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Sunday, March 10, 2019

NHL trending upward/downward

As we inch nearer to the playoffs lets look at teams trending upward and downward of late

Trending upward

Washington Capitals  The defending Stanley Cup Champions are peaking at the right time with a 6 game winning streak and winning 8 of 9 and have overtaken the NY Islanders for the top spot in Metropolitan Division.  During the winning streak they are averaging 4.5 goals per game and totally dismantled a red hot Philadelphia Flyers team Wednesday night in Philly jumping out to a 5-0 lead and coasting to a 5-3 win.  A very entertaining match up tomorrow night with the high flying Winnipeg Jets coming to town.

Boston Bruins  Have won 6 in a row, 13 of 14, and have not lost a game in regulation since January 19th against the NY Rangers.  Against the Florida Panthers Thursday night scored 2 goals in the last minute including the game winner from Patrice Bergeron with 7.5 seconds left.  Unfortunately for them will likely play the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1st round of the playoffs but as of today would have home ice.

Philadelphia Flyers  Despite the Wednesday night debacle against the red hot Caps at home this team has kept themselves in the playoff race winning 18 of 25 including 2 road wins within the last 6 days against the NY Islanders.  They will have stay hot and hope a 2 team combination of Columbus, Pittsburgh, Carolina, and Montreal goes cold down the stretch for any chance to grab one of the last playoff spots.

San Jose Sharks  Have won 4 straight at home and 5 of 6 with the only loss in that span the getaway game against the Boston Bruins on a 4 game road trip.  Have overtaken the Calgary Flames for the top spot in the Pacific division.  The big concern for the Sharks is the health of Erik Karlsson who will probably miss the rest of the regular and could be a question for the playoffs.

Vegas Golden Knights  After losing 6 of 7 have now won 6 in a row and rounding into form like the team who made the run to the Stanley Cup Finals last year.  Marc-Andre Fleury has won 5 straight starts only giving up 4 goals in that span.  Mark Stone scored his 1st goal against the Canucks tonight and could be the key acquisition for the Knights to make another run.

Arizona Coyotes  The Yotes won't go away as they have now won 8 of 9 and keep putting the pressure on the teams ahead of them for one of the last playoff spots.  They continue to ride the red hot goaltending of Darcy Kuemper and have only given up 14 goals in that 9 game stretch.  Just concluded a 7 game home stand and will now hit the road for their next 6 of 8.

Trending downward

Montreal Canadiens  Never easy playing your last 7 of 8 on the road but have lost their last 3 of 4 in very ugly fashion getting outscored 18-5 including a humiliating 8-2 drubbing by the Anaheim Ducks.  The only win during that stretch was a 3-1 victory over the lowly LA Kings.

NY Islanders  Have been overtaken by the Washington Capitals for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division and even though they did get 2 wins this week, they were against the lowly Ottawa Senators and lost 2 straight at home against the Flyers.  My biggest worry for this team when the playoffs start is will they score enough and will Greiss and Lehner, who have both been spectacular in the regular season,  play that well in the post season.

Colorado Avalanche  A devastating loss losing 30 + goal scorer Gabriel Landeskog this week for the rest of the regular season.  They have won 2 of 3 but a huge loss against the Dallas Stars this week getting shut out 4-0 and as of today would be out of the playoffs  They do have an advantageous schedule but would still favor Dallas, Minnesota, or Arizona beating them out for a playoff spot.

Calgary Flames  After winning 7 straight have now dropped 4 in a row all against playoff or playoff contending teams while only scoring 5 goals in that span.  Would want no part of playing Vegas in the 1st round of the playoffs and will play the red hot Golden Knights at home Sunday night.  They still have some very winnable home games in the next few weeks with New Jersey, NY Rangers, Ottawa, Anaheim, and the LA Kings so plenty of time to turn it around and win the Pacific.

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