With ten games on Saturday’s slate, there’s no point in wasting your time. Let’s get right to the recaps and analysis.
CANADIENS 4, RED WINGS 1
— The best team, almost two weeks into the season, is the Canadiens, who are now 6-0, with Carey Price (21 saves) registering five of those wins. I’m not really sure at this point how to describe how good Price is. Words really can’t do him justice. He has not allowed more than two goals in any game this season, stopping 132 of 138 shots against.
— I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Brendan Gallagher is extremely good, even if his point totals haven’t shown that yet. Gallagher is always around the puck and plays with a high motor. But he has great offensive ability, and I think it’ll be on display more this season. He picked up a goal and an assist in the win.
— It seems as if the Red Wings have found themselves a keeper in Dylan Larkin. He scored, and now has points in every game this year. He’s probably the *early* favorite for rookie of the year. Larkin played 20:21 on Saturday, so this is a kid who is not being held back. Pick him up now.
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PREDATORS 4, SENATORS 3 (SO)
— James Neal scored twice on the power play, so he now has all four of his points over the past two games. His production from a point-per-game standpoint was down last year — 37 in 67. As long as he stays healthy, I think he gets back in the 60-point range.
— I give Carter Hutton a lot of credit for making his season debut, and doing it in style — with 38 saves on 41 shots. Not an easy night for the 29-year-old.
— Doesn’t appear that Mike Hoffman or Mark Stone will be hampered by the “sophomore slump.” Hoffman scored twice and assisted, with his second goal tying up the game late in the third. Stone had a goal and an assist. Both players have been high-level producers in the early going, making the Senators dangerous moving forward.
— Not a great night for Craig Anderson, who gave up three goals on 25 shots. Two of them came in while the Senators were on the penalty kill, though. Anderson can have sneaky-good value in fantasy leagues, but he’s a tough guy to try to trade away.
OILERS 5, FLAMES 2
— Welcome to the Big Show, Connor McDavid. The top pick from the 2015 draft looked every bit the once-in-a-generation player everyone has made him out to be. He scored twice and also got an assist, for his first multi-point game. He could’ve had a bigger night too. The bigger picture here is that McDavid was confident and he seemed to be a step ahead of the opposition. The cliché rings true with him — he's the type of player you pay to see. McDavid has three goals and four points this season.
— Taylor Hall (goal, two assists) also had a very impressive night. He managed four shots on goal in 19:23, too. After a disappointing 2014-15, Hall is playing with a chip on his shoulder. It would not be surprising to see him net 30 and record a point-per-game.
— A very nice night for the Oilers’ first-overall picks as Nail Yakupov (goal, assist) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored and looked very good. This team should not have trouble scoring. The problem is defense, which is what makes Cam Talbot (22 games) difficult to rely on as a top option in fantasy leagues.
— David Jones potted two goals. This is probably the first time I’ve looked at Jones’ player page in several years.
LIGHTNING 2, SABRES 1
— While the Lightning have a bevy of forwards worth clamoring for in fantasy leagues, I’m not entirely sure Alex Killorn, who had a goal, is one of them just yet. Yes, he’s a very solid player. He seems to lack the high-end ability of many of their other ones. That being said, I can see him getting 20 goals and close to 50 points this year.
— I think eventually, Vladislav Namestnikov, who also scored, will be a better offensive player than Killorn. It’s tough to get a read on it now as Namestnikov isn’t getting a lot of ice time. He did have 14 goals and 35 points in 34 games in the AHL last year, though.
— Ben Bishop made 31 saves. I think this year is important for him as the USA considers him for a spot on their World Cup team, too. He has a 2.35 GAA and .911 SV% thus far.
— Sam Reinhart, the second overall pick from the 2014 draft, scored his first NHL goal. There’s little doubt Reinhart will be a good player in this league. It’s just hard to count on that happening now from a fantasy standpoint. He’s still just 19 years old, with 14 games of NHL experience. Dynasty gold, though.
STARS 4, PANTHERS 2
— My favorite forward duo in the entire NHL is Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. I don’t care if you put Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on together. Or Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Give me Seguin and Benn. These two guys are going to be battling in the top tier of scoring ranks this season. Seguin had two goals and four points Saturday, while Benn had two goals and three points.
— Let’s not forget about Patrick Sharp, either. He had two assists, the first points while with the Stars. Sharp also has 17 shot on goal this year, so the goals should come eventually. Now might be the time to try to buy him at a reasonable price. I think he’s going to have a big year.
— Aleksander Barkov is going to be a star in this league. That time is going to come very soon. The time to get him somewhat cheaply is also closing. Barkov scored Saturday, and he now has three goals and six points this season. Sixteen goals and 36 points from last season only begins to touch the surface of what he’ll be able to do. I would get him now.
— Roberto Luongo stopped 33 shots. This .917 SV% performance was actually his worst of the season. With a 1.76 GAA, .948 SV% on the year, Luongo has been brilliant. The Panthers will be a playoff team if he can play at a high level.
PENGUINS 2, MAPLE LEAFS 1
— Sidney Crosby matched the longest pointless streak of his career in this one, now going five games without one. My worry level is a 1 out of 10. Talk to me in a month and I’ll reconsider if he’s still been quiet.
