For the second straight week, a Philadelphia Flyer has been named the first star of the NHL.
Jakub Voracek had nine points in four games (3-6-9) as the Flyers went 4-0-0 as they continue their incredible nine-game winning-streak. The high point of the week was a four-point game in the Flyers 6-5 win over the Oilers. Voracek is now third in NHL scoring with 32 points in 31 games behind only Vladimir Tarasenko (32 points in 29 games) and Connor McDavid (39 points in 31 games).
Antti Raanta went 3-0-0 with two shutouts as he temporarily takes the net over from Henrik Lundqvist. His back-to-back shutouts marked the first time that a Rangers goaltender earned back-to-back shutouts since 2003 when Mike Dunham did it. Raanta now has an 8-1-0 record with a sparkling 0.943 SV%.
Sam Gagner may be the best value contract (non entry-level) in the NHL, with 19 points in 25 games for just $650K. He had six points in three games this past week (3-3-6) as the Blue Jackets added to their six game winning streak. He has already surpassed his point totals from last season (16 points in 53 games with an AHL demotion).
- The Metropolitan Division is the best division in hockey right now, writes NBC Sports’ Jason Brough. The New York Rangers are tied for first in the NHL, but just below them are the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, the Philadelphia Flyers who have won nine games in a row, the Columbus Blue Jackets who have won 11 of 16 and six in a row, and the reigning President’s Trophy winners in the Washington Capitals. All those teams are four points apart. They’re at least seven points up on the Devils, Hurricanes, and Islanders. The latter has gone 6-1-1 in their last eight, but are still ten points behind the fifth place team. Those top five teams are all in the top eight of the NHL.
- Patrik Laine is leading all rookies in goal scoring and is third in the entire NHL with 17 goals in 32 games, but he had a rough go last night. With the Jets and Oilers tied at two in the last ten minutes of the third, Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck kicked a Mark Letestu shot into the slot and Laine one-timed the puck into his own net, in an apparent attempt to clear the puck. It stood up as the winning goal. New Jets captain Blake Wheeler did a good job consoling Laine on the bench and Laine got another shot-on-goal as the Jets fought to tie the game.