The Penguins got some great news last week with the return of Sidney Crosby after two months for core muscle surgery. Crosby was rumored to be ready to play against the Coyotes last Sunday, but decided against it as the Penguins got to check out Phil Kessel’s new home. Jared McCann got the party started with his 13th goal 2:43 into the 1st period, but that was answered by Arizona with five minutes left in the 1st period. Patric Hornqvist scored on the power play early in the 2nd, but it was again answered by the Coyotes and the game was tied at two heading into the 3rd period. Arizona scored midway through the period, but Brandon Tanev would not be denied on an incredible shift that ended with his 10th goal of the year and the game tied at three.
Neither goalie would surrender the winner in overtime, and the game headed to a more-and-more elusive shootout. The two teams made sure the fans got their moneys worth as it took 16 shooters before the game was finally decided. Teddy Blueger scored only the third goal of the skills competition on the 15th attempt and Tristan Jarry denied Carl Soderberg as the Penguins come away with the 4-3 shootout victory in the desert.
The Pens returned to Pittsburgh for a quick one game home stand against Minnesota before finishing the rest of the week on the road. It was also the return of Penguins Captain, Sidney Crosby, and he made his impact known immediately. The Penguins scored the first four goals of the game and Crosby finished with a goal and three assists in his return as the Penguins took care of business at home to the tune of a 7-3 win over the Wild.
The Penguins then had a much tougher test when they met the Bruins in Boston two days later. Crosby got the scoring started for the Penguins only 24 seconds into the game, but that was it for the Penguins the rest of the way as Jaroslav Halak once again stole the show against the Pens with 29 saves and the Bruins scored two goals in the 1st and 3rd periods and knocked off the Penguins 4-1 in Boston, where the Bruins have only lost twice in regulation all season.
The Penguins were in Detroit 24 hours later for their third game in four nights. Detroit may be the worst team in the league by a wide margin, but that doesn’t mean a guaranteed victory for any team against them. The Red Wings got the first goal of the game in the 2nd period on the power play, and the Red Wings were playing extremely well against the Penguins. But the Penguins were granted a power play early in the 3rd period and Bryan Rust scored his 20th goal of the season to tie the game where it would remain until overtime. Luke Glendening took an obvious interefence penalty early in the overtime and Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin teamed up in overtime to give the Penguins the 2-1 victory.
It wasn’t the prettiest week for the Penguins, but they still came away with three wins in four games across nearly the entire continental United States. The Penguins get a chance for redemption at home against the Bruins this afternoon and then play the Flyers in Philly on Tuesday to close out this week and head into their bye week and All-Star break. The Penguins resume play against Philly in Pittsburgh on January 31st.
It was another perfect week for the Capitals, and Alex Ovechkin was instrumental in their wins. The Caps began last week hosting the Hurricanes after their embarrassing home loss to the Devils the previous week. Ovechkin scored two 1st period goals to give the Caps a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. With those two goals, he passed Teemu Selanne for 11th all-time in goals with his 684th and 685th goals. Those two goals would hold up as the only goals of the game as Ilya Samsonov stopped all 23 shots he faced and won his eigth straight game in net.
Ovechkin continued his usual goal scoring dominance the following game when the Capitals got the chance for redemption against the Devils. Ovie scored two more 1st period goals and the Devils never had a chance in this one as Ovechkin ended the game with an exclamation point with his third goal of the game and 31st of the season to put the Capitals ahead 5-2 where the game would finish. That hat trick was Ovechkin’s 26th of his career.
Ovechkin would make that 27 career hat tricks two nights later on Long Island. He got the scoring started once again in the 1st period, but this time he was limited to only one 1st period goal. The Islanders took over after Ovechkin’s goal in the game, and scored four straight goals to lead 4-1 heading into the final period. The Capitals once again proved that no lead is safe against them as Carl Hagelin scored 2:33 into the 3rd, followed by Ovechkin’s second of the game at 5:18, followed by Tom Wilson’s 14th of the year at 14:32, followed by Jakub Vrana’s 22nd of the year, followed by Ovechkin’s third of the game and 34th of the year into an empty net to stun the home fans and give the Capitals the 6-4 victory thanks to an epic collapse that saw the Capitals score five straight in the 3rd period to win.
