Last week we covered some of the current trends in the NHL. Oh what a difference a week.
Well, maybe for some teams. The New Jersey Devils (still winning all their games) and the Boston Bruins (who remain undefeated at home) travel. The Vegas Golden Knights have regressed slightly over the week, but are still leading the Western Conference standings.
The Minnesota Wild have scored more than one goal in multiple games (hooray!). Meanwhile, the St. Louis Blues grew tired of losing and decided to move on, winning six in a row.
All 32 teams don’t work on Thanksgiving. Many teams have a lot to be thankful for, as you’ll see in the five things I’m interested in this week.
Join Arda Okal and Greg Wiszynski for The Drop, a weekly video podcast on NHL on Sportzshala YouTube channel. The show airs every Thursday and includes player interviews, hockey talk and more.
What symbolizes Thanksgiving, aside from the 30% discount on electronics and furniture the next day, is the importance of teams that are in the playoffs on Turkey Day. From 2005-06 to 2018-19 (the last season unaffected by COVID), 76% of the teams that were in the Thanksgiving playoffs made the playoffs, according to Elias Sports Bureau research.
In fact, you have a great chance to get in if you are this Thursday.
This is exciting news for teams like the Devils, New York Islanders, Detroit Red Wings, Winnipeg Jets, Golden Knights and Seattle Cracken. all of these teams did not make the playoffs last season and are (at least as of Sunday) in the playoffs. It also means that most of the teams that did well last season are currently on the sidelines (including the current President’s Trophy-winning Florida Panthers, which is two points behind the wild card spot).
Since maximum chaos brings maximum entertainment to hockey, add insanity!
Can the Devils continue the streak?
I love watching records break. The NHL record for most consecutive wins is 17 by the 1992–93 Pittsburgh Penguins. After their 12th consecutive win against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, the Devils are one step away from their 13-win streak record set in 2000-01.
However, it will not be an easy week to extend the streak. Monday is a game against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers, Wednesday is Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs, then possibly trap games against the Buffalo Sabers and Washington Capitals.
The record-breaking game will take place on Monday, November 28 at Madison Square Garden against an opponent from the New York Rangers. Who wouldn’t want to see this?
If they beat their bitter rivals at the World’s Most Famous Arena, the Devils could make history on Dec. 1 at home against the Nashville Predators.
How about Anaheim win?
The Anaheim Ducks have played 18 NHL games this season and won five of them.
The Anaheim Ducks have not won exactly one of those games on the first team.
The next three games are critical: the Ducks play the Blues, Rangers, and Senators. If they fail to clinch a regular win in any of those games, they will set an NHL record for most games by starting the season without a win. The current title holders are the 2017-18 Arizona Coyotes, who took 20 games to secure the W.
The Ducks could also take advantage in the third period. Anaheim hasn’t led the final frame in any game this season. It’s the fourth-longest streak in NHL history and they’ll top the Coyotes for the 2021–22 season in four more games.
New York vs Los Angeles
There is something special about the confrontation between the two largest cities in the country. We’re always there for the Knicks, Lakers, Dodgers, Yankees, even Shake Shack against In-N-Out. (In our opinion, In-N-Out is better for the price and fries, while Shake Shack is a better quality burger.)
Sometimes no more explanation is needed than the good old East versus West battle. Such is the case with the Rangers against the Kings, who play in Los Angeles on Tuesday. The best part is that both teams are pretty good. They are separated by two points in the standings, both are in the playoffs and both teams have superstars.
The rivalry has a good history, including the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. But due to the fact that they participate in different conferences, we do not see this confrontation too often. He always seems fresh enough every time they fight.
Anniversary of the movie Blades of Steel
This week in 1988, one of the most famous home hockey video games of all time was released in many parts of the world, including Europe and Japan. Blades of Steel was a staple of the Nintendo Entertainment System, the 80s console that set the video game industry on fire. There is a big debate among 80s kids and retro gamers about which NES hockey game is better: Blades of Steel or Ice Hockey?
In Ice Hockey, you could choose the size of your four-player team from large, medium, and small players. The big player was slow but tough to hit the puck and hit hard; the small player was tall and lanky and easy to hit, but he skated fast, and the middle one was… well, in the middle.
Meanwhile, Blade of Steel had essentially the same player attributes for everyone on the ice, but the game ran smoothly, with a better manual goaltending system and even some commentary – and a unique free throw system.
Ice Hockey had team fights that looked like Peanuts Pig was just going around in circles really fast as players were thrown out and back in, while Blades of Steel had great combat mechanics. where you basically controlled the boxing match. Both games featured perhaps the biggest rule change from regular hockey: if you lost fight, you got a penalty. Marvelous. Talk about going to a lodge and feeling double shame.
I was a Hockey fan as a kid, but as I got older, Blades of Steel looked better.