1. Patrik Laine: It was not a disappointing first half but it definitely was not a successful first half for Laine and Laine owners. Patrik Laine had just 34 points in 48 games (25G, 9A). He has scored just two times in the last 12 games and just four points in that span as well. Laine has struggled to be consistent this year, he has not found as much power play success and seems to be a spitting image of Alex Ovechkin early in his career. All offense no defense. If the Jets continue on their tear and take over first place in the Central Laine will definitely need to do more than he did the first half.
2. Jamie Benn: The Stars superstar forward has been facing a lot of criticism as of late from Dallas ownership and it seems like it has got to his head a little. Perhaps some time off and some time away from the game Benn can re-coop and get back at it in the second half. The Stars need this guy to turn it up a notch if they want to make a serious playoff push. Benn had 18 goals and 16 assists in 48 games.
3. Anze Kopitar: It seems as if there is no shot the Kings will make a push for the playoffs and again Kopitar seems to be a reason for the Kings lack of success, not the only reason but partial. Kopitar is having another down-year in a sense although it is not as bad as his 2016-17 year, he has not been very consistent for the Kings this year. He has 14 goals and 20 assists in 49 games this year.
4. William Karlsson: The Knights one-time 40-goal scorer and top forward on their team has not been playing like he did last year. He has just 32 points in 52 games and if the Golden Knights want to be a threat heading into the playoffs Karlsson will need to pick it up. He has struggled on the power play this year as well and has not found much success 5 on 5 either.
5. Brayden Schenn: Essentially any St. Louis player can be on this list besides Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron but Schenn had an unforgettable 2017-18 season and has come out real slow this year. In 45 games he has just 27 points compared to last year he had 70 points in 82 games. 70 points is not happening this year but he can turn it around if him and his line mates catching fire and the Blues as a whole playing a little more consistent.
Patrik Laine: Well, how are ya Patrik Laine. Laine had 11 goals in the last week, which the Jets played 4 games, he scored in every game and was known for his 5 goal performance vs St. Louis recently. Laine now has 19 goals on the year and, the greatest thing about this weeks number one fantasy player of the week, Laine had zero assists this week.
Nikita Kucherov: I believe this may have been Kucherov’s first time on the list, sure we have been doing it for three weeks now but Kucherov comes in at #2 due to his 2 goals and 7 assists on the week. In four games Kuch had a point in every game and three of them were multi-assist games. Kucherov now has 9 goals and 23 assists on the year.
Johnny Gaudreau: This may be Jonny Hockey’s first time on the list too but Gaudreau had 2 goals and 5 assists in four games this week for Calgary, helping the Flames to three of four wins this week. Gaudreau had a point in every Flames win this week and the one game they lost he was kept off the score sheet. Gaudreau now has 8 goals and 19 assists on the year.
Jack Eichel: Have to throw on the Sabres star and captain on this list as the Sabres run through the NHL on a 9-game streak and in first in the NHL. Eichel had 1 goal and 5 assists in the Sabres four games last week, the only game he scored in was the Penguins game November 19th which was an overtime winner. Eichel leads the team in points with 5 goals and 23 assists.
Max Pacioretty: About time the former 30-goal scorer gets going. Patches had 5 goals this week in the Vegas four games. The Golden Knights three game streak Patches has four goals, one assist in that span. On the year Pacioretty now has 8 goals and 3 assists on the year. For Vegas to stay hot and make a run it will come from players like this guy producing more.
Who doesn’t like a long headline? If you don’t like well too bad. Here we go now.
Kings Cal Petersen blanks Blues in 2-0 win
The Kings forced the Blues to asically fire their head coach Mike Yeo. Cal Petersen blanked the Blues in the Kings 2-0 win. Petersen made 29 of 29 saves to life the Kings past the Blues for their 7th win of the season. The Blues ended up firing Mike Yeo following the game and now have a big hole to fill. It is a sure disappointing season for the Blues but now they have a very difficult road to travel without their head coach and now a shaken up dressing room. Petersen the highlight of the day though in his third start of the year Petersen managed to shut the Blues out for his second win of the season and much needed Kings win.
