This is the third week in a row I’ve talked about the Boston Bruins, which wasn’t planned, but it’s hard to ignore their play. This is the first time the Bruins have ever won seven of their first eight games, and they’ve been around since 1924.
Brad Marchand racked up three points in his first game of the season, David Pastrnak has 17 points in nine games and is second in the NHL in scoring, and nine Bruins are averaging half a point or better per game. I always thought the Bruins had a great team, and David Krejci coming back and adding Hampus Lindholm only helps. The scary thing is they’re still without their top defensemen, Charlie McAvoy. They’re in the top ten in all categories except power play percentage, where they are 11th. I think Jake DeBrusk is happy he stayed.
The biggest surprise has been the undefeated Linus Ullmark, who has outplayed Jeremy Swayman. They just need a true number-one goalie, so if it’s Ullmark, so be it. It’s too early to say they’re winning the Stanley Cup, but they’re certainly a favorite.
Things I like
The New York Islanders learned from last year and are not starting in a hole. But more importantly, they’re scoring goals. They are surprisingly 4th in goals but 28th in powerplay percentage, which is odd. Odder Mathew Barzal has ten assists but no goals. First-round pick Oliver Wahlstrom is starting to not look like a bust. It’s still early, but it looks like a promising season. The Islanders had a great comeback victory over the Colorado Avalanche Saturday after being down 0-3 in the first period.
Staying in the NYC metro area, the New Jersey Devils look like they might finally break out this season following the New York Rangers last season. After losing to the Washinton Capitals, they blew out the Detroit Red Wings 6-2, eked out a shutout win over the Colorado Avalanche 1-0, and then thumped the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-1. They are now in first place in their division. Jesper Bratt leads the team with 13 points in eight games and looks like a sixth-round steal. There’s no shortage of young talent on the Devils. It’s goaltending they lack. Vitek Vanecek may end up emerging as the number-one goalie over MacKenzie Blackwood.
Things I don’t
Logan Thompson leads the NHL in shutouts with two and is the goalie of the future and present for the Vegas Golden Knights. So why is he in this section? Because I don’t like how we got here. I previously wrote trading Marc-Andre Fleury and making Robin Lehner the number one goalie was a mistake because Lehner has never been that because he can’t. (I haven't uploaded all my old articles on this site yet, blah) Sure enough, Lehner had his personal issues, was injured, and is gone for the season. If he wasn’t injured, Thompson wouldn’t have gotten this chance. Not to mention backup Laurent Brossoit is also injured, so he really lucked into it. They should have kept Fluery and gotten rid of Lehner or never gotten him initially. Sure Fleury isn’t good anymore, but you split him with Thompson so he can ease into the role as you fade out Fleury. I’m happy Thompson is in this position and thrived because it should always have been about finding a younger goalie, but this wasn’t the way to do it.
The Columbus Blue Jackets suck. I mean, they’re putrid. They lost by a combined score of 11-1 in back-to-back games. They’re the only team yet to score a power play goal. I don’t even know how that’s possible. Johnny Gaudreau willingly went to this team, a franchise that has only won two playoff series in twenty years. And one of those was the qualifying round made-up because of COVID. Gaudreau could have gone anywhere, but he picked here. He needs his head examined. The Blue Jackets have 25 goals, and Gaudreau has 8 points. He’s accounted for almost a third of their offense. Imagine how bad they would be if he weren’t there. No, wait, don’t imagine it. You’ll have nightmares.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Brandon Duhaime vs Austin Watson
I guess the best fight of the week, with everyone falling down.
Goal of the Week
Trevor Zegras - Anaheim Ducks
Coast to coast like butter on toast. My favorite type of goal, and it’s even better in overtime.
Goats of the Week
Jacob Markstrom and MacKenzie Weegar - Calgary Flames
The new look Flames are gelling better than expected. But despite dominating the Edmonton Oilers and outshooting them 42-26, they still found a way to give it away in the third period.
The Oilers dumped it in, and then Connor McDavid let it fly from the corner on an unexpecting Markstrom. That can’t go in, and if Markstrom can’t get set in time, he shouldn’t leave the crease.
The Oilers dump it in again, a few Flames have a crack at it, but Zach Hyman deflects it and then tips in McDavid’s pass. Weegar shouldn’t have tipped it back when Hyman was in the area.
The Chicago Blackhawks deserve goat love this week against the Oilers, too, and they’ll get it below.
Stat Line of the Week
10/27/22 Edmonton 6 vs. Chicago 5
Connor McDavid had three goals, two on the power play, and an assist against the Chicago Blackhawks in a high-scoring back-and-forth game. Despite not scoring in two games, McDavid has 18 points and leads the NHL in scoring. Leon Draisait had the game-winning goal (below) and is third in scoring. McDavid (1.442) is 4th in points per game all-time, and Draisaitl (1.115) has moved up to 23rd.
Jonathan Toews gives away the puck in his own zone, and nobody bothers to cover Draisaitl by the side of the net. I mean, why would you want to do that?
990 – Consecutive games played by Phil Kessel, breaking Keith Yandle’s NHL ironman record
12 – Shutouts by the Islanders over the Rangers, half of which have come after January 2021
3 – Straight games, the Seattle Kraken have scratched Shane Wright
2 – Goals scored in 33 seconds by the New Jersey Devils over the hapless Columbus Blue Jackets
1 – Career NHL hat trick for Christian Dvorak of the Montreal Canadiens
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
- New Jersey
- San Jose