NHL Weekly Horoscopes: Week 2 welcomes Aquarius season

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The first week of NHL action is in the books and we’re entering the first Mercury retrograde of 2021. In the shadow period that’s always a bit of weirdness, and we’ve certainly seen that in the final days of Capricorn season.

With Aquarius season among us and Saturn in its home sign — Aquarius — it’s time to embrace everything quirky.

Stat Leaders

Jack Eichel, 6 points (Scorpio), Taylor Hall 6 points (Scorpio), John Tavares 6 points (Virgo), Mitch Marner 6 points (Taurus), Tomas Hertl 6 points (Scorpio)

Jack Eichel, 6 assists (Scorpio)

Oliver Bjorkstrand, 19 PIM (Aries)

Semyon Varlamov, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 Save % (Taurus)

EAST DIVISION

• Boston Bruins: Highest concentration in Taurus

Without a five on five goal in their first three games, Pisces Tuukka Rask has had his work cut out for him in net.

Horoscope: The start of Aquarius season flings Taurus’ tenth house of career into energy with Saturn, Jupiter, and Mercury also in Aquarius. Maybe this is the season things get moving.

Do: Score Don’t: Move the lines around

• Buffalo Sabres: Highest concentration in Sagittarius

Scorpio Taylor Hall has fit in early and been productive.

Horoscope: The next month will be huge for communication as Mercury enters Aquarius, joining Sagittarius’ ruling planet Jupiter.

Do: Take it in stride Don’t: Make assumptions

• Washington Capitals: Highest concentration in Taurus

The Capitals hot start offensively has been led by Sagittarius Nicklas Backstrom.

Horoscope: The Aquarius placements projects Taurus-heavy clubs to have more momentum than they’ve experienced in some time.

Do: Keep the pace Don’t: Get complacent

[Your 2020-21 NHL on NBC TV schedule]

• New York Rangers: Highest concentration in Aquarius

The Rangers are going to need more than a 4.01 goals against out of Capricorn goalie Igor Shesterkin.

Horoscope: It’s Aquarius season. Embrace the weird side. Sit Tony DeAngelo.

Do: Encourage practicality Don’t: Get cocky

• New York Islanders: Highest concentration in Aquarius

The defense and goaltending has done what they hoped for, and Cancer Anders Lee has started off well.

Horoscope: This is a good time for contemplation. Really evaluate your framing and message.

Do: Keep it up Don’t: Overanalyze offense

• New Jersey Devils: Highest concentration in Scorpio

Taurus Jack Hughes has performed the way you’d like to see a second-season top forward would.

Horoscope: The Sun entering Aquarius and the fourth house for Scorpio means it’s time to settle in and hunker down with what you have.

Do: Focus on defense Don’t: Ignore glaring issues

• Philadelphia Flyers: Highest concentration in Taurus

Before their poor showing Monday night, the Flyers had been, well, flying high behind Pisces Travis Konecny.

Horoscope: From now through February 20, expect a higher energy.

Do: Rebound Don’t: Lose control of emotions.

• Pittsburgh Penguins: Highest concentration in Leo/Taurus

Virgo Mark Jankowski has seen a surprisingly hot start.

Horoscope: Mercury entering Aquarius in retrograde could delay positive results, but they should still be expected.

Do: Get defensive Don’t: Get impatient

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CENTRAL DIVISION

• Detroit Red Wings: Highest concentration in Aquarius

Pisces Bobby Ryan has fit in nicely with the surprising Red Wings.

Horoscope: Mars joining Uranus in Taurus will be a settling energy for a team that has felt like it can’t inch closer in recent years.

Do: Take the positives Don’t: Lose long-term focus

• Tampa Bay Lightning: Highest concentration in Gemini

Aquarius Steven Stamkos is already off to a solid start as the Sun enters his sign.

Horoscope: Geminis should be excited for the sun to enter an air placement finally. The Gemini-focused Mercury joining the Sun in Aquarius is a positive.

