NHL 2019-20 Recap Week 12 – Maple Leafs scoring, Huberdeau red hot, Refs screw Kadri and Avalanche
No team has been hotter or scoring more goals lately than the Toronto Maple Leafs. This is the wide open goal scoring they always envisioned with their talented roster. The only thing is they aren’t really playing defense Basically, the whole reason they weren’t allowed to play this style under their old coach. But they now find themselves in second place in their division which is more important at this juncture. In their last five games Auston Matthews has five goals, William Nylander has five goals, Mitchell Marner has four goals, Zach Hyman has three goals, Pierre Engvall has three goals and John Tavares has two goals. Engvall is a 7th round pick is a rookie who was recently called up and is meshing pretty well lately. The Maple Leafs are 8-1-1 in their last ten games, have racked up 45 goals in those game and they are now the number one scoring team in the NHL. Though the Atlantic Division is exceptionally tight, they should make the playoffs. The problem is how they will do once they get there. They’ll be some occasional high scoring games but they won’t be able to consistently score five goals every game.
Things I like
1. Nobody is hotter in the NHL right now than Jonathan Huberdeau. Huberdeau has racked up 16 points in his last six games including three four point games. The Florida Panthers are also 5-1 in those six games. Huberdeau is on pace for his first 100 point season. A great follow up to his breakout season last year. He also has his first positive plus/minus in four seasons. The Panthers are currently in the playoffs just one point above the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Things I don’t
1. The Colorado Avalanche vs Minnesota Wild featured a wild ending on Friday night. Going into the third period, the avalanche were up 4-3. But the Wild scored two goals in the span of 1:17, putting the Avalanche in a hole and setting up the final sequence. Ryan Hartman pulled down Nazem Kadri and the Avalanche should have gotten a power play. Instead they called a penalty on Hartman but and gave Kadri an embellishment penalty. Because when someone wraps around your head and pulls you down, you’re supposed to stay up apparently. And then to make it even better, they gave Kadri a game misconduct for arguing the call. Even though he didn’t appear to say anything more than anyone else arguing a call does. It’s clear the refs don’t like Kadri. If this had happened to Nathan MacKinnon, only Hartman would have received a penalty. The face-off ended up outside the Wild’s zone but the Avalanche stupidly keep the net empty. And the Wild, of course, won the face-off and quickly scored a goal. You should never have your goalie pulled unless you have an offensive zone face-off. Otherwise that could happen. This whole sequence would leave a very bad taste in my mouth if I was on the Avalanche. Blame goes to the refs and Avalanche head coach, Jared Bednar.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Nicolas Deslauriers vs Micheal Haley
All the fights sucked this week so I picked one from last Sunday night that didn’t make last week’s cut because it happened late. But it’s a good one.
Goat of the Week
Alex Ovechkin – Washington Capitals
Ovechkin doesn’t end up here very often but he does now. Ovechkin just dumps a no look pass near the blue line enabling the Hurricanes take the other way for a goal. This put the Capitals in a 3-1 hole. They lost by two goals, one was an empty net goal.
Stat Line of the Week
12/28/19 NY Rangers 5 vs Toronto 4
As the 5th overall pick in 2011, Ryan Strome’s NHL career has mostly been a huge disappointment. Now on his third team, he’s in the mist of his best season ever. He’s also logging more time on ice with almost four more minutes per game over his previous season high. In this game, Strome had two goals and two assists, including an assist on the game winner. Strome has a good chance to notch his first twenty goal season in his career and his first point per game season. While he may not, he’s definitely played his best hockey as a Ranger.
7 – Teams that scored six or more goals on Monday, one in a losing effort
7 – Unanswered goals by the Devils in their win over the Blackhawks
3 – Two goal games in a row for Patrice Bergeron
1 – Team in the top five in goals for and against, the Boston Bruins
9 – Players with 50 or more points at about the halfway point of the season
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
December 23, 1989 Chicago rookie Jeremy Roenick scored his first career hat trick to lead the Blackhawks to a 7-5 win at Toronto.
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, 1952 New York Rangers ended their team-record 16 game road winless streak (0-12-4) with a 2-1 win at Boston.
December 26, 1992 Jeff Hackett established Shark records for most shots faced (59) & most saves (57) in a game, and most shots faced (22) and most saves (21) in a period as the Sharks beat the Kings 7-2 at the Cow Palace to end their 13 game losing streak.
December 27, 1927 Montreal Canadiens goalie George Hainsworth and Alex Connell dueled to a 0-0 scoreless tie, in a game played at Ottawa. It was the 12th scoreless tie in NHL history and the first for the Montreal Canadiens.
December 28, 1977 Vancouver’s Curt Ridley became the first NHL goalie to shut out a touring Soviet team when the Canucks beat Moscow Spartak 2-0. Rick Blight scored both goals for the Canucks.
December 29, 1991 Detroit’s Bryan Murray became the ninth coach in NHL history to record 400 career wins, with a 6-4 victory at Chicago. The win gave Murray a record of 400-294-95 for his career.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
1. St. Louis
28. San Jose
27. New Jersey