That hat trick moved Ovechkin into 7th all-time with 27 hat tricks. Ovechkin also brought his career goal total to 692 with his eight goals in the last three games. He passed Mario Lemieux when he scored his 691st for 10th all-time and is now tied with Steve Yzerman for 9th all time with 692. Congratulations Ovechkin for passing three legends last week and with several more in his sights.
That game against the Islanders was the Capitals last game until after the All-Star break when they resume action in Montreal on January 27th.
The Islanders are still holding down a top three spot in the Metro, but the Isles have not been the same team they were early in the season the last few weeks. The Islanders had four games this week, with three of them against Metropolitan opponents. They began against the Rangers in NYC on Monday night. Artemi Panarin had one of the best games of his career and completely dominated the Islanders with two goals and three assists and the Islanders never had a chance in this one as they dropped the game 6-2 to the Rangers to begin their week.
It was all systems go the following night against the pitiful Red Wings back home on the Island. The Islanders scored four goals in the 1st and never looked back as they put 8 past the Red Wings and dominated throughout with an 8-2 victory of the Red Wings. Thirteen players recorded a point for the Islanders and seven players recorded multiple points. It’s always fun when the Red Wings come to town this season.
The Islanders then hosted the Rangers for their second meeting this week. This game was much closer than the first time they met, but the result was the same for the Islanders. Josh Bailey scored his 10th for the Isles with the only goal of the 1st period. The Rangers answered with the only goal of the 2nd period and added the go ahead goal early in the 3rd. Anthony Beavillier scored his 12th goal 12:40 into the 3rd to tie the game, but Derick Brassard was called for cross-checking in the final minute of regulation and Chris Kreider would score less than 30 seconds later and the Rangers defeated the Islanders 3-2 for their second win over the Islanders this week.
The Islanders finished last week at home against the Metropolitan leading Capitals. Alex Ovechkin got the scoring started 10 minutes into the game, but the Islanders answered with two goals in the 1st and two more in the 2nd to lead 4-1 going into the 3rd period. With Barry Trotz behind the bench and a three goal leading into the 3rd period, it’s game over right? Not so fast. The Capitals scored three goals in the first 14:32 of the 3rd to tie the game before adding two more to run away with the game. The Capitals scored five unanswered goals in the 3rd period and shocked the Islanders and their fans with a 6-4 victory to close out last a disappointing week for the Islanders.
The Islanders play two more Metropolitan opponents this week, both on the road, when they meet Carolina this evening before closing out this week and the month of January with another match against the Rangers at MSG on Tuesday night.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are one of the hottest teams in the NHL right now. Most people, me included, thought the Blue Jackets would fold once they lost goalie Joonas Korpisalo to an unnecessary injury a few weeks ago leaving (winless) rookie goaltender Elvis Merzlikins as the man between the pipes. It’s been quite the opposite for Columbus and last week further proved that.
The Blue Jackets were on the road the entire previous week and returned home to face the Bruins on Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena. Alexander Wennberg, Kevin Stenlund and Riley Nash all scored their fourth goal this season and Elvis Merzlikins stopped all 34 shots he faced for his second straight shutout as the Jackets handed the Bruins a 3-0 shutout to begin last week for Columbus.
The Hurricanes were next in Columbus on Thursday night. Emil Bemstrom got the scoring started just over a minute into the game for Columbus but Carolina finally ended Merzlikins’ shutout streak 8:38 into the 2nd period when the Hurricanes tied the game at one. Cam Atkinson put the Jackets back ahead 4:51 into the 3rd period, but that was quickly answered by the Hurricanes to tie it again minutes later. Nick Foligno scored the game winner with less than two minutes remaining with an unassisted goal and the Blue Jackets won their third in a row with a 3-2 regulation win over the Canes.
