NHL 2018-19 Recap Week 12 – Bruins Blackhawks Winter Classic, Lightning on a roll, Stars Stars called out, William Nylander slumps
Another Winter Classic featuring two teams we’ve seen plenty of times before in these games. The Boston Bruins made their third appearance and the Chicago Blackhawks made their fourth. Considering this was only the twelfth Winter classic, that’s either quite impressive or quite sad depending on your perspective. But they did announce Dallas would be hosting next years game so hooray for finally having something different. No opponent yet but I think it will be the Nashville Predators. For the record, I don’t really have a problem having an original six team or a Pennsylvania team always in it; as long as the other team isn’t one of those eight.
Jeremy Roenick couldn’t his ridiculous skits to go with these outdoor games. He ended up learning to dance like an Irish leprechaun. Personally, I think they are becoming so over the top they aren’t funny anymore. They also highlighted four players from the past from each team. I like it when they tie in history. But they said they were highlighting four from each team but they only named three Bruins. They didn’t really say who the other one was. I was thinking he may have passed away but they highlighted one Blackhawk who died and his wife filled in for him. Not sure what happened there. I liked the Bruins jerseys but the Blackhawks blue and gray were not my cup of tea. It was hard to even tell it was them without their colors. As for the game itself, it was very entertaining. Fast paced, a lot of scoring chances and some decent saves. There was also quite a bit of sloppy play by both teams. More importantly, it was close. It came down to the final minutes like most Winter Classics. Sadly, there was no overtime as the Bruins beat the Blackhawks 4-2. Fourth liner Sean Kuraly now has two game winning goals in a row. First the game winner in overtime against he Sabres and now the game winner against the Blackhawks. Historically, he isn’t much of a goal scorer but he certainly does have good net front presence lately.
Things I like
1. The Tampa Bay Lightning are a tour de force right now. They went 13-0-1 in December. But even better, they were a joy to watch. Most of the games were close and high scoring. In ten of those games they scored five or more goals. Not surprisingly they are first in the NHL in goals and power play percentage. Four players have eighteen or more goals and Andrei Vasilevskiy makes dazzling saves. Nikita Kucherov currently has an eleven game point streak where he has racked up 23 points. Including a five and four point game back to back. If you can catch a Lightning game on TV, do so.
2. Your 2019 All-Star game captains are Auston Matthews, Alex Ovechkin, Nathan MacKinnon, and Connor McDavid, And those are good picks. Ovechkin is the only old guy in the group. I imagine Matthews and McDavid will be the captains for the next decade which isn’t really fair to the rest of the players in those divisions. I just hope guys like John Tavares, Mitchell Marner, Evgeni Malkin, Mikko Rantanen and Leon Draisaitl don’t get screwed. History says they will. At least Johnny Gaudreau will be there, even though he’ll never be a captain.
3. Dallas Stars CEO Jim Lites called out Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn for their play lately. Constructive criticism is always good. I like to give it frequently while also knowing I have areas where I need to improve. But you always need to do it tactfully. Something I don’t always do either. He was right to call them out but not right to call their play fucking horseshit. Seguin and Benn do need to play better but is it really fair to require two players to carry the whole team? The Penguins realized they couldn’t just rely on Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to carry their load. When they acquired more depth, they won Stanley Cups. He should have called out the general manger Jim Nill too.
Things I don’t
1. If you’re going to have the balls to sit out for a third of the season for a big contract, you better come back on fire. William Nylander hasn’t even come close. In his eleven games back, he has only two points in one game. The other nine games he has done nothing and he has a -3 overall. Not a very good start. I imagine he’s feeling the pressure from the holdout. But since he’s the one that did this to himself, I don’t really have much sympathy for him.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Christian Jaros vs Ross Johnston
Fists of fury, my favorite kind of fight.
Goat of the Week
No bad ones in any close games. There were a few minor ones that cost teams victories but none were bad enough to highlight them.
Stat Line of the Week
12/29/18 Chicago 3 vs Colorado 2
Even though the Blackhawks don’t have it anymore, Patrick Kane still does. Kane figured into all of the Blackhawks goals against the Avalanche. Including the game winner in overtime. He’s been on a bit of a tare lately with his just ended seven game scoring streak. He’s racked up 13 points in those games, including back to back three points games.
1 – Natural hat trick for Matthew Barzal against the Toronto Maple Leafs
99 – Goals against for the Islanders. The only team left that hasn’t give up 100 goals, yet.
13 – Goals scored in the Calgary Flames win over the San Jose Sharks
70 – Penalty minutes by those teams in the third period
1 – Weirdly timed “We can end bullying” promo by Telus in between the two major skirmishes
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
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.
December 25, 1948 New York Rangers ran their Christmas record to 15-1-1 with a 2-0 win at Montreal. Their only Christmas loss during this time was back in 1928. Chuck Rayner got his 10th career shutout.
December 26, 2001 Martin Brodeur recorded his 53rd career shutout as New Jersey won 4-0 against the visiting Penguins. Devils outshot Pittsburgh 41-20.
December 27, 2000 Washington’s Peter Bondra scored four goals, including his 15th career hat trick in the second period as the Capitals won 5-1 against the Senators at Ottawa. It was Bondra’s fifth career four-goal game.
December 28, 1944 Montreal’s Maurice Richard became the first player in NHL history to score eight points in one game. He scored five goals and added three assists when the Canadiens beat Detroit, 9-1.
December 29, 1995 Stars’ Mike Modano scored his 200th career NHL goal and goaltender Andy Moog appeared in his 600th career game, a 2-1 Dallas loss to the Red Wings, in Dallas.
December 30, 1954 Detroit’s Gordie Howe scored his 254th career goal to become the highest goal-scorer in Red Wings’ history (passing Ted Lindsay, who was sidelined with injuries). Red Wings won 4-1 over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
1. Tampa Bay
5. NY Islanders