NHL Horoscopes Week 9: New moon approaching

A nice Pisces new moon this week in the middle of Pisces season should bring some relaxing energy ahead of Aries season, but the Gemini Mars cycle is set to make everything just a little messier for sure.

Teams are doing a solid job creating their own cosmic luck — or messes — but the changing of the stars always means there’s room for more.

Stat Leaders

Connor McDavid: 45 points, 30 assists (Capricorn)
Auston Matthews: 18 goals (Virgo)
Erik Gudbranson: 39 PIM (Capricorn)
Andrei Vasilevskiy: .939 Save % (Cancer)

EAST DIVISION

• Boston Bruins: Highest concentration in Taurus

Sagittarius Charlie McAvoy continues to be the bright spot on defense.

Horoscope: The Taurus cycle is relatively quiet now until the moon next week. Look for peace.

Do: Any secondary scoring Don’t: Get too physical

• Buffalo Sabres: Highest concentration in Sagittarius

Still an NHL team.

Horoscope: A Pisces new moon at the end of the week is sure to affect Sagittarius’ but the Sabres need more help than that.

Do: Idk not this x2 Don’t: I mean what is there to say

• Washington Capitals: Highest concentration in Taurus

A newsworthy week for Gemini Tom Wilson!

Horoscope: The changing Taurus cycle hasn’t been the best for one Tom Wilson.

Do: Offensive chemistry Don’t: Bad hits

[Your 2020-21 NHL on NBC TV schedule]

• New York Rangers: Highest concentration in Aquarius

Libra rookie Alexis Lafrenière is coming around.

Horoscope: There’s an Aquarius moon on Wednesday and it’s everyone’s problem.

Do: Rookies Don’t: Fall behind

• New York Islanders: Highest concentration in Aquarius

Here come the Islanders! Leo goalie Ilya Sorokin has performed well when called upon.

Horoscope: This year’s Aquarius Mercury has really worked in the Islanders favor.

Do: Get offense moving Don’t: Stagnate up top.

• New Jersey Devils: Highest concentration in Scorpio

Well, Taurus Jack Hughes has played pretty well.

Horoscope: This should be a quiet week for Scorpios, which could be good or bad for the Devils.

Do: Mackenzie Blackwood Don’t: Lose defensive edge

• Philadelphia Flyers: Highest concentration in Taurus

Gemini goalie Carter Hart has to show more.

Horoscope: We’re still in Taurus Uranus for a long time yet, so it’s as a good a time as any to keep creative.

Do: Joel Farabee Don’t: Get impatient with goalies

• Pittsburgh Penguins: Highest concentration in Leo/Taurus

Leo Evgeni Malkin is starting to play really well.

Horoscope: This is a stagnant time for Leos. Try to find your own energy, especially in an environment when it’s tough to feed off others’ energy.

Do: Defense and goaltending Don’t: Drop overtimes

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CENTRAL DIVISION

• Detroit Red Wings: Highest concentration in Aquarius

Pisces Bobby Ryan has been a good story.

Horoscope: There’s time yet in this Mercury cycle to get creative and fun.

Do: Get that power play going Don’t: Falter hard

• Tampa Bay Lightning: Highest concentration in Gemini

Cancer Mikhail Sergachev has made huge strides this season.

Horoscope: Welcome to Gemini Mars season, where focusing is a challenge. Try to ignore that trait and keep locked in.

Do: Defense defense defense Don’t: Assume too much

[NHL Power Rankings: Fleury, Stone drive Golden Knights to top]

• Florida Panthers:  Highest concentration in Virgo

Virgo Aleksander Barkov has been downright dominant this season.

Horoscope: The Pisces new moon is sure to have an affect on Virgos. Make some commitments for the long-term in this cycle.

Do: Dominant best players Don’t: Over rely on goalies.

Carolina Hurricanes: Highest concentration in Cancer

Cancer Vincent Trocheck is playing some of the best hockey of his career.

Horoscope: A quiet time for Cancers yet the Hurricanes keep trudging along.

Do: Offensive breakouts Don’t: Succumb to tough schedule

• Nashville Predators: Highest concentration in Gemini

It’s almost selling season!

