as Boston won 2-0 at Montreal.
November 28, 1982 Edmonton’s Mark Messier scored twice to give him 100 career NHL goals, and Wayne Gretzky picked up four assists as the Oilers won 7-5 at Detroit.
November 29, 1983 Los Angeles’ Charlie Simmer scored his 200th career NHL goal and added two assists when the Kings lost 6-5 to the Winnipeg Jets, at the Forum.
November 30, 1991 Brett Hull set a St. Louis team record with his 12th career hat trick, and added an assist, in a 7-3 win over the Red Wings, in St. Louis. Hull broke the old Blues mark of 11 hat tricks by Bernie Federko. Adam Oates chipped in with 5 assists.
December 01, 1976 Toronto’s Lanny McDonald scored his third career hat trick and added an assist, and Darryl Sittler picked up four assists in the Maple Leafs’ 6-3 win over the visiting Los Angeles Kings.
December 02, 1978 Montreal’s Guy Lafleur scored his 13th career hat trick and added an assist, and Steve Shutt had a goal and four assists to lead the Canadiens to an 8-1 win against Buffalo, at the Forum.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
5. Tampa Bay
29. New Jersey
28. St. Louis
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.