1. Washington Capitals: 38 points (16-4-6)
The Washington Capitals defeated the Anaheim Ducks in a shootout on Monday, which was their first overtime or shootout win of the season. Before that, they were 0 for 5 in overtime and 0-1 in shootout. The Caps are also happy with the return of TJ Oshie. The forward has played back-to-back games for the first time since October. He recorded an assist on Monday, his first point since Nov. 20 against the San Jose Sharks. His comeback strengthens the Caps top six which has been extremely lean this season.
Alex Ovechkin recorded two assists against Anaheim, marking his 115th career multi-assist game. Ovechkin is on track to register 66 assists in an 82-game season, which would mark a career-high in one season (2009-10: 59 assists).
– CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) December 7, 2021
More positive news for the Caps on the injury front, Nicklas Backstrom and Connor Sheary have been allowed to make contact and have joined the squad’s practices. Backstrom is still recovering from a hip injury that bothered him in the playoffs last season. Backstrom refused to have the surgery and went to rehab and has yet to play this season. He had already undergone hip surgery in 2015 and had not had any problems until this offseason.
2. New York Rangers: 37 points (17-4-3)
The Rangers don’t have starting goaltender Igor Shesterkin, who is currently in IR but will likely only miss two more games. Shesterkin has appeared to wear the Rangers this season and became the favorite for the Vezina Trophy at the start of the season. Substitute Alexandar Georgiev has struggled this season with a 0.876 sv percentage and a 3.58 average in six starts. On Tuesday night he put in an admirable performance for the Rangers with a .926 sv% score stopping 25 of 27 shots he faced to claim his third win of the season. Any victory with Shesterkin will be a great success for the team.
The other big news from last night’s game was Jacob Trouba’s hit on Jujhar Khaira, who knocked out the Chicago Blackhawks player before he hit the ice. No penalties were handed down on the ice outside of the bouts that broke out after the blow, so it’s time to turn the penalty wheel on the Department of Player Safety. If it’s like Connor McDavid and Vincent Trocheck are going to shoot some big penalties, which they should do with violent contact with a player’s numbers, you need to call a penalty here. When the point of contact is the head, even when a player’s head is down, there should be a penalty. The NHL looks at those hits like the NCAA looks at targeting.
3. Carolina Hurricanes: 35 points (17-6-1)
The Carolina Hurricanes have now won back-to-back games for the first time since Nov. 20, when they beat the Los Angeles Kings. The Canes struggled with the loss of three starting defensemen to COVID, but looked much better with the return of Ethan Bear. While the Canes still miss Brett Pesce and Tony DeAngelo, Jalen Chatfield and Maxime Lajoie have become capable NHL defensemen. While both deserve more ice time than a seventh defenseman, there should be no reason for either of these guys to shine while Brendan Smith plays in regular time.
Lajoie and Chatfield are the best possession defenders this season with 66% Corsi each. Yes, they have the smallest sample size, but if they didn’t match the level of the NHL they would be separated. Brendan Smith is sixth on the team at Corsi with 56.1%. Lajoie and Chatfield are both in the top three in goals with 66.66% and 75% respectively. Beyond the analyzes, they are faster and more dynamic. Smith’s shortcomings also manifested themselves on the second goal against which was on the penalty spot where he was in no man’s land while Pierre-Luc Dubois was able to go deflection between the legs to equalize the match.
The other area where it is apparent is speed. There was a point in the last game where Smith had a blocked shot and got a head start on the ice and was nearly beaten by a Jets player for a breakaway. This is something that also happened with the loss of the Ottawa Senators. Smith brings great physical play to the team and the dressing room seems to really like his presence. He should be with the team, but he should be played sparingly. There’s no need to take Chatfield or Lajoie out of the roster for him, unless there’s a back-to-back storyline. Regardless of the callbacks this season, he should play the seventh defenseman role.
4. Pittsburgh Penguins: 29 points (12-8-5)
Jake Guentzel continued his good season and was named the third star of the week in the NHL. The forward has a 13-game at least one-point streak that includes 12 goals and seven assists. The 13-game run with at least one point is the longest for the Penguins since Pascal Dupuis had a 17-game streak in the 2011-12 season. His 27 points are the best on the Penguins with Evan Rodrigues nine points behind him for second place. Only one striker plays more minutes than Guenzel, Sidney Crosby.