Horoscope: This Mars cycle has the potential to be real disjointed, which could be dangerous for a team that needs a rebuild.

Do: Trades Don’t: Not trading bad contracts

• Dallas Stars: Highest concentration in Gemini and Cancer

Perhaps it’s injuries, but nothing is going right for the Stars of late.

Horoscope: Every time a cycle says the Stars will get back on track they do everything they can to deny it.

Do: Scoring Don’t: Spiral

• Chicago Blackhawks: Heaviest concentration in Aries

Sagittarius Alex DeBrincat has continued to be a bright spot.

Horoscope: This week’s Aries moon could give Chicago a nice little short-term boost.

Do: Top line Don’t: Ignore the need for secondary scoring

• Columbus Blue Jackets: Heaviest concentration in Cancer

It’s starting to feel a bit out of reach for the Blue Jackets.

Horoscope: Cancer coach John Tortorella recently got a vote of confidence but they are going to need more than that.

Do: Some sort of change Don’t: Overcommit

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WEST DIVISION

• Minnesota Wild: Highest concentration in Virgo and Cancer

It’s still the Kirill Kaprizov Show in Minnesota. The Taurus rookie has been outstanding.

Horoscope: This week’s Pisces moon should give them a nice little boost.

Do: Kaprizov Don’t: Fall off

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

Sagittarius Vladimir Tarasenko is back and that’s really good news.

Horoscope: Turns out the Blues just needed to get their best scorers to star scoring. Should be a nice Aries moon cycle for them.

Do: Offense Don’t: Lose track

• Arizona Coyotes: Highest concentration in Leo

Pisces Conor Garland is pretty impressive overall.

Horoscope: This should be a restful time for Leos but that’s almost never the case for the Coyotes.

Do: Consistent scoring Don’t: Lose consistency from young players

• San Jose Sharks: Highest concentration in Aries

Well, Aries Logan Couture has been good.

Horoscope: This has just been a bad time for the Sharks.

Do: Focus on the future Don’t: Idk any of this

• Vegas Golden Knights: Highest concentration in Leo

Sagittarius Marc-Andre Fleury is having a Vezina-like season.

Horoscope: The Knights are so talented everything just seems to click for them no matter what the stars say should be.

Do: Marc-Andre Fleury Don’t: Ignore safety

• Anaheim Ducks: Heaviest concentration in Aquarius

If the Ducks were better, Capricorn Max Comtois would be getting some serious hype.

Horoscope: This has been the most Aquarius type of season ever for the most Aquarius team in the league, which tracks with the Mercury cycle.

Do: Young players Don’t: Keep surrendering leads

• Los Angeles Kings: Highest concentration in Libra

The older players have been solid but Virgo Adrian Kempe has really stepped it up.

Horoscope: A weird time for Libras and the Kings are a pretty weird team.

Do: Just keep going for it Don’t: Forget progress

• Colorado Avalanche: Highest concentration in Scorpio 

Virgo Nathan MacKinnon made a much needed return to the lineup.

Horoscope: As players come back from injury, the Avs really don’t need any more cosmic hype anyways.

Do: Best players back Don’t: Lose depth

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NORTH DIVISION

• Vancouver Canucks: Heaviest concentration in Cancer and Libra

Some of it is scheduling related but it feels almost impossible for the Canucks to have time to turn things around.

Horoscope: It feels kind of too late for the Canucks, honestly.

Do: Defensive issues Don’t: Drop games you should win (yeah I know that’s obvious)

• Calgary Flames: Heaviest concentration in Pisces

Leo Darryl Sutter took over behind the bench this week.

Horoscope: This has been a rough go of it during Pisces season, and now a coaching change is the result.

Do: Beat the teams you have to beat Don’t: Overreact

Edmonton Oilers: Heaviest concentration in Cancer and Libra

Taurus Jesse Puljujarvi has really come around this season.

Horoscope: This should be a quieter week for the Oilers all around which maybe they need after rough showings with the Leafs.

Do: Best players Don’t: Fall behind the only good team in the divsion too far

• Winnipeg Jets: Heaviest concentration in Aries

Are the Jets actually good? Well, Pisces Mark Schiefele is having a really strong campaign.

Horoscope: The Jets resilience this season has been pretty remarkable. This moon cycle could help them too.

