Week five of the NHL season has concluded and the unpredictable is beginning to present itself. Stay tuned as we breakdown the latest postponements of games, Galchenyuk being traded for the second time within a week, and the Ottawa Senators overcoming a four goal deficit.
Postponements and Rescheduling Galore
While it’s nothing new, there have been more recent postponements made to the NHL season. What’s different about these ones, you ask? These numerous postponements seem to have an impact on the end of the season, which could potentially impact the playoffs as well.
The NHL announced that they would be rescheduling 36 different games among 15 different teams. Some teams, for example the Philadelphia Flyers, have games rescheduled as late as May 10th, which currently sits as the last day of the regular season.
While this works short term, it looks as though it’s going to cause tremendous problems in the long run. If half of the league has games that are going to be postponed, how does that effect the playoffs? Will the NHL be able to play all these games before the playoffs are set to begin?
And the most important question that pops into my mind: If 15 teams are going to have to play all these extra games in the last month or two of the season, wouldn’t that potentially put them at more of a risk? Hypothetically, they would be traveling MORE in a shorter period of time, putting them at more of a risk and potentially postponing the playoffs.
To be brutally honest, I’m not sure the NHL planned this out very well. Almost every team in the United States seems have had at least one game postponed due to COVID measures and forcing them to squish extra games into the last few months of the season seems almost irresponsible.
I think a lot of people had high expectations for this season after such a successful 2020 playoff run with the bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton respectively. Will the NHL able to pull off this season in full? Will we see the playoffs as expected?
Galchenyuk Reaches Seventh Team in His Young Career
Alex Galchenyuk has been all the talk as he reaches in sixth organization since the 2018-2019 season. Galchenyuk was drafted third overall by the Montreal Canadiens, where he spent six seasons, back in 2012. While with the Canadiens, he was averaging 20 goals a season and was arguably a key element in the teams success. Galchenyuk was a Canadien icon until Marc Bergevin traded him to the Arizona Coyotes in 2018 for Max Domi.
Unfortunately, he didn’t last long in Arizona as he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a deal that involved sending Phil Kessel to Arizona. This seems to be where Galchenyuk started bouncing from team to team. After this, he was traded to the Minnesota Wild, Ottawa Senators, Carolina Hurricanes, and Toronto Maples Leafs.
Galchenyuk was traded to the last three teams (OTT, CAR, TOR) all within this past season. But what’s more crazy is he was traded from Ottawa to Carolina on February 13th and the Hurricanes turned around and traded him to Toronto the next day before he even had time to think about looking at apartments in Carolina.
It’s no secret that Galchenyuk has been struggling since his days in Montreal, only combining a total nine goals in his last 67 games. The Maple Leafs don’t need a winger of Galchenyuk’s caliber with their current depth, so where will Galchenyuk land? Will he head down to play for the Marlies? Will he make the Leafs roster and find his game once again? Or will he be shipped off to another team?
Ottawa Senators Defy All Odds and Overcome a 4 Goal Deficit
If I told you the first place Toronto Maple Leafs blew a 5-1 lead to the last place Ottawa Senators, would you believe me? Maybe all you pessimistic Leafs fans out there would, but everyone else? Sounds crazy. Well, that’s exactly what they did back on Monday night.
The Leafs started off hot with a goal in the first few minutes of play from Auston Matthews, who’s been dominating within the North Division. It only took a few minutes for Leafs to increase their lead as Travis Boyd scored his second of the season and coincidentally the second of the period. The Senators managed to get on the board with a backhand from Batherson, in which Tim Stützle picked up another assist. Stützle has been key to the, little, success from the Senators this season, totaling seven points in 14 games as a rookie.
The Leafs then seemed to almost secure a win as they scored three goals in the second period to bring themselves to a score of 5-1. Just before heading into the third period, Ottawa got one more to bring the score to 5-2 heading into second intermission. While no lead is ever safe in the NHL, it was almost safe to assume that Leafs would go on to dominate the third period and secure two points, especially against the last place team.
Unfortunately for the Leafs, that could not be further from the truth. Many of the key Leafs, such as Tavares and Rielly, nearly disappeared from the ice, leading to (including the second period goal) four unanswered goals from the Senators to tie the game at 5. While this turn of events isn’t necessarily unlikely in the NHL, the fact that it occurred between the first place team and the last place team is shocking. The game ended up going to overtime as Dadonov managed a breakaway and scored against goaltender Fredrik Andersen to win the game for the Senators.
This was ultimately a wake up call for not only the Leafs, but the rest of the division, as to not underestimate the Ottawa Senators. As much as everyone likes to make fun of them sitting at the bottom of the league, they have proved that they are a fairly decent team who is capable of defeating high caliber teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs.
At the end of the day, the North Division will always bring us exciting games such as this one, even when the outcome of the game seems inevitable.