There were seven games in the National Hockey League on Tuesday night, and the early games in particular were very close, very contentious and there were a couple of surprises along the way, too. Of the seven games, four were decided by one goal, too, so it was an interesting evening of hockey all around. Perhaps the most exciting game of the slate was played in the City of Brotherly Love. The Florida Panthers and Philadelphia Flyers were involved in the 'fantasy fiesta' of the evening, a term graciously bestowed upon the high-scoring battle. There are a lot of things to get to, so let's get started!
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Philadelphia Flyers 6, Florida Panthers 5 (SO)
The home team enjoyed a five-goal second period, as Wayne Simmonds opened the scoring to level the game at 1-1. Jordan Weal then quickly added one at the 5:54 mark to give the Flyers a 2-1 advantage, and Claude Giroux struck less than three minutes late for the first two-goal lead of the evening. Wayne Simmonds restored the two-goal lead late in the period, giving him five markers on the season. Giroux joined Simmonds in the second-period goal parade, also notching his second of the period at the 17:03 mark. It was pandemonium in Philly, as the Broad Street Bullies were up 5-2 with less than three minutes to go. However, the Panthers weren't going quietly into the night. Not by a long shot.
Frank Vatrano accounted for the first two goals of the evening, his first two markers of the season. He kept the Panthers within arm's length of the Fly Guys, and Aleksander Barkov's power-play goal with 2:29 to go in the second period from Mike Hoffman and Keith Yandle really proved to be a giant goal. The Panthers fought hard and owned the third period, outscoring the Flyers 2-0 courtesy of even-strength markers by Evengnii Dadonov and Sasha Barkov, his second of the evening. The second goal, on another assist by Yandle, was the final score of regulation, as Florida erased a three-goal deficit and forced overtime to at least guarantee themselves of one road point.
It wasn't a great night if you owned stock in either of the netminders, however. Brian Elliott was yanked after allowing four goals on 23 shots, including an ugly misplay on Vatrano's second tally of the night. The goaltender had the miscue on a loose puck with no other players around, and Vatrano gladly deposited the gift into the back of the net. Calvin Pickard came on and yielded a goal on just three shots in his 19:54 of ice time, but he was actually the goaltender of record in this one. Michael Hutchinson, the former Winnipeg Jets backstop, yielded five goals on 26 shots. However, the Panthers stayed the course with him and he played into the shootout. However, it was Jordan Weal who beat him on Philly's third shot to end a wild affair, 6-5. Pickard actually ended up picking up the surprise win for his fantasy owners.
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New Jersey Devils 3, Dallas Stars 0
The Devils have fired out of the chute at 4-0-0, and if they keep getting this kind of collective effort they're going to be a tough out in the Eastern Conference. Keith Kinkaid made 24 stops for his second shutout of the season, and the sixth of his career. The second shutout already ties a career best. He stepped up for the injury Cory Schneider last season, assumed the No. 1 role in Newark, and he hasn't looked back.
Kyle Palmieri has managed seven goals through four outings, and he set a rather unique record, becoming the first play in NHL history to score his team's opening goal in four straight to open a new season.
New York Rangers 3, Colorado Avalanche 2 (SO)
Semyon Varlamov was tested early and often on Broadway, yielding two goals on 43 shots in a shootout loss. Henrik Lundqvist also saw his share of action, turning aside 31 of the 33 shots he faced. It was an entertaining battle, as the Rangers won for just the fifth time in the past 16 meetings with the Avalanche.
Kevin Shattenkirk and Mats Zuccarello came alive for the home side, notching a pair of assists each. Shattenkirk also ended up being the hero in the shootout, sliding one past a dejected Varlamov. Jesper Fast wasn't in a particularly good mood, either. While he was scoreless in his 16:57 of ice time, he tossed his body around to tack up a team-high five hits, tying rearguard Brady Skjei in that category. Chris Kreider also had four hits with a blocked shot, and his power-play goal in the first period opened the scoring at MSG.
The big stars for the Avalanche shined brightest, as Gabriel Landeskog had a goal with an assist, a plus-1 rating, four shots and four penalty minutes while adding a hit. Nathan MacKinnon also connected for a goal late in the second period to close the scoring in regulation.
Vancouver Canucks 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 2 (OT)
Chalk eaters banking on a Penguins victory at home were left paying out big time, as the heavily underdog Canucks came up with a surprising win as they continued their road odyssey.
