Weekly Lost & Found: Red Wings, Senators, Maple Leafs & All-Star Weekend

All-Star Weekend has come and gone, and it’s time to drop the puck on the second half of the 2021-22 NHL season. Despite only a handful of games this past week, teams are still trending in ways that prompt discussion.

Weekly Lost & Found What's Trending in the NHL
Weekly Lost & Found What’s Trending in the NHL (The Hockey Writers)

This week, we stick with the Eastern Conference and find ourselves landing exclusively in the Atlantic Division. Two teams there are in peculiar spots, and one has been clicking recently. We also take a look at the All-Star Skills Competition and tournament, which is sure to create more trade rumors for a certain Metropolitan Division captain. No cheating! Get started on reading to find out who.

Lost: Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators Have Silver Linings Despite Losses

Red Wings’ Young Core Impressing Despite Team’s Lack of Success

Following a surprisingly decent start to the season that saw them land in the “found” column in the eighth Weekly Lost & Found edition, the Red Wings have come back down to earth. They started the year 13-9-3 through their first 25 games, and have gone 7-12-3 in their last 22 games. This past week, they beat the Anaheim Ducks in overtime, but fell to the Los Angeles Kings in regulation. In their last 10 games, they’re 4-5-1.

To narrow down the scope a bit, their biggest problem over their past five games has been that they’re allowing way too many goals. They’ve allowed 23 goals over that span, including three games having allowed five or more goals. 

Even though they’re losing games, they’re still seeing some strong performances by their new, young core. Second-time All-Star and Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin has four goals and seven points in his last five games, and leads the team with 23 goals and 44 points in 42 games this season. 

Dylan Larkin Detroit Red Wings
Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings captain (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Rookies Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider are still drawing a lot of attention and are making strong cases for the Calder Trophy. Raymond has 11 goals and 35 points in 47 games, while Seider has four goals and 29 points in 47 games from the blue line. The future is bright with these guys at the helm.

Related: Red Wings Wednesday Weekly: Wild Side

Goaltending has been hit-or-miss. Alex Nedeljkovic leads the way with a 2.90 goals-against average (GAA) and .911 save percentage (SV%) in 34 games. However, we need to add some context to that. The Wings allow 32.9 shots-against per game, which is the eighth-most in the NHL. The team as a whole is near the bottom of the NHL in goals-against. 

This is a young team that has been a lot more exciting than anticipated. What’s even better for their fans is that they still have a lot of young talent in the pipeline. Depending on where they land for the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, they should be able to add to it.

Senators’ Youth Continues To Grow in Spite of Drake Batherson Injury

If the Senators were in the running for the first-overall pick in the upcoming draft, their odds just got a lot better. They suffered a major loss as their leading scorer Drake Batherson, who set a new career-high with 21 assists and matched his career-high of 34 points in 31 games this season, is sidelined due to an ankle injury

They won in overtime and lost in regulation this past week, and are 4-4-2 in their past 10 games. While they have looked better in recent games, his loss is devastating for the team. He joins center Colin White on injured reserve. 

Drake Batherson Ottawa Senators
Drake Batherson, Ottawa Senators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

With Batherson out of the lineup, and limited options to replace him, more weight is going to fall onto the shoulders of second-time All-Star and Sens captain Brady Tkachuk. He’s having another strong season with 30 points in 37 games so far. Josh Norris has been a bright spot as well. He’s set a career-high with 18 goals through 36 games so far. 

It’s tough to fully blame goaltending when the team is one of the league’s worst in terms of shots against. Even harder to blame them when the team doesn’t have a lot of offensive depth. However, as was previously mentioned, they may have a really good shot at adding to this young core with a high pick this summer.

Related: Ottawa Senators’ Top 3 Players Through Midway Point of 2021-21

February is going to be an eventful month for the team as they’ll be going through a gauntlet of games. They’ve already lost one to the Islanders, and will play 11 games in the next 20 days. They’ll also be facing three sets of back-to-backs. Lucky for them, most of the games are at home. It’ll be interesting to see where they stand ahead of the trade deadline following this month.

