NHL 2019-20 Recap Week 20 – Rangers hot, MacKenzie Blackwood is red hot, Oilers grow without McDavid
One of the hottest teams, besides the Tampa Bay Lightning, is surprisingly the New York Rangers. The Rangers have won seven of their last eight and now find themselves in 10th place. The weird thing about the Rangers is they are playing with three goalies right now. But Henrik Lundqvist is being phased out for Igor Shesterkin. Shesterkin has made 40 plus saves in three of his last five games and is 9-1 as a starter. Artemi Panarin has become the man in New York. He will break all of his season highs this season (except game-winning goals) and he has points in nine straight games. He is currently fourth in the NHL in scoring. Ryan Strome has points in eight straight games and he’s also having his best season ever. Not really up to the 5th overall pick level but I think the Rangers will take it. Mika Zibanejad has points in seven straight games including a four point night against the Blackhawks. Tony DeAngelo is nicely developing into a number one defenseman. The playoffs are still a long shot but the Rangers are certainly going to make it interesting down the stretch. It’s starting to become very congested in the Metropolitan division. Only twelve points separates first from seventh place.
Things I like
1. MacKenzie Blackwood is on a bit of a roll lately and is one of the few bright spots for the New Jersey Devils. Including his back to back shutouts, Blackwood has a .970 SV% in the month of February. These aren’t easy games either. Blackwood had 46 saves in one of his shutouts and 52 saves on 55 shots against the Blue Jackets. There’s a good chance the Devils have found their franchise goalie and he’s only 23.
2. The Edmonton Oilers were without Connor McDavid for 2 weeks and they played pretty well in his absence, going 3-3. Leon Draisaitl continued his league leading scoring ways, racking up 12 points in the six games without McDavid. He now sits comfortable at 97 points, nine more than David Pastrnak. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has nine points in those six games, mostly being paired with Draisaitl. Former first-round pick Kailer Yamamoto is progressing nicely and has eight points in that span. Although the Oilers will make the playoffs, it’s unlikely they will do much in them. But they are making great strides in becoming a better balanced team. McDavid picked up right where he left with a goal and two assists in the Oilers win over the Kings but Nugent-Hopkins, Draisaitl, Yamamoto and Caleb Jones all played well too.
3. Although we won’t know until the end of Monday, there doesn’t look like their will be any bad trades this deadline. Most likely to move are Chris Kreider, Joe Thornton and Jean-Gabriel Pageau. I feel for Thornton. He’ll probably never win a Stanley Cup but I don’t think a last minute trade at the deadline will change that. The likelihood he gets traded to the team that will win it all is slim. Plus he doesn’t have much left to offer at 40. I’d stay in San Jose and retire after this season.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
They were all pretty bad this week.
Goat of the Week
Hampus Lindholm – Anaheim Ducks
Lindholm tries to jump start the rush but he doesn’t seem to see rookie Martin Kaut, in his second NHL game, standing there. Kaut passes to J.T Compher for the goal. This was the only goal in the game.
Stat Line of the Week
02/17/20 Calgary 6 vs Anaheim 4
Andrew Mangiapane doesn’t get much playing time normally but it’s been increasing lately and he played a lot this game. Mangiapane had an assist and a hat trick, including a really nice backhand goal. He made a great hit that paved the way for his empty net goal too. It’s doubtful Mangiapane will ever be a star but he can provide great depth scoring for the Flames. The Flames are just one point back of the final wild card spot.
1 – Team (Detroit Red Wings) already eliminated from the playoffs
-110 – The Red Wings goal differential
700 – Career NHL goals for Alex Ovechkin, only the 8th player to do that
5 – Goals scored in the first 6:12 of the Boston Bruins vs Calgary Flames game
3 – Overall goals for position for the Florida Panthers, who would have seen that
27 – The difference between goals for (3rd) and goals against (30th) for the Panthers
27 – The difference between goals for (1st) and goals against (28th) for the Toronto Maple Leafs
1 – Win for emergency goalie David Ayres who picked up a win for the Carolina Hurricanes over his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs when he played almost half the game when James Reimer and Petr Mrazek were both injured.
6 – Shots by the Maple Leafs in the third period of that game
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
February 17, 1994 Quebec’s Mike Ricci scored five goals (his first career hat trick), tying a club record, as the Nordiques won 8-2 over the Sharks at San Jose. It was the only five-goal game of the 1993-94 season.
February 18, 1982 Los Angeles Kings called up Bernie Nicholls, who had been playing with New Haven of the AHL. Nicholls went on to score 14 goals and 18 assists in the final 21 games of the 1981-82 season for the Kings.
February 19, 2001 Patrick Roy became just the fourth goaltender in NHL history to record six consecutive 30 win seasons, when the Avalanche had a 5-1 win at Pittsburgh. Peter Forsberg led the scoring with two goals and two assists.
February 20, 1995 Montreal goaltender Patrick Roy became the 31st goaltender in NHL history to appear in 500 games as the Canadiens won 3-2 in overtime over the Islanders.
February 21, 1920 Ottawa Senators set a new NHL record for most wins by a team in one season, with their 14th of the year, a 5-3 victory at Toronto. The Senators broke the old record of 13 wins, set by Montreal and Toronto in 1917-18, the NHL’s inaugural season.
February 22, 1928 Black Hawks’ Duke Keats scored at 15:50 of the second period in a game against Ottawa, to end Senators’ goalie Alex Connell’s streak of six consecutive shutouts (460:49). Senators won the game, 3-2 at Chicago.
February 23, 1991 Al MacInnis scored a goal and added four assists as the Flames extended their team-record home undefeated streak to 11 straight games (10-0-1) with a 10-8 win against the Quebec Nordiques.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
1. Tampa Bay
3. NY Rangers
26. Los Angeles