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Hockey Daily Dose

Dose: Hawks Fly High

by James O'Brien
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

The trade deadline passed since the last time I Dose’d you on a Sunday (there have been plenty since overall, so hit the archives if you’re behind). New players are still become acquainted with new teams, with a handful of players grabbing their first goals/assists/stink-eyes from coaches.

You’ll see a good chunk of that in this column, while we also get some key insight into how bench bosses are playing with their new toys. Kevin Shattenkirk owners, for instance, should be very happy to see how much power play time he got tonight.

Let’s get rolling.

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-- Nicklas Backstrom scored in overtime for his 20th goal of the season, giving the Capitals 15 straight wins at home. It was a nice all-purpose output for Backstrom, who won 11 of 14 faceoffs, blocked far too many (five) shots and generated three SOG.

-- Braden Holtby looks like he'll keep the heat on Devan Dubnyk in the Vezina race. They're both now tied for the NHL lead with 34 wins, and Dubnyk's fantastic .933 save percentage is only a hair better than Holtby's .931 mark.

There's no denying that Holtby gets a lot of help, but he looks likely to pull off a Brodeurian run of three straight 40+ win seasons. No one else is even close to Holtby when it comes to wins during the last three seasons, and he isn't far behind Carey Price or Dubnyk when it comes to save percentage during that span.

-- Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Ovechkin assisted on Backstrom's OTGWG on the PP (PPOTGWG? OTPPGWG?), which fits together nicely since the two offensive dynamos also enjoyed identical PP TOI: 5:27 apiece.

With 43 points so far in 2016-17, Shattenkirk looks set to demolish his previous career-high of 45 points. Throwing out the abomination of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, he's remarkably consistent in falling between 43-45 points each season.


-- Two straight gut-punch regulation losses for the Predators, who saw at least a single point wash away with late third-period goals in each case. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks remain red-hot, winning their seventh game in a row. They pulled ahead of the Wild for the first place in the Central, although Minnesota holds three games in hand.

The Predators, meanwhile stay pretty comfortably ahead of the Blues for third place in the division (though St. Louis is closer than they may appear thanks to two games in hand on NSH).

-- The revitalization of Jonathan Toews is a big reason why Chicago is so hot right now.

He generated an outstanding 18 points in 10 February games. Overall in 2017, he has 30 of his 48 points. This blistering run makes his season look a ton more All-Star-worthy.

-- Patrick Kane has also really been picking up his play, including two goals on Saturday to push him to 29 goals on the season. He has at least a point in all but two games since Feb. 2, scoring 14 goals and seven assists for 21 points in 13 games.

There's a very real chance that Kane might end up winning the Art Ross, but Connor McDavid isn’t be easy to catch … literally or figuratively.

-- There were signs that Viktor Arvidsson was quite the find (112th pick of 2014) for Nashville, but he's put it together for a resounding breakout season. With two goals on Saturday, he's at 23 goals and 47 points in 63 games. He had 16 points in 58 games last season and zero in six games in 2014-15. Yeah, this is a big jump.

With an 11.6 shooting percentage, the results aren't really that outrageous, however. His speedy, slick play also passes "the eye test."


-- This marks four straight victories for Carey Price, who is closing in on 30 wins for the season (29-16-5). He's only allowed four goals during this red-hot run, grabbing one shutout and allowing a single tally in each of the past two games.

In Saturday's case, he stopped 26 out of 27 shots. He didn't have to do any on the penalty kill, as there was just one penalty all game (Montreal went 0-for-1).

-- Shea Weber scored his 15th goal of the season and fourth point in as many games (38 in 66 overall). This is normally when I'd caution about shooting percentage (his is at 9.8 this season), but considering his 8.2 average and 10.6 mark from 2015-16 maybe the goals will just keep going in for one the league's scariest slap-shooters.

Weber scored 20 goals last season and has a career-high of 23 tallies (done in both 2013-14 and 2008-09). I think he has a shot of at least getting 20 for the third time in four seasons.

