The Calgary Flames were the latest hot thing in the NHL. Winners of ten in a row, tying a franchise record, the Flames went to Vancouver and were extinguished in brutal fashion. The Vancouver Canucks, wearing their Pavel Bure (remember him?) era jerseys, outworked the Flames in every facet of the game and jumped out to a 7-0 lead before the Flames finally scored with two minutes left in the game. So what does this tell us?
The Canucks are not what their record indicates. I’ve been expecting them to break out since their second-round playoff appearance two seasons ago, but they haven’t. They probably won’t make the playoffs this season, but they should next season.
Nobody is going to run away with anything this season. It’s tough to win more than a few games in a row. The most consistent team this season, the Colorado Avalanche, even got thumped this week by the Boston Bruins. I’ve had doubts whether they can sustain their level of play the rest of the season and postseason. There’s a reason only eight teams have won it all with the best record in the past 35 years. Because that’s a really long time to play at that level.
Things I like
Corey Perry notched his 400th career NHL goal. What a remarkable yet strange journey it’s been. He won the Stanley Cup in his second season with the Anaheim Ducks. He came out of nowhere four years later to score 19 goals in his last 16 games to hit 50 goals and win the Hart Trophy. He had a few more good seasons before petering out with the Ducks and becoming a journeyman. He’s been on three teams in the last three seasons. The first two lost in the Stanley Cup Finals, and then he joined the team they lost to both times this season. He’s on track for his best season since 2016-17.
The NHL Stadium Series went to Nashville, where they treated the 70k in attendance with country music, Nashville Predators in custom leather jackets, and Tampa Bay Lightning in Canadian tuxedos pregame. I had to look up why it was called that. It dates back to 1951 and Bing Crosby. I guess I’m out of the loop. The actual game was chippy but good. Steven Stamkos figured into every goal with two assists and a goal in his first outdoor game. I love the Smashville Predators jerseys despite most people hating them on Twitter. The southern expansion of the NHL has been a rousing success except with the Arizona Coyotes.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings played in one of the wildest games you’ll ever see. The Toronto Maple Leafs jumped out to a 6-1 and then a 7-2 lead. In nine minutes, Mitchell Marner scored a natural hat trick to get them to 6-1. Entering the third period, you’d assume the game was over. But not so fast. The Red Wings opened the period with four goals in five minutes to get within one. Then they each scored a goal within forty seconds of each other. The Maple Leafs scored their NHL leading eighth short-handed goal, and Marner added his fourth of the game off a great steal and pass from Michael Bunting to give them 10. There’s nothing like 17 goals, 8 in the third, and a four-goal comeback in the same game.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Zdeno Chara vs Jeffrey Viel
Not the greatest fight and I have no idea why anyone bothers fighting Chara. But I put it here because Chara broke Chris Chelios’s (remember him?) record of most games played by a defenseman. 1652 is a lot of games.
Jonah Gadjovich vs Nicolas Deslauriers
A really great back and forth.
Goat of the Week
Casey Mittelstadt - Buffalo Sabres
Mittelstadt attempts a no-look pass through three St. Louis Blues players. It’s so dumb. I don’t know why you would try it. Predictably, they went the other way for what ended up being the game-winning goal. Note to self: don’t do insanely stupid things.
Goal of the Week
Auston Matthews - Toronto Maple Leafs
Matthews steals the puck and then does a nice give and go with Mitchell Marner for his second goal of the game. You do you, Matthews.
Stat Line of the Week
02/26/21 Edmonton 4 vs. Florida 3
Skater TOI G A +/- S FO% D.Ryan 13:50 3 0 2 4 100
Undrafted Derek Ryan has played with the Carolina Hurricanes and Calgary Flames before landing with the Edmonton Oilers this season. He’s mostly been a third-line player his career. But against the Florida Panthers, he had his biggest game ever and his first career hat trick. They even moved him up to the top line to get his third goal. He followed it up by scoring an unassisted goal off a turnover, the only Oiler goal in a losing effort against the Carolina Hurricanes. All these goals were fantastic. It’ll be interesting to see if he can sustain his play.
26 – The number of seconds it took for the Colorado Avalanche to turn a loss into a win against the Vegas Golden Knights scoring two in that span 6 – Unanswered goals scored by the Colorado Avalanche in the second and third periods after being down 0-3 to the Winnipeg Jets 11 – Points by Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner the last six games 10 – Points by Elias Pettersson the last four games 3 – Wins in a row, including a shutout for Montreal Canadiens goalie Sam Montembeault
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
- St. Louis
- Tampa Bay
- New Jersey