Colorado Avalanche Win Streak Hits Seven

Colorado Avalanche Win Streak Hits Seven

So far in 2017, the Avalanche sit at 51 points, just two points behind Minnesota for the last wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Avalanche win streak has now hit seven games, and it is a big reason as to why they are almost in playoff position.

Just three weeks ago Colorado was scraping the bottom of the conference with only 37 points, but a surge in play now has experts asking, What has gotten into the Colorado Avalanche?

Nathan Mackinnon Dominating

There is no question that Nathan Mackinnon is one of the hottest young stars in the NHL. At just 22 years of age Mackinnon has already made an appearance in 343 games. He has been highly efficient in those games with 260 points in his career.

On the current seven-game winning streak Mackinnon has looked like an elite talent. In the last seven games for the Avalanche, he has 14 points, but he is doing all this while having an excellent plus/minus rating of plus eight.

Mackinnon has been hovering around 17 to 20 minutes of time on ice per game, and he is making the most of it. He has looked like a top player this whole season, but if he keeps up the play like he has these last seven games this Colorado team could be making a postseason appearance this year.

Bernier On Fire

The defense on this winning streak for Colorado has been playing out of its mind. On this winning spell, the Avalanche have allowed more than two goals just one time. Over this streak, they are giving up only 1.42 goals per game which is good for first in the NHL over that time frame.

Avalanche Win Streak

(Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

A big part of the defensive surge is the play of goaltender Jonathan Bernier. Bernier has started in six of the seven games on this win streak; playing incredible in every single one.

In this six-game stretch for Bernier, he is giving up just 1.17 goals per game and has a save percentage of .962.

Bernier started the season as the backup, but even if he cools off a little bit, with numbers like these, you can expect him to remain the starter in Colorado for a majority of their games.

Favorable Schedule

The Avalanche are also benefiting from a favorable schedule. During the Avalanche win streak, six of the games have come at home. Colorado also has not had to play back to back on the winning spell yet.

In what is a grind it out time for most teams here at the midway point of the season it is easy to see that the Avalanche are also thriving off of extra rest and less travel. Which are things that are often overlooked, but they always help.


Using the favorable scheduling to their full advantage the Avalanche are playing like an elite team. They come out with energy and pace and with the weapons they have it makes it very easy to create chances.

They have been playing with a playoff tempo and speed on a nightly basis and it is why the Colorado Avalanche win streak is at seven games right now. No team can match the energy they play with, again, a lot of this is due to the nice breaks and no travel they have been getting, but they are still executing at a very efficient level.

Coach Bednar deserves a lot of credit for taking full advantage of the opportunity. Now in the coming months the Avalanche are in a position to play meaningful hockey. This will help with the development of players that haven’t had that chance yet.

Upcoming Games

Time will tell whether this recent winning spell for the Avalanche is a fluke. It could be that the team is just playing well with extra rest and comfortability, but it also could be that they have found a legit number one goaltender and Mackinnon is hitting his full potential in stride. Nobody quite knows what has gotten into the Avalanche, but there are many good guesses.

The Avalanche’s next game two games are at home, but after that they will have their first test on a back to back when they take on Toronto and Montreal on the road. Surely this will be the test as to whether or not the Avalanche are a legit threat in the west.


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Philadelphia Flyers losing streak

Philadelphia Flyers continue to recover from early struggles

In the late parts of November and early December, the Flyers went on a 10-game losing streak, placing them at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. The early season struggles set the Flyers back tremendously in the playoff conversation. However, with grit and grind, the Flyers have managed to throw themselves into the playoff conversation with a strong two months of play.

Since the losing streak, the Flyers are one of the hottest teams in the NHL with a 11-4-1 record. Over this span, Philadelphia is scoring 3.31 goals per game, while at the same time allowing just 2.38 goals per game.

The quick turnaround from the Flyers might have been done just in time to save their season. They will have to continue their recent play to have a shot.

