This Week in the NHL: 119 Days Later, it’s Finally Back
Teams of the Week:
Photo courtesy of seatgeek.com
1. Chicago Blackhawks (6-0-0)- Off to their best start in franchise history. These Blackhawks are reminiscent of the 2009-2010 Stanley Cup Champions. Goalie Corey Crawford has made an early statement to doubters with a 5-0 record, 1.78 goals-against-average and a .933 save percentage. Forward Patrick Kane is also off to the best start of his career with 9 points (2 goals and 7 assists) in 6 games.
2. San Jose Sharks (5-0-0)- The only other team without a loss, San Jose is finally looking like a team poised to challenge for the Stanley Cup. Linemates Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have both started off red hot and are on pace for 124.8 points each over 48 games. The Sharks are second in the league in goals per game, averaging 4.6 a contest, while ranking first in goals against with only a 1.6 average. They also put up a 6-spot on the Oilers in the first period of the second game of the season, asserting their dominance early.
3. St. Louis Blues (5-1-0)- After making the Conference Semifinals last year, ultimately losing to the Stanley Cup Champions L.A. Kings, St. Louis has picked up right where they left off. Their lone loss this season came against the Blackhawks, but other than that they have been playing terrific hockey. This team is so deep up front that it’s scary, headlined by Chris Stewart’s 4 goals on the young season while playing on the third line.
Players of the Week:
1. Patrick Marleau (San Jose Sharks)- A gritty 33-year-old veteran, Marleau leads the NHL with nine goals and 13 points, and became the second player in NHL history and first since Cy Denneny in 1917-1918 (Ottawa) to record 4 consecutive multi-goal games to begin a season. He is the first player in Sharks history to find the back of the net in each of the team’s first five games of a season and the first player on any team to do so since 2008.
Weekly Statistics: 9 goals, 4 assists, 13 points
2. Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay Lightning)- St. Louis, another crafty veteran at 37 years of age, is tied for second in the NHL with eight assists and ranks third with 11 points as he has helped the Lightning win 4 of its first 5 games. He scored twice, including the game winner, and added an assist in a 6-3 win against the Capitals and recorded a goal and an assist in their lone loss to the Islanders. He closed the week with four assists in a 5-1 win over the Flyers on Sunday.
3. Craig Anderson (Ottawa Senators)- Anderson has surprised many at the beginning of the season as he holds a 0.74 GAA through 4 games, going 3-0-1, and has saved 116 of the 119 shots against him for a .975 save percentage. After giving up a goal in the Senators’ season-opening win against the Jets, Anderson posted back-to-back wins against the Panthers, recording a shutout in one of the contests. He gave one goal in regulation and overtime against the Penguins on Sunday, but the Senators and Anderson finally succumbed in the shootout, losing 2-1.
Number of the Week:
900- Patrik Elias of the New Jersey Devils reached the 900-point mark for his NHL career when he recorded the last of his three points in a game against Montreal, an assist on the game-tying goal by Dainius Zubrus in the third period. Elias, who has spent his entire NHL career with New Jersey, is one of three active players to have scored 900 or more points all for one team, joining Daniel Alfredsson and Jarome Iginla.
Moment of the Week:
After getting embarrassed by the St. Louis Blues in their season opener, the Detroit Red Wings went into a shootout with the Columbus Blue Jackets. In the 4th round, Swedish rookie Damien Brunner started off left of the goal, brought it back across the middle, dangled the puck in front of the goalie, brought the puck back to his left to avoid a poke check, and slid the puck in between the outstretched pad of the goalie and the post to give the shootout win to Detroit.