NHL 2019-20 Recap Week 2 – Avalanche emerge as early favorites, Roope Hintz dazzles, the Wild hit rock bottom
The common denominators in all the current top teams (Sabres, Avalanche, Oilers) in the NHL are dynamic scoring lines, young defensemen and average goaltending. Not exactly the recipe for playoff success. But we might need to give more props to the goaltending.
Avalanche rookie Pavel Francouz may turn out to be way more than average after the Lightning peppered him with 46 shots and he saved 44 of them. He’s a name you’ll want to look out for this season. He was the best the goalie in the Czech Republic and he was decent in the KHL too. Don’t be surprised if he ends up being the number one goalie in Colorado. The Avalanche are the only team without a regulation loss. More on their overtime loss below.
The Sabres have gotten a really good start from journeyman Carter Hutton. Now on his fourth team, Hutton is leading the NHL in GAA, SV% and shutouts. This is mostly because of his two shutouts. History and logic would dictate that he can’t sustain this but they don’t have many other options and the ride should be fun before the inevitable crash.
The Oilers, on the other hand, are led by Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith. That’s about as average as it gets. But Koskinen hasn’t played enough in the NHL to form a definitive conclusion. But his potential doesn’t seem to be very high.
As we pass the ten game mark, teams will start to play more like they will the rest of the season. Expect the Oilers and Sabres to start to slide and many other teams to go up. But the Colorado Avalanche look legit in all aspects. Their depth is unreal, Cale Makar is a rookie phenom and then there’s the big three (Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog). And if Francouz ends up being another rookie phenom, it’s over. The Avalanche will win the Stanley Cup.
Things I like
1. One of the few bright spots of the Stars season has been Roope Hintz. Hintz picked up where he left off in last year’s playoffs where he had eight points in 13 games. Hintz has six goals so far, almost as many as he had last season, and seven points. Hintz has the speed and moves to be a star. Corey Perry also scored his first goal of the season which is a good sign. In fact, all his points came against the Flyers, the Stars second win this season. But Perry has only played three games so far which makes it even better.
Things I don’t
1. Things are getting worse in Minnesota. Not like that’s surprising or anything. Jason Zucker called out the team and coach Bruce Boudreau after their bad loss against the Canadiens. And then for some reason apologized. Why? He was right. I wrote about how Boudreau was a terrible choice to be the Wild’s head coach when he was hired and well, that’s basically been the case. They have the lowest goal differential at -14 and their only win had come against, you guessed it, the Senators. General manager Bill Guerin says he doesn’t want to make any knee jerk emotional changes right now. Okay, how about another week? At any rate, calling out the team worked because the Wild came back and beat the Canadiens the next game. Zach Parise (Remember him? He still plays.) scored the game-winner. Moral of the story, call out your team when they suck. It worked for the Minnesota Vikings too when they called out Kirk Cousins. He’s so much better now. Or it could just be a Minnesota thing.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Jamie Oleksiak vs Chris Stewart
A really good and loooong back and forth fight.
Joel Edmundson vs Josh Manson
This was really long too. The end was the best part.
Scott Sabourin vs Ryan Reaves
Reeves slowly stares down his prey before taking down Sabourin. I think the staredown was longer than the fight.
Goats of the Week
Gabriel Landeskog – Colorado Avalanche
You’re taught to always have your stick on the ice but in this case it would have been better if Landeskog didn’t. Then he tries to correct his mistake and whiffs on that. Just a terrible way to lose a game. Their first loss too.
Erik Karlsson – San Jose Sharks
The cardinal sin in hockey is centering the puck in your own end. Karlsson does that here and Zemgus Girgensons makes him pay for it. You know better Karlsson. That ended up being the game-winner.
Goals of the Week
Sonny Milano – Columbus Blue Jackets
Milano with the goal of the season. Between the opponent’s legs, then between his legs and then the backhand.
Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins
Crosby does Crosby things.
Stat Line of the Week
10/16/19 Washington 4 vs Toronto 3
John Carlson has been dishing out assists like they’re candy. He leads the NHL with 14 assists, he’s also the overall scoring leader and he has a seven-game scoring streak going. He picked up two assists and the game-winning goal in the Washington Capitals big win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
1 – Goal by number one overall pick Jack Hughes, his first NHL goal, against the Canucks. This was after his first assist in the previous game. Hey, a two-game scoring streak.
1 – Hat trick by Evander Kane and Tyson Jost this week
26 – Penalty minutes for leader Milan Lucic. The Flames wanted muscle and they got it. (Although most of those were in the first game)
18 – Penalty minutes for Matthew Tkachuk, second in the NHL, also on the Flames and most of his came in one game too.
4 – Teams undefeated at home (Sabres, Avalanche, Canucks, Oilers)
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
October 14, 1979 Wayne Gretzky scored his first NHL goal, when the Oilers tied Vancouver 4-4 in Edmonton. Glen Hanlon was the victim of Gretzky’s first goal.
October 15, 1986 Tom Barrasso and rookie Patrick Roy traded shutouts as the Sabres and Canadiens tied 0-0 at the Aud in Buffalo. It was the NHL’s first scoreless tie in three years. It was also the 10th career shutout for Barrasso and the second for Roy.
October 16, 1982 Forward Victor Nechayev became the first Soviet trained player to appear in an NHL game. He went scoreless for the L.A. Kings in a 4-1 loss to the Islanders in New York.
October 17, 1989 Mario Lemieux scored his 22nd career hat trick and an assist in the Penguins’ 7-5 win over Toronto in Pittsburgh.
October 18, 1951 Marty Pavelich scored a goal and added three assists as the Red Wings began a team-record 15 game road undefeated streak (10-0-5), with a 6-1 win over the Black Hawks, at Chicago.
October 19, 1946 Detroit’s Gordie Howe picked up his first NHL assist (on a goal by Adam Brown) and his first fighting penalty as the Red Wings lost 6-3 at Toronto.
October 20, 1993 Rookie goaltender Martin Brodeur recorded his first career NHL shutout to lead the Devils to a 4-0 win over the Mighty Ducks in New Jersey.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
28. Los Angeles
27. New Jersey