2022-12-26 · 5 min read · NHL/Hockey
Alexander Ovechkin, Elias Pettersson and Jordan Staal

G Fiume Getty Images | Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports | Jamie Kellner

Happy Holidays dear readers, lets check in on the top stories in the Hockey world.
1. The Carolina Hurricanes capped off their pre-Christmas portion of the 2022-23 season on Friday night against the Philadelphia Flyers, holding on for a 6-5 win. With the win, the Hurricanes are now on a franchise-record 14-game point streak, and they’ve won eight consecutive games, overall. The win however was a messy one as the Hurricanes dominated the first two periods, especially the opening one, to the tune of a 6-2 score, after which in the third The Flyers scored three straight goals to make it a one-goal game. Two of these were scored in less than a minute and the Hurricanes looked checked out for much of the period allowing the Flyers to rack up 16 third-period shots after having just 15 through two periods.
The Canes managed to hold on partially due to the play of Antti Raanta, who made 26 saves after starting for the third time in five games; this comes after starting only 9 of the first 29. Overall the Hurricanes are now 12-0-2 in their last 14. Perhaps the driving factor for this is that Carolina's third line of Jordan Martinook, Jordan Staal, and Jesper Fast, which has been red hot. They have combined for 16 points in the past four games before the Christmas break. Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal has been leading the way with seven points (three goals, four assists) during a four-game point streak.
2. Alexander Ovechkin has done it; he is officially second on the NHL’s all time goals list with 802 career markers. Ovie passed one of the games biggest legends in Gordie Howe this past Friday, tying him near the end of the first period and then passing him in the dying minutes of the game with an empty netter. In scoring his first goal Ovie added David Rittich to the long list of goaltenders he has at least a goal against. Rittich became the 166th goalie Ovechkin has scored against, leaving only Jaromir Jagr and Patrick Marleau as players who have scored on more netminders in NHL history.
Howe was the NHL goal scoring leader for many years, holding the NHL record until Gretzky scored his 802nd goal, for the Los Angeles Kings against the Vancouver Canucks on March 23, 1994. Howe was a remarkable 52 when he scored his 801st goal in his 1,767th and final NHL regular-season game for the Hartford Whalers against the Detroit Red Wings on April 6, 1980. Howe, who sadly passed away at age 88 on June 10, 2016, played 26 NHL seasons, 25 with the Red Wings (1946-1971) and one with the Whalers (1979-80). He also played six seasons in the World Hockey Association in between his NHL stints (1973-1979). Now that Ovie has passed the great Gordie Howe there is only one man (and 93 goals) between him and the NHL’s all time career goals mark. Wayne Gretzky currently is the NHL all-time leader having scored 894 goals upon retiring following the 1998-99 season.
There are two other big records Ovie can make a run at as well, as he is on pace to score 50 goals this season and become the first player in NHL history to record 10 seasons with 50 or more goals. Currently Ovie is tied for the most in League history with Mike Bossy and Gretzky at 9 a piece. Ovie is also on the heels of another legendary scorer in Jaromir Jagr for the all time game winning goals mark. Ovechkin's 124 career game-winning goals is 11 behind Jagr’s 135 for the most in NHL history. Ovechkin has scored at least five game-winning goals in 14 of 17 seasons entering 2022-23 (including eight of the last nine campaigns), and he already has three so far in 2022-23.
3. The World Juniors is officially underway and boy am I excited. Canada is once again the team to beat and they come into the tournament as the heavy favourite for good reason. Canada has a talented roster with some serious offensive power headlined by likely 2023 first overall pick Connor Bedard and last year's fourth overall pick Shane Wright. While there are some teams that could take them down, such as the usual suspects the United States, Sweden or Finland, Canada feels like a darn good bet to become the first team to repeat as World Junior Champions since Canada won five straight between 05-09.
One of the main reasons for Canada's good odds is Connor Bedard, who is the leading candidate to be the best forward at the tourney and its leading scorer. I would be interested in Shane Wright as tourney MVP if the value is there, as I think he could surprise folks. Speaking of surprises, keep your eye on Sweden and Czechia to do better than expected. Sweden could be a very good value pick to win it all sitting around +650 on most sports books, as they quite possibly have the best goaltender in the tournament. Sweden also has the players in place to create offensively, including Isak Rosen (Buffalo Sabres), who tied for the team lead in August with four goals. Jonathan Lekkerimaki (Vancouver Canucks), Liam Ohgren (Minnesota Wild) and Fabian Lysell (Boston Bruins) also will be back looking for a better WJC experience. The Swedes also have Leo Carlsson, who is projected to be a top-five pick in the 2023 draft. Carlsson will be out to showcase his well-rounded skill set for a wider audience and affirm his draft status as a top prospect. Interestingly Mangus Havelid who will coach them for the first time, replacing Tomas Monten, who had coached the previous six tournaments.
Czechia is likely to be a tough out considering an experienced physical defence leads them. Czechia is bringing back 16 players from the team that defeated the United States in the quarterfinals and reached the bronze-medal game, including goalie Tomas Suchanek. Their defence is headlined by Blue Jackets Prospect last year's 6th overall pick David Jiricek who is averaging a point per game in the AHL this year. Czechia due to their experience, grit and skill seems to have a good shot to win its first tourney medal since a bronze in 2005.
Quick Wristers
  • Elias Pettersson had himself a game on Thursday scoring the shootout winner, along with two goals in regulation as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Seattle Kraken 6-5 in a shootout Thursday night to end a three-game home losing streak. Pettersson forced overtime with his second goal of the night with 1:20 left in the third period and an extra attacker on the ice for their netminder. Pettersson, who also had three assists, drilled a hard shot from above the faceoff circle. The Canucks were awarded a power play with a minute left in the three-on-three overtime after Seattle’s Jordan Eberle was called for holding but couldn’t score. The Canucks erased three two-goal deficits for the win.
  • The NHL announced the entertainment for the 2023 NHL Winter Classic, an outdoor matchup between the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins at Fenway Park in Boston on January 2. The game will feature performances by GRAMMY Award-winning rock band The Black Keys, legendary R&B group Bell Biv DeVoe, and renowned orchestra the Boston Pops, conducted by Keith Lockhart. The game will be the 14th NHL Winter Classic, the 36th NHL regular-season outdoor game, and the first of two NHL regular-season outdoor games scheduled for the 2022-23 season.
  • John Carlson was discharged from the hospital Saturday and is out indefinitely after the defenseman was struck in the face with a shot during the Washington Capitals' 4-1 victory against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. Carlson appeared to be hit in the right side of his face with a slap shot from Jets defenseman Brenden Dillion early in the third period, and immediately dropped to the ice and was bleeding before being helped to the locker room. Carlson is tied for fourth on the Capitals and leads Washington defensemen with 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 30 games this season. The 32-year-old missed six games from Oct. 31-Nov. 9 because of a lower-body injury. Carlson is Washington's all-time leader among defensemen with 614 points (140 goals, 474 assists) in 917 regular-season games. Here's hoping all is well with Carlson and he will be back on the ice soon.
Highlights of the week
Ovie rips one to get 801
Sweet pass and a slick finish
Sports Tree Profile

By: Chase Howard


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