Three Things That Happened In The NHL Last Week
Before we head into a busy Monday night with nine games on tap, let’s take a look back at the week that was. Two of the biggest names in the league went head-to-head while (arguably) the best goalie in the NHL hit the injured-reserve list, and could things be turning around in Edmonton?
What The Puck: Penguins and Capitals Rivalry Is Dead
The highlight of the week was a star-studded matchup – at least we thought – in Washington as the Capitals hosted Pittsburgh in a meeting of the Metropolitan Division’s top two teams. The Penguins have had the upper hand on the Capitals in recent meetings and this was no exception.
Pittsburgh rolled to a 4-0 victory, dominating the home team at both ends of the ice. Sidney Crosby, James Neal and Paul Martin all had a goal and an assist each, while Beau Bennett scored his first goal of the season for the Penguins, who out-shot the Caps 40-18.
The Penguins jumped on the Capitals from the opening face-off and never looked back. But if the Penguins never looked back why does the NHL keep looking back?
Am I the only one who feels like this rivalry is a bit over played now? Sure this match-up was one of the best rivalries I have ever seen in the past but since the Capitals hopped around outside like they won the Stanley Cup in the 2011 Winter Classic, this rivalry has not been the same.
To make matter worse the NHL is still talking about this rivalry like that match-up was the most exciting thing in all of sports days after the Penguins stomped the Capitals. Cause they too know, it’s dead.
Ovechkin is tearing it up this season something I did not think I would ever see again. I was so disappointed in his playoff performance last season that I even went and threw his jersey in my toilet. But – yes – I did wash it and it’s still hanging in my closet, only because it was $210. But let’s be honest, the Capitals would be a last placed team or no longer in Washington if it weren’t for Ovi.
Sure the same could be said about the Penguins and Crosby but in my opinion Crosby and Ovechkin are two different types of players with different roles on their teams. It’s not so much who is better – it’s more of – who would you build your team around. The NHL has been looking at this “rivalry” all wrong since the beginning.
So I ask you in this weeks poll…
Be sure to check back on next weeks weekly column to see the results and to see who I would choose.
Jonathan Quick Hurt
On paper, the Los Angeles Kings have plenty of firepower. However, aside from their electric performance in the 2012 postseason, they’ve strangely struggled with offense for the past couple of seasons.
The good news is there was always still one constant to keep the ship steady: goaltender Jonathan Quick. He was the Conn Smythe winner when the Kings won the Stanley Cup and he’s likely the No. 1 goalie for the United States heading into the Olympics in Sochi in February.
However, Quick and the Kings were dealt a harsh blow when he suffered a groin injury. That’s going to keep him out of the lineup for about four-to-six weeks and general manager Dean Lombardi has even said that Quick probably won’t be back before the end of 2013.
The Kings are lucky to have Ben Scrivens, who came over from Toronto in the Jonathan Bernier trade, and he has been playing extremely well. He was even tabbed the NHL’s No. 1 star of the week but make no mistakes, he’s no Jonathan Quick.
Things Turning Around In Edmonton?
To say the Edmonton Oilers have gotten off to a horrible start is an understatement. To say their back end (defense and goaltending) have been awful is an even bigger understatement. However, the Oilers could be turning a corner as they won all three of their games this week starting with a come-from-behind 4-2 win on the road against their rivals from Calgary on Saturday.
After that, the Oilers romped to a 7-0 blowout win at home over Columbus on Tuesday and wrapped it up with a 4-1 win over Florida on Thursday (also at home). What’s significant to note is the Oilers had been the league’s lowest scoring home team with just 11 goals in their first eight games at Rexall Place. However, they doubled that total by adding 11 more in their two home romps over Columbus and Florida, so it could be a sign of better things to come.
While some will look at those three teams and say, “those teams weren’t that good anyway”, neither are the Oilers. They had to start somewhere. What has also been encouraging is the play of Devan Dubnyk, who has played much better since the Oilers signed Ilya Bryzgalov. Dubnyk has taken a lot of heat for his play this season but his defense has left him out to dry a ton of times.
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