Do: Keep rolling Don’t: Assume the worst

[PHT’s 2020-21 predictions: NHL Awards, first coach fired, free agent busts]

• Florida Panthers:  Highest concentration in Virgo

The Panthers schedule hasn’t quite gotten as rigorous as it will yet, but Gemini Jonathan Huberdeau has performed well.

Horoscope: The convergence in Aquarius should spark motivation in Virgos, but watch for overextending becoming overexerting quickly.

Do: Prioritize health Don’t: Do too much too soon

Carolina Hurricanes: Highest concentration in Cancer

Gemini Andrei Svechnikov has been the offensive leader in the first three games.

Horoscope: The Sun in an Air sign turns Cancers into a direction of intensity, but in a professional sense. Analyze opportunities.

Do: Stick with it Don’t: Look too far ahead

• Nashville Predators: Highest concentration in Gemini

A surprisingly strong start has been headed by two Fire signs in Sagittarius Luke Kunin and Leo Filip Forsberg.

Horoscope: The next month is all about growing, and the hot start for the Gemini-leaning Predators could be an indication of a stellar Air season to come.

Do: Embrace opportunity Don’t: Ignore flaws

• Dallas Stars: Highest concentration in Gemini and Cancer

The Stars are still yet to play a game.

Horoscope: As the Stars recover ahead of their first game, it’s worth noting Mars entering Taurus is a time to settle in and embrace your home base.

Do: Safety Don’t: Rush

• Chicago Blackhawks: Heaviest concentration in Aries

Sagittarius Alex DeBrincat has stepped up for the young Chicago roster.

Horoscope: Aries should use the Aquarius convergence time to experiment, just like Chicago has with young players.

Do: See what you have Don’t: Olds

• Columbus Blue Jackets: Heaviest concentration in Cancer

Cancer Pierre-Luc Dubois finally got on the scoreboard on Monday.

Horoscope: Mars mashup with Uranus in Taurus meets in Cancer’s 11th house which focuses on teamwork. Watch for a unified front.

Do: Focus on depth Don’t: Focus on the individual

Wild literally beat Kings in OT by a matter of inches, seconds
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WEST DIVISION

• Minnesota Wild: Highest concentration in Virgo and Cancer

Minnesota’s stellar start has been led by Taurus Kirill Kaprizov.

Horoscope: Saturn’s presence for Virgos is a sign to rely on your support network. Look for secondary scoring to keep up.

Do: Depth Don’t: Expectations

• St. Louis Blues: Highest concentration in Cancer and Aries

Gemini Oskar Sundqvist has been the offensive leader with two goals.

Horoscope: Seek out collaborations. With a high diversity output on the roster, this could be a time for the Blues depth scoring to be effective.

Do: Hype up the bottom six Don’t: Forget the leading scorers

[Bold predictions for the 2020-21 NHL season]

• Arizona Coyotes: Highest concentration in Leo

Libra Phil Kessel has been scoring at a torrid rate for the Coyotes.

Horoscope: An Aquarius Sun rests in the seventh house for Leos, which focuses on relationships and ideals. Don’t fall too quickly for smoke and mirrors.

Do: Ride the quick start Don’t: Get too idealistic

• San Jose Sharks: Highest concentration in Aries

Scorpio Tomas Hertl has helped the Sharks offense get on track.

Horoscope: Aquarius season is one where Aries should experiment. This is a potential launching pad, just don’t overextend too quickly.

Do: Rely on youth Don’t: Assume too much

• Vegas Golden Knights: Highest concentration in Leo

Taurus Mark Stone has three assists in his first pair of games.

Horoscope: This is a good time for Leos to figure out their expectations and lay them out. In a short season, there’s no time to waste.

Do: Position yourself Don’t: Fall into an early hole

• Anaheim Ducks: Heaviest concentration in Aquarius

Capricorn Max Comtois has starred early on with three tallies.