Laine scores hattrick in Jets 6-3 win
Patrik Laine keeps on scoring. Laine now has 11 goals on the year and once this kid gets going on the score sheet and puts pucks home it seems like it is never ending. He came into the game with nine which really is not all that great for the Rocket Richard favorite but this is a good sign for the Jets and Laine as he walks away with now 11 goals on the year and feeling extra confident. Laine has 7 power play goals this season, 8 power play points and most of his shooting comes on the power play. He has a near league high with 75 shots on net this season already. The Jets ended up winning this game 6-3 and improve to 12-5-2 on the year.
Chytil scores fourth goal in four games as Rangers win 2-1
Filip Chytil scores in his fourth straight game and what happened to be the game winning goal for the night. Chytil now has four goals on the year and has certainly caught the eye of head coach Dan Quinn as he goes from fourth line minutes to top six minutes now. Chytil was struggling before his recent goal spree. He has now 7 points in 21 games and 5 of those points coming in the last 10 games.
Leafs take over first place in the Atlantic
Leafs win again, a big one too and an eventful one. The Leafs were trailing 2-0 going into the second period until Tyler Ennis broke open the scoring and it was no looking back for the Leafs as they scored four unanswered in the second and third period. Goal scorers on the night were John Tavares, Zach Hyma (2) and Tyler Ennis. The Leafs improve to 15-6-0, one point ahead of the Lightning for the Atlantic lead and two points ahead of the Sabres. The Leafs have Carolina and Columbus on the road before they finish out November with three home games in five days.
Is Connor McDavid going to go back to back to back 100 plus point seasons?McDavid tallied 100 points in 2016-17, last season he topped the leaderboards with 108 points and now for his fourth year, third full year in the NHL, can McDavid go for 100 plus points? With where McDavid is coming from in Edmonton the situation may not be great but it was not great last season and not much has changed on the Oilers side of things. McDavid scoring 100 plus points is an easy thing to imagine, I mean he went from 31 to 40 goals scoring just 5 power play goals last season and he only had 20 power play points of his 108 points. His power play numbers will only increase as he becomes more selfish, if you notice on the powerplay he always looks to be the set up man, once he chooses to be the scorer we could see upwards of 30 power play points. McDavid was T-62 for power play points last year, yet 1st in points… sheesh. I think it is fair to say McDavid will go for another 100 point season, maybe not upwards of 108 but around 102, or so.
Claude Giroux for another 100 point year? Giroux had a monumental bounce back season and one that propelled the Flyers into the playoffs. Giroux came into the 17-18 season off a 58 point and 14 goal year, anything was going to be better than that year. Giroux sure showed his 16-17 season the way out quickly. 2016-17 was Giroux’s lowest point total in his career since 2009-10(his first full year in the NHL). For Giroux to come back and tally 102 points from 58 points is amazing, a 44 point increase in one year is unheard of. To go from 14 goals to 34 goals, 20 more goals in the same amount of games. Giroux surely had himself a year to remember, but can he do it again? I don’t think Giroux tallies 102 points and 34 goals, perhaps, 89-90 points and 28-30 goals.
Taylor Hall going for 100 points this year? The Hart Trophy winner, had an unforgettable regular season and led the Devils into the playoffs for the first time in five years. Hall brought a breathe of fresh air to this New Jersey team and proved to be the most valuable player in the NHL for sure. Hall played in 76 games last season scoring 39 goals, along with 54 assists for 93 points. A lot of eyes will be on the MVP once again coming into the 18-19 year, and even worse Devils fans will be expecting Hall to do it once again and even better! The Devils have not done much this offseason, therefore it seems like Hall will be with Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt as of now, so a lot hangs on those guys to continue their production as well. I don’t think we see Hall go for 100 points, maybe 85 points next year but 100 is a stretch.
Matt Barzal upwards of 85 points? This is going to be a tough one, without John Tavares Barzal will have all eyes and defensive one pairings on his tail next year. As elusive and shifty as he is, it is going to be difficult to move away from the opponents top players for 20+ minutes a game and be productive at it. Barzal had an unbelievable 85 point, record breaking rookie season. The positive is that, this will be the GUY for the Islanders, one man advantage, 5 on 3, even strength, in all facets of the game Barzal will be the guy. To say he cannot tally upwards of 85 points is just poor analysis, we have seen top players in the NHL have successful season with not many great player around them. Although Barzal does still have Josh Baily, Andrew Ladd, Anthony Beauvillier, Josh Ho-Sang, Brock Nelson, Anders Lee, let’s not forget about these guys too, so he may not get all the attention. I’d go 80+ for Barzal next season.
