NHL 2017-18 Recap Week 3 – Vegas still Strong, Tavares Hot, Sabres Lacking, Coyotes Winless, Canucks doing something
Lady luck is on the Golden Knights side. They just roll out new goalies and keep winning. They won with Marc-Andre Fleury and then he went out with a concussion. Then they won with Malcolm Subban fresh off the waiver wires and then he got injured. Now they are winning with Oscar Dansk, who actually has better numbers than both of them. The Knights have given up the fewest goals so far this season.
It’s nice to see Luca Sbisa finally finding a home. Now on his 4th team, it’s hard to remember a 1st round pick being bounced around so much. James Neal is still leading the team in goals with a blistering shorting percentage of 31.8%. Good enough for 8th in the NHL. Would like to see the younger players making more of a contribution but they seem to be gradually getting there.
With their record of 8-1, the Golden Knights are in uncharted territory for expansion teams. Because none of them ever win this many games this early. It’s hard to know if this will continue. But the bonding they had to do as a team, and with the community, after the Vegas shooting probably helped them become closer. Because of that, they are a very deep team. I don’t believe they will win the division but playoffs seem very likely. They hot the road again after their long successful home stand. I’m highly looking forward to their game against the Los Angeles Kings on November 19th.
Things I like
1. John Tavares had a busy week for the Islanders. First, Tavares had a hat trick against the Coyotes. Then two games later he had a natural hat trick in about seven minutes in the the third period against the Predators. Tavares now has 13 points and nine goals in 11 games. Tavares is in the prime of his career but he doesn’t have the greatest supporting cast around him. There’s a good chance the one playoff series win against the Panthers a few seasons ago will be the only one he will ever have.
2. If you would have told me the Vancouver Canucks would have a winning record at this point of the season, I wouldn’t have believed you. The Canucks are giving up the third fewest goals and doing the best impersonation of the Golden Knights. They are led by journeyman goalie Anders Nilsson, who has a .943 SV% and a 1.89 GAA. But he isn’t even the starting goalie. Jacob Markstrom number aren’t better but he’s the starter anyway. It’ll be interesting to see who is the starter at the end of the year and whether Nilsson can continue this level of play or not. The rest of the team is also in transition. Rookie Brock Boeser leads the Canucks in scoring with a rag tag bunch of journeymen veterans behind him. The Sedin teams have basically been phased out, as neither is in the top 10 in scoring for the team. Their minutes have also been reduced. However, I’m honestly not really sure what the Canucks are doing. They seem to be rebuilding but they aren’t really playing any young players. Playing a bunch of journeymen veterans isn’t normal, unless you are an expansion team. They are winning now but I imagine at some point they won’t be.
Things I don’t
1. I feel like I could just copy and paste the same thing about the Coyotes every week and it would still apply. But here we are 11 games into the season and the Coyotes still don’t have a win. They only have one point too. The Coyotes are near the bottom in many things but their biggest problem is they are last in goals allowed in the third period with 19. On the positive side, Clayton Keller and Max Domi are playing well. And that’s what this season is all about, besides nabbing the number one overall pick.
2. It was once thought the Buffalo Sabres would be on the brink of a breakout but that has yet to be the case. They still need to find a goalie, as neither Robin Lehner or Chad Johnson aren’t the answer there. Evander Kane, Jack Eichel, Jason Pominville and Ryan O’Reilly are all playing well, which is good. The problem is Kyle Okposo isn’t and the team literally has no depth. Until they get some depth and a goalie, this team isn’t going anywhere.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Josh Manson vs Micheal Haley
Still a decent fight even though Haley got the better shots in.
Goat of the Week
Duncan Keith – Chicago Blackhawks
Not really sure what Keith was thinking. Up the boards was a Predator but it was definitely a better option than feeding it right to Calle Jarnkrok in the slot. Only thing I can think of is he thought his teammate was going to skate up more. Predators ending up winning 2-1.
Stat Line of the Week
10/28/17 New Jersey 4 vs. Arizona 3
Taylor Hall is probably now finally over being traded from the Oilers now that his new team is finally winning. Hall help lead the Devils come back win against the Coyotes who, surprise surprise, collapsed in the third period again. Hall had two goals, to bring his season total to three, and an assist in the game. His power play goal in the third tied it and he assisted on the game winning goal also on the power play. Hall has never scored 30 goals in his career and his start so far doesn’t really lead you to believe he will this season either. But he’s on a good team that will give him a better chance to do so.
300 – Career goals for Phil Kessel
1 – Career NHL goal scored by 28 year old rookie Chris DiDomenico against the Devils, who was drafted way back in 2007
11 – Scoring streak to open the season by Nikita Kucherov, which was snapped by the Ducks
11 – Seconds between two goals by the Kings against the Canadiens
11 – Seconds, again, into his career until rookie goalie Casey DeSmith gives up his first NHL goal
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
October 23, 1983 Philadelphia rookie Rich Sutter scored a goal in his first NHL game, making the Sutters the first family in NHL history with six brothers to all score a goal! (They were also the first family with 5 goal scoring brothers!)
October 24, 1969 Boston’s Bobby Orr had three assists, including the 100th of his NHL career as the Bruins beat the Golden Seals 4-2 at Oakland.
October 25, 1995 New Jersey’s John MacLean became the first player in franchise history to score 300 goals. The milestone came in a 4-2 Devils’ loss to Vancouver.
October 26, 1984 Wayne Gretzky picked up four assists in the second period, as the Oilers beat Los Angeles, 8-2. The four assists in one period was one short of the NHL record held by Dale Hawerchuk.
October 27, 1990 Pat LaFontaine scored his 7th career hat trick to become the 6th player in Islanders’ history to score 250 goals. The milestone goals (along with an assist) came as New York won 5-2 over the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.
October 28, 1950 Gordie Howe and Marty Pavelich scored goals 21 seconds apart in the first period to lead the Red Wings to a 3-1 win over the Black Hawks at the Olympia.
October 29, 1977 Los Angeles Kings handed the Canadiens their first loss in Montreal in 37 games, with a 5-3 win. Gary Simmons made 29 saves for the Kings. Guy Lafleur scored his 9th career hat trick for Montreal.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
1. Los Angeles
3. St. Louis
4. New Jersey
5. Tampa Bay
28. NY Rangers
Author: Alex Mueller
Alex Mueller graduated from Temple University with a minor in journalism over a decade ago. He’s been writing about NHL hockey, on and off, since the Fall of 2009. He’s written for Pucking Awesome, the Checking Line and now Hockey Recaps. He played goalie at San Diego Ice Arena. His first novel, Bobby Sterling vs Truth, is available on Amazon now.