With the first month of the season now behind us, the Arizona Coyotes have won just one of 13 games, but they have the Calder Trophy frontrunner in Clayton Keller.
Keller extended his point streak to seven games on Tuesday by scoring a goal and registering an assist in yet another Coyotes loss. He’s up to nine goals and 15 points in 13 contests, which puts him four points ahead of Mikhail Sergachev and Will Butcher, who are tied for second place in the rookie scoring race.
To give Keller’s hot start something of a comparable, Auston Matthews had six goals and 11 points in his first 13 games (and that’s including Matthew’s four-goal career opener) while Patrik Laine had eight goals and 11 points through 13 contests. In other words, Keller is off to a better start than either of those two and that’s particularly impressive given how remarkable Matthews’ and Laine’s rookie campaigns were.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Keller endure some cold streaks over the course of the season that could level him out, but he should still be regarded as one of this season’s top rookies. Before the season began, Keller was my pick to win the Calder Trophy and I wasn’t alone in that, so while a lot of attention understandably went to Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier, it’s not like Keller’s hot start has come out of nowhere.
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NY RANGERS 6 VEGAS 4
Vegas had a 2-1 lead through 20 minutes and a 4-2 lead at the end of the second period, but they collapsed in the final frame to drop their second straight game. This marks the first time in franchise history that the Golden Knights have lost consecutive contests.
Maxime Lagace surrendered five goals on 37 shots last night. He held his own in the second frame when he faced 18 shots, but he couldn’t contain the Rangers in the third period when they managed 11 shots on net. Lagace, 24, was making his first career start because in an amazing series of misfortunate events for the expansion franchise, Marc-Andre Fleury, Malcolm Subban, and Oscar Dansk are all injured. Vegas’ goalie situation has gotten so bad that 19-year-old Dylan Ferguson was called up from the WHL to serve as the backup netminder.
Mika Zibanejad scored the game-winning goal and registered two assists. He’s on a four-game point streak and has five points in his last two contests.
Mats Zuccarello scored a goal and registered an assist for the Rangers. That gives him three goals and 10 points in 13 contests this season.
Reilly Smith found the back of the net twice for Vegas. He’s up to four goals and nine points in 11 games.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 30 of 34 shots on Wednesday. He got the win, but this is the fourth time in the span of five games that he’s allowed at least three goals.
DETROIT 5 ARIZONA 3
Dylan Larkin scored the game-winning goal and recorded an assist. He has two goals and 12 points in 13 contests this season after finishing 2016-17 with 32 points.
Darren Helm also had a goal and an assist for Detroit. That brings him up to two goals and five points in 13 games.
Jimmy Howard saved 30 of 33 Coyotes shots. He has a 5-4-0 record, 2.57 GAA, and .927 save percentage in 10 starts.
At the other end of the ice, Scott Wedgewood stopped 35 of 39 shots. He was making his second start in as many days after helping the Coyotes earn their first win of the season on Monday.
Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist on Tuesday. The Coyotes rookie has nine goals and 15 points in 13 games.
WINNIPEG 2 MINNESOTA 1
Nikolaj Ehlers accounted for the game-winning goal. It was his seventh marker and ninth point in 11 contests.
Kyle Connor also found the back of the net for Winnipeg. He has two goals and five points in six games.
Luke Kunin netted the Minnesota Wild’s marker. That gives the 19-year-old rookie two goals and four points in seven games.
Alex Stalock turned aside 17 of 19 shots last night. He has a 1-1-1 record, 2.64 GAA, and .918 save percentage through three starts this season.
Connor Hellebuyck saved 28 of 29 Wild shots. He improved to 6-0-1 with a 1.91 GAA and .940 save percentage in eight contests.