Exciting stories for the second half of the NHL season
The 2021-22 NHL season has been making waves in the past few months, and fans are keen to see what could happen in the coming games. Teams are trying to make their push in the games and this is why there is more to expect from the NHL.
With more intense games coming up, the NHL season just keeps on getting better. Some say that this may be the biggest season in the league yet. There are a lot of storylines to expect in the season from the top teams all the way down to the struggling clubs.
The road to the Stanley Cup is far and long, but most of the teams are willing to take the extra mile just to get their chance at winning in the league. The Stanley Cup hosts one of the most intense playoff games thanks to the rising level of performance from teams who reach the finals.
Here are some of the top storylines that fans are hoping to see for the remainder of the 2021-22 season:
Rangers thrive in life without Lundqvist
Henrik Lundqvist was the biggest hope for the New York Rangers over the years. Before the star opted to move on from ice hockey, Henrik had led them all the way to the East Finals and could have done so much more if he played for more years.
On top of that, the former goalie said he has seen enough from New York’s first quarter of the 2021-22 season. He believes that the squad is ready to roll in the playoffs and become one of the top teams to chase the league title.
‘I think they're showing a lot of the signs of a good team’, the former goalie said. ‘The character of the team, the pushbacks, how they come back from a tough game, how they answer back, those are good signs for a team that is trying to consistently have success when you have young players’.
The goalie also said that a lot of the players that came in a few years ago are starting to get a good groove in their games and accept their roles. It is easier to win games if players are doing well in adjusting to their games.
Henrik was honoured as the March of Dimes' chapters Sportsman of the Year and was New York’s top goalie the last time they played a playoff series back in the 2017 East Second Round. The Rangers had him at the lead when they were swept by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers.
Draisaitl still making noise for the Oilers
The Edmonton Oilers are glad to have two of the best players in the season. They are gunning for a lot of wins and fans are pleased to see the way they play. That shows a lot of promise from both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl as well.
While Connor, the Oilers captain, stands as the top pick for the Hart trophy, it is easy to say that Leon does not fall far behind. The Oilers goal getter is at the best of his game, and he continues to score well and help the team win more games.
Leon has scored more points, goals, and points per game than any other player in the NHL. He is also playing more minutes per game which is more than any other forward. The star is going for penalty kills, winning face-offs and adding more shots on the power play.
The mere fact that McDavid is a better player doesn’t mean that he is not close with Leon. The star forward benefits so much from Connor’s plays and he goes at a high rate of speed more than any other player in the team. The numbers don’t lie and it shows why Leon is making a lot of impact for the Oilers.
Changes for the Canadiens
The Montreal Canadiens had a rough start to the season after making it to the Stanley Cup Final last year. The Habs were off for some struggles and they failed to make the most of their games so far. The team made a huge change in their management in the hopes of getting a bigger chance of winning.
Former coach and Habs icon Scotty Bowman said that the aftershocks are felt well after the team had a big earthquake in the front office. Canadiens owner Geoff Molson fired GM Marc Bergevin who has been leading the team since the 2012-13 season. Jeff Gorton now serves as the de facto GM for the team, and Bowman knows that these moves are for the team’s future.
‘Montreal is a tough market’, the former Habs coach said. ‘The history of the team follows you. You can't change the fact you've won the Stanley Cup 24 times. And it's a different city because the team has to work in French and English. But in today's NHL, with the (NHL) salary cap, running that team -- any team -- is an awfully big job for one person. I can see how you need to break up the work for a group’.
Bowman has a lot of expectations with the Habs. He hopes that Gorton’s lead can pull off a lot of wins for the team. He knew that even former GM Sam Pollock’s success over the years will serve as a basis for their plans in the future.
‘Sam wanted input from everybody’, Bowman said. ‘He was not a one-man gang. Sometimes we had heated discussions, but that's the way he wanted it. And I think that Jeff Gorton will work the same way now with the people he'll have around him. There'll be plenty of work to go around’.
The Habs are going to need a lot of time to turn their chances around in the 2021-22 season. That is going to be a big change in the years to come and fans can hope for the best. Perhaps the greatest win that the team can get is to bounce back and make it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs once more.
Fans are hoping to see more from the best teams in the league after last year’s finish. This is why it is going to be exciting to watch more NHL games in the long run.
Words: Paul Daniel Flores