By Matt Citak
As we have passed the quarter-mark of the 2017-18 NHL season, we are finally beginning to get a clearer picture of which teams are going to contend this year. Expectations were not high for teams such as the New York Islanders or Winnipeg Jets, yet here we are at the end of November and both teams are vying for their respective division lead. With so much time remaining on the season, who knows which currently struggling team will rebound and jump back into the race for the postseason.
As we prepare ourselves to enter the final month of 2017, let’s take a look at the top NHL Headlines of the Week, which includes a couple of injuries, some recent hot/cold streaks, and yet another suspension.
Penguins goalie Matt Murray week to week
The Pittsburgh Penguins placed goaltender Matt Murray on injured reserve Tuesday after he suffered a lower-body injury during Pittsburgh’s 5-4 overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday. Murray had to be helped off the ice with 4:21 remaining in the second period after Flyers forward Jakub Voracek crashed into him following a breakaway. The 23-year-old goaltender is 11-7-1 with a 2.95 goals against average and .906 save percentage in 21 games this season. Murray is considered week to week.
22-year-old Tristan Jarry will take over in net for the Penguins. Jarry was Pittsburgh’s second round pick (No. 44) in the 2013 NHL Draft. Jarry is 2-2 in four games this season, with a 2.83 GAA and .907 save percentage.
Flyers suffer 9th consecutive loss on Tuesday
Claude Giroux gave the Flyers an early lead against the Sharks when he scored a goal just 48 seconds into the game. However San Jose’s Chris Tierney, Joe Thorton, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic each scored to hand Philadelphia their ninth straight loss, 3-1 at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday. The recent losing streak is the Flyers’ longest since the team lost 10 consecutive games (0-8-2) from February 6th- 23rd, 2008. Philadelphia now finds itself in last place in the Metropolitan Division and six points behind the Penguins for the second wild card spot in the playoffs.
Following the loss, the Flyers held a players-only meeting.
Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog suspended four games for cross-check
Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog will sit for four games due to the cross-check he delivered to the neck of Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk on Saturday night. The two players were engaged in a physical battle, as the Avs forward was trying to get the puck away from Tkachuk. Landeskog cross-checked Calgary’s forward several times, but the final cross-check was the biggest offense. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety said they accepted Landeskog’s argument that his actions “weren’t targeted or retaliatory in nature.” However, the department still found Landeskog responsible for recklessly checking an opponent in a vulnerable position.
The suspension will cost Landeskog $119,815.68 in salary.
Predators on hot streak, winners of 10 of last 12 games
The Cinderellas of the 2017 NHL playoffs got off to a rather slow start, going 5-5-2 in their first 12 games of the season and looking rather unimpressive. But since their 4-1 loss to the Sharks on November 1st, the Predators have completely turned their season around. Nashville has gone 10-1-1 in their last 12 games, and now sit just two points behind St. Louis for most points in the Western Conference. A big reason for that has been the Predators’ play at home. The whole hockey world saw how crazy downtown Nashville got during the team’s improbable run to last year’s Stanley Cup Finals, and it seems like the team has carried that momentum into this season. The Predators sport the NHL’s best home record, as they are 9-1-1 when playing at Bridgestone Arena. No longer considered a perennial underdog, the Predators are looking to make another deep postseason run this year.
Wild forward Zach Parise skates for first time since surgery
This season has gotten off to a disappointing start for the Wild, but the team got a bit of good news on Wednesday when veteran forward Zach Parise skated for the first time since undergoing microdiscectomy surgery on October 24th. The 33-year-old was on the ice for 45 minutes with Minnesota’s skating coach, Diane Ness, prior to the Wild’s practice. While he is expected to need 8-10 weeks to recover from the surgery, there is no definitive timeline for Parise’s return to practice or games. The procedure was designed to repair a herniated disk and alleviate the corresponding pain and weakness in nearby parts of the body.
Parise plans on taking his time with the recovery, but is very confident that everything will get back to normal and is excited to be able to play without pain once he returns.
Matt Citak is a producer for CBS Local Sports and a proud Vanderbilt alum. Follow him on Twitter or send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.