-- Jordie Benn generated his first goal with the Habs (three overall this season) and received 18:45 TOI. Still wouldn't grab him unless you're in a Lush Beard League.

-- Matching two-assist nights for Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk. Galchenyuk hasn't been getting a ton of ice time the last two games, with 15:35 on March 2 and 14:27 on Saturday, but he's still getting his points. He's now on a five-game point streak (3G, 4A).


-- Gabriel Landeskog pulled one of the real heel moves in hockey, spoiling Connor Hellebuyck's bid for back-to-back shutouts with a garbage goal with 16 seconds remaining in the game. Hellebuyck stopped all 29 shots against the Blues on Friday before making 22 of 23 stops on Saturday, so at least he wasn't putting up some sort of huge number of saves.

The 23-year-old is now 22-15-3 on the season.

-- Patrik Laine continues his ridiculous rookie season with a goal (number 32) and assist in this one, giving him 58 points in as many games. He now has 14 points in his last eight games, failing to generate a point on just one occasion.

-- Nikolaj Ehlers and Blake Wheeler generated even more impressive outputs than Laine in this one, enjoying one-goal, two assists nights. If you have to pick a best night of the two, maybe you go Ehlers since he had a +4 to Wheelers' +3 rating.

Ehlers now has 52 points in 66 games.

-- After falling just short of his first 30-goal season in 2015-16 with 29, it looks like Mark Scheifele will reach that mark. He scored his 27th goal of 2016-17 on Saturday, giving him (if healthy) 16 more games to pile up goals.


-- Boston is now 8-2-0 under Bruce Cassidy, whose name still makes me grin. Maybe their hot streak will end once I no longer chuckle at his name? Could be a long run if so.

-- It's fitting, then, that another funny-named person, Ryan Spooner, scored the game-winner. He's been picking up his play lately, with 10 points in his last 12 contests.

-- Hmm, maybe Drew Stafford has a new lease on life out of Winnipeg? He grabbed an assist and a +1 rating in this one, but it was his peripherals that were eyebrow-raising: seven SOG and four hits in 14:07 TOI, including 1:40 PP TOI.

He only managed two assists in his previous nine games, so this was quite the bump.

Not sure how cemented the lines are, but at the moment, he looks like he'll be part of an interesting third trio of forwards with Spooner and Frank Vatrano.

-- Kyle Palmieri remains hot, getting his 20th goal of the season while also managing an assist. He now has five goals and four assists for nine points in his past six games, failing to generate a point in just one contest.

-- Anton Khudobin is on a pretty unspectacular three-game winning streak, his only appearances of 2017.

He only needed to make 15 out of 17 stops to win this one, while Palmieri and Cory Schneider (37 out of 40 saves), almost stole the game for New Jersey.


-- Hmm, maybe Tampa Bay really has a shot to make the playoffs? Just about every other wild card hopeful (at least last wild card, as the Rangers are out of reach) is stumbling either slightly or significantly. Interesting.

-- Tyler Johnson scored his 19th goal of the season, firing six SOG, delivering a hit and even leading all Lightning forwards with 2:06 shorthanded TOI. Only Jason Garrison (3:33) spent more time killing penalties for Tampa Bay.

-- Nikita Kucherov now has 63 points in 57 games, three short of his career-high from last season.

-- Speaking of career-highs, Victor Hedman also assisted on that Johnson goal, giving him 55 points this season, matching his best mark from 2013-14. He already has a new peak for assists with 43, one more than 42 from that other career-best. His 12 goals is one shy of his peak of 13, representing the fourth straight season where the big Sweden's scored at least 10 goals.

-- Both Andrei Vasilevskiy and Robin Lehner stopped 31 out of 32 shots, with Vasi getting the win, pushing him past .500 (14-13-5) for the season. He's won three in a row, making it reasonable to wonder if he's indeed liberated by Ben Bishop's departure.


