November 23 — Central Contentment & the Snake-Bitten Saga

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

LTI-ARGH: Already missing T.J. Brodie and Jake Muzzin from their beleaguered blue line, the Toronto Maple Leafs will now be without Morgan Rielly after placing their No. 1 defenseman on LTIR with a knee injury. Rielly collided with Kyle Palmieri of the New York Islanders late in the Isles’ 3-2 overtime victory against Toronto on Monday night.

KONECNY OUT: Yesterday, the Philadelphia Flyers announced that forward Travis Konecny would miss the next 10-14 days with an upper-body injury. With the Flyers currently on a seven-game losing streak, losing their leading goal-scorer for a bit is less than ideal. 

BACK IN THE WIN COLUMN: The Buffalo Sabres officially stopped the bleeding and ended their eight-game losing streak, scoring seven goals against the Montreal Canadiens to earn their first win since Nov. 2nd. Buffalo tallied three in the first 2:13 of the game, with Jeff Skinner registering five points while Tage Thompson collected four. 

KREIDER THE KINGS SLAYER: Chris Kreider scored off a set play midway through the third period before adding an empty net goal in the New York Rangers’ 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. It was Kreider’s 36th game-winning goal, tying him with Adam Graves for seventh in Rangers history, and the first multi-goal comeback for New York this year.

Wacky Wednesday (Pt. 9)

There is never a dull moment in hockey, so we will keep you updated on all the “wacky” stats from around the NHL during the 2022-23 season. Here is part nine of our “Wacky Wednesday” series—enjoy!

You Win Some; You Lose Some

It has been a weird start to the season for the St. Louis Blues. First, they went on an eight-game losing streak, the longest in Blues history, and only had a 12% chance to make the playoffs heading into November. Oh, what a couple of weeks can do, as they are now on a seven-game win streak and back in the playoff picture. St. Louis is the first team in NHL history to lose eight games in a row, followed by winning seven

Sweep Masters

In tying the franchise record for consecutive victories, the New Jersey Devils extended their winning streak to 13 games. During this run, the Devils have become the first team in NHL history to sweep their Western and Eastern Canadian road trips in the same season. That includes the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, and Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Karlsson – Again

Erik Karlsson currently has 29 points in 21 games with the San Jose Sharks, still leading NHL defensemen, but he also leads the league in five-on-five points (19). Sidney Crosby is second-best with 18, and Nick Suzuki is third-best with 17 points.

Mr. 1,000 Points

Patrice Bergeron recorded his 1,000th NHL point with the Boston Bruins against the Tampa Bay Lightning with an assist on Brad Marchand’s goal in the second period on Nov. 21. He became the eighth-active NHL player and fourth Bruin in team history to reach the mark. The 37-year-old now has 18 points in 19 games and 1,000 in 1,235 career games.

The Snake-Bitten Rankings

As the 2022-23 season soldiers along, aches and pains have followed right along with it. An unfortunate but inevitable part of hockey (and all sports, really), injuries are disrupting the early division races and inciting varying levels of worry across the league.

Such a discrepancy in health luck means that certain clubs are sweating out their press box representation more than others right now. Here are the five most snake-bitten organizations of the moment:

5) Colorado Avalanche

Look, no one is feeling sorry for the Colorado Avalanche right now. But even while the defending champs’ win-loss record may not tell the tale of an injury-marred roster, they’ve certainly encountered their share of tough breaks in the aftermath of winning the Stanley Cup. Captain Gabriel Landeskog (knee surgery) won’t make his season debut until well into the new year, in addition to Valeri Nichushkin’s torrid start to the season interrupted by an ankle issue. Furthermore, the losses of Bowen Byram and Samuel Girard (undisclosed) have taken their toll on the team’s blue line.

4) Philadelphia Flyers

Who knows, maybe all these sidelined players are a blessing for the Philadelphia Flyers, losers of seven straight who might be better off chasing the Connor Bedard sweepstakes, anyway. Still, you won’t find anyone associated with the Flyers happy to see Cam Atkinson, Sean Couturier, Bobby Brink, James van Riemsdyk, and Ryan Ellis all out long-term.