The Devils and Blue Jackets met on Saturday night featuring two teams heading in two different directions. That fact showed up on the score board as the Blue Jackets ran away with the game in the 2nd period with four goals to head into the 3rd leading 5-0. Elvis Merzlkins must have realized how fun shutouts are as he recorded his third in four games and the Blue Jackets are suddenly closing in on the Islanders for 3rd in the Metro.
The Jackets will try to make it five wins a row tonight at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers before they close out the month of January against Winnipeg in Columbus on Wednesday and won’t play another game until February.
The Flyers had quite a busy week last week and it was a good one for Philadelphia. They began at home against the Bruins on Monday night in one of the most entertaining games this year in the NHL. Boston got off to a quick start with the first two goals of the game but Kevin Hayes scored on the power play late in the 1st period to cut their lead in half heading into the 2nd. The 2nd period was quite a roller coaster as the Bruins scored early to go ahead 3-1 before Travis Sanheim scored his sixth this year to bring it 3-2. The Bruins scored two more quick goals to go ahead 5-2 after only 7:21 of action into the 2nd period. Sean Couturier scored his 13th for the Flyers and Connor Bunnaman scored his first career goal for the Flyers to bring the score to 5-4 after only 34 minutes of the game being played.
It stayed that way for quite some time. however, as both teams decided that defense is an option as well. Travis Sanheim scored again for the Flyers 13 minutes into the 3rd period and because this game wasn’t entertaining enough already, it headed to overtime tied at five. Both goalies came up huge in the extra period and it headed to a shootout to squeeze every last drop out of this one.
Despite some of the most elite goal scorers in the league on display, it took until the 9th shooter in the shootout before a goal was scored when Travis Konecny finally got one past Jaroslav Halak. Then it was Brad Marchand’s turn, and he did not disappoint. Well, maybe for Bruins fans he did, but the rest of the world collectively pointed their finger and laughed when poor Brad went down in history with the worst shootout attempt of all time which resulted in the 6-5 shootout victory for Philadelphia.
Marchand with a NASTY shootout move pic.twitter.com/wXHkFzdtFB— The Hockey Hangout (@HockeyHangout) January 14, 2020
The Flyers were in St. Louis two days later to take on the team that defeated the Bruins for the Stanley Cup last season. The Blues got the only goal of the 1st period but it appeared the Flyers were running away with the game with two goals in the 2nd period from Scott Laughton and Michael Raffl before Konecny scored 26 seconds into the 3rd period to give the Flyers the 3-1 lead. But St. Louis scored two goals three minutes apart to tie the game where it would stay until 3:33 of overtime when Jakub Vocacek scored his 9th goal to win it for the Flyers by a 4-3 final score.
The Flyers returned home the following night to play against Montreal in Philly’s third game in four nights. The Flyers looked the part despite playing well in the 1st period. Joel Farabee got the scoring started with his fourth goal of the year 18:47 into the 1st period, but Tomas Tatar answered only 18 seconds later to tie the game at one after the 1st period. The Flyers fired everything they could towards Carey Price, but he turned away them all after Farabee’s goal and the Canadiens added two goals in the 2nd and one more in the 3rd to knock off the Flyers by a 4-1 score.
Philadelphia closed out their week at home against the L.A. Kings on Saturday night. Travis Konecny got the first of his two goals in the 1st period before scoring the second goal 3:44 into the 2nd period. Joel Farabee scored a power play goal in the 2nd period to give the Flyers a 3-0 lead heading into the 3rd period. The Kings scored five minutes into the 3rd but Brian Elliott stopped 34/35 shots in the game and the Flyers added an insurance goal late to bring the final score to 4-1 Flyers to finish up a 3-1 week for Philadelphia.
The Flyers only have one game this week before their bye week and All-Star break, but it’s a big one when the Penguins come to Philadelphia on Tuesday night before the Flyers return to action on January 31 in Pittsburgh.