Do: Offensive surge Don’t: Fall down further

• Ottawa Senators: Heaviest concentration in Pisces

If their on the ice play hasn’t been entertaining enough, the chaos they cause in the North sure is.

Horoscope: Weird Pisces season and a weird Senators team it all makes sense.

Do: Keep spoiling the other teams Don’t: Get caught up in everyone else

• Montreal Canadiens: Heaviest concentration in Leo and Taurus

Taurus Tyler Toffoli remains one of the positives in the scoring department.

Horoscope: Kind of a weird vibe right now.

Do: Secondary scoring Don’t: Panic

• Toronto Maple Leafs: Heaviest concentration in Gemini

Aquarius Justin Holl is having one of the most underrated seasons in the league.

Horoscope: Another solid week for Geminis and another week where the Leafs look ridiculously good against their competition.

Do: Go on a roll Don’t: Let worse teams bring you down

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.

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    Former Bruins coach Cassidy wins; Boston’s home streak ends

    Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
    1 Comment

    BOSTON — The Vegas Golden Knights made former Boston coach Bruce Cassidy’s return a success on Reilly Smith‘s score in the fifth round of the shootout, beating the Bruins 4-3 to end their NHL-record for home victories to open a season at 14 games.

    The 57-year-old Cassidy was fired by Boston following 5 1/2 seasons in June after the Bruins were eliminated by Carolina in the opening round of the playoffs.

    Eight days after he was let go, he was hired by Vegas.

    In a matchup of two of the league’s top three teams, Western conference-leading Vegas opened a 3-0 lead early in the second period on two goals by Paul Cotter and the other by Jonathan Marchessault before the Bruins started their comeback when Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak scored just over six minutes apart late in the period.

    They tied it on Taylor Hall‘s power-play goal 3:08 into the third when he spun in front and slipped a shot from the slot past goalie Logan Thompson.

    Smith had the only score in the shootout, slipping a forehand shot past goalie Jeremy Swayman.

    Cassidy took over as Boston’s interim coach on Feb. 7, 2016, before getting the head job that April. His teams made the playoffs all six seasons, including a trip to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final when they lost the seventh game at home against St. Louis.

    Cassidy knows what it sounds like in TD Garden with The Standells’ song “Dirty Water” blaring after Bruins’ wins.

    “Now that you brought it up, I’m used to hearing “Dirty Water” at the end of the game,” he said, smiling. “I’m glad I didn’t hear it tonight. The streak is irrelevant to me. It’s nice to come in and play well.”

    Boston lost for just the second time in 12 games.

    “This locker room sticks together, and we knew we were going to do something special tonight,” Swayman said. “It (stinks) losing, but we’re going to make sure we fix the problems.”

    The Bruins’ home-opening streak broke the record of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

    Before the shootout, Thompson made 40 saves. Boston’s backup Swayman had 21.

    “This city meant a lot to him, and he was fired up ready to go,” Thompson said of Cassidy. “We went out there and tried to get him two points tonight.”

    Cotter collected William Karlsson‘s pass inside the left circle and unloaded a wrister under the crossbar 1:36 into the game.

    Marchessault stole Pastrnak’s attempted clearing pass, broke in alone and tucked in his own rebound to make it 2-0.

    Cotter’s second came 51 seconds into the second period when he slipped a wrister past Swayman’s glove.

    “We couldn’t get it done early, before the shootout. We had chances,” Pastrnak said. “It’s a tough one to swallow.”

    Vegas star forward Jack Eichel missed the game with a lower-body injury.

    TRIBUTE

    The Bruins played a video montage of Cassidy on the Jumbotron late in the opening period that ended with a picture of him and said: “Welcome back, Bruce.”

    The crowd gave him a nice ovation and he waved thanking them.

    “It’s a really nice gesture by the Bruins’ organization,” he said. “I appreciate it. I said all along that I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. I’m thankful they did it.”

    FOR THE RECORD

    Cassidy finished tied for third on the Bruins’ coaching list with Hall of Famer Milt Schmidt (1955-66) at 245 victories, behind Claude Julien’s (2008-17) 419 and Art Ross (1925-45) with 387.

