We had just one game on the National Hockey League slate on Tuesday night, as all but two of the 31 teams were off. It's a full slate on Wednesday night, and I cannot wait until then, as I'll be taking in a game between the first-place Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C. with family and friends in town for the Thanksgiving holiday. The one game on Tuesday ended up being a very entertaining battle, and regulation could not solve things. Let's get started!
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Edmonton Oilers 4, San Jose Sharks 3 (OT)
The Oilers were playing their first game under the watchful eye of veteran coach Ken Hitchcock, as he takes over bench boss duties from the fired Todd McLellan. Leon Draisaitl made sure Hitchcock's debut was a successful one, as he buried the game-winning tally just 51 seconds into the overtime session to send the home folks away unhappy yet highly entertained. Draisaitl ended up with a three-point night, chipping in with two assists, too, while adding a plus-1 rating, two shots on goal and one hit over 22:15 of ice time. He also won just two of his 13 faceoff attempts, just a 15.4 percent conversion rate at the dot. That's about the only thing that didn't go right for him, however, as the transition for McLellan's reign to the Hitchcock era was seamless for the German pivot.
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Usually when Draisailt does well it's a pretty good night Connor McDavid, too, and Tuesday was no exception. The stud notched his 100th NHL goal on Tuesday, also finishing with a three-point night. McDavid ended up with a plus-2 rating and three shots on goal over 23:57 of ice time. He joined Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Drake Caggiula with goals, while Kyle Brodziak and Adam Larsson chipped in with assists in the overtime victory. The goal by RNH was of the shorthanded variety, while Caggiula also made his presence felt with a game-high six hits. Larsson also contributed across the board, going for two blocked shots and three hits over 23:32 of ice time. He has managed no goals and just eight assists with an even rating through 21 games, but fantasy owners will want to take notice of the rearguard for his help in the penalty minutes (20), blocked shots (36) and hits (55) categories.
Mikko Koskinen continues to give the Oilers a viable option in the crease, as Cam Talbot tries to iron out his inconsistencies and get back to form. If he isn't able to snap back to top form, then Koskinen has proven more than capable of holding down the fort. He allowed just three goals on 25 shots in the road victory, improving to 5-2-0 with a 2.65 goals-against average and .913 save percentage. He has allowed three or fewer goals in each of his past three starts and four appearances, and Koskinen has at least emerged as a decent No. 2 fantasy backstop in pools of 12 or more teams while he starts on a fairly regular basis. The Oilers will be back in action on Friday night in Anaheim.
The Sharks had their big guns out on Tuesday night, as Logan Couture, Joonas Donskoi and Marcus Sorensen bagged goals in the OT loss. Couture also showed a willingness to sacrifice his body, posting a blocked shot with two hits in his 20:48 of ice time. He has a goal with four points over the past two outings, and he has managed seven goals with 21 points across 22 outings this season. The only deterrent as far as fantasy owners are concerned would be his dismal minus-5 rating, including a terrible minus-9 over his past six outings. However, in fantasy leagues which do not use the category, as well as DFS providers not using plus/minus, Couture is an absolute stud performing near a point-per-game clip. Donskoi has scored just two goals with three points over the past 11 contests, so he needs to show more consistency before fantasy owners outside of the deepest pools can rely upon him again.
Martin Jones has struggled in the crease lately, and he coughed up four goals on just 23 shots in the OT loss in this one. Allowing goals to the likes of Draisaitl and McDavid is nothing to be embarrassed about, but he has now been tagged for 13 goals over the past three starts, and he has coughed up three or more goals in nine of the past 10 starts. While the high-octane offense in San Jose usually bails him out, and nearly did in this one, too, he is definitely not firing on all cylinders lately. Treat him as more of a No. 2 fantasy netminder right now until he starts to stand on his head and perform a little less erratically.
p>Lastly, Joe Thornton chipped in with an assist on Sorensen's first-period goal to post his 1,033 career helper, tying Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux for 11th-place on the NHL's all-time list. He needs seven more assists to tie former Los Angeles Kings forward Marcel Dionne for 10th place.