NHL 2021-22 Recap Week 2 – Oilers, Blues, Sharks strong starts, Blackhawks and Maple Leafs slow starts
Edmonton Oiler stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have picked up right where they left off, racking up massive amounts of points. Jesse Puljujarvi has continued his development, and the Zach Hyman pickup has worked out well. The Oilers now have some depth and a lethal power play. Wayne Gretzky even said it was better than his teams. That might seem like a stretch, but they have the potential to be the greatest. Although not what he once was, the addition of Duncan Keith gives them much-needed playoff experience. That leads me to this, none of this really matters.
The Oilers, like the Maple Leafs, will only be judged on what they do in the playoffs. Their power play can break all the records, McDavid can rack up 200 points, but none of that matters. If they lose in the first round again, who cares about any of that.
But since it’s something to talk about, the Montreal Canadiens have the record for best power play in a season with 31.9% in 1977-78. The highest the Gretzky lead Oilers ever achieved was 29.3% in 1982-83. The current Oilers are at 47.1%. But it’s only five games, and they have a long way to go.
Things I like
1. The biggest shocker this season is the San Jose Sharks being undefeated until they lost to the Boston Bruins and in the top five in all major categories until falling to 11th in goals scored. They aren’t devoid of talent. They did make it to the conference finals just a few years ago. But they missed the playoffs the next two seasons, and there wasn’t much reason for it to get any better. Their current play may not be sustainable, but their balanced scoring attack is led by Timo Meier, Logan Couture, and Erik Karlsson. Tomas Hertl has yet to get going, however. Although unusual to have another team’s seventh-round pick be your number one, Adin Hill looks like he’ll be the starting goalie. But he gave up four goals on 14 shots against the Bruins. James Reimer still has a chance.
2. The next shocker is the St. Louis Blues being 4-0. They’ve scored seven goals in two of those games and seven in their final preseason game. It’s impressive because recent Blues’ teams have never been high-scoring. Jordan Kyrou leads them in scoring and is playing in his first full season. Jordan Binnington has bounced back from his subpar season. That spells trouble for opponents.
Things I don’t
1. If I were the Toronto Maple Leafs, it wouldn’t be time to hit the panic button just yet, but it’s getting pretty close. They’ve dropped three in a row, including a sloppy game against the Pittsburgh Penguins without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang. Austin Matthews has no points in three games. The silver lining is it’s much better to lose at the beginning of the season than the end. The Blues demonstrated that a few seasons ago. But you don’t want to dig too deep a hole.
2. The Chicago Blackhawks are off to a rough start. How bad, you ask? They’ve lost six games, although one was in overtime, and they are the first team since 1980 to never hold a lead in a game this far into the season. That’s hard to do. They’ve been outscored 27-12 in those games. COVID has hit the team, and Patrick Kane did miss their last game against the Red Wings. But he was there for the other games. Jonathan Toews’s return has not gone smoothly. He finally recorded his first points against the Red Wings. Marc-Andre Fleury has an eye-popping 5.75 GAA and 8.39 SV%. Star defenseman Seth Jones has a -9. He isn’t the only one with a terrible minus, all key players are pretty bad, but he did sign a large contract. I wasn’t sure how all the new pieces would blend, but I wasn’t expecting this.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Brenden Dillon vs Marcus Foligno
A solid bout with a jump punch to start.
Tanner Jeannot vs Nathan Beaulieu
Fists of fury, my favorite fight type. Untilt the refs broke it up.
Goat of the Week
In overtime, the Jets held Kirill Kaprizov and then tripped him later in the play. But only holding was called. Why? I have no idea. Despite being shorthanded, the Jets took the two on one bait and didn’t score, setting up a three on one the other way. Joel Eriksson Ek easily scored to complete his hat trick.
Stat Line of the Week
10/23/21 Calgary 4 vs. Washington 3
Elias Lindholm has scored a goal in four straight games. He notched a hat trick here with a slap shot, a short-hander, and the game-winner. Although he came close twice, Lindholm has yet to notch a 30 goal season. He might this season.
21 – Day suspension for Evander Kane for his fake COIVD vaccination card
0 – Wins for Arizona, joining Chicago as the only winless teams
.953 – SV% for Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin
2 – Shutouts for Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin
1 – Hat trick for Detroit Red Wings rookie Lucas Raymond
5 – Hat tricks this week
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
3. St. Louis
26. Los Angeles