    EXTRA SPECIAL TEAMS

    The Bruins entered the game ranked second in the league both with their power play (29.6%) and penalty killing (84.1%).

    UP NEXT

    Golden Knights: Host the New York Rangers.

    Bruins: At the Colorado Avalanche.

    Penguins plot a way forward as Letang recovers from stroke

    kris letang
    Kyle Ross/USA TODAY Sports
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    PITTSBURGH — Kris Letang returned to the ice on Thursday, just three days after suffering the second stroke of his career.

    The “twirl” the longtime Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman took at the club’s practice facility was approved by team doctors, a spin designed to help Letang’s mental health and nothing else. While the 35-year-old remains upbeat, it remains far too early to put a timeline on when his familiar No. 58 will return to the lineup.

    Though Pittsburgh general manager Ron Hextall indicated this stroke isn’t as severe as the one Letang endured in 2014 – when a hole in the wall of his heart led to a stroke that forced him to miss two months – the six-time All-Star is continuing to undergo tests.

    There are no plans for Letang to participate in any sort of hockey-specific drills anytime soon, with coach Mike Sullivan stressing the club will “err on the side of caution” when it comes to whatever rehab Letang might need.

    While Letang – one of the most well-conditioned players in the NHL – essentially went through the motions by himself, his teammates were 30 minutes south at PPG Paints Arena getting ready for a visit from Vegas and trying to plot a way forward without one of the franchise cornerstones, at least in the short term.

    Letang made it a point to help break the news to the rest of the Penguins following a 3-2 overtime loss to Carolina on Tuesday. Pittsburgh scratched Letang from the lineup with an unspecified illness and he spent a portion of the game watching from the press box next to Hextall.

    Afterward, Letang informed a somber locker room about his condition, a revelation that came as a shock even as he did his best to reassure those around him that he was and is OK.

    “It’s very serious health stuff,” defenseman Chad Ruhwedel said. “You hear about strokes and it’s never really good so we’re just glad to see he’s doing well and everything is good with him.”

    Sullivan understands it would be practically impossible for any of the other defensemen on the roster to replicate what Letang brings to the ice, so he’s not going to ask any one player to try. There are few players at the position in the NHL who have Letang’s mix of speed, skill and almost bottomless energy.

    The highest-scoring defenseman in franchise history is averaging a team-best 23:54 of ice time and has long been a fixture on the power play and in just about every crucial late-game situation.

    “I just think Tanger is not an easy guy to replace,” Sullivan said. “I don’t think from a tactical standpoint things change drastically. It’s just personnel based. But as you know, personnel can mean a lot in those types of situations.”

    It’s more than that, however. This isn’t a routine injury. There’s an emotional component and an unknown element to Letang’s status even as the Penguins insist they don’t believe his condition is career-threatening.

    “This is a whole different circumstance than an ankle injury or a shoulder injury,” Sullivan said. “This is a very different circumstance.”

    Letang’s on-ice presence is just one aspect of his importance to a team that has never missed the playoffs since he made his debut in 2007. He’s become a mentor to younger teammates like 23-year-old defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph, who like Letang is French-Canadian and who, like Letang, plays with a graceful fluidity.

    Joseph, who declined to get into specifics about Letang’s message to the team on Tuesday night, believes the best thing the Penguins can do during Letang’s absence is attack the game with the same passion he’s shown for 17 seasons and counting.

    “The way he plays for the team every single night and the way he puts his heart and soul into the game on the ice, it’s the least we can do is have our thoughts of him whenever we get on the ice,” Joseph said.

    Sullivan shuffled the lineup on Tuesday, elevating veteran Jeff Petry and Brian Dumoulin to the top defensive pair. Petry possesses a skillset that’s not too far removed from Letang’s, but it’s also his first year in Pittsburgh. Asking him to provide the leadership that’s innate to Letang is unfair. It’s one of the reasons Sullivan is insistent that it will take a group effort to fill in for a singular presence.

    “We have some diversity on our blue line right now,” Sullivan said. “We feel like we have guys capable of stepping in and getting the job done for us and we’re going to try and do that.”

    LA Kings put goaltender Cal Petersen on waivers

    Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
    3 Comments

    LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings put goaltender Cal Petersen on waivers, a surprising move for a player once considered the successor in net to two-time Stanley Cup winner Jonathan Quick.

