Well we get to watch some games again this week, although start times due to some games out west will be later than usual so I hope you're well rested and took advantage of getting some earlier nights possibly.
*All start times are ET*
Monday November 22nd @ Colorado 8:30
Season record: 7-5-1, 5th in Central
Last 10: 6-3-1
Previous meetings this season: None
Series record since 2019-20: 2-0 Colorado
- Nathan Mackinnon IR, Lower Body
- Bowen Byram IR, Concussion
- JT Compher, Upper Body
- Pavel Francouz LTIR, Ankle
- Martin Kaut IR, Shoulder
- Stefan Matteau LTIR, Leg
One of the favourites out in the Western conference had a bit of a rought start to the season but is starting to roll even without their star player in Nathan Mackinnon who has only played 8 games. Colorado has won 5 of their last 7 and one fo their losses was in a shootout and they've won their last 3 by a combined score of 17-5.
The leading scorer is obviously someone that was rumoured to be a possible offseason acquisition who is now tearing up and Colorado would have no interest in giving up. That player is Nazim Kadri who has put up 5 goals and 12 assists to crack the top 20 in points league wide. Centering a second line with Valeri Nichushkin and Andrei Burakovsky has allowed the Avs to roll 2 dominant lines with Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen playing with Logan O'Connor.
On defence the Avs are also deep with Norris contender Cale Makar has 10 points already, Chabot has 6 for the sake of comparison in 4 more games, but has been on the ice for quite a few goals against with a team worst -7. Devon Toews returning from an injury to play the last 3 with Makar has allowed Samuel Girard to play on the 2nd pair with potentially Bowen Byram presents as good as a top 4 as you will find in the league, and all are under the age of 23 except for the "old man" in Toews at 27 years old. In net Darcy Kuemper has done a great job replacing Philipp Grubauer who left in free agency. Kuemper has allowed 3 goals or less in his last 8 starts, while facing an average of 29 per shots per game so he's been staying busy. If this game was played without Toews, Nichushkin, Mackinnon and Byram I would like Ottawa's chances a lot more but after a week off this will be a hard first game back.
Wednesday November 24th @ San Jose 10:30
Season record: 8-7-1, 6th in Pacific
Last 10: 4-5-1
Previous meetings this season: 2-1 Sharks on Oct 21
Series record since 2019-20: 2-1 Senators
- Lane Pederson Day to day, lower body
After a hot start to the season the Sharks are playing down to expectations again having lost 5 of their last 7. For reasons unknown to me the Sharks have rotated goalies all year even with James Reimer allowing under 2 goals per game and having a save percentage of .938, ranking 6th league wide for both. The Sharks are the type of team that can play any type of game ranking 14th in goals against and 18th in goals for per game.
Checking the Sharks top scorers is a nice little call back to some prospects who spent some time in Ottawa. Tied for the team lead in goals is Jonathan Dahlen as he plays on the top line with Logan Couture and Timo Meier. The second line has another center that Senators fans having been eyeing in Tomas Hertl, the pending UFA has 11 points and is playing with Rudolf Balcers and Alexander Barabanov. Barabanov is only in his second NHL season at the age of 27 but has 7 points and hasn't gone consecutive games without a point yet this season. A bunch of free agents make up an improved 3rd line with Nick Bonino, Matt Nieto and Andrew Cogliano providing decent enough depth that the Sharks are no longer a bottom feeder.
On defence the former Norris trophy winner, and another former Sen, Erik Karlsson has found some of his old form and has put up 8 points, with 5 assists on the powerplay. On the top pairing though is Brent Burns, also having a strong start with 12 points even at the age of 36, along with Mario Ferraro. Ferraro was a 2017 2nd round pick and has become a key piece for the Sharks who is now in his 3rd season, if only they had held onto their 1st from that year in Josh Norris and that could have been a franchise changing draft. Ferraro is averaging over 25 minutes a night.
The Sharks could provide a winnable game, and with the first game getting chippy at times this is a matchup worth staying up to watch for those on the east coast.