NHL 2019-20 Recap Week 19 – Lightning rolling, Boudreau sacked, Seguin dazzles, Maple Leafs choke, Karlsson injured
The Tampa Bay Lightning just keep right on rolling and getting better. They’ve won 10 in a row, have points in 12 in a row and are 17-3 in 2020. Andrei Vasilevskiy has been red hot in February. To put in another way, you don’t want to play them right now. This clip below illustrates how good they are now. Their pressure to force the turnover and then the passing that followed is a thing of a beauty. If they continue to play like that, it’ll be hard for anyone to beat them. You can argue that if any team played like that it would be hard to beat them too. And it would. But the Lightning have to things most teams don’t have. A lot of talent and determination to make up for last season’s playoff embarrassment. There’s even an outside chance they could play the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round again. And wouldn’t that be something?
Things I like
1. I’m not a fan of how many in season coaching changes there have been this season. There’s been eight firings already, way too many. But the Minnesota Wild got it right, even if it doesn’t look that way. I’ve never been a fan of coach Bruce Boudreau and I wrote that this pairing would be a disaster and it has been. Both Boudreau and the Wild are slightly above average. Putting them together doesn’t improve either one. Sure he has a pretty good coaching with the Wild and overall but what has that gotten anyone? He almost always losses in the first round and he didn’t make the playoffs with the Wild last season and he won’t this season. Of course a lot of this isn’t his fault. The Wild have been the same slightly above average for almost the past decade. They haven’t made any significant changes or drafted all that well. Even if they were a better team, Boudreau wouldn’t do anything with them in the playoffs. It’s a good thing this marriage is finally over.
2. Tyler Seguin isn’t having his best season but he still has the capability to dazzle. And that’s what he did with his overtime winner against the Montreal Canadiens. Purely a thing of beauty. More on this game later.
The Dallas Stars are starting to play better and their star players like Seguin and Jamie Benn are starting to play like stars again. They’re also making a lot of third period comebacks. Something they also did last season. There’s a chance they might play either the Colorado Avalanche or the St Louis Blues in the first round but I wouldn’t count them out.
Things I don’t
1. The Toronto Maple Leafs have a lot of talent, can score a lot of goals and have a great goaltender but they’ll never get anywhere if they can’t learn to play defense. In a tie game against the Buffalo Sabres in the third period the Maple Leafs gave up three goals in 90 seconds. Two goals were scored off a bad passes by the Maple Leafs in their own zone and one goal was scored when the Sabres just out hustled the Maple Leafs a couple of times on the scoring play. The Maple Leafs have gone 4-5 this month and they haven’t really beaten anyone good. The next two weeks of their schedule is brutal with two games against the Pittsburgh Penguins to start. They might be out of a playoff spot in March.
2. Erik Karlsson injured his thumb and he’s gone for the rest of the season. That’s a blessing in disguise because it puts both Karlsson and the San Jose Sharks out of their misery. Although it looked great at the time, it’s safe to say his arrival to the Sharks has been a bust. It would benefit both parties if Karlsson were to go elsewhere. But it might be really hard to do anything with that big contract.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Kyle Clifford vs Jamie Oleksiak
A lot of great punches in this one.
Ross Johnston vs Ryan Reaves
This fight had a really weird start to it but it was long and good.
Goat of the Week
Jeff Petry – Montreal Canadiens
Petry passes the puck right to Joe Pavelski who dishes it to Mattias Janmark for the easy goal. The Canadiens were up 3-0 at this point but this was the catalyst the Stars needed to turn the game around. This eventually lead to Seguin’s overtime winner.
Stat Line of the Week
02/13/20 Vegas 6 vs St. Louis 5
I usually don’t highlight players in a losing effort but Zach Stanford played such a great game, I can’t ignore it. Stanford scored four great goals through either a wrist shot or by knocking home rebounds near the crease. He hasn’t made that much of an impact in his three seasons in the NHL or had that much playing time. But he showed in this game he can be an asset with his shot and net presence. Stanford has eight goals in his last ten games.
3 – Players with over 40 goals
0 – Goals for the New York Islanders their last two games
24 – The shot differential the Islanders were outshot by against the Vegas Golden Knights (43-19)
60 – Career NHL shutouts for Marc-Andre Fleury
4 – Three assist games already for Quinn Hughes at the ripe old age of 20
2 – Sedin jersey’s retired by the Vancouver Canucks against the Chicago Blackhawks
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
February 10, 2003 Brett Hull became the 6th player in NHL history to score 700 goals (the second fastest to reach the milestone) in the Red Wings 5-4 win over the visiting San Jose Sharks. Hull also added an assist in the game.
February 11, 1990 Mario Lemieux scored a goal to extend his point scoring streak to 46 straight games as the Penguins won 4-1, at Philadelphia. Rookie Mark Recchi had a goal and two assists in the game.
February 12, 1977 Toronto’s rookie goalie Mike Palmateer recorded his third career shutout, and Inge Hammarstrom scored a goal and added four assists as the Maple Leafs won 10-0 over the visiting Capitals.
February 13, 1975 Boston’s Bobby Orr recorded an assist to reach the 100 point mark, in a 3-1 Bruins’ loss at Buffalo. Orr became the 2nd NHL player to get 6 100-point seasons, and the first to score 100 points in six consecutive years.
February 14, 1987 Calgary’s Joe Mullen scored twice, including one on a penalty shot, to give him 200 career NHL goals as the Flames won 3-2 over the North Stars at Minnesota.
February 15, 1990 Philadelphia’s Pete Peeters recorded his first — and only– win of the season, leading the Flyers to a 3-0 win over Toronto, at the Spectrum. It was Peeters’ 237th career victory and 20th career shutout.
February 16, 1969 Ed Giacomin became the 4th goaltender in team history to record 100 victories as a member of the Rangers. The milestone came in a 4-2 win over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
1. Tampa Bay
3. NY Rangers
28. Los Angeles
26. St. Louis