Brock Boeser scored his second of the season, winning it in overtime to make a winner of Anders Nilsson in the Steel City. The goaltender turned aside 26 of the 28 pieces of galvanized rubber that he faced in the surprising victory.
Tim Schaller isn't a particularly attractive fantasy option, but he could be if he continues with nights like this. He picked up two assists with a plus-1 rating and seven hits in his 15:37 of ice time.
Sidney Crosby was blanked with a plus-1 rating. He salvaged the stat line somewhat with three hits and 14 wins in 23 faceoff chances, but it's a far cry from what fantasy owners expect from him when the dregs of the league roll through town.
Casey DeSmith continues to hold down the fort with Matt Murray out of service, but the goalie was rung up for three goals on 26 shots in the surprising loss. He is now 1-0-2 with a 2.59 goals-against average and .922 save percentage in three starts. .
Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Carolina Hurricanes 2
Tyler Johnson was the highlight reel in this one, as he was able to record his fourth career hat trick in the victory against the suddenly struggling Hurricanes. He seems to like facing Carolina, as he also had the hats flying against the Canes last January, too.
Sebastian Aho continues his upward trend, as he had an assist to give him at least one point in seven straight games to open the season. He has managed 12 points so far, and his streak is the third-longest in the history of the Whalers/Hurricanes franchise.
Martin Necas also got on the board with his first NHL goal, as he looks like another young star about to pop in Raleigh. Target him in long-term keeper pools.
Petr Mrazek stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced in the loss, as the Hurricanes are now 2-17-2 across their past 21 against the Lightning since the start of the 2012-13 campaign.
Minnesota Wild 2, Arizona Coyotes 1
The Coyotes might be just 1-4-0 so far through five games, but they have certainly been a thorn in the side of everyone coming their way. Darcy Kuemper had a chance to face his former organization and he was tough, allowing two goals on 28 shots, but in the end he was bested by Devan Dubnyk.
The Wild netminder yielded just a first-period power-play goal to Brendan Perlini, as Jordan Oesterle and Vinnie Hinostroza chipped in with assists on the man advantage. After that, Dubnyk had it on lockdown and no one from the desert was able to do anything in the State of Hockey.
Even with just two goals on the board, DFS players were treated to decent results from select Minnesota players. Mikael Granlund and Eric Staal each potted their second goals of the season, and Staal was able to squeeze off a game-high eight shots on net. Marcus Foligno also delivered five hits and three blocked shots to earn his keep, while Jonas Brodin sacrificed his body with four blocked shots.
Edmonton Oilers 5, Winnipeg Jets 4 (OT)
The Oilers and Jets were also unable to settle their differences in regulation, and this was another contest you wanted nothing to do with the goaltenders.
Connor McDavid continues to amaze, as he went for two goals and four points in the victory. He set an NHL record in this game by scoring or assisting on his team's first nine goals to start a season, eclipsing the previous record of seven held by Adam Oates during the 1986-87 campaign with the Detroit Red Wings. McDavid is now up to four goals and five assists through just four games.
Adam Lowry was the dual goal scorer for the homestanding Jets, bagging a pair of markers with a plus-1 rating, four shots on goal, a blocked shot and a hit in his 15:21 of ice time. Surprisingly, he was the only multi-point player for the Jets.
Nikolaj Ehlers, Patrick Laine and Mathieu Perreault were good for one helper each, and Laine attempted seven shots but just couldn't get any of them to fall. Darnell Nurse was able to find the back of the net, winning it in overtime after doing a dipsy-doo past Ehlers before beating Hellebuyck for the goodies.
Vegas Golden Knights 4, Buffalo Sabres 1
The Sabres didn't have a lot of fantasy stars, but Patrik Berglund, Zemgus Girgensons and Zach Bogosian stood out with four hits apiece. Vladimir Sobotka also registered his first goal of the season in three games, including his second back from an upper-body injury.
William Karlsson posted a goal with two assists, a plus-2 rating, three shots on goal, two blocked shots and a hit. While this marked his first time with a goal in No. 7, fantasy owners shouldn't be alarmed. He didn't score his first goal last season until team game No. 7 and he erupted for 43 goals and 78 points with a plus-49 rating in 82 games of his breakout season.
Jonathan Marchessault went for two goals, and despite the fact his team is 3-4-0 so far, he has been even or positive in the plus/rating category in each of his seven outings.
Marc-Andre Fleury was able to pick up the victory, his 407th in the NHL, and he is now tied for 10th on the all-time wins list.