It’s been a rough few weeks for the Hurricanes and they’ve now slipped to sixth in the Metro after last weeks results. However, Carolina was coming off two straight shutout victories the previous week with their matchup against the Capitals on Monday in DC and going for their fourth win in a row. Alex Ovechkin scored two 1st period goals and that was it for either team as Ilya Samsonov stopped all 23 shots he faced and the Capitals held on for the 2-0 victory, stopping the Canes streak at three wins in a row.
Carolina had two days to travel to Ohio where they met the Blue Jackets on Thursday night. It was a back and forth, low scoring game as the Blue Jackets scored the only goal in the 1st period that only saw 13 combined shots from the two teams. Carolina outshot Columbus 15-7 in the 2nd, however, and tied the game at one with Martin Necas’s 11th goal of the year. Columbus scored five minutes into the 3rd period, but Jordan Staal evened the game once again with his seventh goal minutes later. It looked like the game was heading to overtime but Nick Foligno had other plans as he scored for the Blue Jackets with just under two minutes remaining and the Hurricanes could not even the game and fell 3-2 in regulation.
Not only did the Hurricanes lose the game, but they also lost arguably their best and most important played when Dougie Hamilton went down and it was announced that he fractured his fibula following the game. He was a major part of the team with 14 goals and 40 points in 47 games from the blue line for the Hurricanes. He was also a +30 and averages over 23 minutes per game. Those are going to be big holes to fill in his absence.
Carolina didn’t have much time to cope with the loss of Hamilton as they returned to Raleigh the following night to face the Anaheim Ducks. Sebastian Aho scored his 24th goal of the year to begin the scoring 3:59 into the 1st period and Erik Gudbranson answered for the Ducks with his fourth goal this season with two minutes left in the 1st period. That was it for the scoring in regulation as both goalies did their best to steal the game for their respective teams. However, it was Anaheim coming away with the win when Sam Steel scored 1:36 into overtime on their 37th shot of the game and the Hurricanes dropped their third game in a row to wrap up last week with a 2-1 overtime loss.
Carolina has two more home games this week before having nine days off surrounding the All-Star break. The Islanders and Hurricanes meet this evening before the Hurricanes and Jets meet on Tuesday night to finish up the first half for Carolina.
The Rangers had a quiet week last week with only a home-and-home scheduled against the other New York team. The first game was at Madison Square Garden on Monday night. Jordan Eberle got the scoring started only 18 seconds into the game for the Islanders, but then it was the Artemi Panarin show. He assisted on three straight goals as the Rangers led 3-1 heading into the 3rd period with goals from Jesper Fast, Chris Kreider and Adam Fox. Panarin wasn’t finished as he scored his 25th and 26th goals of the year to put the game out of reach midway through the 3rd period. Jacob Trouba scored on the power play to finish the scoring for the Rangers, but the Islanders scored several minutes later and the final score was 6-2 with Panarin recording points on five Ranger goals.
The two teams met three nights later in Nassau Coliseum. Again it was the Islanders who got on board first with the only goal of the opening period 19 minutes in. Mika Zibanejad got the only goal of the 2nd period with an unassisted power play goal 12:46 into the middle frame. The 3rd period was eventful with both teams combining for 23 shots. Tony DeAngelo gave the Rangers the 2-1 lead 4:16 into the 3rd with his 12th goal of the year, but the Islanders would tie it with seven minutes remaining. Derick Brassard was called for cross-checking in the last minute of the 3rd period, and the Rangers made the Islanders pay when Chris Kreider scored for the second straight game on the ensuing power play and the Rangers swept the home-and-home with a 3-2 regulation win.
The Rangers play two home games this week before their bye week and All-Star break. The Rangers will try to slow down the red hot Blue Jackets this evening before wrapping up with another game against the Islanders on Tuesday and their next game won’t be until January 31st at home against Detroit.
The beginning of last week for the Devils may have been their best two days of the entire season. New Jersey handled the Washington Capitals on their home ice last Saturday night and hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning at home the following night with Tampa Bay coming in as winners in 10 straight games. Louis Domingue would get revenge against the team that traded him with 26 saves and he was definitely the difference in this game. Andy Greene scored his first of the year for the Devils to tie the game early in the 2nd period and Travis Zajac scored midway through the period to go ahead and Miles Wood scored into an empty net with under two seconds left and the Devils ended the Lightning’s 10 game streak with a 3-1 victory.
