NHL Player Tracking: Trending Up, Trending Down – Week 3
Recaps of Sunday’s action include Leon Draisaitl’s six-assist performance, the Rangers placed Tony DeAngelo on waivers, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl collected six assists and Connor McDavid netted five points (one goal, four assists) as the Edmonton Oilers rolled to an 8-5 victory over the Ottawa Senators. James Neal scored twice and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a three-point performance. Brady Tkachuk and Colin White each had two points for the Senators, who remain winless since their season-opening victory over Toronto last month.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid (22 points) and Draisaitl (21) sit one-two in the NHL’s scoring race. They’ve each have five straight multi-point games.
The New Jersey Devils downed the Buffalo Sabres 5-3. Michael McLeod and Miles Wood each scored twice while goaltender Eric Comrie made 30 saves for his first win in nearly three years. Sabres captain Jack Eichel and winger Victor Olofsson each had two assists.
A shootout goal by Vincent Trocheck gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 4-3 win over the Dallas Stars. Jordan Staal led the way with a goal and an assist as the Hurricanes picked up their fourth straight win. Stars captain Jamie Benn scored and added an assist in his first game since being sidelined by a leg injury in his club’s season-opener.
The Florida Panthers extended their points streak to six games by holding off the Detroit Red Wings 3-2, leaving the latter winless (0-4-2) in their last six games. Panthers goalie Chris Driedger made 32 saves while teammates Jonathan Huberdeau and Keith Yandle each had two assists. Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi missed the game with an upper-body injury.
Two turnovers by Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins resulted in goals by Pius Suter and Patrick Kane as the Chicago Blackhawks rolled to a 3-1 victory. Blackhawks rookie goalie Kevin Lankinen got the win with 32 saves.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks are hanging tough despite the absence of several key players to injury and illness. They’re also getting strong goaltending from Lankinen, who’s gone 3-1-2 in his first six games with a 1.97 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage.
Kevin Hayes scored in overtime, Joel Farabee netted a hat trick and James van Riemsdyk collected four assists as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the New York Islanders 4-3. The Isles forced overtime on third-period goals by Josh Bailey and Mathew Barzal but remain winless in five games (0-3-2).
St. Louis Blues rookie goalie Ville Husso made 25 saves for his first career NHL win in a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Brayden Schenn tallied twice for the Blues.
The Minnesota Wild overcame a 3-2 deficit to nip the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 in overtime. Victor Rask scored twice, including the game-tying goal that set the stage for Jonas Brodin’s winner in the extra frame. Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon had two assists but left the game after two periods with an unspecified injury. Earlier in the day, Wild winger Marcus Foligno was placed on the COVID-19 protocol list, defenseman Matt Dumba was placed on IR with a lower-body injury and Mats Zuccarello (upper body) was placed on long-term injury reserve.
NEW YORK POST: In a surprising move Sunday, the Rangers placed defenseman Tony DeAngelo on waivers. Head coach David Quinn declined to comment on social media reports about a post-game altercation Saturday between DeAngelo and goaltender Alexandar Georgiev. The rumors were confirmed by Post reporter Larry Brooks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation suggests the altercation between DeAngelo and Georgiev ended when winger Chris Kreider stepped in and punched the defenseman in the face. DeAngelo has struggled on the ice this season while also drawing unwanted attention for what Brooks described as the blueliner’s “agitating presence on social media”.
It’ll be interesting to see how this situation plays out. Brooks feels this latest incident is the last straw for the Rangers. He doesn’t believe they can keep DeAngelo on the team any longer.
If DeAngelo’s unclaimed by noon today Brooks speculated the Blueshirts could terminate his contract but it’s unclear if they’ll go that route. Trading the rearguard with his personal baggage and $4.8 million annual average value through 2021-22 could also prove difficult.
TSN: Montreal Canadiens assistant general manager has pulled out of the Pittsburgh Penguins search for a new GM. Mellanby was considered a candidate to replace Jim Rutherford, who abruptly stepped down last week.
Recaps of Sunday’s game, the Leafs remember the late George Armstrong and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Morgan Rielly collected three assists and Auston Matthews netted the game-winner as the Toronto Maple Leafs held on for a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames. Before the game, the Leafs mourned former captain George Armstrong, who passed away yesterday at age 90.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong spent his entire 21-NHL career with the Leafs, 12 of those as captain. He led the Leafs to four Stanley Cups in the 1960s, finishing his career with 296 goals and 713 points in 1,188 games. Armstrong was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975 and went on to work for the Leafs in various front-office roles and was a long-time scout and team ambassador. My condolences to Armstrong’s family, friends, former teammates, and the Leafs organization.
The Chicago Blackhawks picked up their second win of the season by thumping the Detroit Red Wings 6-2. Blackhawks rookie Pius Suter tallied a hat track, becoming the second player in franchise history to score his first three NHL goals in one game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a well-deserved victory by the Blackhawks. The Red Wings certainly didn’t help their cause, looking every bit as horrible as they did last season.
Jack Eichel’s shootout goal lifted the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-3 decision over the Washington Capitals. Sabres defensemen Colin Miller and Rasmus Ristolainen each had two points, as did Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom and blueliner Justin Schultz.
A controversial goal by William Karlsson late in the third period lifted the Vegas Golden Knights over the Arizona Coyotes 1-0. Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 16 saves for his 62nd career shutout, moving into 17th place on the all-time list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet wasn’t pleased by Karlsson’s goal, believing play should’ve been whistled down for icing.
The New Jersey Devils got goals from Jack Hughes and Pavel Zacha to blank the New York Islanders 2-0. Scott Wedgewood kicked out 28 shots for the shutout. Devils blueliner Ty Smith became the sixth rookie defenseman in NHL history to collect points in his first five games.
