Another week has passed in the NHL, which means that it is time for another edition of “Hot and Not”. This week features the hottest team in the NHL, a dominant conference, and a controversial Star taking the league by storm, while a cold club, odd goals, and a struggling goalie were among the more infamous moments of the past seven days. Here’s who is hot and who is not for the week of October 6-12.
1. Shark Attack
Currently, there are only three teams that have yet to lose a game this season. The first is Colorado, who has surprised everyone with consistent goaltending, a high flying offence, and a very reliable defence. Another team is St. Louis, who has already begun to live up to preseason expectations in hard-fought wins against Chicago and New York. But the final undefeated team is one who has taken the entire league by storm, and they hail from the Shark Tank.
In their three games this week, the San Jose Sharks were unstoppable. They beat the New York Rangers 9-2, the Vancouver Canucks 4-1, and the Ottawa Senators 3-2. They outshot the Sens 50-23, outplayed the Canucks in every facet of the game, and utterly dominated the Rangers. They’ve been at the forefront of all conversation this week in the NHL, from Tomas Hertl’s four goal night (and his brilliant fourth goal) to Joe Thornton and his incredible quote. They lead the league in goals for and are third in goals against. Even more incredible is the fact is that they haven’t seen too much success from their special teams, dominating the 5v5 game thus far. Every year always seems to be when the window closes for the San Jose Sharks, but it’s still very much open. They have the offence, defence, and goaltending, and can very well be one of the most competitive teams this year.
2. Western Best
This week featured 24 inter-conference games, where the West took on the East. In those two dozen games, the Western Conference looked dominant. They sported an 18-5-1 record against the East, which would have changed to a 16-2-0 record excluding games played against the Maple Leafs and Canadiens. Every year, there seems to be a debate about which conference has the tougher competition, and it is especially heightened this season with Detroit and Columbus switching conferences. However, it still appears that the West has an edge over the East, and that viewpoint was further emphasized by their spectacular performances this week.
3. Tyler’s Time
Tyler Seguin’s offseason was hardly uneventful. He received a heap of criticism for his lackluster performance in the shortened season and playoffs, with General Manager Pete Chiarelli calling him out for a lack of maturity. Shortly after, the 2nd overall pick in 2010 was shipped with teammate Rich Peverley to Dallas in exchange for Loui Eriksson (among other prospects). His twitter account was under constant scrutiny, he was ripped apart in a Bruins-made documentary about their offseason, and everyone was questioning whether Tyler Seguin would ever live up to the true potential that he possesses. He showed that potential Friday night in Winnipeg.
In a 4-1 rout of the Winnipeg Jets, Tyler Seguin was truly a Star in every sense of the word. He scored two goals and added two beautiful assists to lead his team to victory. He found appeared to click with captain Jamie Benn, who could become a dynamic duo in the National Hockey League. He also added an assist on the Stars’ only goal against Minnesota on Saturday, therefore being a part of the offence for every goal in the past two games. Time will only tell if the Bruins made a wise decision in trading him away, but his performance this week shows that Tyler Seguin could thrive in Texas.
1. Ranger Danger
The New York Rangers had a bad week. Despite the fact that it started with a gritty win against the Los Angeles Kings, everything proceeded to go downhill for the Blueshirts. They were embarrassed in California, losing 9-2 to San Jose and 6-0 to the Ducks. Their week ended with a 5-3 loss in St. Louis, ending a three game span with five goals scored and 20 against. In addition, star winger Rick Nash was concussed by Brad Stuart, and has yet to resume physical activity with symptoms still lingering. Their goaltending has not been as reliable as it has been in year’s past, the defence looks atrocious, and the team just appears to be out of sorts.
On paper, there are few teams as deep as the New York Rangers. Up front, the team has a rare mixture of talent and grit, headlined by Stepan, Nash, Richards, and Callahan. Defensively, Staal, Girardi, McDonagh, and Del Zotto combine for one of the toughest defence cores in the entire league, and the career of Henrik Lundqvist proves that they have stability in the crease. But nothing seems to be going right for that team. They return to the East Coast this week to take on the Capitals and Devils, two tough but beatable teams. Either we will all see a new team take the ice and live up to the hype, or the Rangers will come out lacking vitality, just like they did in the past seven days.
2. Luong-own goal & Not so Quick
When a multitude of games are played and teams take the ice up to four teams in one week, there are players and teams that are bound to have bad performances in multiple games. There are some who are even likely to have one poor game that stands out amidst the rest. However, it is very rare for one specific play to generate the same response. Besides a gruesome hit or a beautiful goal, a singular event in one match is not usually considered one of the three worst moments in hockey in the past seven days. But very rarely two plays occur that are so rare, and those plays took place this week on the West Coas
In a baffling series of events, Vancouver Canucks scored on their own net on Saturday, giving the Canadiens the eventual game winner. The puck seemed to go off of Dan Hamhuis’ stick and off Jason Garrison’s skate, before getting trapped behind Luongo’s pads and slowly trickling into the net. This could only be outdone by Kings’ goaltender Jonathan Quick, who somehow managed to let this puck by him on Monday, which propelled the Rangers to a win. Bizarre goals are not new to the NHL, but to see two crazy goals in one week is certainly one of the oddest moments that we will see this year.
3. Dubnyk Derailed
It was a tough week for the Edmonton Oilers. They rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Devils, but let in a goal in the final minute to force the game to extra time. Following a bad
loss to the Canadiens, they headed to Toronto where a winnable game fell out of their reach, giving up another goal in the final minute and ultimately losing in overtime. Their lack of success can be attributed to many reasons, but right now it all revolves around a poor defensive effort thus far, most notably in goal
Devan Dubnyk has had a horrific start to this season. He is 0-3-1 with a .829 sv% and a 5.43 GAA. This week, he let in 9 goals on 52 shots, for a cumulative .827 sv%. He’s let in shaky goals and been a liability thus far. What makes this effort so odd is that his career statistics indicate that he is an incredibly competent goalie. His past three seasons consisted of.920, .916, and .914 save percentages, all of which done on bottom 10 teams that with poor defences. However, his rough start has seen fans grow impatient, and when if the team continues to struggle he could be made the team scapegoat very fast. Either Dubnyk bounces back from his rough week or a new goalie might take the reigns in Edmonton.