3) Washington Capitals

It is jarring to see the present state of the perennially playoff-bound Washington Capitals, near the bottom of the Metropolitan Division and continuing to lose ground. And can you blame them? Few will shed tears for Tom Wilson as he recovers from ACL surgery, but the injury bug has also claimed Nicklas Bäckström, T.J. Oshie, Dmitry Orlov, Carl Hagelin, and newcomer Connor Brown.

2) Toronto Maple Leafs

On the bright side, the “core four” forward group of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and William Nylander has remained healthy. However, things are considerably bleaker on the other side of the ice. After his stint on the sidelines, Matt Murray is the undisputed No. 1 option in net due to Ilya Samsonov’s recovery from a knee problem. The blue line, meanwhile, has endured a series of almost comical misfortunes, resulting in a current reality where the Toronto Maple Leafs are without Morgan Rielly, T.J. Brodie, and Jake Muzzin, arguably their top three d-men.

1) Columbus Blue Jackets

See, we can’t let the Columbus Blue Jackets have nice things. Everything was coming up roses once Johnny Gaudreau signed on the dotted line, but things have gone downhill. Columbus is last in the Metropolitan and continues to lose more and more players. Zach Werenski is gone for the season, while Patrik Laine, Jakub Voráček, Elvis Merzļikins, Jake Bean, and Adam Boqvist are just some of the regulars out long-term.

What Teams Are Thankful For – Central Division

It’s Thanksgiving week in the states! That time of year when families gather together and pretend to tolerate each other while they stuff their faces with turkey and mashed potatoes. Keeping with the holiday spirit, we continue to break down what each NHL team is thankful for today with the Central Division.

Dallas Stars: Their Current Record

We’re not sure if anyone expected the Dallas Stars to be at the top of the Central Division. Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn have faced their fair share of criticism, and the addition of Will Butcher this summer did not give fans confidence going into the 2022-23 season. Thankfully, they locked in Jake Oettinger and Jason Robertson, who have led their team right to the top. 

Colorado Avalanche: Their Power Play

Is it a surprise the Colorado Avalanche have the best power play in the league? Hardly! With a first unit consisting of Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen, it’s no wonder the Avs are averaging one goal every three power-play attempts. After a slower start, they found their rhythm with a record of 11-5-1. The league should be on notice because it seems that Colorado could easily repeat.

Winnipeg Jets: Connor Hellebuyck

We don’t think people are talking enough about how good the Winnipeg Jets are this season. Connor Hellebuyck is back and has a record of 8-4-1. His goals-against average (2.07) is second-best, while his save percentage (.935) is the best among goalies with at least five starts. Take notice of the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets! 

St. Louis Blues: Their Moms

Shoutout to the moms of the St. Louis Blues! The club is currently on a seven-game winning streak, and it’s safe to say the moms had something to do with it. Since their memorable trip, the boys have won three straight games, including two impressive victories over the Anaheim Ducks. Stick taps to all the hockey moms out there! 

Nashville Predators: Their Faceoff Win Percentage

The Nashville Predators have struggled to start the season, but the one thing they have going for them is their faceoff win percentage, which is ranked fifth in the league. You can’t win the game if you don’t have the puck, and this is one area that is working in the club’s favor thanks to Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene.

Minnesota Wild: Kirill Kaprizov

For the next few seasons, Minnesota Wild fans can gather at their table and give thanks for 25-year-old Kirill Kaprizov. He is the present and future of the Wild and currently leads the team with 20 points in 18 games. The young Russian will be the main factor in getting this franchise its first Stanley Cup.

Chicago Blackhawks: Jonathan Toews & Patrick Kane

Enjoy it while you can, Blackhawks fans! The Toews-Kane era in Chicago is close to ending after an impressive run that includes three Cup championships. Both players will be unrestricted free agents this summer, and there have been plenty of rumors that Kane will be gone at the trade deadline. To quote Rachel Greene, “it’s the end of an era.” 

Arizona Coyotes: Mullett Arena

You might be rolling your eyes, but fans and media members love Mullett Arena. The intimate arena provides an incredible atmosphere that includes an enthusiastic college section dubbed “Coyotes U.” With a capacity of 4,600, there is not a bad seat in the house, which leads to the question, have you purchased your tickets? 

NHL Standings

NHL’s Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule