The Penguins injury ravaged season took another major blow last week when they opened their final week of the 2010s at home against Ottawa. Evgeni Malkin and Dominik Simon each scored in the 1st period before the Senators got one in the goal column to make it 2-1 early in the 2nd period. Malkin would add his 11th goal minutes later but was again answered by Nick Paul of the Senators late in the 2nd to make it 3-2 Penguins. Patric Hornqvist scored his first goal since returning from an injury to make it 4-2 Pens heading into the 3rd period. Jake Guentzel scored his 20th of the year 6:55 into the 3rd to make it 5-2, but that goal could very well likely be the last shift Guentzel this season as immediately after his goal he collided with Thomas Chabot of the Senators and fell awkwardly and violently into the end boards, and Guentzel went straight to the locker room. The Penguins finished off the Senators 5-2, but announced the next morning that Guentzel had surgery on his shoulder and will be out 4-6 months, most likely ending his regular season for the Penguins.
The Penguins answered by doing what they’ve been doing all season, by playing their best with whoever they could find to play hockey. The Penguins began the next decade of hockey at home against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night. The Sharks outscored the Penguins 2-1 in the 1st period with goals from Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture, but Patric Hornqvist came up big in Guentzel’s absence with two goals of his own with the second goal coming at 19:09 of the 2nd period to tie the game at two where it would remain until the game went to overtime. Brent Burns would score on the power play 2:02 into the extra period, and the Sharks won the game 3-2 over the Penguins.
The Penguins played their first road game this decade against Montreal on Saturday night. Artturi Lehkonen would have himself quite a night for Montreal as he got the scoring started with his eighth of the season 8:42 into the 1st period against Matt Murray. Zach Aston-Reese evened the game at one when the 4th line of the Penguins would not be turned away on a dominating shift to tie the game at one where the game would remain until Lehkonen added his ninth goal this season 3:37 into the 2nd period to give the Canadiens the lead once more. Bryan Rust continued is incredible season with his 17th goal of the year five minutes into the 3rd period to even the game at two. Lehkonen nearly won the game on a breakaway in the 3rd period, but Matt Murray denied Lehkonen of his hat trick goal and the game would head to overtime. Once again it was the depth players on the Penguins making a difference as Brandon Tanev and Teddy Blueger were buzzing all over the ice which resulted in Tanev’s eigth goal of the year after he buries a rebound behind Carey Price after Blueger crashed the net, resulting in a 3-2 overtime victory for the Penguins.
All in all, the Penguins have been one of the most consistent teams in the NHL. They make it hard for any team to play against them this season and Mike Sullivan has this team focused and ready to play every night despite the star power missing each night. The Pens return to action tonight at home against the Panthers before hitting the road to Marc-Andre Fleury’s desert home before heading to Colorado on Friday to close out this week. The Penguins then head to Phil Kessel’s desert home next Sunday.
The Capitals have been on cruise control since the puck dropped in October and have led the Metro the entire way. The Capitals played their last game of 2019 at home against their former boss, Barry Trotz, on New Years Eve. The Isles would strike twice in the first 10:39 of the game, but the Capitals answered quickly with Evgeny Kuznetsov’s 14th of the year only 14 seconds after the Islanders second goal. Tom Wilson scored his 13th to tie the game at two in the 1st period where it would stay until Kuznetsov added his 15th 44 second into the 2nd period to make it 3-2 Capitals. The Islanders would get the equalizer four minutes later and add the go ahead goal a little past the midway point in the 2nd. Neither team would score again despite the Capitals outshooting the Islanders 18-4 in the 3rd period as the Islanders held on for the 4-3 victory.
The only other game for the Capitals this week was against another Metropolitan opponent, the Carolina Hurricanes, on Friday night in North Carolina. Richard Panik broke in the 2020s for the Capitals with his fifth of the year in the 2nd period and Kuznetsov continued his goal scoring hot streak with a power play goal to give Washington a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes. Jordan Staal got the Canes on the board 39 seconds into the 3rd period to cut the Capitals lead in half, but the Capitals would add two more to make it 4-1 with just over 15 minutes remaining in the game. The Hurricanes applied pressure the entire 3rd period and would score two power play goals to make it 4-3 with six minutes left, but Ilya Samsonov would not allow the tying goal and he shut the door the rest of the way as the Capitals won 4-3, giving Samsonov an 11-2-1 record, including 8-0 on the road in his rookie campaign.
The Capitals have a busy week this week after only playing twice last week. The Caps and Sharks meet this afternoon in DC before the Capitals take on the Senators on Tuesday in the first game of a back to back in Philadelphia on Wednesday night. The Capitals have two days off before finishing next week at home against New Jersey.
Ever since their 17 game point streak has ended, the Islanders have not been the same. Their bottom third ranked offense has been declining and their team defense and goaltending has been much more league average since then. Not surprisingly, the Islanders have had a hard time winning games. The Islanders began last week in the middle of a Midwest road trip against Minnesota last Sunday. The Wild scored 15:43 into the 1st period and that was the only goal of the game until 4:24 into the 3rd period when Ryan Pulock hammered home his sixth goal of the year. Matt Martin would give the Isles the lead a minute and a half later, and Tom Kuhnhackl scored his first goal of the year to seal the deal for the Islanders in a much needed 3-1 road victory for Barry Trotz and his troops.
Trotz returned to face his former Cup winning Capitals team in DC on New Years Eve to end 2019 for both teams. The Islanders scored the first two goals in the 1st period from Casey Cizikas and Brock Nelson, but the Capitals would respond with two goals of their own to even the score at two after 20 minutes. The Capitals scored 44 seconds into the 2nd period to take the lead, but Cizikas would score again minutes later to even the score. Tom Kuhnhackl scored his second goal in as many games at 12:34 of the 2nd period, and that would be the end of the scoring in the game as the Islanders fought off the Capitals for a 4-3 regulation win in DC to end a surprising 2019 year for the Islanders.
The Islanders returned home to Long Island on Thursday to usher in a new decade of hockey for the other New York team against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night. Brock Nelson got the scoring started with his 15th goal of the year 7:33 into the 2nd period, but that was it for the Islanders in the goal department. P.K. Subban tied the game at one late in the 2nd and Nico Hischier would score 69 seconds into the 3rd period which turned into the game winner as the Devils finished strong and held on for the 2-1 regulation win at Nassau Coliseum.
New York then wrapped up last week north of the border in Toronto. It took 33 minutes for either team to break the ice, and unfortunately for the Islanders, it was Toronto who would strike first. Auston Matthews would add another before the 2nd was over, and Toronto would score the only goal in the 3rd period as Michael Hutchinson stopped all 33 Islander shots and the Leafs took down the Islanders by a 3-0 final score in Toronto to wrap up this week with the Islanders going 2-2.
Colorado is up next for the Islanders on Long Island on Monday night before the Isles head to Newark to face the Devils the following night. The Islanders have three days off before wrapping up next week at home against Boston.
It was an up and down month of December for the Hurricanes, and they only had one game left last week and it was at home against Montreal on New Years Eve. Sebatian Aho started the part less than two minutes into the game with a power play goal, but that was answered quickly by Montreal less than two minutes later to make the score 1-1 after only 3:48 of game time. Neither team would score again until the 2nd period when Erik Haula scored his 11th of the year for the only scoring in the middle frame. Ryan Dzingel would add his seventh this season into an empty net and the Hurricanes finish off 2019 with a deserved 3-1 victory for their home fans in Raleigh.
The Hurricanes welcomed 2020 against their Metropolitan nemesis Capitals. Neither team would score in the 1st period, but the Capitals scored two goals in the 2nd period minutes apart where the game would stay until 39 seconds into the 3rd period when Jordan Staal got the Canes on the board. The Capitals scored on the power play less than two minutes later and would add another goal before the 3rd period was five minutes old to make it 4-1 Capitals. Carolina would record two power play goals to make it 4-3, but their comeback bid fell short and the Capitals held on for the 4-3 regulation win.