Horoscope: Uranus and Mars haven’t been aligned in Taurus in this fashion since 1942. It’s the opportunity to take risks and be radical.

Do: Believe in your youth Don’t: Sit around and do nothing

• Los Angeles Kings: Highest concentration in Libra

Capricorn Jeff Carter has been the Kings sparkplug.

Horoscope: The Aquarius quartet gives Libras a period of boosted confidence and, being in the fifth house for Libras, a chance to have some fun.

Do: Enjoy the ride Don’t: Stay stagnant

• Colorado Avalanche: Highest concentration in Scorpio 

Thus far, the Avalanche haven’t fallen into the habits of sticking to their top players too much, but expect Sagitarrius Nathan MacKinnon to break out soon.

Horoscope: Aquarius season is the time of the year to gather — safely, it’s still a pandemic — and rely on your network. Rely on your best guys to be your best guys.

Do: Appreciate your ol reliables Don’t: Get complacent

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NORTH DIVISION

• Vancouver Canucks: Heaviest concentration in Cancer and Libra

Libra Quinn Hughes has generated the most offense, coming from the blue line.

Horoscope: Mars and Jupiter crossing can create a sense of mistrust in the air. The Canucks haven’t lit the world on fire early, so maybe it’s time to keep lines together for an extended period.

Do: Secondary scoring Don’t: Rely on the defense

• Calgary Flames: Heaviest concentration in Pisces

Sagittarius Matthew Tkachuk has tallied twice early.

Horoscope: The solar cycle approaches its end with Aquarius season settling into the start of the Pisces reign. Let go off old grudges, focus on the future.

Do: Project long-term Don’t: Stick to old habits

Edmonton Oilers: Heaviest concentration in Cancer and Libra

Capricorn Connor McDavid and Leo Leon Draisaitl have started the way anyone would expect.

Horoscope: The Oilers results and talent haven’t always lined up. Rushing expectations can create an environment of distrust for Cancers. There’s urgency, but don’t overdo it.

Do: Intensity Don’t: Too much intensity

• Winnipeg Jets: Heaviest concentration in Aries

Aries Patrik Laine made a statement in his first game.

Horoscope: Mars moving into Taurus rests in the second house for Aries, which could indicate some clashing up ahead.

Do: High-energy Don’t: Get exhausted

• Ottawa Senators: Heaviest concentration in Pisces

Virgo Brady Tkachuk and his Senators might surprise some teams early.

Horoscope: Entering the Pisces twelfth house with the start of an Aquarius Sun cycle, there could be some deep healing. Maybe that means some cathartic wins.

Do: Buy into the hype Don’t: Obsess about the past

• Montreal Canadiens: Heaviest concentration in Leo and Taurus

Sagittarius Tomas Tatar has seen rewards early this season.

Horoscope: Mars in Taurus sparks plenty of ideals, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Evaluate energy.

Do: Adapt to changes Don’t: Get caught up with time

• Toronto Maple Leafs: Heaviest concentration in Gemini

Virgo John Tavares and Taurus Mitch Marner have the Leafs in a good early position.

Horoscope: The Mars – Uranus conversion in Taurus is an opportunity to focus on autonomy and ignore any signs of slowing down.

Do: Take all opportunities Don’t: Spiral

Marisa Ingemi is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop her a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi.

Kraken add some size, acquire Jaycob Megna from San Jose

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SEATTLE — The Seattle Kraken acquired defenseman Jaycob Megna from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2023 fourth-round draft pick.

Megna is in the midst of his best season with 12 points in 48 games for the Sharks while averaging more than 19 minutes per game.

“Jaycob has shown with his play this season that he is a responsible defenseman that can be relied on in all situations,” Seattle general manager Ron Francis said. “He provides welcome depth to our defensive group and we are happy to have him join our organization.”

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Megna will add some size and bulk to Seattle’s lineup. Megna ranked fifth for San Jose in both blocked shots and hits.

