For some teams, it’s been a roller coaster of a season. For others, it’s been a steady ride. There are many who can say they’ve seen both of those this year. In just a few months we’ve seen some dramatic changes for a few teams, like the Canucks from terrible to pretty decent, or the Leafs from amazing to meh. So let’s take a minute to see where we’re at tonight.
Last 10: 9-1-0
Currently sitting at second in the league standings, the Capitals are one of the most consistent teams. They’ve faced COVID, injuries, and suspensions and have battled through all of them. Most recently, Tom Wilson was suspended 7 games for a bad hit against Brandon Carlo. In those 7 games, the Caps are 7-0-0. They’ve also found themselves in a predicament as Daniel Sprong has proven to be an excellent addition to the roster. Sprong has notched 2 goals and an assist in just the last 5 games when averaging 12 minutes per game.
Backstrom has been the runaway MVP this year. He has 33 points in 30 games and has only 2 fewer goals than Ovi himself. He’s been the driving force behind the Caps’ 7 game win streak. They’ve been on a roll lately, we’ll see if they can hold off the Rangers again tonight.
Colorado & Carolina
Last 10: 8-1-1
The Avalanche have been high-scoring this week. Their lowest score was 4-1 against the Kings, only going up from there. They scored 8 times on Tuesday, 5 on Thursday, and 6 this afternoon. No one’s questioned their ability since before last season, but they’re playing like they have everything to prove. There isn’t even an argument that they haven’t been playing good teams. The Ducks have the worst record of the last 4 teams they’ve played, and the Wild had the same record as the Avs until yesterday. They still beat the snot out of both teams. I see them winning their division.
The Hurricanes are a team I’ve forgotten about a few times this season. Clearly, not because they’re doing poorly, though. Other than the 4-2 hiccup they had against Detroit on Tuesday, the Canes have been holding their 3rd spot in the Central division handily. They’ve had their struggles with COVID and concussions, luckily Aho has developed into a fantastic player. He’s been vital in their point production, especially with Teravainen on the IR for so long.
Vancouver, Vegas, & Long Island
Last 10: 8-2-0
Perhaps the most dramatic turnaround in the league, the Vancouver Canucks find themselves not completely out of the running for playoffs. They’ve come from what seemed like a hopeless deficit to now having an even 16-16-2 record. It seems players are figuring it out, even without the help of Pettersson, who had been lethal before he was put on the IR for a UBI. They’re currently fighting for 4th in the Canadian division against the Canadiens and the Flames. This is a far cry from where they were just a few weeks ago.
Vegas is another team I kind of forgot about this year too. After their atrocious “retro” jerseys in Lake Tahoe, of course (*shudder*). But somehow they’ve overtaken the Avalanche for first in the West. Granted, this week they weren’t overly challenged, playing the Kings, Blues, and Sharks. The Sharks are bad, the Kings are okay, and the Blues are kind of good. But they’re not really a challenge. Their schedule seems heavy on the 3 Californian teams in the coming weeks, but the highlights should be their nights in Colorado this week.
The Islanders may not be the most exciting team. They’re not scoring a thousand points a night, or making flashy plays, and none of their players are at a point per game. But, their strategy has gotten them to 2nd in the East and 6th in the league. The East is competitive, so they haven’t gotten much of a break since their 3 game homestand against Buffalo at the beginning of the month. (Somehow they managed to win 5-2 on all 3 nights….weird.) It seems that every line on the team has bought into the Trotz system and contributes.
-Heidi Thomas (@DamselOnDrums)
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