    Petersen, 28, went on waivers the day after allowing four goals on 16 shots in relief of Quick during a 9-8 overtime loss to the Seattle Kraken. Quick was pulled after giving up five goals on 14 shots.

    Only one NHL goalie has a save percentage lower than Petersen’s .868 this season, Elvis Merzlikins of the Columbus Blue Jackets with .864. Petersen is 5-3-2 in 10 games with a 3.75 goals-against average in his third full season with the Kings and fifth overall.

    L.A. signed Petersen to a three-year, $15 million contract in September 2021, and he figured to take the starting job from Quick, who turns 37 in January and is set to be a free agent after the season. Petersen has two years left on that deal after this one at an annual salary cap hit of $5 million.

    Penguins’ Kris Letang out indefinitely after 2nd stroke

    Kris Letang Penguins
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    PITTSBURGH — Kris Letang plays hockey with a grace and inexhaustible fluidity seemingly impervious to the rigors of spending nearly half his life in the NHL.

    For the second time in less than a decade, however, a major health scare has brought Letang’s career to a halt.

    The 35-year-old Letang is out indefinitely after suffering a stroke for a second time. Letang reported feeling ill and was taken to the hospital, where tests confirmed the stroke.

    While general manager Ron Hextall said Wednesday this stroke doesn’t appear to be as serious as the one Letang sustained in 2014, the Penguins will have to find a way forward at least in the short term without one of their franchise pillars.

    “I am fortunate to know my body well enough to recognize when something isn’t right,” Letang said in a release. “While it is difficult to navigate this issue publicly, I am hopeful it can raise awareness. … I am optimistic that I will be back on the ice soon.”

    The three-time Stanley Cup champion missed more than two months in 2014 after a stroke, which doctors determined was caused by a small hole in the wall of his heart. He spent Monday feeling off and told team trainers he was dealing with what Hextall described as a migraine headache.

    Penguins team physician Dr. Dhamesh Vyas recommended Letang go to the hospital, where tests confirmed the stroke.

    “He didn’t know (he had a stroke),” Hextall said. “He just knew something wasn’t right.”

    Letang is continuing to undergo tests but felt well enough on Tuesday to be at the arena for Pittsburgh’s 3-2 overtime loss to Carolina. He spent the second period chatting with Hextall then addressed his teammates in the locker room afterward in an effort to help allay their concerns.

    “I think it was important for Kris to be there because his teammates got to see him in good spirits and that he’s doing well,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.

    Sullivan added initial test results on Letang have been “very encouraging.” Letang will continue to undergo testing throughout the week, though he felt good enough in the aftermath to ask Sullivan and Hextall if he could skate, an activity that is off the table for now.

    Hextall said he “couldn’t even guess” how long the Penguins may be without the married father of two, adding hockey is low on the team’s list of concerns about a player who, along with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, has helped the franchise to three Stanley Cups during his 17-year career.

    “First and foremost this is about the person and I told Tanger about that last night,” Hextall said. “This is Kris Letang, the father and family guy, the Pittsburgh Penguins, that’s second.”

    Letang, a six-time All-Star, has been one of the most durable players in the NHL. His 662 career points (145 goals, 517 assists) are a franchise record for a defenseman. He’s averaged well over 24 minutes of playing time over the course of his career, a number that’s ticked above 25 minutes per game seven times in eight-plus seasons since he returned from the initial stroke.

    The Penguins felt so confident in Letang’s durability that they signed him to a six-year contract over the summer rather than let him test free agency for the first time.

    “The level of hockey he’s played for as long as he’s played is absolutely incredible,” Hextall said. “The level he’s continued to play at at his age, the type of shape he’s in … he’s a warrior.”

    Letang has one goal and 11 assists in 21 games so far this season for Pittsburgh, which hosts Vegas on Thursday night. The Penguins are pretty deep along the blue line, but Sullivan knows he can’t try to replace Letang with any one player.

    “It’s not anything we haven’t been faced with in the past and the reality is we have what we have, and we’ll figure it out,” Sullivan said, adding “it’ll be by committee, as it usually is when you replace a player of that stature.”