Megna previously played for Anaheim for parts of three seasons between 2016-19. The 48 games played this season is a career-high for the 30-year-old.

Seattle is tied for the lead in the Pacific Division and will return from the All-Star break beginning against the New York Islanders.

Islanders sign Bo Horvat to 8-year deal after trading for him

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The New York Islanders signed center Bo Horvat to an eight-year contract less than a week after acquiring him in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks.

The team announced the contract after their first practice following the All-Star break. Horvat’s deal is worth $68 million and carries a $8.5 million salary cap hit through the 2030-31 season.

General manager Lou Lamoriello joked to reporters at practice on Long Island that Horvat’s contract was “too long and it’s too much money.”

The Islanders sent forward Anthony Beauvillier, prospect Aatu Raty and a protected first-round pick to the Canucks for Horvat . He was set to be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and the trade was a result of Vancouver and Horvat’s camp being unable to reach a deal last summer.

Lamoriello and Horvat expressed confidence about getting a deal done after the trade. The 27-year-old has scored more than 30 goals for a second consecutive season.

Horvat was chosen as an All-Star and played for the Pacific Division despite the trade. He played with longtime Canucks teammate Elias Pettersson and combined on one last goal together before parting ways.

“I want to get going,” Horvat said after the All-Star 3-on-3 tournament. “That’s enough. Let’s start playing some games and getting to know the guys. I just want to start playing hockey again.”

Horvat was on vacation with his family in Orlando when he was traded. He said coach Lane Lambert wanted him to enjoy All-Star festivities before getting rolling with the Islanders, who play at the Philadelphia Flyers.

“Obviously getting my legs under me is going to be No. 1 and getting systems down and obviously chemistry with the new linemates and stuff like that,” Horvat said.

After facing the Flyers and Seattle, Horvat will play against his former team when Vancouver visits UBS Arena.

Bruins rolling, rest of NHL making final push for playoffs

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SUNRISE, Fla. — Bruce Cassidy’s Vegas Golden Knights lost eight of 10 games going into the All-Star break after leading the Pacific Division at the midway point of the NHL season.

They’re still safely in a playoff spot in the Western Conference, but they can’t keep it up.

“We’re still in a good position – that’s the way we look at it,” Cassidy said. “There’s not too many teams that can cruise home the last 30 games in this league, and we’re certainly not one of them.”

Cassidy’s old team, the Boston Bruins, probably could. They’re atop the NHL and running away with the Atlantic Division.

With 39 wins and 83 points through 51 games, Boston is on pace to break the record for the best regular season in NHL history. The Carolina Hurricanes, who beat Boston in seven games in the first round last year, are next in the standings at 76 points.

“Top to bottom, there’s no weaknesses,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said.

The Bruins are in a class of their own, but the playoff races behind them in the East and West should be hot down the stretch with roughly 30 games to go before the chase for the Stanley Cup begins.

METROPOLITAN DIVISION

The Hurricanes rode a seven-game winning streak into the break, putting some fear into the Bruins in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy and home-ice advantage through the postseason. Winger Max Pacioretty re-tearing his right Achilles tendon five games into his return didn’t slow them down, and if their goaltending holds up, Carolina stands a good chance of reaching the East final.

“This team, it’s a special group of guys,” said Brind’Amour, who captained Carolina to the Cup in 2006 and is in his fifth year as coach. “We kind of show that nightly. It’s just very consistent, and they take their job real serious. They do it right.”

The second-place New Jersey Devils are contending for the first time since 2018. Bottoming out the next season helped them win the lottery for No. 1 pick Jack Hughes, a two-time All-Star who has them winning ahead of schedule.

“Much better than being out of the mix,” Hughes said. “We’re really excited because it’s going to be a lot of important hockey, and it’s going to be really competitive and we’re really pumped to be where we are.”

They’re followed by the New York Rangers, Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders. All three New York-area teams could make it, which was the expectation for the Rangers after reaching the East final last year.