Playoff Chances

At 46 points, the Flyers sit one point behind the Penguins in what is a tight Wild Card race. With five teams within three points of each other and around 40 games left to play, the playoff race is lining up to be one of the best we have seen.

With 40 games remaining to play, 12 of those for the Flyers will be against the teams in the Wild Card race. Down the stretch, the Flyers will have to continue to play high-level hockey to give themselves a shot at the playoffs.

Change In Play


Early season losing streak

(Photo by Matt Slocum)

Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek are the leaders of a Flyers offense that has played at a very high level the last 16 games. For the Flyers to secure the final playoff spot, they will need these guys to continue to produce at this level.

Currently, Giroux leads the team in points with 52 and is the leader of this group. Giroux has taken it upon himself to spark this Flyers offense, and right now, they are playing like one of the best teams in the league. Of Giroux’s 52 points on the season, 24 have come during this winning spell. Giroux has risen his plus-minus rating to a +9 over this last stretch of games. If Giroux continues this play, it will be tough to stop this Flyers offense.

Following in Giroux’s footsteps, players like Simmonds and Voracek are pouring in numbers at a very productive rate. Voracek leads the team in assists currently with 43 and has eight goals on with that as well. Simmonds has been an excellent contributor to this run as well. Of Simmonds’ 26 points on the season, 12 have come during this run. Simmonds brings a balanced attack on goal-scoring and passing. The play of their role players on offense has been a significant reason as to why the Flyers are bouncing back.

The Flyers will have to continue to dig themselves out of the cellar after an early-season losing streak. The offense is finally starting to produce, and they are quickly turning into a team that no team wants to play. An offense that was seemingly non-existent is now firing on all cylinders.


During the losing streak, the defense of the Flyers was a noticeable weak spot. Guys like Robert Hagg, Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere now have this defense playing well. Provorov and Hagg are two young defensemen that bring an energy to the rink every night for the Flyers.

Gostisbehere has always been an offensive threat on the defensive side for the Flyers. So far this season, Shayne has tallied 32 points, but the significant change for him on this run is his defensive play. When he is on the ice, teams are scoring, but not at the alarming rate that they were during the losing spell. Gostisbehere has his plus-minus rating at a +2 throughout the Flyers’ recent winning period.

On defense, the Flyers have made the corrections needed to win hockey games. They have had some young stars step up, and are getting production from everyone on the defensive side of the puck. If they keep this play up, there is no doubt that they will find their way into the playoffs.


Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth have been a good combo the whole season. Currently, both goalies are giving up under three goals per game, and have save percentages above 91 percent. In Elliott’s last 15 games played, he has given up just 36 goals, which is good for a goal against average of 2.4 goals per game. He has been one of the best goalies in the entire NHL throughout that span. The goalie play for the Flyers has been extraordinarily consistent and continues to play at a high level.

If the Flyers were to make the playoffs, there is no doubt that the play of Elliott and Neuvirth can spark a deep run. The offensive and defensive sides of the puck have done an excellent job of helping these two out recently, and the success has followed.

Down the stretch

For the Flyers, they will have the opportunity to win some crucial games moving forward, but being in such a tight Wild Card race, they are going to have to show up on a nightly basis. From this point on this is a team that cannot afford to make mistakes. The only thing worse than an early-season losing streak is a late one.


Featured image by Kate Freese Photography

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Why The Lightning Keep Dominating

Why The Lightning Keep Dominating

The Tampa Bay Lightning keep dominating the NHL, and it comes at the hands of a very balanced attack. Tampa Bay is getting it done on both the offense and defensive side of the puck, and the goaltending play of Andrei Vasilevskiy has been at an elite level. If the Lightning keep this up there is a good chance that they will be hoisting the Stanley Cup at the end of the season.

Offensive Attack

Lightning Keep Dominating

(Photo By: Karen May Martin)

Part of the reason the Lightning keep dominating is that of their elite offense. Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point headline the point leaders for a team that is averaging an NHL best 3.7 goals per game. Tampa is a team that goes four lines deep and can score at any time.

