The Hat Trick: Week 14 in the NHL

Matt SitkoffCorrespondent IJanuary 3, 2010

RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 02:  Ilya Kovalchuck #17 of the Atlanta Thrashers reacts after scoring a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during their game at the RBC Center on January 2, 2008 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Winter Classic came and went as did Andy Murray with the St. Louis Blues this past week. The Thrashers keep losing as Iyla Kovalchuck keeps scoring, rumors keep swirling, and the Olympic teams took shape in what was a busy week in the NHL; now let’s look ahead to this week’s Pucking Awesome Hat Trick or the top three storylines I am looking for this week.  

Different End of the Spectrums: 

The Sharks have won eight games in a row while the Thrashers have not won a game in their last eight contests, so the big question is what will happen first? Sharks loss? Thrashers win? The Sharks will have more questions arise as the season goes on, especially since they will have more representatives in the Olympics than any other NHL team. Eight Sharks will be playing in Vancouver as the organization hopes that this does not slow them down from the ultimate goal. 

The Thrashers had a hot start to the season riding the young goaltending of Ondrej Pavelec and the hot stick of Iyla Kovalchuck, but have hit a wall lately. As the season inches closer to the trade deadline and the Thrashers inch both farther out of the playoffs and away from a contract extension from their Russian superstar this as well as the San Jose’s will be situation’s to keep your eye on.

Bruins Scoring:

The Bruins have signed Miroslav Satan off the free agent pool this week, signaling they are reaching for anything and everything to just score goals. They have one of the best goalie tandems in the league with Tim Thomas and surprising Tuuka Rask (1.85 and .935 save percentage). But the Bruins have been limited to one goal or less in 14 of their previous 40 games this season. 

Would the Bruins entertain trading one of the goalies, or say a defender for some scoring? It has been obvious all season that this talented team is just missing a elite scorer to put them in the same discussion as the Devils, Capitals and Penguins. 

Game Of The Week:  Flames at Canucks

The Canucks finished a four-game road trip with seven of the possible eight points and now embark on a four game home stand that includes an end of the week match up with the divisional rival Calgary Flames. The road warrior Flames already have compiled a 12-5-3 road record and have won four in a row. While the Avalanche sit on top of the Northwest Division for now, these two teams were expected to battle it out for the division crown.

One can only hope that the goaltending matchup is Roberto Luongo and Miikka Kiprusoff. The Finnish Olympian Kiprusoff has 3 wins in last 6 games with a 2.22 GAA and .916 save percentage, while the Canadian Olympian has 5 wins in his last 7 games with a 1.69 GAA and .935 save percentage. So far in the season series Calgary has won two of the three meetings, although the Canucks won the last meeting 5-1 in Calgary on December 29th.