“I think the run last year really taught us a few things and stuff that we obviously could build on for the rest of this year,” 2021 Norris-Trophy winning defenseman Adam Fox said.

ATLANTIC

The Rangers lost to the Lightning in six games last spring, when two-time champion Tampa Bay reached the Stanley Cup Final for the third consecutive season before getting beat by the Colorado Avalanche.

The Lightning are almost certain to face the Toronto Maple Leafs – who haven’t won a playoff series since the NHL salary cap era began in 2005 – in the first round and remain a threat to the Bruins.

But Boston has separated itself despite starting the season without top left winger Brad Marchand and No. 1 defenseman Charlie McAvoy. The Bruins have lost only 12 games under new coach Jim Montgomery.

“You just keep winning,” said All-Star right winger David Pastrnak, who’s tied for third in the league in scoring. “Every single line and every single guy is going and it obviously builds our confidence. It’s funny sometimes what confidence can do in hockey.”

The Islanders should have some more confidence after acquiring 30-goal scorer Bo Horvat from Vancouver, but still need to make up ground to get in.

CENTRAL

Defending champion Colorado climbed in the standings – winning seven of eight going into the break despite an injury-riddled first half of the season. Captain Gabriel Landeskog still has not made his season debut since undergoing knee surgery. It would be foolish to bet against the Avs coming out of the West again.

“It’s up to us: We control our own fate,” All-Star center Nathan MacKinnon said. “We need to definitely keep playing the way we were before the break. No matter who’s in the lineup we were playing well, playing hard, so it would definitely help with healthy bodies.”

They still trail the Dallas Stars, Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild in the Central, and the Nashville Predators are on their heels. Only the Stars and Jets are essentially guaranteed a spot.

“Every point, you grind for it,” Stars leading scorer Jason Robertson said. “Every point’s going to be a dog fight, so it’s going to be a fun 30 games down the stretch.”

PACIFIC

Undisputed MVP favorite Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers, who were swept by Colorado in the West final, have a little bit of catching up to do in the Pacific Division.

The top spot is held by the Seattle Kraken, who surprisingly are on pace to make the playoffs in their second season but still need to fend off the Los Angeles Kings and the Vegas Golden Knights.

Edmonton – and the Battle of Alberta rival Calgary Flames – have the talent to not only get in but make a run. McDavid leads the league with 41 goals and 92 points, 16 more than No. 2 scorer and teammate Leon Draisaitl, and is producing unlike anyone since Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux in the mid-1990s.

Now he’ll try to carry the Oilers into the playoffs and beyond.

“It hasn’t been easy at all for our group. We’ve kind of had to battle for everything that we’ve got,” McDavid said. “We’ve always been a second-half team for whatever reason. Even since my first year, we’ve always been better in the second half, so we’ll definitely look to continue that. That being said, we’re not going to hang our hat on that and expect that to carry us to the playoffs. There’s a lot of work to be done.”

Capitals sign Sonny Milano to 3-year, $5.7 million extension

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ARLINGTON, Va. — The Washington Capitals signed winger Sonny Milano to a three-year extension worth $5.7 million.

General manager Brian MacLellan announced the contract, adding to an already busy All-Star break for taking care of future business. The Capitals extended forward Dylan Strome for five years, $25 million.

Like Strome, Milano has fit in as a new addition for Washington. He’s now set to count $1.9 million against the salary cap through the 2025-26 season.

The 26-year-old Milano has been a near-perfect bargain signing for the Capitals after joining them on an NHL veteran one-year deal after this season got underway. He has eight goals and 14 assists for 22 points in 40 games since getting called up from Hershey of the American Hockey League.

Originally drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets 16th in 2014, Milano split his first eight seasons in the league with them and the Anaheim Ducks. He went unsigned as an unrestricted free agent last summer despite putting up 34 points in 66 games with Anaheim.