On the power play, this season the Lightning have been excellent, scoring an NHL second best 25.2 percent. They are handling teams, not because of the volume of shots, but because of the quality of the shots, they have taken. Tampa ranks 12th in the NHL in shots per game with 31.3. Tampa is also doing a good job not turning the puck over with a takeaway to giveaway ratio of .9; this ranks 9th in the NHL.

Even though Tampa has a majority of the stats to back them up, the most significant reason they are playing the way they are is because of the team’s chemistry. Tampa Bay’s players take pride in playing team hockey. It is a testament to guys like Kucherov and Stamkos who have set aside their name to better team performance. In turn, this has increased their productivity tremendously.

Defensive Stoppers

For most teams, a great offense means an average defense, but Tampa has both great offense and great defense, and it is part of the reason why the Lightning keep dominating. The Lightning are second in goals given up with 92 and are ranked ninth in shots against. The defense does a good job keeping Vasilevskiy clean, and it is a big part of his success.

Defensemen Anton Stralman, Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev are the headliners of Tampa’s break out defense. Stralman leads the Lighting in plus/minus with a plus 27 rating. Hedman leads all defensemen in points with 29 so far this season. Sergachev might be one of the most underrated breakout players of the season. At just 19 years of age, Sergachev has 25 points and a plus/minus of plus 17.

The Defense of the Tampa Bay Lightning has done a fantastic job so far this season. With an amazing offense in front of them, they have taken their role and excelled with it. The defense is a major reason as to why the Lightning have taken the NHL by storm.

Goalie Play

Lightning Keep Dominating

(Photo By: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Andrei Vasilevskiy has overtaken as the full-time starting goalie for the Tampa Bay Lightning season and has played at a very high level. Vasilevskiy’s 1.95 goals against average is good for second best in the NHL along with his .937 save percentage. Andrei leads the league in shutouts as well with six so far on the year.

At 23 years of age, Vasilevskiy should be around to stop shots for the Lightning for a long time. His record stands at 26-5-1 and is as much a testament to the team around him as well as him individually. As the season goes on Vasilevskiy seems to be getting stronger as well as the offense and defense around him.


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Filip Forsberg ends 325 Consecutive Games Streak Due To Injury

Filip Forsberg is going to be sidelined 4-6 weeks with an upper-body injury. Forsberg acquired the injury during a 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild. Before the injury, Forsberg had played in 325 consecutive games (per NHL)

325 Consecutive Games

Photo By: Andrew Nelles

He ends his 325 consecutive games streak at an essential time for the Predators. The Predators currently sit in third place in the Central Division with 51 points. During Forsberg’s absence, the Preds will play six teams that play in the Western Conference.

Forsberg leads the Predators in goals with 15 and points with 34. In the two previous games without Forsberg, the Predators have beaten division rival Minnesota 3-0 and lost to the Vegas Golden Knights 0-3. Thankfully for Nashville Forsberg’s injury comes at a point in the season where they only play two division opponents. Nashville’s 51 points also has them five points ahead of the Ducks for the last wild-card spot.

The 325 consecutive games played streak puts his last game missed in the 2013-2014 season. It will be uncharted territory for the Predators, but as a whole they should be okay in his absence.





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Stanley Cup Push

Three teams daring to make a Stanley Cup push

As the season trudges on teams, begin getting ready to make their Stanley Cup push. Every year there is one team that flies in under the radar and makes a run in the playoffs. Here are three teams that have the best chance of doing so as the season gets close to crossing the halfway point.

New York Islanders

The New York Islanders are currently playing in the toughest NHL division. At 44 points, the Islanders currently hold the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. This makes them the most promising of the three teams on this list to make a deep Stanley Cup push, but there are still many questions by experts surrounding New York.

Stanley Cup Push

(Photo from SB Nation)

Islanders offense

Forwards Josh Bailey and John Tavares lead the way for the Islanders as Bailey is second in the NHL with 50 points and Tavares is third with 49. Bailey and Tavares are very dominant and both find ways to take over games.

