NHL 2016-17 Recap Week 2 – Matthews, MacDavid, Laine and the Heritage Classic, Panthers shootout goal that shouldn't have been, Stars injuries start to mount and more
Young guns. That’s what it’s all about in the NHL today. In fact, tanking for a few years will probably yield you a better chance of getting some quality players than it would have a decade ago. The Penguins got lucky when they picked Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The Oilers years of sucking and high draft picks is finally paying off. More on them in a bit. The Jets and Maple Leafs got to show off their shiny new picks against each other this week and what a game it was.
The Maple Leafs jumped out to a 4-0 lead with Auston Mathews assisting on the 3rd goal. But the Jets fought back. Patrik Laine recorded his first career hat trick and the game winner in overtime, right after Matthews had a chance of his own. Laine had a nice showing in the World Cup of Hockey for Team Finland as well. But this goes to show you it’s never over when you have young players on young teams. It can go either way. Goal scoring also seems to be ticking upward, which is what we’ve been craving for awhile now.
Then there was the big outdoor Heritage Classic game in Winnipeg pitting Laine vs Connor McDavid. But it was pretty one sided. The whole Jets team could have been goats of the week. They had three turnovers all of which the Oilers converted to goals. One goal was shorthanded, the other was also shorthanded but the goal was scored by the person who came out of the penalty box. Both of those were in the Oilers end. The last one was from the Jets own end and featured a nice behind the back pass by Benoit Pouliot. McDavid had an assist and Laine was held pointless. But he did help cause one of the Jets turnovers and had a -2 for the game. In other words, not his best game.
The Oilers are clicking though (5-1) and McDavid is one of the NHL leaders in scoring. McDavid will probably be in the playoffs and be a finalist for the Hart Trophy. Not bad for your second season.
Things I like
1. Somehow, defying all expectations, the Vancouver Canucks were tied for the best record in the NHL with the Canadiens entering this weekend. This is even more unexpected since the were a whopping 28th in the NHL in scoring. Defense is the key for the Canucks. Jacob Markstrom has played well and Ryan Miller has a shutout in his only appearance. With the Sedin twins not getting any younger and Brandon Sutter the Canucks leading scorer, it seems inevitable the wheels will come off the bus eventually. And it started to in their road trip to California. They lost to the Kings in the shootout and then to the Ducks. There performances weren’t terrible but time to go back to reality.
2. That our top NHL scorers are not who you usually see. Brent Burns, Brad Marchand, Artem Anisimov, Richard Panik, Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews are your top six. Burns is a defenseman, Marchand is usually not this high and Anisimov and Panik are new. McDavid and Matthews figure to be here a lot moving forward though. But it’s the fist time we are seeing it. Let’s see if this all stays like this.
Things I don’t
1. The injury bug has hit the NHL exceptionally early this season and the Dallas Stars have felt the brunt of it. The Stars have had forwards Patrick Eaves, Patrick Sharp, Jiri Hudler, Cody Eakin, Mattias Janmark and Ales Hemsky all miss time already. That’s quite a lot for about one week. The good news is Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are still upright. In the long run these injuries will make the team stronger during their playoff run. It’s already playing dividends, as Devin Shore has been called up from the AHL and is delivering for the Stars.
2. The season just started and I’m already sick of the Rangers been on Wednesday night rivalry. They were on last week and no they are on this week again. Because apparently they ran out of other teams already, after just three weeks. How many times will Connor McDavid and the Oilers be on Wednesday Night rivalry? If you said none, you are correct.
3. In the Panthers vs Lightning shootout on Tuesday Night, Vincent Trocheck fanned on his shot attempt, or more like he stickhandled the puck backwards and thought he had it still and shot it, and then he actually did recover and score. Technically the puck was still moving and he never did shoot it. They refs allowed it. The problems are, I don’t think you can definitively saey it always kept moving and it went backwards, not forward. The other issue is now, if this is allowed, other players will purposely fan and the take a shot. Which is unfair and lame. They shouldn’t have counted this goal. Also don’t dig those new panther jerseys or logo.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Yannick Weber vs Dylan Larkin
This was Larkin’s first fight in the NHL, which he dominated. Otherwise, note that noteworthy.
Brandon Dubinsky vs Jamie Benn
It’s apparently the season for players who don’t normally fight to fight. And so we have Jamie Benn fighting Brandon Dubinsky. It was entertaining, even though most punches didn’t land, and it was fairly long.
Goat of the Week
Henrik Lundqvist – New York Rangers
Reason number 90394034030 why goalies shouldn’t leave the crease. Lundqvist makes mistake one by leaving to play the puck behind his own net. Mistake two is trying to hit the puck on his backhand backwards as opposed to just hitting it up the boards to the side he is facing where there is nobody. Live and learn. That was the game winning goal for the Red Wings.
Stat Line of the Week
10/22/16 St. Louis 6 vs. Calgary 4
David Perron had no points this season until he played the Flames. Then he had a hat trick and assisted on the empty netter. Perron has only scored over fifty points twice in his career so it will be interesting to see what he does this season, back where he started.
500 – Career goals by Marian Hossa
750 – Career goals by Jaromir Jagr
1 – One piece of ear lost by Daniel Winnik blocking a shot against the Panthers
2 – Goals for Teemu Selanne, and three assists, for the Jets in the Heritage Classic alumni game over the Oilers
0 – Points for Wayne Gretzky in the same game who said, “I stink” to the media.
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
October 17, 1993 Joe Nieuwendyk scored twice, including the shorthanded goal with 20 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game to OT to lead the Flames to a 2-2 tie against the Mighty Ducks, at Anaheim Arena.
October 18, 1930 The “Falcons” became the new name for the Detroit hockey team, previously known as the “Cougars”. The change came following a poll conducted by Detroit newspapers. Trojans, Wanderers, and Magnetos also made the final four.
October 19, 1988 New York’s Guy Lafleur picked up two assists and teammate Marcel Dionne added another to give the two superstars a combined total of 3,000 points in their careers, and a 5-1 win for the Rangers over the Capitals at MSG.
October 20, 1960 Terry Sawchuk got his 82nd career shutout as the Red Wings beat the Bruins 5-0, at the Olympia in Detroit.
October 21, 1995 Four days after firing GM Serge Savard and Coach Jacques Demers, the Montreal Canadiens named their new management team: Rejean Houle, GM, and Mario Tremblay Head Coach. Habs won 4-3 over Toronto, at the Forum, on a Pierre Turgeon goal at 19:59.
October 22, 1961 Montreal’s Jacques Plante became the first goaltender in franchise history (and the 6th in the NHL) to record 250 career victories as the Canadiens won 3-2 at Chicago. Claude Provost led the scoring with a goal and two assists.
October 23, 2003 Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk scored his third career hat trick in a 4-2 win over the visiting Nashville Predators.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
3. Tampa Bay