Found: Toronto Maple Leafs Are Hot, All-Star Weekend Brought the Entertainment

Maple Leafs Stars and Goaltending Lead the Way on Recent Winning Streak

The Maple Leafs have been rolling of late, and their five-game winning streak is currently the second-longest in the NHL. They’re 7-2-1 in their past 10 games, and hold a six-point cushion over the Boston Bruins for third in the Atlantic Division.

As we’ve become accustomed to, 2022 All-Star and Atlantic Division captain Auston Matthews leads the way for the Buds with 29 goals and 51 points in 39 games. John Tavares and William Nylander have 17 goals and 40 points apiece, while Morgan Rielly’s 38 points and Mitch Marner’s 37 points (in 33 games) round out the team’s top-five scorers. 

Auston Matthews Toronto Maple Leafs Elvis Merzlikins Columbus Blue Jackets
Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates after scoring the game winning goal on goaltender Elvis Merzlikins of the Columbus Blue Jackets in overtime of Game Four of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round on Aug. 07, 2020. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

First-time All-Star Jack Campbell has definitely earned his place among the league’s brightest. He owns the net in Toronto, having played in 32 games and recorded 21 wins. Among goalies who’ve started at least 10 games, his 2.30 GAA is eighth in the NHL, his .925 SV% fifth, and he’s tied for second with four shutouts. If you looked up “solid” in the dictionary, all you’d see is his picture.

Third-year Leaf Alexander Kerfoot is playing the best hockey of his stint in Toronto. More than that, he’s on pace to finish the year with career-bests in goals, assists and points. Michael Bunting is on the older-end of those in the running for the Calder Trophy, but making a strong case for himself. He’s already smashed career-highs from his limited time with the Arizona Coyotes, and has 13 goals, 16 assists and 29 points in 42 games. 

This past week, the Leafs beat the New Jersey Devils twice in a home-and-home, having won by a combined score of 13-5. Marner extended his point streak and has continued to find the back of the net. They have three games this upcoming week, and kick things off against the wagon that is the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Another Exciting NHL All-Star Weekend in the Books

Another year of All-Star festivities has come and gone. This year the Fabulous Las Vegas played host, and in a place where the lights shine bright, the NHL’s all-stars put on a show. Between the skills competition, performance by Machine Gun Kelly and the tournament itself, there was a lot to enjoy over the weekend.

Jordan Kyrou continued his rise as one of the league’s brightest young players and took home the title for fastest skater, completing his lap in 13.550 seconds. Campbell and Andrei Vasilevskiy’s streak of nine saves won the save streak competition. 

Jordan Kyrou St. Louis Blues
Jordan Kyrou, St. Louis Blues forward, won the fastest skater competition (Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The league also took over the Bellagio and Las Vegas Boulevard. In the Fountain Face-Off, which saw players on the water shooting to targets, Zach Werenski took it home. The 21 in ‘22 event put a twist on street hockey and blackjack, and Joe Pavelski took that one home.

Victor Hedman’s 103.2 mile-per-hour slapper was the hardest shot, Alex Pietrangelo won the breakaway challenge and Sebastian Aho took down the accuracy challenge. 

The actual All-Star Tournament ended up fanning the flames that are the Claude Giroux trade rumors. The seven-time All-Star and Team Metropolitan captain was named Most-Valuable Player following a three-goal showing, including two in the championship game. He helped the Metropolitan Division win for the third time since 2015, when the league switched to a three-on-three tournament.

Claude Giroux’s first goal of the tournament

All-Star Weekend is a fun break from the dog-days of the season. For some teams, it’s a much needed break from their struggles, while others hope to recapture the momentum they held prior. Next up: the trade deadline. Stick with The Hockey Writers for all your hockey coverage.

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