I’m beginning to run out of issues to say in regards to the 2022-23 Boston Bruins. They have 68 factors by way of 40 video games performed. That means they might go 18-24-0 of their closing 42 video games and nonetheless hit 100 factors. The solely hope for the remainder of the Eastern Conference is that the Bruins tucker themselves out earlier than the playoffs arrive.
Max Pacioretty has made his debut with the Hurricanes, and he has three objectives in three video games. Carolina has been one of many league’s finest groups this season, and Pacioretty provides an elite scoring contact. As lengthy as he can keep wholesome, an already scary lineup seems that a lot scarier.
Filip Gustavsson is tied for thirty sixth within the NHL with 16 appearances, and but he ranks eleventh within the league with 8.74 objectives saved above common, per Natural Stat Trick. He is a giant purpose the Wild are nonetheless inside putting distance of the Stars and Jets within the Central Division, and he simply retains incomes extra begins over Marc-Andre Fleury.
Mitch Marner is presently on a five-game level streak, and he tallied his five hundredth profession level in opposition to the Red Wings on Saturday. That’s not too shabby for the 25-year-old star, and Marner now leads the Maple Leafs in scoring with 49 factors. Even although Marner performs in Toronto, is he nonetheless a little bit bit underrated in the case of the very best gamers within the NHL?
Victor Hedman had fairly a resurgence in 2021-22. He tallied a profession excessive 85 factors in 82 video games performed whereas posting robust underlying numbers, and he led the Bolts to a different Stanley Cup Final. This season, Hedman has taken a few steps again. Relative to the remainder of the staff, his anticipated objectives numbers have not been as robust, and he has one aim in 36 video games performed.
Based on an absurd All-Star choice course of that I do not care to know, Adam Fox didn’t make the preliminary Metro Division All-Star roster. His 42 factors and plus-16 five-on-five aim differential should not have been spectacular sufficient. I assume he will likely be one of many fan vote alternatives, however Fox may choose to hit the seaside and recharge the batteries for just a few days anyway.
The Capitals have gotten some reinforcements. T.J. Oshie, Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom have all returned from harm in latest days. Washington’s lineup seems a lot completely different when these three are in it, and the remainder of the staff did extra than simply keep afloat whereas they had been sidelined. It’ll be fascinating to see what a extra wholesome Capitals squad can do.
I’m getting dangerously near going full Leroy Jenkins (that is a 2000s web joke, youngsters) and placing the Sabres at No. 1. The Sabres are all fuel and no brakes on a regular basis. Just take a look at Buffalo’s 6-5 additional time win in opposition to the Wild for instance. If you have not watched this staff but, make Thursday evening’s sport in opposition to the Jets a precedence.
Kyle Connor has been glorious for the Jets, as regular, however Pierre-Luc Dubois is prospering below new head coach Rick Bowness. Dubois has 19 objectives and 48 factors in 41 video games. That places him on tempo for 93 factors this season, which might exceed his present profession excessive by 32 factors. If you are questioning why the Jets went from lacking the playoffs to battling for first within the Central, look no additional than the 12 months Dubois is having.
An outdated drawback could also be returning for the Stars. The prime line remains to be dominant. Roope Hintz, Joe Pavelski and Jason Robertson remains to be probably the greatest trios within the NHL, however the depth has began lagging behind. Jamie Benn remains to be having a powerful 12 months, however Tyler Seguin and Mason Marchment have gone considerably chilly. Since Dec. 17, these two have mixed for 4 objectives and three assists in 11 video games.
Since New Year’s Day, the Kraken are averaging 5.0 objectives for and 1.83 objectives in opposition to per sport. Matty Beniers has 5 objectives and eight factors in that stretch. I’m unsure any of these issues are sustainable, however Seattle has gotten scorching whereas the remainder of the division struggles to seek out any degree of consistency.
Kevin Fiala’s per-game numbers have gotten a major bump over the previous couple of days. On Saturday, he scored a hat trick in a win over the Golden Knights earlier than tallying 4 factors in opposition to the Oilers simply two days later. Despite all that scoring, Fiala’s capturing share remains to be a tick beneath his profession common.
Jack Eichel has returned to the combo after lacking almost a month as a result of harm, and he notched three factors in his first sport again. The Golden Knights managed to hold on to first place within the Pacific Division with out him, however they have not actually regarded just like the clear Western Conference favourite shortly. Perhaps that modifications with Eichel again.
Jack Hughes is again on one other heater. He has eight objectives and 10 factors in his final six video games whereas attempting to ignite the remainder of his staff. As he surges to famous person standing, Hughes is fourth within the NHL with 22.14 anticipated objectives, per Natural Stat Trick. That ranks above gamers like Auston Matthews, Matthew Tkachuk, and David Pastrnak.
Mikko Rantanen has been carrying this Avalanche offense for many of the season. He has 27 objectives on the 12 months, and Nathan MacKinnon (11) and Cale Makar (10) are the one different gamers in double-digits. Even although it may be laborious to make the cash work, the Avalanche should be a candidate to make a splash earlier than the commerce deadline.
