National Hockey League

Every Sunday, our NHL-crew is looking back at the past week and provides a summary and evaluation of the performances and results of the Swiss players and their respective teams.

Photo Swiss Hockey News

Central Division

Colorado Avalanche

Reto Berra is still side-lined with an ankle injury he suffered on December 21.

The Colorado Avalanche are in the sixth position of the Central Division with 47 points. They trail the Nashville Predators for the second wild card spot of the Western Conference with one point.

Minnesota Wild

It has been a rough week for Nino Niederreiter and his team. They lost all four games on this week’s schedule. Through the first half of the week they fell short to the New Jersey Devils (1-2) and the Buffalo Sabres (2-3). In the second half, they were handed another two losses by the Winnipeg Jets (0-1) and the Nashville Predators (0-3). Nino Niederreiter did not register a point through all four matchups and combined for a minus-3 rating, two penalty minutes and 3 shots on goal. He averaged 13:16 TOI.

Despite closing the week without any points, the Wild are still in the first wild card spot of the Western Conference. 52 points out of 45 games gives them the fourth place of the Central Division.

Nashville Predators

The Preds faced the reigning Stanley Cup champions of the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. In a 2-3 defeat, Swiss All-Star-defenseman Roman Josi fired five shots on goal but was held scoreless in 25:52 time on ice. He ended the game with a minus-1 rating. As the game marked the fourth consecutive loss for Nashville, their head coach Peter Laviolette decided to spark the team’s offense with some changes to the lineup. As a result, Swiss rookie Kevin Fiala was called up from their AHL-affiliate in Milwaukee and dressed for the Preds’ game against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. Fiala was put right into a spot on the first line and made an immediate impact when he scored the first goal of the night less than a minute into the game. It was also his first ever tally at the NHL. Still, he could not prevent another loss of his team as Nashville fell short to Winnipeg in OT with a final score of 4-5. Roman Josi finished the game with two penalty minutes, one shot on goal and a neutral rating in 28:07 TOI. After a four-game roadtrip, the Predators played against the Minnesota Wild on home ice on Saturday. They ended a five-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory. Roman Josi scored his tenth goal of the season when he converted his own rebound. Josi finished the game with 2 shots on goal in 26:26 TOI and was voted the second star of the game whereas Kevin Fiala added three shots on goal in 15:01 TOI.

The Predators rank in the fifth place of their division with 48 points out of 45 games. This gives them the first wild card spot in the Western Conference.

Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg opened a busy week with a 2-4 loss versus the Buffalo Sabres. Nikolaj Ehlers had five shots on goal and a minus-1 rating in 13:50 TOI. Two days later, the 19-year-old scored the lone goal for his squad in a 1-4 defeat versus the San Jose Sharks. Ehlers finished the game with a minus-2 rating and three shots on goal through 11:57 TOI. On Thursday, the Jets faced the Nashville Predators. Nik Ehlers (14:41 TOI) again found the back of the net and helped his team to defeat their opponents with a final score of 5-4. In this week’s last game, the Jets beat the Minnesota Wild on the road with a final score of 1-0. This time Ehlers was held scoreless. He had an even rating and managed one shot on goal through 17:04 TOI.

The Winnipeg Jets still hold the last place of the Central Division with 45 points in as many games. However, they are just three points out of the second wild card spot of the Western Conference.

Pacific Division

Calgary Flames

Finally, Jonas Hiller is back between the pipes. He started in goal for the Flames’ matchup against the Florida Panthers on Wednesday. The 33-year old stopped all 15 shots he faced and earned his first shutout of the season. However, the big name of the game was 19-year-old Sam Bennett who contributed four goals in the 6-0 rout. Hiller then got another start in goal on Saturday when the Flames faced the Edmonton Oilers. It was another strong appearance for the Swiss netminder who stopped 36 of 37 shots (.973 SV%) in a 1-2 loss after the shootout. After the game, Jonas Hiller was selected as the first star of the game.

The Calgary Flames are currently on the sixth place of the Pacific Division with 43 points out of 43 games.

Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks started into the week with a 3-2 overtime victory against the Florida Panthers. On home ice, Sven Baertschi earned an assist in 16:04 TOI and had one shot on goal. After the game the Canucks’ headed to the East Coast for a road trip with six matchups until the end of next week. The trip started with a loss versus the Washington Capitals (1-4) and was followed up with a win against the Carolina Hurricanes (3-2). Sven Baertschi played 15:24 and 16:44 minutes respectively and went scoreless through those two games with a combined minus-2 rating

Yannick Weber delivered a solid performance in the game versus Florida with two shots on goal and a plus-1 rating in 15:22 TOI. He then had a minus-1 rating and one shot on goal in 17:06 TOI against Washington on Thursday. For Friday’s matchup against Carolina, Weber was a healthy scratch.

Luca Sbisa is expected to return to the lineup after he missed 19 games with a hand injury.

The Canucks currently sit in the fourth place of the division with 46 points in 45 games. They are two points out of a playoff spot.


Montréal Canadiens

On Wednesday, the Montreal Canadiens faced the Chicago Blackhawks. They fell short with a final score of 1-2. Sven Andrighetto was on the ice for 13:58 and finished the matchup with no shots on goal and an even rating. Later on, it was announced that Andrighetto has been sent back to the AHL.

The Habs are still struggling. The team that was dominating the Eastern Conference at the beginning of the season is now ranked on the fifth place of the Atlantic Division. With 50 points out of 45 games they hang on to the last playoff spot in the east.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Joel Vermin is out with a hand injury and still some weeks away from a possible return.

With 50 points through 44 games, the Tampa Bay Lightning are in the fourth place of their division. Their point total is good for the first wild card spot of the Eastern Conference.

Metropolitan Division

Philadelphia Flyers

In Wednesday’s matchup between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins, Mark Streit scored his fourth goal of the season. He converted his own rebound for the game-winning goal midway through the third period. Streit, who was a plus-2 in 19:04 TOI, was selected as the third star of the game. On Saturday, the veteran defenseman could not find his way onto the scoresheet when his team lost against the New York Rangers with 2-3. Streit had no shots on goal in 19:17 TOI and finished with a neutral rating.

The Flyers are seventh in the Metropolitan Division with 46 points in 42 games and are trailing the last playoff spot in the east with four points.

AHL – Quick Look:

Raphael Diaz (Hartford Wolf Pack – NYR) has not played a game for two months. Christoph Bertschy (Iowa Wild - MIN) had no points through two games this week. He combined for a minus-1 rating and four shots on goal. Dean Kukan (Lake Erie Monsters – CBJ) is still out with an injury he suffered in December. Christian Marti (Lehigh Valley Phantoms – PHI) returned to the lineup after he was out since November. He remained without a point in two matchups. Mirco Müller (San Jose Barracuda – SJS) appeared in two games, in which he totaled three shots on goal and a plus-3 rating. Sven Andrighetto (St. John’s IceCaps – MTL) played one game after his demotion to the AHL. He earned a helper and ended the game with a plus-1 rating and one shot on goal. Tanner Richard (Syracruse Crunch – TBL) had a successful week with two goals and two assists through three games. He had six shots in total and earned himself a plus-3 rating. Ronalds Kenins (Utica Comets – VAN) is out with an injury and did not play in a game this week.