My thoughts on McDavid vs. Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon, Patrik Laine, Calvin Pickard and much more …
A huge event last night had the entire world watching to see who would win. That event was, of course, the first NHL game between Sidney Crosby’s team and Connor McDavid’s team.
The head-to-head battle showed Sid’s team winning the game, but McDavid picking up more points. McDavid had three assists while Sid had zilch (though he did get an assist on the second goal, but lost credit for it). The Oilers, as we’ve seen before, had the lead and lost it. That’s where experience and growth as a team will make a difference in 2017-18 and beyond. And that’s why this year they’ll only be ‘battling’ for a playoff spot rather than walking away with one.
Conor Sheary has been a stud – seven points in six games…and he’s almost never playing with Sidney Crosby, with whom he’d enjoyed so much success in the playoffs. At the end of the game, when the Penguins needed a goal and bench started to get shortened, Sheary was put on the Crosby line and that was when he scored. I’m very optimistic about Sheary’s season ahead because he’s playing his way onto that big line. He’s not there yet, but he’ll get there.
Patrick Maroon has five points in his last four games and is really clicking with McDavid and Jordan Eberle (who had three points himself last night).
I’ve had a couple of pretty vocal readers ask about Nathan MacKinnon and how terrible he’s doing. The reality is, I don’t believe you can call things “terrible”. He’s had a four-game pointless drought, which happens all the time even to the best. He scored last night, just his second goal of the season, and there are a lot more to come. If you check his player profile (click his name) you’ll see that his advanced stats light up as green as it gets – that indicates a pretty big market correction upwards is forthcoming (i.e. “buy low”). This is the time of year where a four-game pointless drought will stick out like a sore thumb, so get fooled by it. If he delayed this drought until January, you wouldn’t have even noticed that he went from 36 points in 38 games to 36 points in 42 games. You notice this one because he went from six points in eight games to six in 12.
The Colorado net situation is still muddy. Calvin Pickard had a chance to really make a statement and steal some starts from Semyon Varlamov but he allowed four goals on 25 shots. Not terrible, but not even close to “making a statement”. Varlamov’s job is safe for now.
In his first NHL game Anthony DeAngelo scored hi