With nine games on the docket, I’m not even going to joke about not having much of a lead-in (although I guess I just did?) and jump right into the recaps.
STARS 4, OILERS 2
-- In his third NHL game, Connor McDavid scored his first goal. It was a nice deflection that probably received too much adulation because it's McDavid (Nikolaj Ehlers scored his first NHL goal with more oomph last night).
More than anything else, though, McDavid is scaring opponents with his speed. I'm not really the type to know who's the absolute fastest skater (how does anyone do that without a stopwatch, anyway?), but he has to be up there already.
-- Jason Spezza generated his sixth career hat trick, scoring the third and fourth goals of the game. I don't think he's worth his contract, but that doesn't stop him from being a solid fantasy option.
(Holy smokes, that Kari Lehtonen pass on his ENG, BTW.)
-- Don't blame Anders Nilsson for this loss. The Stars pounded a ridiculous 52 shots on goal, including 20 in the third period alone.
-- Tyler Seguin somehow didn't score a goal despite firing 10 SOG. Good grief.
CANUCKS 3, KINGS 0
-- Considering the way the Kings organization handled this summer (Dean Lombardi burying Mike Richards when the Kings got away with blatant cap circumvention took the awful cake), it's hard not to feel a measure of glee at the beating they're taking.
And man, they're really stinking up the joint. In three regulation losses - all at home - Los Angeles has lost by a combined score of 12-2.
They didn't even provide a great effort in this one, only mustering 15 SOG.
-- Ryan Miller stopped all of those shots, continuing his strong start to the season. The Canucks are a ridiculous seven standings points ahead of the Kings right this second (albeit with one extra GP).
-- The Kings' next two games come at home, and six of their first seven games take place in Los Angeles. If they can't snap out of this, they won't just be playing from behind; they will be doing so with a more road-heavy stretch.
-- Vancouver really isn't THAT good, yet they seem like they should at least hover around the bubble area this season.
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CANADIENS 3, PENGUINS 2
-- Still zero standings points for the Penguins, and zero points for Sidney Crosby to boot.
At least he got his chances in this one, though. Crosby generated four SOG and threw five hits in this one, so he's getting comfortable again.
-- Meanwhile, Max Pacioretty is scoring at an enviable pace for the entire Penguins team. He scored his third and fourth goals of 2015-16, giving him six points in four contests.
A) So much for him not being healthy and B) perhaps making him the captain was a solid move?
-- Montreal has won all four games, managing a +7 goal differential. All of those contests were on the road, so they're basically enjoying the opposite start of the Kings.
That really might be true off the ice in a way, too. P.K. Subban's charitable donation is the opposite of the Kings' ugly, ugly off-the-ice meltdown when you think about it, really.
RED WINGS 3, LIGHTNING 1
-- Up until the end of the second period, this game reminded me of their first-round series in a bad way.
Specifically, it made me think a sad thought I had at times during that series: "How can so much talent be ground down into such a bland paste of hockey?"
Things picked up for small patches, but sometimes things like 45 SOG combined tell you what you need to know.
If Drouin gets room to grow and make the occasional mistake - something that happens when you try to create offense rather than bash your head through a brick wall - then the Lightning could reap some serious benefits.
-- Boy, that Dylan Larkin - Henrik Zetterberg - Justin Abdelkader line seems pretty legit to me. It boggles my mind that there's any discussion at all about Larkin at the NHL level; the Red Wings would be spiting themselves if they sent him down.
-- Yes, Steven Stamkos hit a post/crossbar, but it's difficult to stomach 20:11 TOI (and 3:21 on the PP) where he doesn't register a SOG.
-- This Red Wings team could be awfully dangerous, especially if Pavel Datsyuk can get healthy (and not discourage some of the younger guys from maintaining a larger role in the offense).
PREDATORS 3, DEVILS 1
-- Speaking of boring games, these teams combined for just 43 SOG, including a mere 20 for the winners. It was all special teams, unless you count empty-netters in really any way.
--Roman Josi scored both of Nashville's "real" goals in this one. The Preds have been remarkably low-powered so far, but with that defense, they can manufacture enough offense to get by most nights.
-- The Devils are so dreadful. I don't know if they're the worst team in the NHL, but they're among the toughest to watch.
JETS 4, RANGERS 1
-- Again, that Ehlers goal was ridiculous. If they can give him room to grow (much like Drouin), then he could really help add some variety to their already-solid scoring punch.
-- The Rangers managed 41 SOG, so it's not like they stood on the sidelines in this one. You can't help but wonder if Dan Boyle gets back into the lineup sooner after their power play went 0-for-5, though.
-- Bryan Little scored two goals, including a shorthanded tally that stood as the GWG. He's' up there as far as underrated scorers go.
-- It's staggering how spry Mats Zuccarello is considering the fact that he suffered a FRACTURED SKULL in the playoffs. (I feel like all caps was appropriate there.)
PANTHERS 4, HURRICANES 1
-- I grumbled a bit when Jaromir Jagr re-signed with Florida, mainly because he's nearing the end and watching him play for a low-octane, bubble type team seemed like a waste of a fleeting twilight year.
He's effective with his young'un linemates, though, and he gives Florida a huge boost aesthetically speaking. So a mild thumbs up, then.
-- Connor Brickley sounds like the kind of name you'd give a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles henchman. He generated four PIM, his first NHL goal and generally made the most of his 11:06 TOI.
-- Eric Staal's been pretty quiet despite the huge contract year motivation you'd think he'd have. Then again, he's made so much money up until this point, maybe he's just deep-down dying for a change of scenery right now?
Tough to imagine Carolina unloading his ridiculous cap hit on a team without taking back a problem contract in return.
-- Carolina's thought process was pretty odd with Eddie Lack. Why extend him before he's even really proven anything? Or are the Hurricanes just a train fueled by a lack of ambition and they wanted Lack to fit in?
SHARKS 5, CAPITALS 0
-- Martin Jones continues to impress, generating a 31-save shutout. He's on a two-game shutout streak and has only allowed a single goal so far in three wins.
He's inevitably going to stumble, yet I like him as a value pick in drafts (I called him this year's Braden Holtby, which I'm noting today since it's at a peak level of making me look like less of a dullard for at least a moment) and generally think the Sharks stand as a playoff team.
Again, though, there will be highs and lows. He's never played more than 19 games in a season and only has 37 games of NHL experience.
-- There was a disallowed goal. I don't care. You might. *Throws confetti*
- Can't say I'm too surprised that Braden Holtby's lagged a bit after getting a big contract. He should be fine, though I expect a mild dip from his breakthrough 2014-15 numbers (they'd be wise to spell him a bit more, honestly).
-- Justin Williams was quiet on Tuesday, but he did generate two assists in his Capitals debut.
BLUES 4, FLAMES 3
-- Meet Colton Parayko: two goals, +2 on two SOG in 18:13 TOI.
The defenseman boasts significant size and was the 86th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft. He spent part of last season with the University of Alaska and the other chunk with the AHL's Chicago Wolves. I'm not certain he's sticking with the Blues all season, but he's getting ice time and he's producing. So he probably will do well ... unless he lands in Ken Hitchcock's doghouse.
That's only a slight exaggeration.
-- St. Louis is the hockey version of a NFL coach torturing fantasy owners by using RBs erratically. Brian Elliott and Jake Allen should be so much more valuable, but how can you feel comfortable using a premium pick on either of them?
-- Troy Brouwer's off to a great start with the Blues. He scored a goal and an assist while adding four hits last night.