Canadiens, Islanders, Panthers & Bruins

This edition of the Weekly Lost & Found sees us landing exclusively in the Eastern Conference, and mostly in the Atlantic Division. Four of these four teams made it to last year’s playoffs. One reached the Stanley Cup Finals while the other reached the conference finals. At this point, however, only one of the four teams is in a playoff spot. 

We travel from the Great White North to The Sunshine State. Come abroad for the ride, let’s kick it off.

Lost: Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders’ Losses Are Piling Up

Canadiens are down by three out of four this week. Hole is getting deeper

This was a long-awaited event. Montreal Canadiens are returning from a trip to Stanley Cup Final. Among several important injuriesThey are currently at 5-13-2 and 12 points respectively. They are currently ranked 29th in NHL and 7th in Atlantic Division. They finished 1-3 in four games last week, including a 6-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Their 70 goals against are the worst in the NHL. The 31st-place team has a minus-26 goal differential. There have been four goals scored by the Canadien this season. Jeff Petry, the Canadien defenseman has scored double-digit points and scored at most 40 points in the last four seasons. He has also only had two assists through 20 matches. 

MONTREAL, QC – FEBRUARY 03: Montreal Canadiens defenceman Jeff Petry (26) skates towards the puck during the Edmonton Oilers versus the Montreal Canadiens game on February 03, 2019, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Goaltending has also been difficult. Jake Allen, Samuel Montembeault, and Cayden Primau have a combined 3.73 goals-against (GAA), and a.893 save percent (SV%). 

Related: Why Do Canadiens Fan Still Watch?

We’d be remiss to ignore the losses of Shea Weber, Joel Edmundson and Paul Byron to injury, as well as Carey Price to the player assistance program. While Price has joined the team, there’s still no certainty as to when he’ll return to play. Those significant losses in leadership and experience would be felt by any team in the league, and it’s hitting the Habs hard.

They are in poor shape. The magic of last year’s Stanley Cup run has evaporated. No one is scoring at a consistent clip, and their goaltending can’t keep the puck out of the net. They will be at the bottom of their barrel for the near future unless these two aspects are addressed. 

Islanders Own League’s Worst Losing Streak Amid COVID Outbreak

The New York Islanders have fallen horrendously. They’re riding a six-game losing streak to a Metropolitan Division-worst 5-8-2 record through 15 games. They are the Metro’s only team below.500. They haven’t scored more than two goals in any game on this streak and have been shutout twice.

It is a serious problem that they are not scoring enough goals. They’re last in the NHL scoring just 31 goals, and second to last averaging 2.07 goals per game. The power play has been a disaster. Their power-play percentage of 12.2 is 30th. 

New York Islanders Anders Lee
New York Islanders’ captain Anders Lee celebrates with teammates (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

COVID, which has caused a lack of goalscoring in Islanders’ games of late, has also ravaged them. “Adam Pelech, Andy Greene and Anthony Beauvillier were added to the COVID-19 protocol list on Saturday, joining captain Anders Lee, Josh Bailey and Ross Johnston” (From “Islanders missing several players to COVID protocol ahead of new arena opener” by [Update News] Staff, [Update News], Nov. 20, 2021). That’s two of their top-five point scorers and their captain. 

The Islanders began the season with 13 road games. Now that COVID has hit them, it’s understandable that they had a difficult start. It’s even more understandable given that the Metro is arguably the toughest division in hockey. When they start getting players back, they can get to Enjoy the brand new home iceThey must take advantage of this opportunity and make things right to get back in the playoff picture.  

Florida Panthers Stay Hot, Boston Bruins Looking Great

Panthers Keep Moving Having Regained Three Straight

The Florida Panthers are a rising team. They’ve improved in each of the past three seasons and sit atop the NHL standings with a 13-2-3 record, winning all 10 home games. They won all three of their games this week, and had a plus-9 goal differential.

Anthony Duclair and Aleksander Barkov, the captain of the Panthers, have led the way with eight goals. Jonathan Huberdeau (18) joins the pair as leading point scorer to complete the top-three scorers. Nine skaters, which includes two defensemen are double-digit scorers, add to their offensive depth. 

Panthers center Aleksander Barkov
TAMPA, FL – SEPTEMBER 25: Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16) skates in the first period of the NHL preseason game between the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning on September 25, 2018, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Bobrovsky appears to have solved the goalie problem despite some disagreements between Spencer Knight and Chris Driedger in the past. He is poised to have his best season since joining Panthers. Through 11 games, he has an 8-2-2 record with a 1.99 GAA (and.937 SV%).

The Panthers are a fun team, and they’re finally looking like they’ll be able to sustain success. They’re getting depth scoring, to the tune of a plus-24 goal differential, and their goaltending has been strong. They’re not only on pace to be the first Panthers team in franchise history to make a third straight playoff appearance, but look poised to make a run for the President’s Trophy.

Bruins Celebrate a Positive Week but Still Need to Score Depth Points

The Boston Bruins were able to have a decent week going 2-1 in three of their games. They’ve shown steps in the right direction since their first appearance on the Weekly Lost & Found. They have improved their record from 5-4 to 9-6. 

The Perfection Line is the leader with 48 points. Charlie McAvoy, top-defenseman, added 12 more. That gives the Bruins top four scorers 60 points in 15 games. That’s good for half of the team’s point production. Jake DeBrusk is the ideal time to make a difference in secondary scoring. 

Jake DeBrusk Boston Bruins
Jake DeBrusk, Boston BruinsJess Starr/The Hockey Writers

The Bruins’ 21.7 power-play percentage is ranked 10th in the NHL. It’s come from 10 goals, but eight of those goals came from either the Perfection Line members or McAvoy. The team’s lack of scoring depth isn’t going to get them very far. They have won four of their six past games thanks to their goaltending.

Related: Top Ten NHL Lines

The Bruins’ goaltending had only allowed six goals during their three-game winning streak before their loss to Calgary Flames 4-0. Linus Ulmark and Jeremy Swayman combined have a 2.63 GAA,.908 save rate on the season, and they have split action. 

The Bruins need someone to provide secondary scoring. A higher save percentage from their goaltenders wouldn’t hurt either, but the emphasis should really be on their scoring. They have been surprising this season with their performance, but if they continue to drop off and the Bruins are able to find that depth scoring, they might be able to slide back into the playoffs.