The National Hockey League (NHL) is the most competitive and entertaining. The league comprising 32 teams, 25 in the United States and 7 in Canada, is divided into two conferences, the Eastern Conference and Western Conference, with 16 teams each.
In the Eastern Conference, there are the Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions, while in the Western Conference, there are the Central and Pacific divisions. The league playoff winner is given the Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, at each season’s conclusion. 16 teams qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This season of the NHL has been full of surprises, with a couple of teams exceeding expectations as the season approaches halfway. Here we will look at the latest results in this current NHL season and preview favorites and underdogs for the Stanley Cup.
Here are the results of the NHL games that took place at the time of writing this article, 23rd December 2022. Eleven games took place on this day, but we will highlight the key ones and recap how the game went.
Boston Bruins Vs New Jersey Devils
Boston faced the challenging job of travelling to New Jersey to take on a fantastic Devils squad on the second night of a back-to-back. After defeating the Panthers on Wednesday
day night, the New Jersey Devils ended their six-game losing streak and returned to the win column. The Boston Bruins began the contest, still having a successful season. After falling behind 2-0 to the Jets the previous night, they had a fantastic comeback victory, winning 3-2. There was fear of fatigue for the Bruins, but they squeezed a 4-3 victory.
On Friday night, the Boston Bruins defeated the New Jersey Devils thanks to two goals from forward David Pastrnak and two assists from linemates David Krejci and Pavel Zacha. For the Bruins, Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk also scored, while Linus Ullmark recorded his NHL-best 19th victory while making 36 saves. With four straight wins and 56 points going into the Christmas break, Boston is in first place in the NHL.
New Jersey Devils
Jack Hughes gave the Devils the lead in the first period, giving them a 1-0 advantage. After falling three goals down by the end of the second period, Tomas Tatar and Yegor Sharangovich scored for New Jersey, but it was not enough to even rescue a point in this game. Before being replaced after two quarters, goalkeeper Mackenzie Blackwood recorded 14 saves. It’s now seven losses in eight games for the Devils.
Philadelphia Flyers Vs Carolina Hurricanes
The Philadelphia Flyers were on the road as they travelled to the Carolina Hurricanes. In their last game, Philadelphia played the Toronto Maple Leafs. After playing Pittsburgh on Thursday, Carolina played its second game in two nights. Before its back-to-back games, Philadelphia defeated the Columbus Blue 5-3 and had won two of its last three games. Carolina has won six straight games and most recently defeated the New Jersey Devils.
The Flyers could have started the game better. They were already down by two goals at the end of the first period as the Hurricanes put three past them. Defender Travis Sanheim scored the only goal for the Flyers in the first period. In the second period, the Flyers made it a goal margin as Tony DeAngelo scored off a Joel Farabee assist.
The Flyers conceded three goals again in the second period and were trailing by four goals at the end of the period. The third period was all about the Flyers. They scored all three goals in the period via Nick Seeler, Scott Laughton, and Travis Konecny, but it was all in vain as the Flyers lost for the third time in four games.
The Hurricanes dominated the first two periods of this game and did enough in those two quarters to win despite a subpar performance in the third period. The Hurricanes won their eighth straight game with two goals from Jesper Fast in the first period, along with goals from Stefan Noesen, Andrei Svechnikov, Martinook, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Martinook, Martin Necas, and Brett Pesce all had two assists each, while Jordan Staal got three. Antti Raanta, the Hurricanes’ goalie, made 27 saves.
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St. Louis Blues Vs Vegas Golden Knights
In a Western Conference matchup, the St. Louis Blues and Vegas Golden Knights squared off at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. St. Louis Blues entered this game having lost 5-2 against the Seattle Kraken, snapping their four-game winning streak. The Vegas Golden Knights, meanwhile, ended a two-game losing streak this past Wednesday. They defeated the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. By narrowly defeating the Blues 5-4 in this contest, the Golden Knights made it two victories in a row.
St. Louis Blues
After going down by a goal in the first period, forward Pavel Buchnevich tied the game for the Blues at the start of the second period. Vladimir Tarasenko, Justin Faulk’s goal, and Noel Acciari scored as the game ended in a draw at the end of regular time. St. Louis Blues lost the shootout, which meant back-to-back losses for the team.
The Knights have won back-to-back home games going into the holiday break after losing six of their previous seven at T-Mobile Arena. The Amadio, Chandler Stephenson, and Mark Stone line excelled for the second straight game. The three players combined for three goals and six assists. Stephenson tied the shootout in overtime, and Stone sank the winning shot.
On the last game day before the Christmas break, the Washington Capitals played the Winnipeg Jets. History was made as Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin passed Gordie Howe for second on the NHL all-time goal list by scoring two goals to reach the 802 goal mark. Ovechkin gave Washington the lead in the first period to bring his tally to 801 goals, consequently matching Gordie Howe’s goal record.
A minute left in the third period was when Ovechkin passed the legend as he scored an empty-net goal. This brings his overall tally for the season to 22 goals in 36 appearances. This was a worthy mention, as history was made right in this game. The Jets posed little or no threat to the Capitals as they won 4-1 in a game that was an obvious walk in the park for them.
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