NHL Weekly Preview: Week of Nov. 7
Host Nick Shimkin and analysts Jacob Cheris and Jordan Hession break down the Stanley Cup rematch three of the biggest games of the weekend and predict who is going light the lamp:
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Islanders
The Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders meet for the first time since their playoff matchup last spring. Pittsburgh comes into this matchup on a two-game losing streak, recently losing to the Edmonton Oilers, 2-1, and the Boston Bruins, 6-4. Pittsburgh currently sits outside of a wild-card spot at 8-6-1. New York comes in red-hot, riding a 10-game winning streak that has elevated its record to 11-3-0. Thursday’s matchup is sure be a good between these division rivals.
Over last weekend, it seemed that the Penguins were finally regaining a healthy roster. However, it lasted only for one game, as the injury bug bit them once again. Forward Patric Hornqvist attained a long-term injury versus the Oilers, and defensemen Kris Letang also landed on IR with a lower-body injury. Forward Sam Lafferty was called up to Pittsburgh from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to add some insurance to the injured roster.
Goaltender Matt Murray looks to rebound from his performance against Boston on Tuesday. Murray was pulled for backup goalie Tristan Jarry after allowing three goals in the first period. Pittsburgh looks to improve on its power play, as the Penguins have struggled with it lately due to injuries.
The New York Islanders are the hottest team in the league. The Islanders will look to increase their winning streak to 11 games against the Pens. During their winning streak, the Islanders have outscored opponents, 35-17. Goaltending has been the main reason for the Islanders success, as both goalies Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss have exceeded expectations after the departure of former goaltender Robin Lehner in the offseason. Varlamov has posted a .929 save percentage on the year, and Greiss has posted a .937 save percentage.
The Penguins are looking for some payback tonight while the Islanders look to continue climbing the rankings. It all takes place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. —Jordan Hession
Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche face off against the Nashville Predators in a Central Division battle, as the two teams are separated by just two points. Nashville is coming off a 6-1 throttling of Monday against the Detroit Red Wings. The Avalanche, however, are coming into the contest on a three-game losing skid having scored only two goals in those three games.
Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog joins Mikko Rantanen on injured reserve. Wednesday night, goaltender Philipp Grubauer was deemed day-to-day with a lower body injury. All three have been major contributors to the Avs successful start. These injuries leave questions regarding who is going to play on the first line with forward Nathan MacKinnon, who has struggled as of late. MacKinnon is currently playing with forwards Matt Nieto and Joonas Donskoi, but head coach Jared Bednar has been shuffling players to see who will be the best fit. The power play has also struggled mightily. Colorado’s power play is 1 for 17 in its last three games. In a big game against Nashville, special teams would make a huge difference, but the Avalanche just aren’t getting production out of their power play.
This Nashville team is very tight defensively, allowing only 28.8 shots per game. On the flip side, the Predators lead the league in goals per game (4). Captain Roman Josi, who recently signed a massive eight-year extension, is tied for second in the league with 16 points among defensemen. Forward Matt Duchene has fit very nicely into the Predators organization with 13 points, and forward Nick Bonino has stepped up in a big way, as he leads the team in goals with eight. Another player that has had a tremendous start is defenseman Ryan Ellis, who has 15 points in 15 games and leads the Preds in assists with 13.
This is a big matchup for both teams as they look for an edge in the Central Division. The Avs will try to end their losing streak and get back into the win column, but they won’t have success unless they get the offense rolling. —Jacob Cheris
Detroit Red Wings vs. Boston Bruins
The Boston Bruins make the trip to Hockeytown at Little Caesars Arena to take on the Detroit Red Wings in an original six matchup. There is always a certain energy and historical significance that surrounds a game between two original six teams, and this one should display those same characteristics. Detroit has struggled as of late, losing nine games out of its last 10. The Red Wings will look to snap this losing streak by knocking off the leaders of the Atlantic Division. The Bruins have looked to be in excellent form, winning four out of their last five games and currently standing at second in the NHL.
The Red Wings have had major problems on defense and goaltending, giving up 23 goals in their last five games. They will look for defensemen Danny DeKeyser and Trevor Daley to step up and lock down an active Bruins offense. Goaltender Jimmy Howard has been less than reliable this season with a 3.99 goals against average and will need to improve his play if he wants to lead his team to victory. Offensively, the Red Wings will look for more production from forwards Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou to put goals on the board.
The Bruins have looked excellent as of late, playing like they are ready for another run at the Stanley Cup. Look for forwards Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron to cycle the puck and create scoring chances early and often to overwhelm the struggling Red Wings defense. Goaltender Tuukka Rask and defenders Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug will look to lock down the Detroit offense and prevent the Red Wings from building any sort of momentum on their home ice. —Nick Shimkin
Jacob Cheris is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jordan Hession is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
Nick Shimkin is a freshman majoring in public relations. To contact him please email firstname.lastname@example.org.