Jason Zucker and Casey DeSmith are two players who have struggled this season. DeSmith played his fifth game of the season on Monday against the Seattle Kraken. He scored his first victory of the season, and it was the first time he has scored less than three goals this season. Before the game, his GAA of 4.32 was among the league’s bottom 10. Zucker has been on the second row all season, but struggled to produce consistently. He got his first point in seven games with an assist in Seattle that marks his 10e point in 24 games.
5. Columbus Blue Jackets: 26 points (13-11-0)
Much of the reaction to Seth Jones’ trade this offseason has centered on the draft picks in the case, but 21-year-old defenseman Adam Boqvist has also been sent to Columbus. Already barely 17 games in the season, he has already set his best career record with six goals, already two more than his other seasons. His nine points are on course to establish his career high, which was last season with 16 points in 35 games for the Blackhawks. His six goals are the fourth in the NHL and the team’s best.
Boqvist has played two multi-goal games in the last six he has played. He does it while playing minutes in the shelter with 62.7% of starts in the offensive zone. However, it’s not just on offense. He leads the team both in Corsi with 51% and in relative Corsi with 7.0. He seems comfortable in the system, and he should make some headway to move upmarket when the opportunity presents itself.
6. New Jersey Devils: 23 points (9-9-5)
The reality may be starting to set in for the New Jersey Devils, who have now lost their fourth straight game and are 2-6-3 in their last 11 games. After an offseason that saw them sign key signings, the Devils had ambitions to compete for a playoff position, but were six points out of the second Eastern Conference wildcard position with an uphill battle ahead. . It’s not a bad position for the Devils who are making strides out of the league basement, they will just need time for their young players to develop in a competitive environment.
The Devils caused a stir when they signed Jack Hughes for eight years last week and their captain Nico Hischier is just 22. This season has also seen the emergence of rookie Dalton Mercer whose six goals and 14 points both rank fifth in the league for rookies. Mercer centered the third line, which means Michael McLeod, at 23, is the Devils’ oldest cross. They have excellent young training but lack the depth and defense to be really ready to compete night and night.
7. Philadelphia Flyers: 20 points (8-11-4)
After losing an eighth game in a row, the Philadelphia Flyers fired head coach Alain Vigneault on Sunday night. The move also means assistant coach and former St Louis Blues head coach Mike Yeo has been named interim head coach. The move had no immediate impact as the Flyers lost Monday by a score of 7-4, which also marked the second straight game they allowed seven goals. The nine-game losing streak pushed them to seventh in the division just ahead of the New York Islanders who were three games less.
Claude Giroux is the longest serving Flyer, and he’s now on his 7th head coach as a member of the Oranges and Blacks.
– Jamey Baskow (@JameyBaskow) December 6, 2021
Philadelphia entered the season with lofty goals and expectations of not only making the playoffs but also fighting for a Stanley Cup. Now they look like the Eastern Conference version of the Vancouver Canucks and will have some tough decisions to make moving forward. Ownership and senior management were very impatient, which led to the dismissal of a general manager and coaches. Will they finally bite the bullet and recognize that it is time to rebuild.
8. New York Islanders: 17 points (6-10-5)
The postponement of three games for the New York Islanders was to stop the ongoing epidemic in the team. However, it could also have been an opportunity for the Islanders to put an end to their eight-game slippage. However, this was not the case. They lost 11 straight games before beating the Ottawa Senators last night. They are now 1-6-3 in their last 10 games.
The hardest part of their slump is the fact that it’s not just one thing. The Islanders don’t have an easy answer to succeed. They had a long road trip to start the season which was marked by a COVID outbreak and a few key injuries. They haven’t had any consistency in programming and even now without the COVID losses they are still without key pieces in Ryan Pulock and Brock Nelson. they need time to form a group and start to gain momentum, just watch the Penguins. It took them a few games to move after fully recovering from early injuries / COVID. They hope the win over the Senators can be a real turning point in the season.