Monday ushers in the third full week of January, and as we enter the second half of the month, four NHL teams are still in search of their first wins of 2022.
This is the portion of the NHL season where teams want to begin getting into a rhythm and prepare to make the necessary run toward a postseason berth. While some teams already appear to be in prime condition, others are in search of win number one in the new calendar year.
In the Eastern Conference, the Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers have played a combined nine games so far in January, and they’ve earned two points in the standings. On the Western Conference side of things, it’s the Seattle Kraken and Edmonton Oilers trying to nail down a victory for the first time in 2022. Those clubs have picked up only one point in a combined nine contests.
Four NHL teams are seeking win number one in 2022.
Certainly, these teams have not had an easy path in January. Just like the other 28 NHL clubs, COVID has impacted teams both in terms of available personnel and game postponements. Let’s take a look at what the week ahead holds for these four franchises.
The Canadiens have been especially disrupted by COVID-19 this month, as they have played only three games, going 0-2-1 in those contests. The Habs have had five matchups postponed this month, including four in a row from January 4-10.
Looking ahead for Montreal, Monday will be the first chance to earn that first win of the new year, and the team has four games in total this week. The challenging part is that all four are part of a five-game road trip, and this team is 2-14-4 on the road this season. The Canadiens will return home on January 27.
It’s been a rollercoaster-type season for the Flyers. The team struggled through a 10-game losing streak back in early December, then it went on a seven-game point streak immediately after. That brings us to January, where Philadelphia is 0-5-1.
Like the Canadiens, the Flyers play on Monday and have a total of four games scheduled for the upcoming week. They will kick things off with three consecutive games against divisional opponents that are battling to get back into the wild card race, much like Philadelphia.
The fact that the Oilers have yet to win this month is exceptionally troubling, because out of the four teams on this list, this is the one that should be firmly in a playoff spot. Instead, six losses in a row and a 2-10-2 record over the last 14 games has Edmonton on the outside looking in with 38 points in 35 games.
Nine postponed games since December 20 is certainly one reason that the Oilers may be struggling. Their game on Tuesday has also been postponed, so the club will only play two contests this week. While the circumstances are not ideal in Edmonton, a postseason appearance remains the expectation, and the Oilers need to get things back on the rails in a hurry.
Seattle is the only team on this list that has not yet earned a single point in the standings in 2022. The team enters this week with an 0-5 record in January, and in those five games, the Kraken have mustered only nine goals.
Looking ahead for Seattle, there are three games on the schedule this week, all at home, as part of a five-game homestand. Each of those opponents is very much alive in their respective playoff races, so it won’t be easy for the Kraken to pick up points. Their first opportunity to do so, however, will be on Monday.
For the Kraken, Canadiens, and Flyers, picking up some victories would, of course, be nice, but for the Oilers, a playoff spot may hang in the balance. To keep pace in any playoff race, two points can’t come quick enough for these teams in 2022.