The Hurricanes began a home stand with their game against Montreal last week that will last until next Tuesday. Carolina has four games this week at PNC - Sunday against Tampa Bay, Tuesday against Philadelphia, Friday against Arizona and wrap up their home stand on Saturday against Los Angeles.
It was looking like a December to remember for Philly, but it didn’t end as well as Flyers fans had hoped for. They began their last week of 2019 in Anaheim on Sunday, after playing in San Jose the day before. Former Penguins Erik Gudbranson scored only 35 into the game, but it was answered by Sean Couturier with his 10th of the season midway through the 1st period. Neither team would score again in regulation and Kevin Hayes scored his 12th of the year 3:53 into overtime to give the Flyers a 2-1 overtime victory in Anaheim to begin their week.
Philadelphia then faced the Kings in Los Angeles on New Years Eve. I’d imagine most Flyers fans had turned the game off and continued their New Years festivities before the 1st period was over as the Kings scored four unanswered goals in the first 17:52 of the game - one even strength, two power play and one shorthanded. Justin Braun scored his first with the Flyers in the 2nd period to make it 4-1 heading into the 3rd period. The Kings added another power play goal 1:31 in to make it 5-1, but the Flyers put up a fight as the New Year was ringing in in Philadelphia with two goals to make it a much closer 5-3 final score than the game actually was.
The Flyers wrapped up their California trip, but still had two more road games in Vegas and Glendale to play out last week. Next for the Flyers was Vegas. For the second consecutive game, the Flyers surrendered four 1st period goals. This time, however, Philly managed some goals of their own as the score was 4-2 after 20 minutes. Vegas would get the next goal to make it 5-2 midway through the 2nd period. Sean Couturier would score one in the 2nd period and another 15 seconds into the 3rd period to make it 5-4, but that was as close as it would get as the Knights weathered the Flyers comeback bid and held on for the 5-4 victory.
Philadelphia closed out last week in Arizona on Saturday night. The Flyers didn’t allow four goals in 1st this time, but they did allow the Coyotes to score three however. The Coyotes added insult to injury when Lawson Crouse scored in the final second of the 2nd period to make it 4-0 heading into the 3rd period. The two teams would trade two goals apiece and the Coyotes finished off the Flyers with a short handed goal to make it a 6-2 final score in the desert.
The Flyers have three games this week, and none of them will be easy. First up is Carolina in Raleigh on Tuesday to finally wrap up the Flyers’ several week road trip. The Flyers then finally return home the next night against the Capitals before closing out the week at home against the red hot Tampa Bay Lightning. That’s a rough way to return from a long road trip, but I’m sure there aren’t too many opposing fans who feel sorry for the Flyers.
Columbus moved up one spot in the standings this week, but it wasn’t without some controversy. The Jackets faced off against Chicago to begin their week on Sunday in Columbus. It was a great start for the Jackets with two goals in the 1st period, but Chicago tied it with two goals in the 3rd period with the tying goal coming with just over two minutes left in the game. The game would head to overtime and neither team would score, requiring a shootout.
But there was a whistle late in the game with Columbus on the power play, and the clock appeared to have ran off an extra second and some change. Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella questioned the game clock, but apparently was told by the referees that they would neither add more time or review the play. And wouldn’t you know it, the Blue Jackets would score but the clock had hit zero, but if the correct time would have been added to the game clock, the goal would have counted. Instead, the game would head to a shootout.
This is where the game went from frustrating to a disaster for Columbus. On Chicago’s first attempt, Jonathan Toews injured Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo and he would not be able to finish the game. The Blackhawks would add another and end up with the 3-2 shootout victory, and Tortorella would have some harsh words for the officiating and the NHL, and to be honest, I couldn’t agree more with what he said. Those words ended up costing Tortorella $20k from the league. The league also took it so personally that they added a conditional $25k fine for if/when Tortorella feels the need to speek his mind again. Another fine example of how this league operates.
