by Jesse Andreozzi
We are almost two months into the NHL season, and there are many storylines to look at:
White Hot Lightning:
The Tampa Bay Lightning have won six straight games heading into their Veterans Day matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks. They sit atop the Atlantic Division with an 11-3-1 record and boast the highest goal total of any Eastern Conference team with 58. Steven Stamkos has been his usual stellar self with 10 goals and 16 points in 10 games. Tyler Johnson is proving his rookie NHL campaign was no fluke, leading the Bolts with 18 points in 15 games.
Wild Collapse in Minnesota:
The injury bug has crippled the Minnesota Wild so far this season. At 7-6, the Wild have lost three straight games heading into Veterans Day, and have been missing goaltender Josh Harding (broken ankle), defenseman Jared Spurgeon (upper body injury) and captain Zach Parise (concussion).
During the Wild’s three-game losing streak, they’ve been outscored 11-2. Fortunately, Parise returned to practice on Monday, along with Harding. The Wild would certainly welcome their captain’s offensive prowess. However, concussions are tough to return from, and Parise insists he’s taking his rehab day-by-day.
Montreal Acquires Gonchar From Dallas:
The Montreal Canadiens acquired defenseman Sergei Gonchar from the Dallas Stars in exchange for forward Travis Moen. The move signified a change of scenery for two veteran players who have seen their roles on their respective teams diminish. Montreal hopes that Gonchar’s presence can boost their anemic power play, which has gone 0-for-19 while failing to score in more thannine games. It has produced three goals in 39 opportunities, a 7.7 percent success rate that ranks 28th in the NHL.
As for Moen, he joins a Stars team that is 29th in the NHL in goals allowed per game. The fading stars are in the midst 0-4-3 slide that ruined an optimistic 4-2-1 start to the season. Coach Lindy Ruff says he’d like to try Moen with linemates Jason Spezza and Jamie Benn. However, with the Stars’ “swiss-cheese “defense, it may behoove Ruff to sure up his defense and goaltending before this seven-game slide gets any worse. Rookie defenseman John Klingberg will make the NHL debut when the Stars face off against the Arizona Coyotes on Veteran’s Day.
Keep checking back here throughout the week to get your “Frozen Fix” for all things NHL.