With December quickly approaching, it's time to take another quick look around the NHL at several teams you should be keeping an eye on in the coming week.
Swimming against the current
The San Jose Sharks are mired in an awful 7-13-4 start to the season which many expected as the team continues its rebuild in Silicon Valley. It's how they've gotten there that has been interesting. San Jose has recorded five of its seven victories on the road. That leaves it a dreadful 2-11 on home ice. The good news is, the Sharks open a four-game eastern road swing in Montreal on Tuesday. The bad news? They'll have to do so without goaltender James Reimer, who has been played on injured reserve due to a lower-body injury. That leaves Kaapo Kahkonen and his dreadful .871 save percentage to take over as the regular starter between the pipes. The goal-happy Maple Leafs have to be licking their chops at the prospect of catching the Sharks at home with San Jose in a back-to-back and three-in-four spot on Wednesday (and will be priced accordingly).
Unleash the Kraken
Not much was expected of the Seattle Kraken in their second NHL campaign after they played the role of prototypical expansion team to a tee last season. While their first five-game winning streak was chalked up as nothing more than a brief run of good fortune after following it up with consecutive home losses to the Jets and Wild, the Kraken have proven they're no flash in the pan by delivering their second five-game winning streak in the last month heading into Tuesday's matchup in Los Angeles. Few teams are playing a more exciting brand of hockey, with Seattle having scored 17 goals in its last three games alone. Goaltender (and former L.A. King) Martin Jones is enjoying a renaissance campaign, posting a .903 save percentage with Seattle prevailing in 10 of his 16 starts to date.
Singing the Blues(hirts)
There's trouble brewing on Broadway after the New York Rangers suffered their third straight loss on Monday, this one coming in excruciating fashion as they blew a 2-0 lead in an eventual 5-3 loss at the hands of the rival Devils. While it's not time to hit the panic button yet, any extended losing streak is concerning when you reside in the ultra-competitive Metropolitan Division. New York currently sits in fifth place, a whopping 14 points behind the aforementioned division-leading Devils. A sweepable home-and-home series with the Senators (who reside in last place in the Atlantic Division) is up next, with the latter contest kicking off a brief three-game homestand in which the Blueshirts will look to right the ship before playing five of their next seven contests on the road.
The Philadelphia Flyers turned heads out of the gate this season, going 5-2 in their first seven games. It's been all downhill from there and they enter Tuesday's rematch with the Islanders on the heels of 10 consecutive losses. The good news is, they're finally coming off a two-day break, their first since November 5th to 8th. Of note, Philadelphia is 8-2 the last 10 times it has played at home on two or more days' rest. Unfortunately, that extra time off hasn't helped heal their injuries, with Travis Konecny, James Van Riemsdyk, Cam Atkinson and Sean Couturier among the list of key veterans currently sidelined. They're hoping to at least get Konecny back on the ice later this week but even with their full compliment of players, this is a team headed nowhere fast this season.