NHL 2019-20 Recap Week 3 – David Pastrnak’s tear, Bettman is a joke, NHL officiating isn’t any better, Stars still can’t do the little things right
The fifth Heritage Classic was held in Regina, Saskatchewan pitting the Calgary Flames against the Winnipeg Jets. I believe this was the first Heritage Classic that was nationally televised in the United States. And there’s nothing like watching hockey in -11 degree weather, with the wind chill, with light snow flurries. At times the snow looked like hail to me. A few players stumbled on the ice from the weather but the playing conditions weren’t that bad. And beanies on the goalie? Yes, please. They should do that indoors too. I loved the cowboy hats on the Flames coaching staff too. The actual game was also very entertaining. The Flames scored the first goal on a power-play after a questionable high sticking play to keep the puck in the zone. They led the rest of the way until the Jets tied it on a power-play with only a few minutes left in the game. The penalty that led to the power-play was dumb because Mark Giordano didn’t need to take it. While it did prevent a play on the puck, Andrew Copp wasn’t at a good angle to do anything with it. The Jets won in overtime on a breakaway goal by Bryan Little after another Flames penalty had just expired. Yup, all goals were scored because of power-plays. The next Heritage Classic probably won’t be for another three years.
Things I like
1. David Pastrnak is on a tear. After being held scoreless in his first two games of the season, he’s now on a nine game scoring streak. Racking up 22 points and 11 goals during it. Pastrnak has never scored 40 goals in his career but it’s safe to say he will this season. 60 doesn’t seem out of reach either. The Bruins also beat the Blues 3-0 in their first meeting post Stanley Cup. I’m sure that must have felt good. The Bruins are looking better than they did last year. And that top line of Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand is really clicking right now.
Things I don’t
1. Three weeks in and we already have our first officiating fiasco. At the end of the nationally televised Lightning vs Penguins game, we had a dispute over whether the puck crossed the line or not. I was unable to spot the puck at all before it somehow ended up in the glove behind the goal line. Eddie Olczyk said he saw the puck on a freeze frame and circled it but it honestly looked like the blade of a stick to me. But that doesn’t matter. What does matter is whether the puck was all the way across the goal line or not. They looked at it for what must have been at least five minutes, before the ref emphatically said there was no goal. No idea how he can say that so confidentially when they took that long to look at it. And that’s the real problem. I can’t help but think if they had a sensor in the puck, this would have been so much easier. Can’t be that hard to do NHL.
2. And this makes my blood boil even more. Gary Bettman on the current state of the NHL playoffs: “We think the format we have works extremely well … unless you’re a Leafs fan.” Funny Gary, funny. It’s not funny and the playoff format doesn’t work. If you have the second and third best records in a conference, you shouldn’t be playing one another in the first round. The NBA recognized this and fix it but apparently the NHL thinks it’s funny. Playoffs aren’t supposed to be a joke, unless you make them that way.
3. As I watched most of the Dallas Stars vs Pittsburgh Penguins game, I noticed the Stars are pretty much playing the exact same way they did last season before they got on their late run to make the playoffs. They were unable to enter into the Penguins end and stay there, they were unable to clear the puck from their own end when given opportunities and they made a couple of blunders there too (more on that below) and I couldn’t recall a single significant play Tyler Seguin or Jamie Benn made on offensive or defense. It’s not hard to see why they have such a bad record. If you can’t do the little things right and your star players don’t show up, you won’t win many games.
4. After their beatdown of the Vegas Golden Knights, the Colorado Avalanche had to travel home the next night to play the Anaheim Ducks. Like most teams on the tail end of a back to back, they lost. That was their first home loss. If the NHL would do away with back to backs, which they can do, their home streak would have gone on longer. It’s a shame they didn’t get a fair shot.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Casey Cizikas vs Brady Tkachuk
This was more of a wrestling match than a fight but it was pretty entertaining while it lasted.
Chris Stewart vs Ross Johnston
This was also mostly a wrestling match, with a few punches sprinkled in.
Goat of the Week
Ben Bishop – Dallas Stars
My number one rule in hockey is goalies should never leave their crease. Bishop did, he fails to play the puck and then he scrambles to get back. He’s now out of position, he falls down and then loses sight of the puck. The Penguins scored here and then added one off of John Klingberg and an empty-netter.
Stat Line of the Week
10/27/19 St. Louis 6 vs Detroit 5
The St Louis Blues literally had to work overtime to beat the Red Wings. David Perron scored the overtime game-winner and added three assists. Conn Smythe winner Ryan O’Reilly had his own four point night with two goals and two assists. Each now has 12 points on the season.
501 – Career NHL games played for Tukka Rask
11 – Game point streak to start the season for Nathan MacKinnon
5 – Goals scored in the third period by the Canucks over the Red Wings in their win
5 – Teams with a negative goal differential in the Central Division
5 – Goals or more scored by all seven winning teams in Sunday’s games
3 – Game point scoring streak for Jack Hughes
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
October 21, 1984 Marcel Dionne became the 7th player in NHL history to score 800 assists, as the Kings lost 5-2 at Chicago.
October 22, 1980 Rookie defenseman Paul Coffey scored his first NHL goal, in the Oilers’ 5-3 win over the Calgary Flames, in Edmonton.
October 23, 1993 Toronto set an NHL record for most wins from start of season, with their ninth straight, a 2-0 win at Tampa Bay. Goaltender Felix Potvin recorded the shutout and Mark Osborne scored twice to lead the Maple Leafs.
October 24, 1991 Minnesota North Stars’ Brian Propp scored his 400th NHL goal in a 5-2 loss to Philadelphia. Propp became just the 35th player in NHL history to reach 400 goals.
October 25, 1998 Phoenix Coyotes began a team-record 14 game unbeaten streak (12-0-2), with an 2-2 tie at Anaheim.
October 26, 1989 Sergei Mylnikov became the first Soviet goalie to play in an NHL game, and made 31 saves, as his Quebec Nordiques lost 4-2 at Boston.
October 27, 2000 Keith Tkachuk scored his 300th goal of his NHL career as the Coyotes extended their undefeated streak to 7 straight games (5-0-2) with a 4-2 win against the Stars at Dallas.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
30. New Jersey
27. Los Angeles
26. NY Rangers