You know, when you think about it, many of these recaps have their own little intro-level bits of wisdom, so it’s all good that many of these lack a formal one, I’d say.
PENGUINS 4, SABRES 3
*Looks through box score*
“Oh, yeah, of course the Penguins wo--- whooooa wait. What am I seeing?”
Seriously though, the Penguins allowed 24 SOG in THE THIRD PERIOD ALONE in this one. If you factor in shot attempts, the picture isn’t any prettier. If you need any further evidence that the Sabres are better than their jaw-droppingly horrible 2014-15 season was, then you’re awfully picky.
I don’t know where that puts Buffalo in the grand scheme of things … but wow.
-- It's not as if Buffalo took it easy all game until the third. Jeff Zatkoff needed to make 50 saves for this win.
By the way, NHL.com's three stars can't be right; how can Zatkoff not be on there? Were the goals he allowed that bad?
-- Honestly, take another step back and breathe in the insanity of this game. The total shot count: 53 Buffalo, 29 Pittsburgh. Even if the Penguins were tired, that's pretty insane.
-- The funniest part is that, aside from it being closer than some might expect, the scorers would make you think this was a normal day. Sidney Crosby grabbed two assists. Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist. Strange times, folks.
-- I had an odd feeling Jack Eichel would have a nice game, and while he didn't, he created some chances with eight SOG. He's currently at three goals and zero assists with a -7 rating in 10 GP.
OILERS 4, CANADIENS 3
-- Can't lie, I feel like I might just talk myself into questioning Montreal a bit, at least compared to the red-hot start that has people frothing at the mouth.
They've now lost two of three games against Western Conference teams, so it will be interesting to see how they perform against Calgary on Friday and Winnipeg on Sunday.
-- Even if that plants seeds of doubt, the Habs should still pile up standings points soon enough. That Jets match starts a four-game homestand, and from that Nov. 1 date, they play seven of eight in Montreal.
-- I find it impressive that P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov both have 10 assists already. I'd like to see P.K. fire away a bit more, as his one goal comes on just 22 SOG in 11 games, exactly two SOG per game.
I know it's a little bold, but I'd want him shooting for 2.5 or even 3 SOG per contest.
-- The Oilers are enjoying some great 2015-16 season debuts. First Darnell Nurse scores a nice goal (and produced tonight) and now Leon Draisaitl connected for two tallies. I'll try not to root against Draisaitl just because of his maddening last name, I promise.
Editor's Note: Play one-day fantasy hockey for cash! FanDuel is hosting a $30,000 league for Friday's NHL games. It's just $5 to join and first place wins $3,000. Starts tonight at 7:00pm ET. Enter now!
BLUES 2, DUCKS 1
... Colton Parayko!
Holy smokes, this kid. It's not just that he scored his fourth goal of the season and is getting plenty of chances; it's also that he fired a ridiculous 10 SOG in this game.
Your defense has to be pretty loaded not to even give him a shot as your fourth or fifth guy.
-- Again, the Ducks have a chance to wade out of this hornet's nest starting in November ... if they haven't done too much psychic damage already. Yikes.
It doesn't help that they had a 1-0 lead in this one, too.
-- Nice little streak for Jake Allen, who has only allowed one goal in his last two games, both wins. The Blues want him to be the guy whether he's more capable than Brian Elliott or not, so expect him to get to run with the ball a little more than usual for a bit.
STARS 4, CANUCKS 3 (OT)
-- Man, the Stars are a crazy-tough team to hold a lead against. I'm not sure how much this loss was about Vancouver taking its foot off the gas vs. the Stars just flat-out imposing their will (I lean toward the latter), but either way, Dallas is deadly.
While the third period SOG seem even, the possession numbers tell another story ... one in which Dallas was relentless.
-- Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and John Klingberg are on the Mount Rushmore of scariest 3-on-3 OT trios for 2015-16. The winning goal, with Benn scoring while Tyler Seguin threatens to hammer in a one-timer, must have been an incredibly hopeless feeling for Ryan Miller.
-- Patrick Sharp continues to heat up with two goals in this one.