The Penguins have seen their snug playoff positioning slip in latest weeks as they’ve received three of their final 10 video games.. Not solely have the outcomes been unhealthy on this stretch, however the course of has been missing too. Since Dec. 18, the Penguins rank twenty first in five-on-five anticipated objectives share at 48.42%, per Natural Stat Trick.
The Predators go as Juuse Saros goes, and he’s going very effectively today. Nashville has received 4 straight and is 5-0-1 in its final six, and Saros has been nothing in need of excellent. In the Predators’ win over the Hurricanes on Thursday, Saros made 64 saves on 67 pictures whereas saving 3.45 objectives above common, in response to Natural Stat Trick.
The Blues are going through a really steep climb in the event that they need to make the playoffs. They’re solely two factors out of a playoff spot, however Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko, Torey Krug, and Robert Bortuzzo are all on injured reserve. St. Louis did not have a lot margin for error earlier than these accidents, and the wheels are in jeopardy of coming off now.
Was that additional time loss to the Blackhawks unhealthy? No query. Is there an inexpensive rationalization for it? Of course. If the Harlem Globetrotters hadn’t been on the Scotiabank Saddledome the day earlier than the sport, the Flames would have been extra ready, in response to Darryl Sutter.
After their robust begin to the season, the Islanders have now slipped to sixth within the Metro Division and out of a playoff spot. Since Dec. 1, the Isles are 7-8-3 and their 52 objectives in that span rank twenty sixth within the league. Their offense has struggled all season, and it might price the staff a shot at competing for a Stanley Cup.
We’re solely midway by way of the NHL season, however we would in a position to shut down the Hart Trophy dialogue. Regardless of whether or not the Oilers make the playoffs, Connor McDavid is in one other galaxy this 12 months. He lately had a 17-game level streak snapped like a bum, however he nonetheless has 34 objectives and 77 factors in simply 42 video games. Frankly, he might take a pair weeks to go to Europe, come again, and nonetheless be the favourite to win the Hart Trophy.
If you are in search of a purpose the Flyers have received six of their final 10 video games, look no additional than Travis Konecny. He is using a nine-game level streak through which he has scored 9 objectives and tallied 17 factors. He is decided to tug Philadelphia into the realm of competent groups.
Halfway by way of the season, the Panthers may be probably the most befuddling staff within the league. They are a top-10 staff in some key analytical classes like five-on-five anticipated objectives share, high-danger probabilities share, and Corsi. However, the extra conventional numbers recommend Florida is anyplace from middling to unhealthy. Unfortunately for the Panthers, the outcomes have skewed in that course too.
It’s in all probability not an important signal for the Red Wings’ season that defenseman Filip Hronek is tied because the staff’s second-leading scorer with 29 factors. Don’t get me unsuitable. He’s having a stable season, however Detroit in all probability does not need to be relying on him for offense.
Tim Stützle has taken a giant step ahead this season, because the Senators hoped he would once they signed him to an eight-year contract value greater than $66 million. Stützle is now as much as 18 objectives and 39 factors in 36 video games, and he’s already near surpassing his offensive totals from final season. What may be much more encouraging is that he and Brady Tkachuk have already got the makings of a deadly tandem at ahead.
Just once you assume issues cannot get any worse for Vancouver, they do. J.T. Miller is placing his mind in a pretzel explaining how his dip in manufacturing is definitely a very good factor. Bruce Boudreau is bored with his gamers not blocking pictures. To prime all of it off, the Canucks blew a 3-0 result in the Penguins in a 5-4 loss.
That 7-1 beatdown by the hands of the Bruins apart, the Ducks have regarded like an precise NHL staff recently. In the final week, they’ve shutout the Stars and beat in-state rival San Jose in a enjoyable additional time contest.
Nick Suzuki remains to be on tempo to surpass his 2021-22 aim complete of 21 by a snug margin, however he has gone ice chilly. He has only one aim in his final 16 video games because the Canadiens spiral towards the underside of the standings.
As the commerce rumors begin to warmth up across the NHL, it is in all probability good for the Sharks that Timo Meier is on tempo to set a profession excessive in objectives and assists. Meier is on an expiring contract, and so far as star gamers go, his cap hit is extremely cheap. With all that in thoughts, the Sharks presently have the most important prize of the NHL commerce deadline on their roster.
The Blackhawks had a little bit of a slip-up final week when the beat the Coyotes, 2-0, on Friday evening. Every level counts in draft lottery positioning, and Chicago cannot simply be amassing them in opposition to its largest competitors like that.
The Blue Jackets have been shutout twice already this 12 months, and I do not imply the 2022-23 season. I simply imply 2023. Johnny Gaudreau has one aim in his final 13 video games, and if he is not scoring, then the remainder of this roster undoubtedly is not scoring.
The Coyotes have stopped messing round with foolish issues like profitable and began getting severe about drafting Connor Bedard. Maybe Connor Bedard’s efficiency on the World Juniors impressed this six-game dropping streak.
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