William Karlsson upwards of 40 goals next season?To be quite honest, no chance! Karlsson sure had a great year, but two years in a row for 40 goals is tough, especially when his only bench mark before this season was 6 goals, something was a little fishy with his production last year. Overall a very good player when used correctly but for another 40 goal and 75 point season is tough. Karlsson only shot 184 times last year and scored 43 times, shooting at a 23.4 percentage is unheard of nowadays. If he shoots upwards of 20 percent next year, I’ll quit writing. I see a 28-30 goal season out of Karlsson next year.
Patrik Laine or Auston Matthews, who scores more goals? I am going with Laine, Matthews may have his production reduced a little next season. With Tavares in Toronto now, Matthews won’t have all the spotlight, but still, Matthews is good for a 30 plus goal season, I just think this is the year Winnipeg strings it together and Laine wins the Rocket. Very close last year missed by 5 goals to Ovechkin who shot 110 plus more times than Laine. If you think Laine shots a lot already wait until next year, we can expect upwards of 270 shots and a rocket trophy.
The Penguins dropped game three in Pittsburgh, which many did not expect probably but playoff 2.o (Alex Ovechkin, if you don’t get it, listen to Pardon My take) came in big time, a 2-on-1, Ovechkin slammed the post looking like a typical Ovi play but this time he stuck around got the rebound in mid-air slammed it home. Capitals win and have a chance to go back to Washington up 3-1 now. Highly doubt the Penguins lose this game especially with Tom Wilson not playing the Penguins won’t need to worry about anybody taking their heads off. Yes, Wilson is suspended for three games and the series basically, unless there is a game seven.
The Capitals have seen a lot of their success from slowing down the Penguins early in the game, the Penguins have this thing about their game when they score one they score again in minutes. They score in bunches so the key for Washington here this time around is to eliminate back to back goals and when Pittsburgh scores slow the play down and relax. The Penguins scored their second and third goal in 2:51 last game and we have seen it be a recurring theme for them this year. The Capitals will be relying a lot upon Braden Holtby to stay the course and help them win this series. He is the difference maker they have here because Matt Murray does not look good right now and that is something the Capitals have to be picking up on. Pucks on net, and you never know what can happen with Murray. Playing my own devil’s advocate here the Capitals have to expect Murray to play a much better game tonight than last game. Which is even more of a reason to throw everything and anything towards the net.
How do I think this game will turn out? I really don’t know anymore this playoff year has been a whirlwind of emotions and surprises are not too hard to find this time around. The Penguins will win game four I think, but I could see this game going to overtime. The key for Pittsburgh is to slow the Capitals power play down and stay out of the box. Don’t give the Caps a chance on the power play and the opposite of that, capitalize on your own power plays. You have Malkin, Crosby, Kessel on one power play. Figure it out.
Predators vs Jets Game 4
Jets take two from Nashville at home?????? I would actually sh*t my pants if they did and I would just give the Jets the cup after that. The Jets came from behind 3-0 to beat the Predators 7-4. Out of nowhere, one no one saw the Jets going down 3-0 and no one saw them winning 7-4 after being down like that. The key for Nashville this game though is getting on them early and stay on them early. They gave the Jets too many chances to stay in this game with back to back power plays and just bad turnovers. The Preds need to ratchet things up on their back end and neutral zone as well. They also need Pekka Rinne to come up with a save here and there. Rinne a Vezina goalie and has a ton of pressure on him especially after dropping the ball last Cup run last year. Rinne will be better this game but I don’t know how much better. We have to expect that Laine will score tonight at least once, he had 8 shots last game and is itching for a goal. The Preds need to slow down Schiefle as well. It seems like the Jets aren’t afraid to match the Predators physical presence either. The Predators need to make it a little more difficult for the Jets in the defensive zone and exiting the zone.
How do I think this game will go? Overtime is a possibility, no shot the Predators just walk in and do a few things right and make fewer mistakes means they walk away with an easy win. Winnipeg is going to make it difficult for them from start to finish. We will see a similar game from game two. Overtime is a huge possibility. I think Predators win 4-3 though.
