Weekly Lost & Found: Canadiens, Islanders, Panthers & Bruins

This edition of the Weekly Lost & Found sees us landing exclusively in the Eastern Conference, and mostly in the Atlantic Division. All four teams were playoff teams last year, one made the conference finals and another the Stanley Cup Finals. However, only one of these teams sits in a playoff spot at this point in the season. 

We take a journey from the Great White North, down to The Sunshine State. Come abroad for the ride, let’s kick it off.

Lost: Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders’ Losses Are Piling Up

Canadiens Lose Three-of-Four This Past Week, Hole Getting Deeper

This has been a long time coming. The Montreal Canadiens are coming off a trip to the Stanley Cup Final, and amid several key injuries, are floundering with a 5-13-2 record and 12 points. They sit 29th in the NHL and seventh in the Atlantic Division. They went 1-3 in four games this past week, including being shutout 6-0 by the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Their 70 goals-against is the worst in the NHL, and their minus-26 goal differential is 31st. No Canadien has scored more than four goals this season. Defenseman Jeff Petry has scored double-digit goals and scored at least 40 points the past four seasons, but has just two assists through 20 games. 

Canadiens defenceman Jeff Petry
MONTREAL, QC – FEBRUARY 03: Montreal Canadiens defenceman Jeff Petry (26) skates towards the puck during the Edmonton Oilers versus the Montreal Canadiens game on February 03, 2019, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Goaltending has also been struggling. Jake Allen, Samuel Montembeault and Cayden Primeau have combined for a 3.73 goals-against average (GAA) and an .893 save percentage (SV%). 

Related: Why Are Canadiens Fans Still Watching?

We’d be remiss to ignore the losses of Shea Weber, Joel Edmundson and Paul Byron to injury, as well as Carey Price to the player assistance program. While Price has rejoined the team, there’s still no certainty as to when he’ll return to play. Those significant losses in leadership and experience would be felt by any team in the league, and it’s hitting the Habs hard.

They are in rough shape. The magic of last year’s Stanley Cup run has evaporated. No one is scoring at a consistent clip, and their goaltending can’t keep the puck out of the net. Unless these two facets are addressed, they will stay at the bottom of the barrel for the foreseeable future. 

Islanders Own League’s Worst Losing Streak Amid COVID Outbreak

The New York Islanders are down horrendously. They’re riding a six-game losing streak to a Metropolitan Division-worst 5-8-2 record through 15 games. They are the only team in the Metro below .500. They haven’t scored more than two goals in any game on this streak and have been shutout twice.

Lack of goalscoring is a major problem. They’re last in the NHL scoring just 31 goals, and second to last averaging 2.07 goals per game. It gets worse on the power play, which has been anything but. Their 12.2 power-play percentage is ranked 30th. 

New York Islanders Anders Lee
New York Islanders’ captain Anders Lee celebrates with teammates (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Aside from the general lack of goalscoring, COVID has ravaged the Islanders of late. “Adam Pelech, Andy Greene and Anthony Beauvillier were added to the COVID-19 protocol list on Saturday, joining captain Anders Lee, Josh Bailey and Ross Johnston” (From “Islanders missing several players to COVID protocol ahead of new arena opener” by The Athletic Staff, The Athletic, Nov. 20, 2021). That’s two of their top-five point scorers and their captain. 

The Islanders started the season with 13 games on the road, and now have been hit by COVID, so it makes sense that they got off to a tough start. It’s even more understandable given that the Metro is arguably the toughest division in hockey. Once they start getting players back, and they get to enjoy that brand new home ice, they need to take advantage and turn things around to climb back into the playoff picture.  

Found: Florida Panthers Stay Hot, Boston Bruins Looking Better

Panthers Keep Rolling Having Won Three Straight

The Florida Panthers have been a team on the rise. They’ve improved in each of the past three seasons and sit atop the NHL standings with a 13-2-3 record, winning all 10 home games. They won all three games they played this past week and had a plus-9 goal differential.

Eight Panthers have scored at least five goals, led by Anthony Duclair and captain Aleksander Barkov. The pair is joined by leading point scorer Jonathan Huberdeau (18 points) to round out the top-three scorers. Their offensive depth is further accentuated by nine skaters, including two defensemen, being double-digit point scorers. 

Panthers center Aleksander Barkov
TAMPA, FL – SEPTEMBER 25: Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16) skates in the first period of the NHL preseason game between the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning on September 25, 2018, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Despite some goalie controversy over the past few seasons, between Sergei Bobrovsky, Chris Driedger, and Spencer Knight, Bobrovsky has seemingly figured it out. He is on pace to see his best season since joining the Panthers. Through 11 games, he holds an 8-0-2 record with a 1.99 GAA and .937 SV%.

The Panthers are a fun team, and they’re finally looking like they’ll be able to sustain success. They’re getting depth scoring, to the tune of a plus-24 goal differential, and their goaltending has been strong. They’re not only on pace to be the first Panthers team in franchise history to make a third straight playoff appearance, but look poised to make a run for the President’s Trophy.

Bruins Have Positive Week, Still Need Depth Scoring

The Boston Bruins had a decent week, going 2-1 in three games. They’ve shown steps in the right direction since their first appearance on the Weekly Lost & Found. They improved from their 5-4 record at that point to 9-6. 

The Perfection Line is leading the way with a combined 48 points. Top-defenseman Charlie McAvoy added 12 to that, giving the Bruins top-four scorers 60 points through 15 games. That’s good for half of the team’s point production. This is the perfect time for someone like Jake DeBrusk, who needs a bounce-back year, to step up and really contribute to their secondary scoring. 

Jake DeBrusk Boston Bruins
Jake DeBrusk, Boston Bruins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Bruins’ 21.7 power-play percentage is ranked 10th in the NHL. It’s come from 10 goals, but eight of those goals came from either the Perfection Line members or McAvoy. The team’s lack of scoring depth isn’t going to get them very far. However, their goaltending has performed good enough for them to win four of their past six games.

Related: Top 10 NHL Lines

Prior to their 4-0 loss to the Calgary Flames, Bruins goaltending only allowed six goals on their three-game winning streak. Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark have combined for a 2.63 GAA and .908 save percentage on the season and have split action. 

The Bruins need someone to step up and provide secondary scoring. A higher save percentage from their goaltenders wouldn’t hurt either, but the emphasis should really be on their scoring. The Detroit Red Wings have been a surprise this season, but if they drop off and the Bruins can discover that depth-scoring, they could slide back into a playoff spot. 

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