The Blue Jackets went into their next game at home against Florida with the news that Korpisalo would be out weeks, leaving rookie goalie Elvis Merzlikins as the starter who had zero wins in 10 NHL games this season. This also coincided with Sergei Bobrovsky’s first appearance back in Columbus to add salt to the wound. But it would be the Jackets who had the last laugh in this game, as Zach Werenski scored a hat trick for the Blue Jackets and Merzlikins stopped 36/37 shots he faced and the Blue Jackets would win 4-1, bringing their points streak to 11 straight games (7-0-4).
Columbus then shipped up to Boston to face the Bruins for the Columbus’s first game of 2020. David Pastrnak scored his NHL leading 30th goal of the season to break the scoreless tie midway through the 2nd period. Sonny Milano would answer 2:06 into the 3rd period and the game would head to overtime. Pierre-Luc Dubois ended the game 52 seconds into the overtime, and the Blue Jackets would stretch their streak to 12 games with a point.
The Jackets returned to Ohio two days later to attempt to make it 13 straight. But San Jose had no intentions on letting that happen. Zach Werenski scored two more goals to bring his goal total to 13 on the year, but the Sharks got goals in each period and fought off the Blue Jackets by a 3-2 regulation final, ending the Blue Jackets 12 game point streak.
It’s going to be an exhausting week for Columbus with tons of travel as they head out to California to play the three Cali teams in four days starting in L.A. on Monday, Anaheim on Tuesday and a rematch in San Jose on Thursday. The Jackets then head to Las Vegas to battle the Knights on Saturday night to close out their week.
The Rangers rebuild on the fly was having some immediate results, as the Rangers have been hovering around .500 the entire season. But last week was a step back for the Rangers. They began on New Years Eve in Edmonton in one of the wildest games of the year for New York. Edmonton scored three in the 1st period and three more in the 2nd period before the Rangers finally showed signs of life with less than 30 seconds in the 2nd period to make it 6-1. However, the Rangers didn’t just roll over and die after it was 6-0. New York scored 4:38 into the 3rd before scoring three more in a five minute span to make it 6-5 with four minutes left and making the home crowd very uneasy. However, it was too large of a hole as the Oilers potted one into an empty net and held off the Rangers valiant comeback effort in the 7-5 victory for Edmonton.
The Rangers began 2020 in Calgary two nights later and again the Rangers found themselves in a hole early in the game as the Flames scored twice in the first 7:16 to go ahead 2-0. But the Rangers would answer with two power play goals 25 seconds apart to tie it in the 1st period before the Flames would add one more. Kaapo Kakko tied it at three with his seventh goal of his rookie campaign, but the Flames would again go ahead minutes later where the game would stay until the end as the Flames held onto the 4-3 victory.
The Rangers wrapped up last their western Canadian road trip on Saturday night in Vancouver, and again gave up the first goal early in the game as Vancouver scored 1:46 into the 1st period. Pavel Buchnevich would tie the game in the 1st period, but that was all the scoring for the Rangers in this one. Tyler Myers scored the dagger with 1:29 left in the 3rd period and the Rangers dropped all three of their games last week.
The Rangers have two days off to travel back to New York City before taking on Colorado on Tuesday night. The Devils are next two days later at The Garden before the Rangers close out the week in St. Louis against the Stanley Cup Champs on Saturday night.
The New Jersey Devils had one of their best weeks on the ice the last seven days to close out 2019 and bring in 2020. They began on the road against Ottawa last Sunday. It was a battle of two bottom feeders in the NHL, but that doesn’t mean it was a boring game. Nico Hischier got the scoring started with a power play goal in the 1st period which was the only goal in the first 20 minutes. Both teams would score twice in the 2nd period but Ottawa would tie the game at four with just under five minutes remaining where the game would remain until Jack Hughes buried a breakaway for his first career OT game winning goal 54 seconds into overtime.