— Evgeni Malkin has goals in two games in a row and points in three in a row. He’s also had a slow start. All these slow starts do for me is spur me to try to capitalize on acquiring a player from an anxious owner.
— I’m a big fan of Olli Maatta, who potted a goal in this one. I think he can be a very solid, two-way defenseman. Don’t know if he has elite offensive upside, though.
— Marc-Andre Fleury made 26 saves. With a 1.82 GAA and .937 SV%, Fleury deserves better than a 2-3-0 record. And I’m one of his harshest critics!
— Leo Komarov scored the goal for Toronto. With 15 goals, 38 points and 144 shots in 109 NHL games during his career, I think you can pass on adding him to your roster. Even if three of those goals have come over the past two games.
— Jonathan Bernier probably earned himself the start Wednesday against the Sabres with his 31-save effort. This after he gave up three goals on nine shots in his last outing Oct. 9. Can’t say I’d recommend owning any of the Leafs’ goalies right now.
CAPITALS 4, HURRICANES 1
— Nicklas Backstrom had not played in a competitive game since May 13, Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Rangers, because he needed offseason hip surgery. All Backstrom did in his return to the lineup was score and assist twice. He started out centering the second line then got time with the first line and Alex Ovechkin. Seems like we say it every year: Backstrom doesn’t get the love he deserves for how good he is.
— T.J. Oshie is enjoying his time in DC. He recorded a goal, assist and six shots on net. With his hands and stick-handling ability, it’s kind of amazing that he hasn’t scored more than 21 goals in a year.
— Braden Holtby (18 saves) had a relatively easy night in net. Relatively easy to him, but probably not to me or any of the readers. I have him as my Vezina Trophy winner this year, so yeah, I’m high on him.
— I’m going to point this out every time he starts and I write this column. Cam Ward (30 saves) is not a number-one netminder anymore. The Hurricanes have no chance to be competitive with him starting the majority of games.
ISLANDERS 6, SHARKS 3
— The Islanders have won three games in a row after dropping one in OT and one in regulation to the Blackhawks to start the year. Worth noting they did all that without their top netminder Jaroslav Halak, who returned from an injury to make 22 saves.
— Five players registered multi-point games, with Kyle Okposo (goal, two assists) leading the way. Okposo has both goals and all six of his points over the past three games. He is playing for a new contract, so he has all the incentive in the world to impress.
— How good could Anders Lee be? He has two goals and four points over his past three games. he had 25 and 41, respectively, last season. Hard to expect him to score more than 25, but I could see him boosting his assist totals this year.
— The Sharks played without Paul Martin and Logan Couture (injury), Martin Jones (day off) and then they lost Ben Smith after he was hit in the head with a puck. Martin’s absence will be key — he has been a steadying presence on defense.
— Joe Pavelski scored, giving him two goals and five points. Is there a better goal scorer with less fanfare than him? He has three 30-goal seasons on his resume.
—Nikolay Goldobin drew into the lineup Friday, and then scored his first career goal Saturday. The 20-year-old has a promising future ahead of him.
BLACKHAWKS 4, BLUE JACKETS 1
— The Blackhawks needed a result like this after being outscored 7-1 over their past two losses.
— If you get a chance, check out the clip of Marian Hossa’s goal. It was typical Hossa, wreaking havoc on the back-check, stripping the puck and converting on the other end, on the power play. We are lucky to get to watch such a tremendous player. Hossa is still one of the best in the game, even at 36 years old.
— Teuvo Teravainen also scored. He and Artemi Planarian (two assists) are overflowing with ability. The Blackhawks are able to make tough decisions with other more expensive players because of cheaper, yet talented, young players who are put in very favorable situations.
— The Blue Jackets have scored 13 goals and given up 30. They’re also 0-6. How much longer will Todd Richards last? This team is too talented to be looking this bad.
BRUINS 5, COYOTES 3
— Quite the unusual game. Not only were there five goals scored in the third period, five goals in this game are scored on special teams, with Patrice Bergeron’s two power-play markers acting as the winner and the insurance marker. He also had eight shots on goal, the combined total for the three games before this one.
— David Krejci had a goal and two assists, with six shots on net. He has gotten off to a fast start: four goals, nine points, which leads the league. This goal-scoring rate won’t continue, but he has the playmaking ability to get around 70 points.
— Tuukka Rask is as talented as any goalie in the league. I think he also carries the most risk among the "elite” types because the Bruins don’t have the same firepower and defensive posture that used to be a trademark. He made 20 saves in this one, and now sports a 4.29 GAA and .851 SV%.
— Why you can’t really assess a player for at least a month: Mike Smith looked like the best goalie in hockey in the first three games. Over the past two, he looks like he’s below average. He stopped 38 of 43, after giving up three on 17 in a shortened outing the game before. I have very little confidence in him.
— Shane Doan scored and added two helpers. I think he means more to this team in the locker room than anything else. He’s simply not the same offensive threat he used to be. None of us would be at 39. Well, maybe Jaromir Jagr.