DUCKS 4, PREDATORS 2
This was a big “Yeah, DON’T CARE” response game for Ducks fans.
“Nashville was on back-to-back nights while Anaheim last played on Thursday.”
“Yeah, don’t care.”
“Yeah, don’t care.”
“The Predators heavily out-shot the Ducks, who seem to sleep through third periods lately.”
… and so on.
-- Jiri Sekac got hurt in this one and didn’t return to the contest. Not sure how many people are affected by this, but there you go.
-- Big night for Chris Stewart, which is especially impressive considering his minimal 11:15 TOI. He scored a goal, two assists, had a +3 rating and two PIM.
-- Sami Vatanen scored a goal and an assist and took a questionable hit from Filip Forsberg. Keep an eye open for updates on both the victim and the perp, as maybe there will be more that comes from it.
-- Rickard Rakell shows his sporadic strong work, getting a goal and an assist of his own.
-- Frederik Andersen needed to stop 40 out of 42 shots to finally get a win this season. Remarkably, he's played quite well, with a .935 save percentage.
-- Is there a better group of scoring defensemen than Nashville as a whole? It might not even be close.
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SABRES 2, ISLANDERS 1
-- Not sure what "bug" is ailing John Tavares, but whatever that "cold" is, it kept Tavares out for a back-to-back set this weekend.
(Quotations needed because NHL teams share injury information as happily as the New England Patriots bend/break the rules.)
-- Sam Reinhart scored his second goal and first game-winner in this one. He's not getting the ice time to be particularly interesting at this point (just 9:48 TOI on Sunday, for instance).
-- Linus Ullmark's been on a small hot streak. Buffalo's a lot better this season, so maybe give him an audition if you'd like. Not a big endorsement because I'm not sold, but totally fine if you're not counting on long or even really mid-term production.
-- Thomas Greiss lost (20 out of 22 saves), but he's off to a solid start this season: 3-1-2 with a .924 save percentage.
-- Matt Martin leads the NHL in hits with 59, while Mark Borowiecki unlikely to catch him in the near future despite having a game in hand (he has 47 in 11 GP). Islanders teammate Cal Clutterbuck is tied for fourth with 40 hits of his own.
-- Ryan O'Reilly's scoring streak is over, but he's silenced his critics in a big way. At least on the ice.
CANADIENS 5, JETS 1
-- Remember all that stuff about Michael Hutchinson being a no-brainer to start? Welllll ....
He barely made it into the second period last night, allowing four goals on just five shots. That's what I get for making really any statements about goalies.
I give up, goalies. I cannot understand you; I can only hope that the team around is good or bad enough to inspire any kind of confident predictions.
-- We can probably scratch the whole Montreal was just beating up on the East theory, too. Sunday was basically a parade of incorrect assumptions being squashed, and it was not appreciated.
-- It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Dustin Byfuglien's game, but the NHL needs to suspend him in at least a dim hope that he'll stop running everyone. Way too many shaky hits by "Buffy the Hamburger Slayer."
LIGHTNING 4, HURRICANES 3
-- Some signs of life from Tampa Bay's quiet scorers.
"The Triplets" were at least briefly broken apart, and it paid dividends for the Bolts. Ondrej Palat assisted on a Ryan Callahan goal while Nikita Kucherov grabbed primary helpers on a goal from Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson.
That stands as Johnson's first tally of 2015-16, by the way. Johnson was very quiet to start last season, so maybe he's a younger, more-finesse-oriented Jarome Iginla from a slow-start standpoint.
(It's probably just a coincidence.)
-- Andrei Vasilevskiy returned to action to win. Good news for Tampa Bay, bad news for copy editors.
-- Kris Versteeg sure seems to be fitting in well with the Hurricanes. He had a one-goal, two-assist Sunday and has five points in his past two contests. He also has 10 points in 12 games on the season. He seems to be at his best when most of us sort of forget about him for a while.
-- Victor Rask has four points in his past two games and eight in 12 contests himself. Not bad.
SHARKS 4, AVALANCHE 3
-- Brent Burns is such a beast. He scored two goals on Sunday after only coming into the game with one tally. With eight SOG in this past contest, Burns has a ridiculous 49 SOG in 11 games. That's the most of any player in the NHL - not just defensemen - and second-place guy Taylor Hall has 47 SOG in one extra game.
-- Speaking of Jarome Iginla, he's actually playing quite well. He scored his fourth goal of 2015-16 and is generally looking spry. As much as Colorado's about the youngsters, Iginla and Francois Beauchemin (not to mention Alex Tanguay) are key figures.
-- Martin Jones update: 6-3-0 with a .932 save percentage and two shutouts.
-- Patrick Marleau is heating up. He had two assists on Sunday, three assists in two games and four in four contests. At 36, he might not really provide the goals he used to, but he can still be productive.