NHL Week in Review (January 26-February 1)

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It was another week where two games took focus over everything else as the stadium Series continued. The entire idea of the Stadium Series was to highlight the game to the USA by putting them in amazing stadiums. The stadiums became the focus of the series and they would kick it off in one of the most legendary stadiums in North America. Dodger Stadium had played host to some of the best moments in MLB history and in American sports history so it only seemed fitting that it would host a major game in the legendary stadium. They would do just that as they would open the Stadium Series when the Los Angeles Kings would host the Anaheim Ducks. It turned out to be a great game and the concerns over the ice were unfounded as the warm weather game went off without any issues. The Stadium Series would continue and would highlight another legendary stadium as they would travel to the Bronx and Yankee Stadium for two more games. The Yankee Stadium was the new version and may not have been home to the same legendary moments as the old Yankee Stadium but it was still Yankee Stadium. Home to the most legendary team in the MLB there is always an aura to where they play and the New York Rangers would get the chance to feel that aura twice. They would play two games in the house that Jeter built as they would play two of their biggest rivals in the game. The first would see the New Jersey Devils travel across the Hudson River to play the Hudson River Rivalry. The game would turn out to be one that was forgettable for the Devils and especially for goaltender Martin Brodeur. The Rangers would score 5 goals in the second period on the legendary goalie and in the third period Cory Schneider would take over in net. The Rangers would win their first foray into the outdoors in a game that felt more like a real pond hockey game. As nice as the game in Los Angeles was the game in New York seemed to be exactly what the outdoor games were made for. The Rangers would take their second step outdoors in the same week when they welcomed their crosstown rivals to Yankee Stadium for the second outdoor game at Yankee Stadium. The game would be much closer as the Islanders and Rangers played a tough tight game. The Rangers would take the win again though and would go to 2-0 in their outdoor games this year. The week would end the outdoor games for now as there is only one more game to go and it will take place in March. The NHL will take some time off from the outdoor games as the Olympics are only a week away and the players will be travelling to Sochi, Russia to participate in the biggest tournament of the year. When they return Chicago will take focus as the defending Stanley Cup Champions prepare for their outdoor game. It will take place in the stadium that has had some of the best sports moments in Chicago history. The home of the Chicago Bears, Soldier Field, will play host to the last of the Stadium Series games. It will be a matchup of two of the best teams in the league as the Pittsburgh Penguins will travel to Chicago for the game. The Penguins may have a bit of an upper hand though as they would be in the first outdoor game ever in Buffalo. Now they will get their second chance at an outdoor game against the defending champions. That will not be the end of the outdoor games this year though as the Heritage Classic will end the season’s outdoor games. The Vancouver Canucks will welcome the Ottawa Senators to another semi-outdoor games as it will be in B.C. Place. The stadium is not completely outdoors as it has a retractable roof but it will be a stadium that is not used to hosting hockey games. It will end the season of the outdoor game and when it is finished the debate will begin over the legitimacy of hosting this many games again next year.

 

Overtime:
(Thoughts on the past week in the NHL)

Big Day for Varly
Semyon Varlamov is a young goalie but has shown that he has the potential to be great and the Avalanche would reward that potential with a 5-year $29.5 million contract locking him up and making sure he is their goalie for the future

New Name, Same Results?
The Phoenix Coyotes would announce this week that they will officially change their name to the Arizona Coyotes and are hoping that a connection to the state will help them stay afloat rather than failing to make any money

The Captains
The Olympics are less than a week away and the NHL is preparing for their appearance in Sochi and they would continue their preparation as Team Canada and Team USA would name their captains with Sidney Crosby and Zach Parise will wear the C for their countries

 

NHL Standings

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division:
1. Boston Bruins (73)
2. Tampa Bay Lightning (69)
3. Toronto Maple Leafs (66)
4. Montreal Canadiens (64)
5. Detroit Red Wings (59)
6. Ottawa Senators (58)
7. Florida Panthers (49)
8. Buffalo Sabres (38)
Metropolitan Division:
1. Pittsburgh Penguins (78)
2. New York Rangers (63)
3. Columbus Blue Jackets (60)
4. Philadelphia Flyers (60)
5. Carolina Hurricanes (59)
6. New Jersey Devils (58)
7. Washington Capitals (57)
8. New York Islanders (50)

Western Conference
Central Division:
1. Chicago Blackhawks (80)
2. St. Louis Blues (79)
3. Colorado Avalanche (75)
4. Minnesota Wild (65)
5. Dallas Stars (59)
6. Nashville Predators (59)
7. Winnipeg Jets (57)
Pacific Division:
1. Anaheim Ducks (85)
2. San Jose Sharks (76)
3. Los Angeles Kings (66)
4. Vancouver Canucks (63)
5. Phoenix Coyotes (62)
6. Calgary Flames (49)
7. Edmonton Oilers (42)

 

Key Scores:
New York Rangers 7 – 3 New Jersey Devils
– The Rangers would welcome their rivals from across the Hudson River to Yankee Stadium and thanks to a great second period the Rangers would take the lead and never look back for a blowout win

New York Rangers 2 – 1 New York Islanders
– The crosstown rivalry moved to the Bronx as the Islanders and Rangers played the second game at Yankee Stadium and the Rangers would come out on top for their second win outside this year

Colorado Avalanche 5 – 4 Minnesota Wild
– The Wild continue to sit just behind the Avalanche for the last automatic playoff berth in the division and they had a chance to reduce the distance but they couldn’t do it with the Avs increasing their lead for third place

Toronto Maple Leafs 6 – 3 Ottawa Senators
– The Leafs were helped big time by Phil Kessel who scored a hat trick on the night to win the Battle of Ontario and take bragging rights while the Leafs continue to move further into the playoffs with another win

 

Next Week:
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Los Angeles Kings (Monday February 3rd; 10:00 pm ET)
– The Blackhawks have had their small down periods this year but they continue to be the best team in their division while the Kings continue to struggle as of late and are hoping that a win against Chicago can give them the boost they need

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Anaheim Ducks (Wednesday February 5th; 10:00 pm ET)
– The two best teams in the Western Conference will face off as the Blackhawks travel out west to take on the Ducks in a matchup that could be a preview of the Western Conference championships this year

Winnipeg Jets vs Washington Capitals (Thursday February 6th; 7:30 pm ET)
– It was developing into a serious rivalry for both teams when the Jets remained in the Eastern Conference last year as both teams would fight for the division throughout the playoff race last year now they renew the rivalry in a rare game against each other

Vancouver Canucks vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (Saturday February 8th; 6:00 pm ET)
– The two largest cities in Canada love their hockey and do not like each other too much as this cross-country rivalry takes focus on Hockey Night in Canada as the two hockey crazy cities will be watching hoping that their team can earn bragging rights

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