NHL Rink Wrap: McDavid passes 600 points; Ducks’ streak continues
Top players from Sunday in the NHL
Trevor Zegras, Ducks
On Sunday, the Ducks stayed stunningly hot, pushing their NHL-leading active winning streak to seven games. With good reason, Troy Terry is grabbing the most headlines -- aside from maybe John Gibson. In the Ducks’ latest win, Terry grabbed an assist to push his point streak to a wildly unexpected 14 games.
When it comes to the Ducks’ larger future, Trevor Zegras stands as one of the reasons to be most excited. Granted, Zegras has been quiet lately, but not on Sunday (when he scored two goals and one assist).
Interestingly, while Zegras’ scoring has been sporadic, he’s been especially dangerous when he can get on the scoring sheet. In 10 of his 14 games, Zegras went pointless. However, in the four games he’s scored this season, three of them have been multi-point games.
If Zegras can be explosive with more regularity, then watch out.
Highlights from the NHL on Sunday, including McDavid reaching 600 points
Another day, another Connor McDavid milestone. In this case, McDavid reached 600 points in just his 421st game. Fittingly, McDavid added an assist to his goal to finish with 601.
By getting there in 421 games, McDavid became the sixth-fastest player to reach 600+ points. The only players to reach 600 points faster than McDavid were: Wayne Gretzky (274), Mario Lemieux (323), Peter Stastny (394), Mike Bossy (400), and Jari Kurri (419). Pretty wild how close McDavid’s come to the pace of some of the scorers from the NHL’s highest-scoring era.
So far, Kaapo Kakko has experienced serious ups and downs in the NHL. Hopefully we get more moments like these -- although you can only pull off moves like the ones he deployed so often. (Unless you’re Connor McDavid, perhaps?)
An example of the Capitals making Sidney Crosby’s first night back in the Penguins lineup in a while also a long night:
At this rate, Andrew Mangiapane may not cool down until he gets a big raise.
The NHL collected every goal from Sunday’s six games. Convenient! Some zany ones between the Bruins and Canadiens.
Sunday’s NHL takeaways
Daring Ducks win seventh in a row
No, a seven-game winning streak doesn’t negate the larger suggestion that the Ducks should still rebuild. Don’t forget that the Jack Eichel-era Sabres sat at the top of the standings early in seasons, only to tumble. You tend to remember a seven-game winning streak stretching into November more than one you’d recall in, say, February. For everyone speeding to bet on the Ducks, there are those tapping the brakes.
Certain hot streaks will dwindle. Troy Terry can’t shoot at 30.5 percent forever. And wins are wins, but the Ducks haven’t waddled past the elite much lately.
Those caveats mainly serve as red flags for anyone bragging too much. In other words, don’t bet the farm on the Ducks making a deep playoff run just yet.
That said, the Ducks already banked the points from this 9-4-3 start. In a Pacific that’s pluckier than usual but still vulnerable, the Ducks have a real shot at making the playoffs. At worst, a seven-game winning streak gives young Ducks players a taste of winning. There’s rebuilding, and then there’s the risk of tanking so hard, it scars holdovers who took those bullets.
Over the next three weeks, we should learn more about the Ducks.
|Tue, Nov. 16||vs. Washington|
|Thu, Nov. 18||vs. Carolina|
|Mon, Nov. 22||@ Nashville|
|Wed, Nov. 24||@ Colorado|
|Fri, Nov. 26||vs. Ottawa|
|Sun, Nov. 28||vs. Toronto|
|Tue, Nov. 30||@ Los Angeles|
|Wed, Dec. 1||vs. Vegas|
|Fri, Dec. 3||vs. Calgary|
|Mon, Dec. 6||@ Washington|
Tough sledding. Especially if the Predators, Kings, and Flames remain feisty.
Again, it’s not a big deal if the Ducks’ short-term outlook seems darker by early December. Every good stretch could at least drive up the price of players who might serve as “rentals” for other teams.
Life after Bob Murray might not be so bad.
Capitals present Crosby with a rude return
To put things mildly, this has been a bumpy start to Sidney Crosby’s season, and that of the Pittsburgh Penguins. In recovering from offseason surgery, Crosby didn’t debut until Oct. 30. Then Sidney Crosby missed five more games in COVID protocol.
The good news is that Sidney Crosby made another return to action, playing in his second game of the NHL season on Sunday. The bad news is that the Capitals made it a pretty rude return.
Ultimately, it would be a strong return for longtime Capitals (Alex Ovechkin: two assists, Evgeny Kuznetsov: 1G, 1A). Interestingly, former Penguins also did some damage (Daniel Sprong and Conor Sheary both had 1G, 1A).
At least it wasn’t so bad for Crosby as an individual. Crosby wasn’t getting massively out-shot. At even-strength, the Penguins scored one goal (by Jake Guentzel) and allowed one while Crosby was on the ice. Beyond the score, the only worry was that the Capitals controlled high-danger chances (5-2) with Crosby out at even-strength.
Actually, scratch that. Crosby possibly facing supplemental discipline adds another worthy:
Fortunate timing for Ken Holland’s Hall of Fame induction?
Honestly, it was a surprise when Ken Holland was named to the 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame class. The surprise wasn’t that Holland would eventually get named to the Hockey Hall of Fame as a key builder for the Detroit Red Wings. Instead, it was surprising because of timing.
To be specific, Ken Holland was off to a bit of a bumpy start as Oilers GM. The Zack Kassian contract extension looked like a classic overpay of a perfectly fine player being elevated by superhuman Connor McDavid. (Truthfully, it still does.) Giving up serious draft assets for Andreas Athanasiou stunk of the wrong kind of Remembering a Guy.
At the time of Holland’s HHOF nomination, it sure felt like his moves weren’t exactly helping McDavid add team-related bullet points to his Hockey Hall of Fame resume.
And, to be clear, there are some red flags to the Oilers’ hot start. At times, McDavid and Leon Draisaitl can basically win games on their own, but it’s unlikely that Edmonton’s goaltending will remain this good. Saying this team is peaking doesn’t mean they’re bound to be bad; they just might be misleading us ever so slightly.
They’re definitely hot right now, though. COVID delayed the 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame inductions, and that’s mostly a bummer. But at least Ken Holland goes in with a hot Oilers team in the present to accompany all of those impressive Red Wings memories.
Monday’s big story
2020 Hockey Hall of Fame class inducted on Monday
As mentioned in that Ken Holland - Oilers takeaway, the 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame class gets inducted on Monday. Along with Holland, the 2020 HHOF inductees are: Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa, Kevin Lowe, Doug Wilson, and Kim St-Pierre.
Iginla and Hossa both ended up first-ballot Hall of Famers, so expect people to share plenty of memories of their outstanding careers.
For a league reeling from ugly news during the past month, it will likely be refreshing for many to reflect upon hockey triumphs.
Of course, this class isn’t totally isolated from the Blackhawks scandal. Marian Hossa was part of the 2010 Stanley Cup-winning team. On Nov. 1, the Blackhawks decided to postpone “Marian Hossa Legacy Night” from its planned Nov. 9 date. The Blackhawks cited a need to “reflect rather than celebrate.”
Stay tuned at PHT for plenty on the 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame class, and maybe some thoughts on possible 2022 inductees.
Sunday’s NHL scores
Flames 4, Senators 0
Oilers 5, Blues 4
Bruins 5, Canadiens 2
Rangers 4, Devils 3 (SO)
Capitals 6, Penguins 1
Ducks 5, Canucks 1