NHL pluses and minuses: Canadiens, Flyers rising in the Eastern Conference

Times columnist Helene Elliott rates the pluses and minuses in the NHL from the previous week.

+ Consecutive victories over Minnesota, Washington and Pittsburgh have fueled the Montreal Canadiens' 5-1-1 surge. Tomas Plekanec won 14 of 19 faceoffs he took against the Penguins' Sidney Crosby on Saturday and 16 of 21 overall; Crosby was credited with one offensive-zone faceoff win of the 10 he took. Winger Max Pacioretty, a Connecticut native, scored three times against the Wild and twice against the Penguins, boosting his candidacy for the U.S. Olympic team.

+ The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks haven't gone two games without earning a standings point this season, reflecting their resilience and depth. Patrick Kane has cracked the top 10 in the scoring race with a 10-game scoring streak through Sunday's games. He had five goals and 14 points in that span.

+ A 6-0-1 streak through Sunday's games put the Philadelphia Flyers back into the thick of things in the East after a 1-7 start. They swept a three-game homestand and they've continued to get good goaltending from Steve Mason. They seem to be responding well to new Coach Craig Berube, who replaced Peter Laviolette after the team opened the season with three straight losses.

- Warmups have become hazardous to goaltenders. On consecutive nights last week, Viktor Fasth of the Ducks and Josh Harding of the Minnesota Wild were injured during warmups and couldn't make their scheduled starts. Fasth has a lower-body muscle inflammation and will miss three to four weeks; Harding also sustained a lower-body injury. An MRI exam showed no structural damage but his status was day to day.

- Three coaches were fired in the first quarter of the season. Who's next? Claude Noel reportedly is on the hot seat in Winnipeg, and although rumors have put Columbus' Todd Richards' name in the next-fired pool it's likely he will get more time.

- Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, last season's Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top goalie, is unlikely to be a repeat winner. Through Sunday's games he was 7-10-2 with a 2.95 goals-against average and .904 save percentage. Some of that reflects the Blue Jackets' struggles, not just his.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • In NYC building collapse, mayor cites 'inappropriately' tapped gas line; 2 missing
    In NYC building collapse, mayor cites 'inappropriately' tapped gas line; 2 missing

    Someone may have improperly tapped a gas line before an explosion that leveled three apartment buildings and injured nearly two dozen people, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday as firefighters soaked the still-smoldering buildings and police searched for at least two missing people.

  • Oklahoma fraternity's racist chant learned on a cruise
    Oklahoma fraternity's racist chant learned on a cruise

    Members of a University of Oklahoma fraternity apparently learned a racist chant that recently got their chapter disbanded during a national leadership cruise four years ago that was sponsored by the fraternity's national administration, the university's president said Friday.

  • Construction ongoing at Wrigley Field
    Construction ongoing at Wrigley Field

    From bleachers to structural details, work to renovate Wrigley Field continues.

  • Emanuel uses borrowing to cope with Daley's debt burden
    Emanuel uses borrowing to cope with Daley's debt burden

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel has reduced spending and increased fines, fees and certain taxes to shrink the chronic budget deficits left over from his predecessor, Richard M. Daley.

  • Six Flags Great America's lost attractions
    Six Flags Great America's lost attractions

    Not every ride's the Willard's Whizzer. That iconic coaster debuted in 1976 when Marriott's Great America, now Six Flags Great America, in Gurnee, Ill., first opened. And it's still popular today. But for every Whizzer there's a Tidal Wave, Shockwave or Z-Force, rides existing only in memory.

  • Denim's just getting started
    Denim's just getting started

    Five years ago, denim-on-denim defied all of the dire warnings in the "Undateable" handbook: Instead of evoking John Denver or Britney Spears in her misstyled youth, chambray shirts paired with darker blue jeans became as cool as actor Johnny Depp and street-style heroine Alexa Chung.

Comments
Loading