A promising start is turning into a dominating season as the Boston Bruins continue to lead the NHL in points. Defenseman Hampus Lindholm and goalie Linus Ullmark are two major reasons for the success and they are both included in this week’s “Who’s Hot” list. The forwards listed are led by Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin, who was recently moved by Gordie Howe and into second place on the career goal-scoring list.
Carolina goalie Pyotr Kochetkov makes another appearance as he is a major reason why Carolina has not suffered a regulation loss in December and has moved by New Jersey and into first place in the Metropolitan Division standings.
Boston (+600) is tied with defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado, and Carolina (+900) has moved into a tie for third in the odds to win the Stanley Cup title according to the Las Vegas odds.
There are some surprising names on the Who’s Not list this week. Keep on reading for information on the hottest forwards, defensemen and goaltenders in the NHL, as well as those players struggling in recent games.
Let’s check the latest NHL picks, stats, injury reports, and NHL predictions. We’ve plenty of NHL expert picks for you to consider.
- Alexander Ovechkin, Capitals: The future Hall of Famer has 10 goals in his last 11 games as he moved past Gordie Howe and into second place on the NHL’s career goal-scoring list.
Ovechkin also has a defensive rating of +9 over his last eight games. With Ovechkin leading the way, Washington has points in 11 of its last 12 games to move into third place in the Metropolitan Division.
With 23 goals, he now has at least 20 goals in each of the 18 NHL seasons and has 803 career goals during the regular season.
- Mikko Rantanen, Avalanche: Colorado might be playing without Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon, but the third member of what has been perhaps the most dynamic line in the NHL has done his best to make up for the absence of his injured teammates.
Rantanen has nine goals and four assists over his last 10 games with two game-winning goals during that stretch.
- Chandler Stephenson, Golden Knights: Just imagine what the record would be for the Capitals if Stephenson was still with the team.
Stephenson was traded from Washington to Vegas on Dec. 2, 2019, for a fifth-round pick. Stephenson had career highs of 21 goals and 64 points last season and he is on pace for 77 points this season.
Despite being held without a point in each of his last two games, Stephenson has 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in his last eight games for the Pacific Division-leading Golden Knights.
- Jakob Chychrun, Coyotes: Chychrun has a goal and three assists in his last two games to go with a +3 defensive rating as the Coyotes topped Stanley Cup contenders Colorado and Toronto to extend their winning streak to three games.
Chychrun missed 16 goals at the start of the season. Since he has returned, he has had four goals and 13 assists in 18 games, with Arizona going 7-7-4 in those games.
- Erik Gustafsson, Capitals: Gustafsson makes a return trip to the “Who’s Hot” list as he has five goals and five assists over the last eight games. An even more impressive number is his +11 defensive rating over that span. He has been on the ice for 14 even-strength goals scored and just three against in those eight games.
Without top-pair defenseman John Carlson in the lineup, Gustafsson has played more than 21 minutes in four of his last five games.
- Hampus Lindholm, Bruins: Lindholm is the gift that keeps on giving courtesy to the Anaheim Ducks. Lindholm was traded for three draft picks, including a 2022 first-rounder as well as defensemen Urho Vaakanainen and John Moore. Moore hasn’t played for the Ducks this season while Vaakanainen has no points in 10 games.
Lindholm has seven assists and a +7 rating over his last nine games and he is a major reason why the Boston Bruins have the most points in the NHL.
- Pyotr Kochetkov, Hurricanes: Has there been a bigger surprise this season among the goalies than Kochetkov?
He is 4-0-0 with a 1.25 goals-against average and .953 save percentage in his last four games. He has just one regulation loss in 15 games for the first-place team in the Metropolitan Division. According to the sportsbook, Kochetkov (+275) has the second-best odds to win the Calder Trophy as the top rookie in the NHL.
- Linus Ullmark, Bruins: Ullmark continues to lead the NHL in wins, goals-against average and save percentage. He is one of the main reasons why Boston has the best record in the NHL and is the only team in the NHL yet to suffer a regulation loss at home this season.
2️⃣0️⃣ wins for 3️⃣5️⃣ pic.twitter.com/7uG2VhSCyB
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 29, 2022
Ullmark is 5-0-1 with a 2.11 goals-against average and .934 save percentage over his last six games. The NHL betting lines have Ullmark as the front-runner to win the Vezina Trophy.
- Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning: Vasilevskiy is coming off a 45-save effort in a 2-1 shootout win over the New York Rangers and has allowed two goals or less in each of his last six games.
He has a .959 save percentage and a goals-against average of 1.38 in his last five appearances for a Tampa Bay team looking to win the Eastern Conference title for the fourth season in a row.
- Derick Brassard, Senators: Brassard is approaching the 1,000 games played milestone, but the offensive production that he enjoyed earlier in his career has been elusive.
Brassard has no goals and no assists with a -2 defensive rating over his last seven games. Brassard, who has played for 10 teams during his NHL career, has just four goals and four assists in 26 games this season as he returned to Ottawa for the first time since the 2017-18 campaign.
- Blake Coleman, Flames: After scoring 16 goals in his first season with Calgary, it has been a different story this year.
Coleman has no goals, one assist and eight penalty minutes in his last nine games. Coleman averaged 17 goals over his last five seasons but is on pace for only 11 this season.
- Tanner Jeannot, Predators: This is not the first appearance on the “Who’s Not” list for one of the best rookies during the 2021-22 season.
Jeannot continues to provide a physical presence for the Predators. However, he has no goals and no assists and a -5 rating over his last eight games. Jeannot has just three goals and three assists in 33 games this season.
- Jack Johnson, Blackhawks: Johnson is becoming a regular on this list.
Over his last eight games, the veteran has no goals and no assists. He has been on the ice for 11 even-strength goals against and just one goal scored by the Blackhawks as the Indiana native’s return to the Midwest has not gone well.
His -21 rating is his worst since the 2010-11 season when he was with the Los Angeles Kings.
- Neal Pionk, Jets: Pionk has no points and a -8 rating over his last six games. He was on the ice for all four Washington goals in a recent 4-1 loss.
Pionk’s -9 rating is the worst for a Winnipeg team that is second in the Central Division standings.
- Jan Rutta, Penguins: Rutta doesn’t have a goal or an assist over his last eight games. In the last six, he has a -6 defensive rating as the Penguins have cooled off after opening December with a seven-game winning streak.
He has negative defensive ratings in five of his last six games as the Penguins are 2-2-2 over that stretch and fighting to remain in position in the Eastern Conference.
- Mackenzie Blackwood, Devils: The good news is that Blackwood is back on the ice during an injury-plagued season. However, he has allowed seven goals on 61 shots over the last three games that he has played.
While Blackwood is 5-3 in 10 games with the Devils this season, his .882 save percentage is the worst in his NHL career.
- Ville Husso, Red Wings: Husso has given up at least four goals in each of his last four games, and that includes surrendering four goals on 12 shots the last time out against Pittsburgh.
He has just one win in his last six appearances for the Red Wings,
- Petr Mrazek, Blackhawks: The well-traveled Mrazek is with his fifth franchise in the last six seasons. He has had a tough go of it, especially recently.
Mrazek is 0-4 with a save percentage of .876 and a 4.28 goals-against average in his last four games.