New Jersey closed out 2019 at home against Boston on New Years Eve. Brad Marchand would score two minutes into the game and Boston would add another early in the 2nd but the Bruins were getting outshot by the Devils the entire game. Blake Coleman got the Devils on the board nine minutes into the 2nd period and Jesper Bratt tied the game at two with just under seven minutes in the 3rd period. Neither team scored in overtime and it took until the 9th shooter in the shootout before a goal was scored. Hughes scored for the Devils, but it was answered by the Bruins in the fifth round. But Damon Severson scored on the Devils next shot and Mackenzie Blackwood turned down Patrice Bergeron and the Devils held on for the 4-3 shootout victory to close out a very disappointing 2019 calendar year for New Jersey on a positive note.
The Devils were on Long Island two days later to begin 2020. The Islanders scored first in the 2nd period, but P.K. Subban answered late in the 2nd to deadlock the game heading into the final 20 minutes. Hischier would score just over a minute into the 3rd period which was the last of the scoring as Blackwood again came up big for New Jersey and stopped 29/30 shots he faced as the Devils hung on for their third win in a row.
The Colorado Avalanche were the next opponent for the Devils on Saturday night at The Rock. The good times came to abrupt end as the Avs scored two goals in the 2nd period before pouring in three more in the 3rd period as the Devils win streak was snapped via a 5-2 loss at home.
Things have started to turn for the Devils in a positive way. They’re still far, far away from being a competetive team night-in and night-out, but there are signs of improvement. The Devils pick up play this week at home with a rematch against the Islanders on Tuesday before wrapping up the week on the road in NYC on Thursday and DC on Saturday which is the first of a back-to-back against Tampa Bay next Sunday back in New Jersey.
25-11-5; 55 pts; 141 Goals For (T-7th in the NHL; 8th last week); 109 Goals Against (3rd; 4th)
2-0-1 record last week
Pens win easily, but lose Jake Guentzel to scary-looking injury
SJS: 3 OT
Hornqvist scores twice, but Pittsburgh falls 3-2 to SJ in overtime
PIT: 3 OT
Penguins vs Montreal Canadiens Recap: Pens find a way, win in OT
Sunday, January 5 - vs FLA, 5 p.m. ET
Tuesday, January 7 - @ VGK, 10 p.m.
Friday, January 10 - @ COL, 9 p.m.
- 11/9/19, C Sidney Crosby - IR; Core muscle surgery
- 11/14/19, C Nick Bjugstad - IR; Core muscle surgery
- 12/1/19, 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
- 1/3/20, C Sam Lafferty - Day-to-day; Illness
28-9-5, 61 pts; 150 GF (3rd; 1st); 125 GA (T-12th; 16th)
1-1 record last week
After Plenty of Fireworks, Washington Fizzles Against New York, Losing 4-3
Samsonov Stands Strong Against High Winds, Caps Win 4-3
Sunday, January 5 - vs SJS, 12:30 p.m.
Tuesday, January 7 - vs OTT, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, January 8 - @ PHI, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 10 - vs NJD, 7 p.m.
- 12/27/19, D Christian Djoos - Day-to-day; Upper-body injury
- 1/3/20, C Evgeny Kuznetsov - Day-to-day; Illness
25-12-3, 53 pts; 115 GF (T-24th; 24th); 105 GA (2nd; 1st)
2-2 record last week
Goals from some unusual suspects get Isles back on track
Closing out the decade with a win
New Jersey ruins the new year
Can’t buy a goal right now
Monday, January 6 - vs COL, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, January 7 - vs DET, 7 p.m.
Saturday, January 11 - vs BOS, 7 p.m.
- 12/20/19 - RW, Cal Clutterbuck - IR; Wrist
- 1/1/20 - D Adan Pelech - IR; Achilles
24-15-2, 50 pts; 139 GF (10th; T-4th); 116 GA (T-6th; 8th)
1-1 record last week
Canes Close Out 2019 with 3-1 Win Over Habs
Canes fall to pesky Caps
Sunday, January 5 - vs TBL, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, January 7 - vs PHI, 7 p.m.