The offense is there for the Islanders. New York is third in the NHL in goals per game with 3.44. The Isles are also getting it done on the power play. They rank eighth among the NHL leaders, scoring on 21.2 percent of their chances.

The Islanders are the only team in the NHL with two players that have scored over 20 goals each. The emergence of the young forward Mathew Barzal has also played a significant factor in their success on offense. Barzal currently sits fourth for the Islanders in points with 36. Barzal’s contributions on the offensive side are promising for the Islanders to make a Stanley Cup push.

Islanders defense

For the Islanders to make a push, they are going to have to put more games together on the defensive side. New York currently ranks last in the NHL in goals against at 3.54 goals per game. They are the only team outside of the Colorado Avalanche that are presently scoring three or more goals per game while also giving up more than three goals per game.

The defensive struggles for the Islanders also spread to the penalty kill. The Islanders PK unit is the exact opposite of their power play. The Isles rank 30th in the NHL with a penalty kill success percentage of 73.9 percent. Defensemen Calvin de Haan, Adam Pelech and Thomas Hickey lead a unit that has been struggling the whole season. If these guys can put something together, it could do wonders for the Islanders.

Islanders goalies

A lot of these struggles can be linked to the play of the goalies as well. New York goalies currently have a .896 save percentage as a unit. This ranks them second to last in the NHL. Jaroslav Halak is currently starting at goalie for the Islanders, and he has been average at best. Halak is giving up a career-worst 3.15 goals per games. His backup, Thomas Greiss, has been a major disappointment, giving up a miserable 3.82 goals per game. His .884 save percentage is not much to look at either.

How to make it happen

The Islanders may need to think of making a trade at the deadline. Goalie play is what wins in the playoffs. New York should take a chance on finding one before it is too late. Whether it be a young, unproven hopeful, or a veteran desperate for a team, the Islanders should pull the trigger. The Isles offense has been great all year. They are one goaltender away from being an elite team.

Carolina Hurricanes

If the Hurricanes can get into the playoffs, they have an excellent chance at making a serious Stanley Cup push and possibly could win it. The Hurricanes are nothing special, but they are a team not to take lightly. Everyone on the team is starting to realize their role, and not one player is bigger than the team.

Carolina pushed this mantra so much that they even have two captains that alternate. If the Canes can put it together, they are a dangerous team going forward.

Stanley Cup Push

(Photo by Jamie Kellner)

Hurricanes offense

On offense, the Hurricanes are led by Jeff Skinner, Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, but they also get some contributions on the defensive side of the ice. Defensemen Noah Hanifin is currently eighth on the team in points with 20. Justin Faulk’s point totals are down this season, but his presence is felt on the ice.

The offensive attack is very balanced for the Hurricanes. They have seven players with eight goals or more. They share the puck well and have eight players in double-digits for assists.

The Hurricanes offense does not wow anybody on paper, but clearly, they are not a team to be taken lightly. The Canes show up at the rink every night and play very well together. If needed, players like Skinner and Jordan Staal can take over, but so far they have not required that to happen. This balance on offense makes them very difficult to defend and can frustrate opponents at times.

Hurricanes defense

Carolina’s defense is very young, deep and talented. Players like Hanifin, Justin Faulk and Jaccob Slavin headline a defense that takes pride in playing sound fundamental defense. The Hurricanes D-men are allowing a league low 29.26 shots per game. This makes it easier on the team as a whole when opponents are not able to get the looks they want.

The signing of Trevor van Riemsdyk will go down as one of the most underrated signings in the offseason. Van Riemsdyk has a team-leading +11 in plus-minus and has eight points to go along with it. He is legging roughly 16 minutes of ice-time per game and he is making sure that it is productive. He will play a role in the Stanley Cup push for the Canes.

As stated earlier, Noah Hanifin is having a fantastic year on offense. 20 points from defensemen at 20 years old is very promising for the Hurricanes franchise. However, for the Canes to make a push, him and Faulk will have to find a way to get their plus-minus up. Goals against are not always their fault, but as defensemen, this is something they pride themselves on. Hanifin is currently -3 and Faulk is -7. For a Stanley Cup push, they will most likely have to get that trending in the positives.