Those two days were not a sign of things to come, however, as the Devils headed to the Great White North to take on Toronto in Ontario two days later. Toronto was no match for the Devils to start the game as the Leafs scored three goals in the 1st period and added one more in the 2nd before Blake Coleman finally got the Devils a goal, but then Auston Matthews took the game over with a power play goal in the 2nd period and another goal early in the 3rd period to make it 6-1.
But the Devils would not go down with a fight which is encouraging for a struggling team as Blake Coleman scored two more goals for his first career hat trick (his 18th goal of the year) as he continues to have a career year with the Devils. P.K. Subban added another goal late in the game on the power play to make it 6-4, but Auston Matthews scored into an empty net to complete his hat trick and the Leafs came away with the 7-4 victory.
The Washington Capitals got a quick chance at redemption after being embarrassed at Capital One Arena the previous week when the Devils returned to DC on Thursday night. The script was completely flipped in this game as Alex Ovechkin scored two goals in the 1st period before the Capitals scored 16 seconds into the 2nd period. Wayne Simmonds quickly answered that goal for the Devils first goal and Blake Coleman scored his 19th goal short-handed early in the 3rd to cut the deficit to 3-2, but the Capitals would not let them get any closer. The Caps added an insurance goal shortly after Coleman’s goal and Ovechkin recorded his 26th career hat trick to seal the deal and give Washington the 5-2 victory.
The Devils then closed out their last game before their bye week and All-Star break in Columbus on Saturday night. It was over as soon as it began as the Blue Jackets pounded the Devils in the 1st period with 21 shots, but it took Columbus 15 minutes to get the only goal and lead 1-0 after 20 minutes. The Jackets continued the shooting gallery with 15 more shots in the 2nd, this time breaking Cory Schneider once again with three goals in the first 12 minutes of the 2nd period, resulting in Schneider’s early exit but not the end of the bleeding for New Jersey as Columbus scored once more to lead 5-0 after only 40 minutes.
Fortunately for New Jersey, the Blue Jackets played to only protect their lead in the 3rd period. Columbus did just that and stopped all 31 shots the Devils fired on net as the Devils dropped their third in a row heading into their break, allowing 17 goals in the three losses.
New Jersey will now have eight straight days without hockey which may be a blessing for their players and coaches. The Devils seemed to be progressing before the last three games on the road heading into their break. New Jersey returns to action on January 27th in Ottawa.
30-13-5; 65 pts; 164 Goals For (6th in the NHL; T-8th last week); 130 Goals Against (T-5th; T-3rd)
3-1 record last week
PIT: 4 SO
An old West shootout. Pittsburgh scores late and takes an SO win
Sidney Crosby returns from injury, scores 4 points, Pens win easily
Sometime it B’s like that. Pens lose 4-1
PIT: 2 OT
It was real. It was fun. It wasn’t real fun. Pens still win 2-1 in OT
Sunday, January 19 - vs BOS, 12:30 p.m. ET
Tuesday, January 21 - @ PHI, 7:30 p.m.
- 11/14/19, C Nick Bjugstad - IR; Core muscle surgery
- 11/29/19, D Brian Dumoulin - IR; Lacerated ankle tendons
- 12/16/19, D Justin Schultz - IR; Lower-body injury
- 12/29/19, LW Jake Guentzel - IR; Shoulder surgery
33-11-5, 71 pts; 177 GF (1st); 144 GA (11th; 14th)
3-0 record last week
Ovechkin and Samsonov Crush Carolina 2-0
Vengeance in DC as Caps Beat Devils 5-2
Caps Complete Stunning Comeback for 6-4 Win Against the Islanders
Bye week; Next game January 27th - @ MTL, 7 p.m.