Friday, January 10 - vs ARI, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 11 - vs LAK, 7 p.m.
22-15-5, 49 pts; 133 GF (T-14th; 11th); 129 GA (T-14th; T-9th)
1-3 record last week
PHI: 2 OT
Overtime heroics on the West Coast
Not quite the end to the year we were hoping for
Flyers can’t stop the bleeding in 6-2 loss at Coyotes
Tuesday, January 7 - @ CAR, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, January 8 - vs WSH, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, January 10 - vs TBL, 7 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
19-15-8, 46 pts; 109 GF (28th; 29th); 116 GA (T-6th; 7th)
2-1-1 record last week
CHI: 3 SO
Jackets lose Korpisalo, fall to Blackhawks in shootout
Elvis is IN the building, Jackets top Florida
CBJ: 2 OT
Columbus MonsterJackets open 2020 with a big road win
Monday, January 6 - @ LAK, 10:30 p.m.
Tuesday, January 7 - @ ANA, 10 p.m.
Thursday, January 9 - @ SJS, 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 11 - @ VGK, 10 p.m.
- 9/24/19, C Brandon Dubinsky - IR; Wrist
- 11/4/19, D Markus Nutivaara - IR; Upper-body injury
- 12/13/19, D Ryan Murray - IR; Upper-body injury
- 12/13/19, RW Josh Anderson - IR; Shoulder
- 12/16/19, Andrew Peeke - IR; Fractured finger
- 12/18/19, RW Cam Atkinson - IR; Lower-body injury
- 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
19-18-4, 42 pts; 133 GF (T-14th; T-13th); 138 GA (T-23rd; T-21st)
0-3 record last week
Rangers Make Comeback Effort But Fall 7-5 in Edmonton
Rangers Drop Second Straight Game in Calgary
Rangers Dominate Canucks But Lose On Late Goal
Tuesday, Janaury 7 - vs COL, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, January 9 - vs NJD, 7 p.m.
Saturday, January 11 - @ STL, 8 p.m.
- 12/4/19, D Libor Hajek - Day-to-day; Sprained knee
- 12/26/19, LW Brendan Lemieux - Day-to-day; Fractured hand
15-20-6, 36 pts; 106 GF (29th; 30th); 144 GA (30th; 28th)
3-1 record last week
NJD: 4 OT
Jack Hughes Heroic in New Jersey Devils Overtime Win over Ottawa Senators, 4-3
NJD: 3 SO
Devils outplay, out-battle, and outlast Bruins in 3-2 shootout victory.
Devils Comeback Squashed by Shoddy Officiating in 5-2 Loss to Avalanche.
Tuesday, January 7 - vs NYI, 7 p.m.
Thursday, January 9 - @ NYR, 7 p.m.
Saturday, January 11 - @ WSH, 7 p.m.
- 9/30/19, D Brian Strait - IR; Concussion
- 12/2/19, D Matt Tennyson - IR: Upper-body injury
- 1/1/20, C Jack Hughes - Day-to-day; Upper-body injury
- 1/3/20, LW Jesper Bratt - Day-to-day; Lower-body injury
Which Metropolitan game is the most intriguing?
This poll is closed
1.5.20 - TBL @ CAR, 5 p.m. ET
1.6.20 - COL @ NYI, 7 p.m.
1.7.20 - NYI @ NJD, 7 p.m.
1.7.20 - PHI @ CAR, 7 p.m.
1.7.20 - PIT @ VGK, 10 p.m.
1.8.20 - WSH @ PHI, 7:30 p.m.
1.9.20 - NJD @ NYR, 7 p.m.
1.10.20 - TBL @ PHI, 7 p.m.
1.10.20 - NJD @ WSH, 7 p.m.
1.10.20 - PIT @ COL, 9 p.m.
1.11.20 - BOS @ NYI, 7 p.m.