The Penguins DESTROY the Flyers in game one like literally destroy them. They may not even come out for game two. Wow, that was embarrassing on the Flyers part. From what the “experts” are saying that the Flyers came out weak and the Penguins just overpowered them with skill and speed. The Flyers did not initially come out and play a physical game which came out to hurt them in the end. The Flyers are not going to beat this team with skill and speed, they will have to play a ruthless in your face game. The Penguins and Flyers each had four power play chances, the Penguins capitalized on one while the Flyers could not convert on any. The Penguins scored within the first 3 minutes and three goals in the first period which came of a shock to the Flyers. The bleeding didn’t stop there as Sidney Crosby completed his 3rd career playoff hat trick and the Penguins went onto win 7-0.
The real story heading into game two is with a 7-0 loss and the Penguins clearly playing a better game and being the better team. Brian Elliott allowed 5 goals on 19 shots and will be the starter for game two and coach Hakstol has said already, “he(Elliott) is our guy”. it is evident coach believes in him but if you are the Flyers/Flyer fans do you? With losing 7-0, something in the line up may change as well? Well, Hakstol has come out and said no changes as well to the lineup. If you are the Flyers you have to be concerned a bit because the Penguins get game two back in their barn and then go to Philadelphia for two games, which without a doubt the Flyers are dropping one of those two games to Pitt in Philly.
(Other note, yeah Sidney Crosby is unreal. (Did you see his swat in goal, another goal swatted in. This guy is unbelievable. No video but check any Instagram account.)
Laine’s celly and Morrow GW, give Jets 1-0 series edge
The Jets edge the Wild, 3-2 with a late Patrik Laine rip to tie the game and a game-winner from Joe Morrow with seven to play in the third. The Wild were held in it by Devan Dubynk, without his 37 saves on 40 shots the Wild would have been lost. The Wild were out powered on the front end, only muscling 20 shots on net through three periods is not great. They were without Jared Spurgeon and Ryan Suter which does not help the back end. But the Jets got two power play chances which they converted on one, and look at that, essentially the story of the game. We did get a feel for how this series will shape up. It will be a lot closer than we all imagined but in the end, the Jets will come out on top. Right now though Jared Spurgeon is still listed as a game decision for Friday nights game. If you are the Wild what can you do to slow this Jets offense down with no Spurgeon and Suter for two games? Dubynk cannot stop 40 plus shots a game for the whole series. Also, small news out of this game Matt Cullen scored his 19th career NHL playoff goal and Connor Hellebyuck picked up his first playoff win as well as the Jets picked up their first playoff win in franchise history. Jets up 1-0 and return to Winnipeg for another whiteout Friday night.
(Bad news for Jets Mathieu Perreault left the game earlier Wednesday night with an apparent lower-body injury.)
Tempo is SET in Vegas!
The playoff tempo is SET in Vegas. By God who saw that pre-game with L.A. and Vegas Thursday night. Man, that building must be impossible to play in. You have two drunk clowns one dressed as a knight and the other a King, battling it out with swords, the music reminds me of one those scenes from a movie you see someone tripping on some sort of narcotics than you got Jeremy Roenick an NHL legend spinning the wheel to get the barn going. That place was electric and if you are L.A. you have to be thinking what the hell did we walk into. The Golden Knights were able to hold off the Kings for three periods after scoring one in the first from Shea Theodore(which looked tipped by Bellemare during live TV), the Golden Knights never gave up the lead and ended up winning 1-0 in game one. The shots were 30-28 L.A. and both teams went 0/3 on the power play but the Kings did out hit Vegas 68-58 and out block them 22-13. Kings need to take game two or this makes for an interesting series. Also small news Drew Doughty will have a hearing for his hit on Vegas forward Will Carrier. There is no video of it ready at the moment, but check Twitter you will see hit.
Other news for Playoff action…
Jay Beagle not at Capitals practice Thursday morning.
Steven Stamkos is in the lineup tonight.
Riley Nash out for Toronto game one, Rick Nash probable for game one.
Derek Brassard, Jake Muzzin, John Gibson and Jared Spurgeon are all game-time decisions.