-- Kari Lehtonen absolutely stole this game for the Stars, making 41 out of 42 saves to win for the third time in four starts. Unfortunately, his last loss was a bad one, though; he gave up six goals in a defeat to Boston on Feb. 26. I can't really blame fantasy owners for viewing him as someone unworthy of trust to start, especially with possibly two other goalie options on a packed night like a Saturday.

-- John Klingberg is quietly getting it together, generating his 11th goal of 2016-17, which was also a late game-winner. This extended his point streak to five games (3G, 4A).

-- Nice game from the Stars' other big guns, as Jamie Benn scored a goal and an assist while Tyler Seguin managed two helpers. Those two will be just fine, too.

-- Thomas Vanek hasn't generated a point in two games with the Panthers, but he had five SOG in his debut and two on Saturday. He was very... "selective" with his shooting at times in Detroit (including just a single SOG per contest in his last three games with the Red Wings), so it's promising to see him get a reasonable number of chances with FLA.

-- Jonathan Huberdeau is close to a point-per-game since returning, grabbing a goal to push him to five goals and seven assists for 12 points in 13 games.


-- Viktor Stalberg's 10th of the season was his first as a member of the Senators. Brandon Saad scored his 20th goal of the season while Sam Gagner's 15th (on the power play, naturally) ended up being the decisive marker late in the contest.

-- Erik Karlsson has been a little off the mark compared to his usually high standard, but he enjoys his fourth straight double-digit goal season, grabbing tally 11 and giving him 56 points in 63 games. Insane by any measure unless you're comparing him only to Brent Burns.

-- Speaking of high-scoring defensemen, Zach Werenski collected two assists while receiving a team-high 25:45 TOI, easily his best ice time in the past five games. He continues to accomplish things few defensemen could manage, let alone first-year blueliners.


-- Cam Talbot is tied Sergei Bobrovsky at 33 wins, tying for second-best in the NHL behind the tie of Devan Dubnyk and Braden Holtby. Talbot ranks among the "more legit" guys considering the Oilers' poor defensive reputation, and this season is far and away his best year when you weigh wins. That $4.167 million cap hit through 2018-19 is looking very promising on a roster that is low on bargains beyond the not-so-capitalistic advantages that come from having McDavid on an entry-level deal.

-- Connor McDavid grabs a goal and an assist, pumping his league-leading total to 74 points. Not sure you can over-hype McDavid, although I imagine some grumpy folks will focus on things that don't really matter. We'll see if he can hold of Patrick Kane and Sidney Crosby for the Art Ross.

-- After going nine games without a point, Dylan Larkin scored a goal and an assist. During a lost season for Detroit, he's had a very disappointing "sophomore slump," but maybe he can regain some confidence in the last month-or-so of 2016-17.


-- Sven Baertschi collected a goal and an assist in this game, giving him 15 goals and 30 points on the season. That 30 marks a new career-high for the 24-year-old while 15 goals matches a high mark established last season.

After an up-and-down development with the Flames, he's worked out quite nicely for Vancouver, a franchise that hasn't had many "wins" in the young player category lately.

-- In his first game with the Canucks, intriguing prospect Nikolay Goldobin scored a goal on his one SOG ... after receiving 10 shifts (5:51 TOI). Hopefully those numbers raised a red flag for you, as while the potential is interesting, that's very little ice time.

Still a shrewd trade by the Canucks.

-- Ryan Miller won his first game since Feb. 18, stopping 41 out of 44 SOG as Los Angeles really fought hard to try to rebound from a 4-0 deficit. Ben Bishop, on the other side, still doesn't have a win with the Kings after giving up four goals on 21 SOG.

Speaking of that Kings' push-back, Bishop allowed all of those goals through the first half-and-change of the game. After that, there were no goals allowed, but Vancouver only fired four SOG on Bishop in the third period.

Those numbers are troubling, yet they also remind you that the Kings can really carry a goalie on many nights. So Bishop could still conceivably bring value.

-- Adrian Kempe had the best night of his young career, collecting two assists. By comparison, Kempe enjoyed two one-assist games in his previous eight contests. He still lacks a goal.

James O'Brien
James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.