28-15-4, 60 pts; 138 GF (22nd; 24th); 128 GA (3rd; 2nd)
1-3 record last week
I hope you turned the TV off at 4-1
Strong Isles effort sunk by late power play goal
From worst loss to worse-er loss
Sunday, January 19 - @ CAR, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, January 21 - @ NYR, 7 p.m.
- 12/20/19 - RW, Cal Clutterbuck - IR; Wrist
- 1/1/20 - D Adan Pelech - IR; Achilles
25-16-8, 58 pts; 132 GF (T-25th); 126 GA (2nd; T-7th)
3-0 record last week
THE KING: Elvis shutout streak spans 120-plus minutes in Blue Jackets win
Blue Jackets edge Hurricanes late, keep train rolling in 3-2 win
Blue Jackets start poorly, shut out Devils anyway
Sunday, January 19 - @ NYR, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, January 22 - vs WPG, 7:30 p.m.
- 9/24/19, C Brandon Dubinsky - IR; Wrist
- 12/13/19, D Ryan Murray - IR; Upper-body injury
- 12/13/19, RW Josh Anderson - IR; Shoulder
- 12/20/19, RW Oliver Bjorkstrand - IR; Back
- 12/28/19, G Joonas Korpisalo - Day-to-day; Torn meniscus
- 12/31/19, C Alexandre Texier - IR; Lumbar stress fracture
- 1/2/20, D Dean Kukan - IR; Torn meniscus
26-17-6, 58 pts; 155 GF (T-12th; 17th); 150 GA (T-15th; 12th)
3-1 record last week
PHI: 6 SO
Flyers battle all the way back, beat Bruins in shootout thanks to Brad Marchand gaffe
PHI: 4 OT
Voracek’s overtime goal lifts Flyers past Blues, 4-3
Flyers lose 4-1 to Canadiens in a game of missed opportunities
Flyers down Kings 4-1, win third out of last four
Tuesday, January 21 - vs PIT, 7:30 p.m.
- 9/12/19, C Nolan Patrick - IR; Migraine disorder
- 11/6/19, D Samuel Morin - IR; Torn right ACL
- 12/10/19, LW Oscar Lindblom - IR; Illness
- 1/7/20, D Shayne Gostisbehere - Day-to-day; Knee
- 1/13/20, G Carter Hart - Day-to-day; Strained abdominal
27-18-3, 57 pts; 153 GF (16th; T-8th); 130 GA (T-5th; 6th)
0-2-1 record last week
Canes shut out by Samsonov, Capitals
Canes lose game and more
ANA: 2 OT
Canes fall in overtime
Sunday, January 19 - vs NYI, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, January 21 - vs WPG, 7 p.m.
- 1/15/20, D Dougie Hamilton - Day-to-day; Fractured fibula
23-19-4, 50 pts; 155 GF (T-12th; 13th); 153 GA (T-18th; 26th)
2-0 record last week
Late Kreider Goal Elevates Rangers Past Islanders
Sunday, January 19 - vs CBJ, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Jauary 21 - vs NYI, 7 p.m.
- 12/26/19, LW Brendan Lemieux - IR; Fractured hand
17-24-7, 41 pts; 126 GF (27th; 29th); 173 GA (30th)
1-3 record last week
Devils Dominated by Alex Ovechkin, Lose 5-2 to Capitals
Devils Embarassed, Destroyed by Blue Jackets 5-0.
Bye week; Next game January 27 - @ OTT, 7:30 p.m.
- 9/30/19, D Brian Strait - IR; Concussion
- 1/8/20, LW Ben Street - IR; Upper-body injury
- 1/11/20, RW Kyle Palmieri - IR; Foot
- 1/15/20, G Louis Domingue - Day-to-day; Lower-body injury
Which Metropolitan game is the most intriguing?
This poll is closed
1.19.20 - BOS @ PIT, 12:30 p.m. ET
1,19.20 - NYI @ CAR, 5 p.m.
1.19.20 - CBJ @ NYR, 7 p.m.
1.21.20 - NYI @ NYR, 7 p.m.
1.21.20 - PIT @ PHI, 7:30 p.m.