-- I understand the notion that the Sedins + Radim Vrbata trio leaves things to be desired possession-wise, but man are they a great fit for fantasy.
Again, not saying Willie Desjardins should actually keep them together ... but I am requesting it for the collective fantasy good.
DEVILS 4, FLYERS 1
-- In picking the worst team in the NHL - already an uncomfortable endeavor with Buffalo and Edmonton enjoying significant improvements - I flinched when pondering the Devils.
Simply put, New Jersey is tough to kill, even when it would probably be in the Devils' best interests to die a tank-based death.
They are winning often enough that they might just keep themselves from a great pick, and heck, maybe they'll even make the playoffs. Considering their often bland style a play - even bad by the sometimes unfair yet often fair stigma this team carries around as boring - it really might be an everyone loses situation.
(I [uncomfortably] picked the Coyotes to finish last, by the way.)
-- Travis Zajac is playing well enough that I'm tempted to a) not purposely mispronounce his name for Wheel of Fortune jokes and b) no longer make "auditioning for a Maple Leafs job" jokes.
In other words, he's being a fun-killer.
AVALANCHE 2, LIGHTNING 1
-- Tampa Bay's offensive drought is a bit disconcerting, although some of tonight's struggles come from the fact that Semyon Varlamov is talented enough to steal games. The Lightning enjoyed a 35-26 SOG advantage but couldn't win.
-- Zero points in the past three games for Steven Stamkos. It's weird to complain about 25 SOG in 11 GP or six in three, yet with Stamkos? Yeah ... you'd like to see more.
-- Is Tyler Johnson really OK, by the way? Maybe the Bolts will be able to afford more core pieces than we expected merely because of so-so contract years.
(Note: it probably won't be very easy.)
-- Victor Hedman is doing just fine, though, with 10 assists in as many games. He had 7 SOG on Thursday and has 20 overall in 10 GP, so he hasn't been shy to shoot for a defenseman. Could be a big year for a big dude.
JETS 3, BLACKHAWKS 1
-- OK, this isn't about downgrading Ondrej Pavelec.
Instead, this is one of those scream-from-the-mountaintop deals: how can Winnipeg not give Michael Hutchinson the ball and see if he can run with it?
He stopped 45 out of 46 shots - BLACKHAWKS SHOTS, no less - to improve to 4-0-0 with an outstanding .949 save percentage.
Forty-five games is indeed a small sample size, but you can only play when you're allowed to, and he's now at a .920 save percentage for his career. His numbers at other levels are pretty good, too.
Pavelec shouldn't gripe. He's had a LONG, LONG time to prove that he's the right guy for the No.1 gig, yet he's really lucky to be a platoon guy considering his many failures.
-- Nikolaj Ehlers extended his scoring streak to five games with an assist. He's only gone two games this season without a point, and he's firing the puck often considering not-so-great ice time. I'd be tempted to put him out there more often if I were, erm, piloting the Jets.
HURRICANES 3, ISLANDERS 2 (OT)
-- Wouldn't it be weird if Ron Hainsey resumed being a 30+ point player again? He did it from 2006-07 to 2008-09 (almost in 2009-10 too, to be fair) before becoming more of a straightforward defensive specialist falling in the teens points-wise.
He's now on a two-game goal streak, and while that's super flukey, Hainsey is a nice piece on a Canes defense that's generally still weak on paper.
-- Noah Hanifin is at game nine, in case you're wondering for entry-level contract concerns.
He also looks a bit like a lost Manning brother.
-- He's had a slow start to his Carolina career - to say the least - but Eddie Lack got his first win with the Canes last night, even with an unspectacular showing (two goals allowed on 19 shots).
That would probably be a bigger deal if Carolina didn't give him a two-year extension before he even played a game, but, well ... that's just how the Hurricanes roll.
-- I've always been sort of perplexed by Jack Capuano in that I've never really read an account of his work that made me think "Oh, that explains why he's lasted so long with the Islanders." It just seems wrong to see a team with this much talent manage just 19 SOG without it being the end of a back-to-back set.
I guess that's just the sad state of affairs.