Jake Guentzel tallied his 100th career NHL goal, breaking a 2-2 tie as the Pittsburgh Penguins nipped the New York Rangers 3-2. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby picked up two assists. Rangers center Filip Chytil left the game with an upper-body injury following a second-period collision with Penguins forward Evan Rodrigues.
The Anaheim Ducks defeated the Colorado Avalanche 3-1 thanks to a 32-save performance by goaltender John Gibson.
Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar had a goal and two assists to lead his club over the St. Louis Blues 6-3. Brayden Schenn scored twice for the Blues.
Brent Burns’ goal late in the third period was the game-winner as the San Jose Sharks beat the Minnesota Wild 5-3. Sharks forward Ryan Donato had a goal and an assist, as did Wild winger Zach Parise.
The Dallas Stars tallied three power-play goals to hold off the Nashville Predators 3-2. Stars forwards Joe Pavelski and Roope Hintz each tallied a goal and two assists. The Stars were playing without captain Jamie Benn, who’s been sidelined with a lower-body injury since Friday’s season-opener.
Leon Draisaitl scored with one second remaining in the game to give the Edmonton Oilers a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Oilers captain Connor McDavid collected three assists in this contest.
THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson has changed agents, moving to Pat Brisson at CAA Hockey. Brisson also represents Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brisson is among the NHL’s most powerful agents. Pettersson and Hughes are in the final seasons of their entry-level contracts. Both will be seeking significant raises this summer.
TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets placed center Brandon Dubinsky on long-term injury reserve. He’s been sidelined since the 2019 playoffs with a chronic wrist injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubinsky’s playing career is likely over. He’s in the final season of his contract and becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Recaps of Wednesday’s action, Capitals fined as four players violate the league’s COVID-19 rules, plus updates on Mika Zibanejad, Patrik Laine, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl’s third period snapped a 1-1 tie as the Edmonton Oilers downed the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. Auston Matthews had tied the game earlier in the period before Draisaitl tallied the winning goal. Leafs center Joe Thornton is expected to miss some time after leaving the game early in the third period with an apparent wrist injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game was hyped as a showdown between Matthews and Oilers star Connor McDavid but it turned out to be a disappointingly dull contest that failed to live up to its billing. Oilers fans will be happy with the win following back-to-back losses to the Montreal Canadiens. Leafs fans will be unhappy over their club’s disorganized performance.
Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli’s hat trick wasn’t enough to defeat his former team as they fell 6-5 to the Vancouver Canucks in a shootout. Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat each had two goals and an assist, with Horvat also scoring the winner in the shootout frame. It was a costly win for the Canucks as defenseman Alexander Edler left the game with an upper-body injury in the second period.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The return of J.T. Miller (three assists) to the lineup also played a crucial role in the Canucks’ victory. The Canadiens were their own worst enemies as their undisciplined play resulted in three power-play goals on six attempts for the Canucks. There was no post-game update on Edler’s status.
The Vegas Golden Knights rolled to their fourth straight victory by defeating the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. Alex Pietrangelo tallied his first goal with the Golden Knights while teammate Shea Theodore tallied twice and winger Alex Tuch scored and collected two assists.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pietrangelo has wasted little time adjusting to the Golden Knights after signing with them last October as a free agent. His addition to the lineup is a contributing factor to their strong start to this season.
Tomas Hertl scored the only goal in a shootout as the San Jose Sharks edged the St. Louis Blues 2-1. The Blues’ Brayden Schenn and the Sharks’ Marcus Sorensen tallied the only goals in regulation. Blues defenseman Marco Scandella missed the game with an upper-body injury.
The Minnesota Wild edged the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on a third-period goal by Joel Eriksson Ek. Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen made 22 saves in his first game of the season while Ryan Miller kicked out 29 shots.
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The NHL fined the Capitals $100K for a violation of its health and safety protocols by four players. Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Ilya Samsonov recently gathered together in one hotel room without wearing proper facial coverings, which is prohibited by the league’s COVID-19 protocols for this season. Players must each have their own rooms on road trips and are not permitted to gather in each other’s rooms.
The four players were placed on the league’s COVID-19 absence list but it doesn’t mean they’ve tested positive for the coronavirus. Players can be added to the list as a precaution from possible exposure. It’s unknown if they’ll miss Friday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals and Ovechkin released statements acknowledging the incident, with the club expressing disappointment in the players’ actions and Ovechkin saying he regretted what happened and will learn from the incident.
Some observers questioned why the league is cracking down on players gathering in hotel rooms when they’re in close contact in the dressing room and on the ice during practice and games. The difference is the players stand a greater chance of catching COVID-19 away from the arenas, which are under strict health and safety controls to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.
The NHL is doing everything it can to stage a 56-game schedule in the midst of a pandemic. Its’ COVID-19 protocols follow federal guidelines in Canada and the United States. They don’t want the possibility of repeated protocol violations potentially putting the season at risk if they fail to adequately prevent or minimize community spread.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes’ next two games against the Florida Panthers have been postponed after five of their players were placed on the league’s COVID-19 protocol list.
NEWSDAY: New York Islanders winger Josh Bailey was placed on the league’s COVID-19 list.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Mika Zibanejad is expected to return to the lineup for Friday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Zibanejad left Tuesday’s game against the New Jersey Devils with an undisclosed ailment.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets winger Patrik Laine (upper-body injury) remains doubtful for Thursday’s game against the Ottawa Senators.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (arm) should be ready to play tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. He skated in practice with his teammates yesterday.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars placed defenseman Julius Honka on waivers.