Above are the bottom 11 NHL teams in terms of regulation/overtime wins. Some of them, like Calgary and Florida, were expected to be there. But two of them, both of which made the playoffs last season, have been pretty major disappointments so far this season:
— The Islanders, with just five R/OT wins. Only the Sabres have fewer. What a letdown New York has been. I tweeted last night during the Isles’ 3-2 loss to Winnipeg that Jack Capuano “has absolutely rocketed to the top of the Next Coach Fired Power Rankings.” That’s pure speculation on my part, but how much longer can general manager Garth Snow watch his team slide? The Isles have now lost nine of their last 11 in regulation. They showed a bit of life in coming back to make it close against the Jets, but plays like this…
…have become all too common this season.
— Washington, with just seven R/OT wins. Today, Caps fans are thankful for family…friends…good health…but most of all, the shootout. What they’re not thankful for? Realignment. Last season, Washington went 15-3-0 versus a weak Southeast Division and 12-15-3 versus everyone else. Let’s face it: this is not a good team, let alone a Stanley Cup contender. Alex Ovechkin is a great goal-scorer and he puts people in the seats — from a business perspective, he’s earned his contract — but he’s not a 200-foot player, and recent history shows the importance of those types come playoff time. This is not a new question, but it still needs to be asked: Who’s going to be the Jonathan Toews/Patrice Bergeron/Anze Kopitar for the Caps? Because sorry, I don’t think it’s going to be Nicklas Backstrom, Mikhail Grabovski or Brooks Laich. And that’s not even mentioning the blue line.
Jaden Schwartz‘s third career hat trick helped power the St. Louis Blues over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 in a Central Division clash Wednesday night at Scottrade Center.
Schwartz’s eventful evening began with a goal 4:46 into the first period. It was nearly ended minutes later after a scary crash into the end boards following a scoring chance.
After missing some time, Schwartz returned in the second period and doubled the Blues’ lead with his fourth of a season, thanks to a great outlet pass from Allen.
As the Blues built up a 4-0 lead, the Blackhawks spoiled Allen’s shutout bid with a pair of late power play goals 80 seconds apart. The furious rally was stopped, however, and Schwartz capped off his hat trick with an empty netter to put the game out of reach.
St. Louis dominated the first two periods, outshooting the Blackhawks 26-8 as they built up their 2-0 lead. The Blackhawks’ power play failed them early in the game, missing out on five chances to capitalize with the extra man through 40 minutes.
The Montreal Canadiens play their second game of a three-game west coast trip Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Kings.
It hasn’t been the best start for the Habs, who sit tied for last in the Eastern Conference with a 1-4-1 record. They’re winless since an opening night win over the Buffalo Sabres. On the other side of things, the Kings are the only NHL team that has yet to lose in regulation. Their 4-0-1 start puts them a point behind the Vegas Golden Knights, and their game in-hand gives them the opportunity to leap into first place in the Pacific Division with a victory.
You can check out tonight’s game on NBCSN (10:30 p.m. ET) or online via the live stream.
Marleau is the 18th player in NHL history to reach the 1,500 game mark. Should he stay healthy and play the entire 82-game slate or close to that, he’ll enter the 2018-19 season 11th all-time in that category. Gordie Howe holds the record with 1,767 games played.
Health has helped the 38-year-old Marleau reach the mark in his 20th NHL season. He hasn’t missed a regular game since the 2008-09 season and hasn’t played fewer than 74 games in a full season in his entire career.
Marleau has gone from being the youngest player in the league to the sixth-oldest in the span of 20 years and considering his history of good health, better fitness regiments of players and treatment by training staffs, challenging Howe may not be a crazy idea.
Of course, that is unless Jaromir Jagr sticks around. If that happens then Marleau would likely have to settle for No. 2.
This week’s edition of NBCSN’s Rivalry Night will feature a central division clash between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues.
It’s still early days, but the two sides are battling atop the Central, with the Blackhawks powered by great starts from a number of players including Brandon Saad and Ryan Hartman. The Blues, meanwhile, are looking to halt a two-game skid after winning their first four games of the season. The game also features the return of NHL on NBC analyst Ed Olczyk to the booth.
You can check out tonight’s game on NBCSN (8 p.m. ET) or online via the live stream.