As the headline suggests, the season’s trend of teams generally being either very good or very bad continued last night. Streaks tended to continue, good or bad.
Let’s explore those issues and more, shall we?
STARS 2, FLYERS 1
-- Ron Hextall is bringing reason and logic to a team that’s often resembled a kid playing a video game who just continues to make drastic moves in “franchise mode.”
That’s a good thing for Flyers fans, eventually. I’m not so sure it’s great for viewers, as the past couple Flyers games I’ve seen have been F-L-A-T.
I’m not saying that’s the wrong way to go, and maybe I caught the wrong contests - I swear there’s some sort of NBCSN curse where games I cover for PHT almost always stink - but I couldn’t help but be forlorn to see signs that the Flyers circus may be closing.
-- Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn connected for the Stars' two goals, with each hitting 10 points on the season (they both had 1G, 1A). Benn's eventual GWG was simple but pretty, as Steve Mason was in an especially perilous situation: a 2-on-1 with Benn and Seguin with a fresh sheet of ice to boot.
-- Not a huge surprise that John Klingberg's shooting luck isn't there like last season - 11 goals on an 11.2 shooting percentage isn't something you'll see from many/any defensemen - but it's very promising that he's still producing with four assists in six games. I really like him as someone whose fantasy ranking was generally underrated. He's owned in 81 percent of leagues, so maybe there's still a chance to grab him?
-- Antoine Roussel created more than six PIM worth of havoc. He'd make a "great" Flyer in the future.
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ISLANDERS 4, BLUE JACKETS 0
-- Yiiiikes, Columbus. As of this writing, no one got fired or traded. Somehow.
To be fair, this specific performance wasn't so bad. They actually fired 37 SOG to New York's 29.
(Actually, should I refer to the Isles as Brooklyn from now on? Would make it immediately obvious who I was discussing. I'll put it behind the Imaginary Dose Board.)
-- I've been told that Curtis McElhinney actually played quite well in this one. My impression was that Columbus should have gone to him around that time Sergei Bobrovsky acknowledged his crisis of confidence; sending him out against the dangerous Islanders seems cruel.
-- Nice for John Tavares owners that he snagged an empty-netter. Fantasy-wise, sometimes ENG's are more exciting than legit ones. It feels like you found a $20 bill on the ground, and it's not attached to some prankster's string, either.
-- That’s a 37-save shutout for Jaroslav Halak, whose injuries always seem to keep him under the radar.
PENGUINS 3, PANTHERS 2 (OT)
-- We can put the dumb Doomsday talk regarding Sidney Crosby to bed, thank goodness. He scored the first goal of the game and factored into all three Pens' tallies, grabbing a goal and two assists. He made plenty of plays, too.
-- Seriously, Pittsburgh fans STILL boo Jaromir Jagr? How many fans on hand even have clear memories of him playing for the Pens? I'd wager less than 80 percent, at least if you disqualify people who've only seen highlights.
Either way, let it go, it's lame.
-- Connor Brickley assisted on both Florida's goals and has a pretty fun name (he's also a nice fourth-line in NHL 16).
CAPITALS 6, FLAMES 2
-- Alex Ovechkin hit the 900-point mark with his 479th career goal. He's barely above 30 and is the second quickest active player to hit that mark behind Jaromir Jagr (who did quite a bit faster, but c'mon, it's Jagr).
He got an assist after that, so he's already at 901.
-- The Flames must REALLY appreciate Columbus taking a lot of their heat re: horrible starts. The only thing that makes me feel reluctant to totally bury their chances is the fact that T.J. Brodie's a very nice defenseman and he's out.
-- I wonder, if things really slide, if Calgary might want to sell off some assets. They rode a lot of luck last season, so sending out a veteran or two might be the right move.
They should really put some scouting resources - amateur and pro, really - into figuring out what they're going to do in net going forward. They may have quantity in three options in net, but none of them look like anything better than so-so backups.
-- Nicklas Backstrom's on fire as he's back in the lineup, generating five points in two games. If Washington can successfully separate Backstrom and Ovechkin, they could be scary. (Big if over the longer haul of this season, but we'll see.)
-- T.J. Oshie's really heating up with five points in his past three games. Again, it's tough to say what his ceiling is, but it could be awfully lucrative if he can stick with Ovechkin.
PREDATORS 5, LIGHTNING 4 (SO)
That duo had a big game again (two goals and one assist for Neal, two assists for Forsberg) and are really on fire right now. I hammer this a lot, but people don't give those two enough credit.
Same goes for the Predators, honestly.
-- "The Triplets" generated their first even-strength goal of the 2015-16 season, thanks to Nikita Kucherov. Hey, PPG count too though, so note that Kucherov has two tallies after that one.
-- I think Ryan Callahan's contract is/will be one that Tampa Bay really regrets, but he's a solid option thanks to how strong that Steven Stamkos - Jonathan Drouin combo seems primed to be. Stamkos scored his fifth goal in just seven games, by the way.
CANADIENS 3, BLUES 0
-- Wow, Montreal's definitely off to a crazy-good start. I bet they were this hot heading into the end of the season rather than to begin things, but still.
-- Alexander Semin sure scored his first Habs goal with style. If he can get it going (even just 20 goals get it going), Montreal could have the might to really be scary.
-- Much has been made about the Habs being more than just Carey Price - which, come on, was already clear with P.K. Subban and Max Pacioretty on the roster - but Price has still been splendid. He has two shutouts in his last three games and has only allowed a single goal in that span. His save percentage is a ridiculous .966 right now. Dang.
-- David Backes delivered 12 hits in this one? My eyes are deceiving me, right?
DEVILS 3, COYOTES 2 (OT)
-- Was Travis Zajac auditioning for a gig with the Leafs in this one? (Sorry, not cool to Toronto fans who are already hurting.)
Anyway, Zajac factored into all three Devils tallies, getting a goal and two assists.
-- The trio of Max Domi, Martin Hanzal (already eight assists!) and Anthony Duclair are looking more legit with each night. I'd be a little more worried about them tailing off if Arizona didn't need offensive support so badly.
-- The two teams combined for seven SOG in the first period. Yuck.
-- Adam Larsson collected his first goal and first assist of 2015-16. I'd be more excited about his potential if the Devils weren't some dark vortex where offense almost always dies.
-- Mike Smith's slipping a touch. Honestly, it would be a step in the direction if he was just respectable this season, even if he set expectations considerably higher (for optimists) with his fast start.