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Dubnyk steals the spotlight from Nugent-Hopkins vs. Landeskog part 1

Devan Dubnyk, Jay McClement

Edmonton Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk (40) makes a glove-save on a shot by Colorado Avalanche’s Jay McClement during the first period of an NHL hockey game on Friday Oct. 28, 2011, in Denver. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)


There are plenty of great top pick versus second overall pick battles in individual NHL draft years, but Nugent-Hopkins vs.Landeskog just doesn’t roll off the tongue quite like Hall-Seguin or Ovechkin-Malkin. (I think it’s already safe to say it’s better than Phillips-Zyuzin, though.)

Lack of panache aside, both rookies have been great assets for their teams, so tonight’s Edmonton Oilers-Colorado Avalanche game deserved a little more hype than it received in mainstream circles. A big youngster did indeed come up big, too, but it was in a more literal way; huge goalie Devan Dubnyk turned aside 40 out of 41 shots to secure a 3-1 win.
Landeskog certainly had his chances, though. The Swedish second overall pick fired six shots on goal while playing almost 18 minutes.

Nugent-Hopkins’ team won, but his first game as a guaranteed full-timer wasn’t very inspiring. He managed only one shot on goal, just 13:28 minutes of ice time and lost six out of nine faceoffs.

If you base “winners” on team play alone, then “RNH” made it 1-0 in the duel of 2011 top picks. I’d probably give Landeskog the nod, though, but maybe that means it was really a draw.