We have now passed the mid-week in the NHL, which saw a three-game slate on Wednesday night. All games were entertaining, and brought lots of discussion points.
We saw both a Metropolitan Division and Pacific Division battle, as well as a matchup between two teams from different conferences. Here is how this night in the NHL played out.
The Detroit Red Wings and Winnipeg Jets kicked off the night with a matchup at Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg. It was the second matchup of the season, meaning these intra-conference opponents will not see each other for the rest of the season. It is safe to say Winnipeg owned Detroit this year.
Winnipeg stormed Detroit’s home ice in late October of this year and dominated in a 4-1 victory. In this game, Detroit was looking to return the favor while breaking their own three-game losing streak. Unfortunately for them, that was not the outcome.
It was a competitive first period, where it was scoreless for most of it until Winnipeg scored and ultimately took a 1-0 lead into the second period. Detroit wasted no time in the second, tying the game under two minutes in, but the story changed after that.
Less than 10 minutes later, Winnipeg regained the lead and didn’t look back. With just under four minutes to go in the frame, it was a completely different game as Winnipeg held a 4-1 lead after scoring two more goals.
Red Wings newcomer Patrick Kane then got his team one goal closer with a goal near the 10 minute mark in the third period, but that would be the closest they would get, and were officially out of it when Winnipeg scored again, resulting in a 5-2 finish.
Detroit has now lost four-straight games in regulation, and are 1-6-2 in their last 9 games. This is doing a number on them in the standings, and if things don’t change quickly they will not be able to catch up.
The Red Wings are currently -280 to miss the playoffs.
As for Winnipeg, they should continue what they are doing, with a 3-0-1 record in their past 4 games, and sitting first in the Central Division with -700 odds to reach the playoffs.
Helping kick off this Wednesday was a classic Metropolitan Division match-up between the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders. Before this game, each team had a 1-1-0 record against each other, but Washington took the series lead.
In an expected showing, the Capitals and Islanders, who are not high scoring teams but solid defensive teams, scored only four regulation goals. These were earned by a one-goal first period from the Capitals, a 1-1 tie in the second, and a one-goal third period from the Islanders.
In overtime, a quick penalty by Islanders defender Noah Dobson was New York’s undoing. It took just 58 seconds of powerplay time for Dylan Strome to capitalize and earn Washington the win.
Overall it was an exciting and close game, and both goaltenders in Semyon Varlamov and Darcy Kuemper were excellent, combining top stop 63 of 68 shots.
It was a major win for Washington, who are now one point closer to New York in the standings. It is early to look at playoff positioning, but with three games in hand over the Islanders and multiple games in hand over other teams, a positive stretch of results would set the Caps up well in a tight Metropolitan Division.
The Metropolitan Division is extremely close, with just a five-point difference between second place and sixth place. What went down during this game illustrates the closeness of the division, and proves there will be many teams moving up and down the standings as time goes on.
In Wednesday’s final game, we were treated to another division battle between two Pacific Division teams. With the most games played in the division, including five more games than the Kings, it was important for Seattle to win and they did just that.
The first period was scoreless, and overall in the game the first tally was scored over 25 minutes into the game. The Kraken carried a 1-0 lead into the third period, before making it 2-0 with another goal.
The Kings fought hard to come back, and while they scored one goal on a power play, they suffered a 2-1 defeat. This was one of those games where they owned time of possession, shots, faceoffs, and many other categories, but were unable to win.
There were not many goals in this, but as a tight and hard-fought battle, there were many shots. Kings goaltender Cam Talbot was great with 28 saves, but Kraken goaltender Joey Daccord ultimately won his team the game with 42 saves.
The Kraken need wins like these against division opponents, as they have played lots of games and haven’t performed at a high level. This was a great step into staying relevant within the Pacific Division.
The Kings are still third in the division, and they’ve got the advantage with many games in hand over many division rivals. This is a great team that could shoot up the standings if they take advantage of those extra contests.