Local Hockey Power Rankings- Week 19
As the trade deadline gets closer, we saw some action from local teams. Andy Greene was shipped from New Jersey to Long Island while Blake Coleman went down to Tampa Bay. On the ice, each team played four times so it was a busy week. We had two voters this week including myself.
1. New York Rangers: 8 points (2 first-place votes) Last Week: 4
Record: 30-24-4 (3-1-0 last week) Week MVP: Chris Kreider
No trades yet for a team that’s expected to sell but they played well throughout last week. They began a three-game road trip in Winnipeg where Igor Shesterkin was fantastic again making 42 saves. Chris Kreider scored the first two goals of the game to power the Rangers’ offense en route to a 4-1 win. They then crossed the border to Minnesota where Mika Zibanejad took center stage. The Swede tied the game at three with 1:06 to go and scored a goal in the shootout to lead New York to victory. The road trip finished in Columbus where Kreider once again led the offense with his second game-winning goal of the week. He broke a 1-1 tie with 3:11 to go in the third, helping the Rangers to a 3-1 victory. Alexandar Georgiev did his part with 36 saves. The offense went quiet back home against Boston as the Bruins won 3-1. Charlie McAvoy and Charlie Coyle scored in the first and second periods, respectively to give Boston all the offense it needed. The Blueshirts head right back out on the road this week with visits to Chicago and Carolina before a home game against San Jose.
2. Philadelphia Flyers: 6 points. Last Week: 1
Record: 32-20-7 (2-2-0) Week MVP: James van Riemsdyk
Despite not being able to take advantage of opportunities to move up in the standings, the Flyers maintain a wild-card spot in the playoffs. They began hosting the Panthers where Philly scored four unanswered to win 4-1. Carter Hart made 30 saves in his return from injury while James van Riemsdyk added a goal and an assist. Their next game was a classic, but a three-goal comeback wasn’t enough to earn a point against the Islanders. More on this game later. Philadelphia bounced back in their second game against the Panthers as they chased Sergei Bobrovsky with three goals on nine first-period shots. van Riemsdyk’s three points helped build a 4-0 lead after 40 minutes of play en route to a 6-2 Flyers win. Hart picked up his first road win in over three months. Once again, Philly was brought back down, this time by the streaking Tampa Bay Lightning. After Tamps grabbed a 3-0 lead early in the second, the Flyers responded to make it a 4-3 score late in the third but it wasn’t enough. The Bolts won their 10th in a row, 5-3. A key home-and-home with the Columbus Blue Jackets awaits the Flyers this week along with a visit from the Winnipeg Jets.
3. New York Islanders: 4 points. Last Week: 2
Record: 33-19-6 (2-2-0 last week) Week MVP: Semyon Varlamov
The Islanders had a fantastic start to the week but flopped near the end. They also made a trade which we will get to later. They began in Washington where two goals from Anthony Beauvillier helped lead New York to a 5-1 second-period lead. They would do just enough to hold the Caps off en route to a 5-3 win. Their next game hosting Philadelphia was one of the best of the season. After building a 3-0 lead in the first, the Islanders let the Flyers back in the game before Sean Couturier eventually tied it with 1:32 to go. 51 seconds later, however, Ryan Pulock found the top corner over the shoulder of Brian Elliot with a blast from the point to give the Islanders back the lead 4-3. An empty netter would seal the win for New York as they escaped without giving their division rivals a point. Semyon Varlamov made 35 saves. Then, the troubles started. Craig Smith torched New York as Thomas Greiss was chased in the first period. Smith had a hat trick to lead the Nashville Predators to a convincing 5-0 win. The offense sputtered once again in a 1-0 loss to Vegas, a game where the only goal came from Reilly Smith with 35 seconds left in the second period. Varlamov’s 42 were not enough as New York managed just 19 shots. After that game, the Islanders traded for New Jersey Devils captain Andy Greene, giving up a defensive prospect in David Quenneville along with a 2021 second-round pick. He will make his Islanders debut in Arizona on Feb. 17. After that game, the Islanders complete their road trip in Colorado before home games against Detroit and San Jose.
4. New Jersey Devils: 2 points. Last Week: 4
Record: 22-26-10 (2-2-0 last week) Week MVP: Tom Fitzgerald
GM Tom Fitzgerald began the fire sale for the Devils with two Sunday deals. One previously mentioned with the Islanders and another with the Lightning with we will get to later. The Devils began their week getting torched by two Panthers defensemen, Mike Matheson and Mark Pysyk, who dressed as forwards on Florida’s fourth line. The pair combined for six points in the Cats’ 5-3 win. They moved on to play Detroit and came back for a 4-1 win on the strength of four goals in four minutes including two from Wayne Simmonds and Greene’s last goal with the team. Mackenzie Blackwood helped out with 25 saves. The team then headed to Carolina where Petr Mrazek’s 35 saves were too much in a 5-2 loss. New Jersey closed the week out on a positive note as Blackwood made 52 saves in a 4-3 shootout win over Columbus. Jesper Bratt scored the winning goal in the seventh round of the shootout. On Fb. 16., the Devils traded 21 goal scorer Blake Coleman to Tampa Bay in exchange for Vancouver’s 2020 first-round pick and forward prospect Nolan Foote. He most likely will not see time with the team this season. The Devils must adjust to the losses of Greene and Coleman with games against the Blues, Sharks and Capitals on tap this week.