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Hockey Daily Dose

Dose: Middle class gains

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

The rich didn’t get richer on Wednesday, but the middle class enjoyed a nice bonus or two in their games. If … that makes sense.

Maybe it will after you read the recaps?

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-- This is one of those “rich sitting in their German cars idling in place” games, to really overextend this shabby analogy.

On paper, the Blues had two great chances to load up on points against weak teams while their Central competition was struggling. Instead, the Blues lost 7-4 to the Calgary Flames and 6-4 to the Edmonton Oilers.

No surprise that there was a closed-door meeting after this latest loss.

-- It's easy to see that special teams moved the needle here.

The Blues managed a goal on their three power-play opportunities, but Edmonton really killed it with a 4-for-6 success rate.

-- Mark Letestu had the biggest game, scoring two goals and an assist while bowling over a referee. Should we call it the Dennis Wideman hat trick?

-- Plenty of other Oilers forwards got in on the fun, too. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored two goals and Leon Draisaitl had a tally. Two-assist games: Nail Yakupov, Connor McDavid and Patrick Maroon. Taylor Hall also scored a goal.

-- Troy Brouwer generated 15 PIM by delivering a questionable hit, so keep an eye out for possible supplemental discipline.

-- Jaden Schwartz continues to play very well on his great line with Vladimir Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera (the latter of whom might be worth a look on the waiver wire in deeper leagues). Schwartz scored a goal and an assist, giving him a four-game point streak: one goal, five assists.

-- A very David Backes game: two goals, two PIM, three SOG and five hits.


-- The hockey world was robbed of a goalie fight in Ben Scrivens vs. Robin Lehner, but unfortunately for us yet fortunately for Scrivens, it was not to be.

Scrivens was great beyond getting the win and not getting punched, by the way, as he stopped 41 out of 43 shots in this victory. He's now on a two-game winning streak.

-- Andrei Markov scored a goal and generated 12 PIM in this game, getting 30:55 TOI. With P.K. Subban on the shelf, the Canadiens are likely to lean heavily on other prominent blueliners, and Markov appears to be no exception.

-- That wild exchange that included GOALIE STAREDOWNS played a big role in the two teams combining for 100 PIM in this game.

-- Robin Lehner has hit a brick wall lately, failing to grab a win in four straight appearances. That said, he could beat up your goalie.


-- The Kings still hold this week's crown for best back-to-back performances, but the Flyers deserve a ton of credit for what they've accomplished in consecutive games.

First, they beat the Detroit Red Wings, and they managed to do so in regulation. They beat the Blackhawks in regulation, too, fighting through the fatigue on the road.

-- Radko Gudas' third goal of the season was the game-winner. The Flyers fell behind by a goal twice but kept fighting back.

-- The Blackhawks mixed up their lines, putting Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews back together. Tomas Fleischmann got the nod with Kane and Toews while Marian Hossa slipped into Kane's normal spot alongside Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov.

-- Sean Couturier had a great time, collecting two assists as the Flyers only multi-point man in this win.


-- Important win for the Avalanche, as this (at least briefly) puts them ahead of the Minnesota Wild for the final wild card spot in the West.

In case you're wondering, the Avs and Flyers are those middle-class teams smiling with tax rebates while the Blackhawks and Blues grumble at their country club.

-- Colorado could attribute this win in part to "rental" addition Mikkel Boedker, who scored two of their goals. The speedy winger only had an assist in his previous four games before this nice little outburst.

-- Nikita Tryamkin assisted on Henrik Sedin's goal, giving him in an assist in his debut. Breaking news: he's an enormous human.

-- Semyon Varlamov has wins in three of his last four games. Varly's numbers are starting to look more in line with expectations: 25-18-3 with a solid .917 save percentage, much like his career save percentage of .918.


-- What a few days for Michael Frolik. He scored a goal and two assists for his second consecutive three-point contest, coming off of his hat trick from Monday. He now has seven points in three games.

He's a nice all-around player whose contributions don't always show up in fantasy, but 15 goals and 32 points in 58 games isn't half bad.

-- Joe Colborne scored a goal and an assist in this game, but maybe his biggest moment came in colliding with teammate Dennis Wideman. Wideman's brutal start to 2016 continues with an upper-body injury that's described as "not good."

-- Mikael Backlund grabbed two assists. He's on a hot streak of his own: two goals, three assists for five points during a four-game point streak.

-- I wouldn't recommend getting excited about any Flames goalies in 2015-16, but credit where it's due: Joni Ortio has won two in a row and three of his past four games. His overall numbers are lousy, but maybe he can string together a little run.


-- Woof, the NHL might want to subtly root against the Rangers as far as deep playoff runs go. I know they're a big market team, but man, some of their games are just grass-drying "spectacles."

In this case, the two teams combined for just 46 SOG, split right down the middle at 23 each. The Ducks didn't receive any power-play opportunities while the Rangers were unable to score on three.

-- Jamie McGinn scored the Ducks' only goal, ending a five-game point drought. He's getting some great opportunities with the Ducks, but if he sees a lot of dry spells, those chances could dry up very quickly.

-- Every now and then, Kevin Klein just poofs out of nowhere and scores some goals. He did so on Wednesday night, scoring both of the Rangers goals. Remarkably, four of Klein's eight goals have been game-winners.

-- Antti Raanta is a nice safety blanket for the Rangers, who did a nice job replacing Cam Talbot in finding a quality backup for Henrik Lundqvist.

Raanta has wins in three of four games, stopping 22 out of 23 on Wednesday and playing quite well in those three victories in particular.

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.