Hurricanes goalies

The goalie play for the Hurricanes this season has been off and on. Scott Darling was acquired in the offseason to replace Cam Ward as the starter this season, but so far Ward has done everything he can to win his job back. Obviously, this is not a severe problem to have.

In 14 games, Ward is giving up 2.53 goals per game and has a save percentage of .917 percent. Darling is allowing 2.88 goals per game with a .896 save percentage in 25 games. It is worth noting that Ward is currently 10-2-1 as the starter.

Bringing in Darling has not gone as planned for the Hurricanes, but clearly, no one is complaining. Ward is reverting to his old ways and playing very well. As he starts to start more in the second half of the season, this team could become dangerous. A Stanley Cup push is not out of sight for the Hurricanes.

How to make it happen

The Hurricanes don’t necessarily have to break the bank in order to make their Stanley Cup push. All the tools are their for this team. They just have to put them together. Over the last month, they have begun doing just that. At most, the Hurricanes should try and trade for a low-budget scorer. But for the most part, the Canes’ best chance is to just ride their current roster out.

Anaheim Ducks

Stanley Cup Push

(Photo by Christian Peterson/Getty Images)

The Anaheim Ducks currently sit fourth in the Pacific Division. hold the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. The Ducks just have to find a way to get it all together.

Ducks offense

The Ducks are a lot like the Hurricanes in that they have a very balanced style of play. Anaheim currently has 14 players with 10 or more points and are led by young star Rickard Rakell.

Rakell has 14 goals and 15 assists on the season, giving him a team-leading 29 points. The Ducks have not been able to score at a consistent rate yet this season and currently are rank 25th in goals per game with 2.67.

Although the Ducks have a very balanced scoring attack, they need to get more pucks in the back of the net. This starts with players like Rakell, Corey Perry and Adam Henrique. All three of them have the highest point totals on the Anaheim roster. If they can play well, they can potentially open up more ice for other goal scorers.

Ducks defense

The Ducks defense has been average so far this season, allowing 2.77 goals per game. The defense all around plays sound and does their job. If they can get it together on offense, the defense could potentially turn around and be one of the better units in the NHL.

Josh Manson has had a terrific season so far for Anaheim. Manson has 17 points, but most importantly has a plus-minus of +12. His 17 points ties his total from all of last season, and his plus-minus is the same as last year as well. The play of Manson is helping with the development of Brandon Montour, who is playing his first full NHL season. Montour has 19 points so far and has a plus-minus of +7.

This Ducks defense is on the younger side, but are making giant steps in the right direction. They are majorly helping on the scoring front, and their defense has been pretty good this year. If they can keep this up, they will have a promising chance at a Stanley Cup push.

Ducks goalies

Goalie John Gibson is the primary starter for this Anaheim Ducks team, and he has done a pretty good job. Gibson is allowing 2.70 goals per game with a save percentage of .922 percent. These are promising stats for a young goaltender like Gibson, but unfortunately, he has not gotten help on the offensive side.

Gibson’s record is currently 13-12-4, a record you would not expect to see from a goalie with stats like his. Even when you look at Ryan Miller’s stats, you can see there is an issue. Miller has only played in ten games this season, but he has allowed 2.23 goals per game with a save percentage of .928 percent, but he is currently 4-1-4.

The goalie play from the Ducks is precisely what you need to make a Stanley Cup push. Like I said earlier, teams that have good goaltending in the playoffs tend to make big runs. The Ducks have all the making to be one of those teams.

How to make it happen

The Ducks need to get a scorer or two. Adding a scorer to their struggling offense could be the breath of fresh air that they need. They do not necessarily have to go for broke, because they do have a young team, but they need to add an offensive piece. The Ducks have all the parts defensively to make a playoff run, but they need guys to start putting pucks in the back of the net if they even want the chance at that.


Featured image by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

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