Ramblings: Seattle Gets The Green Light, A 15-Goal Affair, Matthews, Trouba, and Hat Tricks (Dec. 5)
Calgary and Columbus combined for, wait for it, 15 goals on Tuesday night! It's been nearly two calendar years since we've had a 15 goal affair, and this one had some zip on it. The Blue Jackets jumped out to a 3-1 lead to chase David Rittich from the cage. Mike Smith was welcomed in by a quick goal by Cam Atkinson – his second of three tallies on the evening. The 29-year-old's 19 goals are fourth most in the NHL. His 30 points place him in the top-20 for all skaters.
Atkinson is a difficult cat to get a read on. He pulled this level of play out of his hat through the first 40 games of 2016-17 before falling back down to earth and finishing with 62 points in 82 games. Then in 2017-18, he was stanky for much of the season, recording 22 points in 36 games before going off for 24 points in his final 19 games. That means that's he's produced 32 goals and 54 points in his previous 45 games.
Maybe we should start believing in him the way Dobber has for the last decade.
But I digressed. Where were, we? Right, Calgary was down 4-1 early in the second frame. No worries, how about five unanswered second-period goals by the Flames to jump up 6-4. It's the fourth time this season that Calgary has dropped a five-spot on an opponent in one period. The other 30 teams have combined to accomplish that feat just three times.
The final tally was 9-6 Flames. Sergei Bobrovsky was on the hook for eight of those goals against. He stopped a mere 18/26 on the night to record one of the worst fantasy (and possibly real-life) performances that I can recall.
Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan led the way with two goals and two assists each. Matt Tkachuk chipped in with a goal and two helpers, while Mark Giordano posted three assists. Giordano has been tremendous this season. He's now up to 27 points in 28 games to jump into the top five in blue line points. What a showing by the 35-year-old. A serious contender for draft pick of the year for many poolies.
We had another back-and-forth affair in Pittsburgh. The Pens jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead on the Avalanche. They saw that lead evaporate when Colorado tacked on three second-period goals. Then, it was the Patric Hornqvist show.
That is the fastest hat trick in Pittsburgh Penguins history.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 5, 2018
Patric Hornqvist gets the natural hat trick in just 2 minutes and 47 seconds. The previous record was 4 minutes and 10 seconds set by Nils Ekman in 2006. pic.twitter.com/eQx5P71Szm
Hornqvist had missed a week and a half with a concussion but showed no signs of rust in this one. Three tallies in 2:47 seconds. On HAT NIGHT?! Perfect. He was back on the top power-play unit and skating alongside Evgeni Malkin at even-strength. That meant that Guentzel was once again on PP2. It'll continue to be difficult for the youngster to hit big totals with that deployment.
Yes, Mikko Rantanen extended his point streak to nine games and 17 points with an assist. Your league point leader continues to roll on.
Over in Buffalo, it was a battle of Atlantic division powerhouses. But what it turned into was the Auston Matthews show once again. The Leafs' superstar just continues to put pressure on Patrik Laine for the moniker of the greatest young goalscorer in the game today. After opening the scoring on a wraparound, he added the coup d'etat in overtime with the game tied at threes.
That change of release is downright disgusting. In my humble opinion, there is no one on earth who does it better than Matthews right now. Go ahead and watch that clip five or six times and tell me you're no mesmerized by it. I'm enthralled.
Call it 15 goals in 14 games for the 21-year-old. He may break 50 in a season where he only plays 70 games.
No William Nylander tonight. You'll have to wait on that.
Jack Eichel was doing his thing on Tuesday night as well. The former second overall pick tallied two very nice goals in succession to put the Sabres up 3-2 in the second frame. The speed-driven centre is up to seven goals and 34 points in 29 games. He's officially arrived as a superstar.
Roberto Luongo and the Panthers shutout the Bruins 5-0 on Tuesday evening. It was Luongo's first game back from injury and he, like Hornqvist, didn't look any worse for wear. It was Bobby Lu's 77th career goose egg. That puts him ninth on the all-time list. I want to trust the 39-year-old on my fantasy roster but the injuries have been piling up and at his age, that is unlikely to continue.
But, he's a very good starter on a medium team. When he is healthy, he's definitely worth a start on your squad.
With a goal and two assists, Jonathan Huberdeau recorded his sixth consecutive multi-point effort. His 31 points equal John Tavares and place him in a tie for 17th in the league. He's back up on the top line with Aleksander Barkov and is riding red-hot. I'd like to say this is an opportune sell-high opportunity (and it probably is) but it's difficult to turn your back on a guy who looks to be travelling down the career-season road.
The Bruins are not the same team without Patrice Bergeron. Colby Cave was once again centring Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak for much of the game. That trio didn't generate a whole heck of a lot. Bruce Cassidy threw David Krejci up there for stretches to ignite the team, but there was no spark tonight.
Jaro Halak posted his second consecutive loss. He's leaving the door open for Tuukka Rask to regain the full-time starter position.
The Board of Governors convened on Tuesday and officially gave the green light to Seattle to become the league's 32nd franchise. This is great news for west coast hockey and mid-level talent.
It was also confirmed that Arizona would move to the Central division when the unnamed Seattle franchise fires up for the beginning of the 2021 campaign. The Coyotes are not too pleased about it, but hell, Toronto and Detroit used to play in the WESTERN Conference. They can deal.
Time to dust off the expansion tool on CapFriendly and see what combination of players may end up in Starbucks territory. Of note, Vegas won’t have to participate in that venture as part of their deal to enter the league last season. They also won't share in the nearly 40 million dollar juicer that the other 30 teams will receive.
It was announced on Tuesday that Anthony Mantha would be out 4-6 weeks with a hand injury. The 24-year-old had recorded nine goals and 14 points in 27 games this season. That’s off his 48-point pace from a season ago. Many had pegged Mantha as the next great goal scorer after popping 107 goals in his final two QMJHL seasons. It sure doesn’t appear he’ll land anywhere near that lofty expectation at this point.
He’ll be missed in Detroit though. He was seeing nearly all of his even-strength time next to a breaking-out, Dylan Larkin. Gustav Nyquist saw a promotion to the top line for the game against the Lightning on Tuesday. He made good by recording two goals and seven shots on net in a 6-5 shootout loss to the Lightning. He's up to 23 points in 28 games and is on pace for his best season yet.
Frans Nielsen recorded the evening's third hattrick. 18 points in 24 games for the 34-year-old. I don't actually believe that he's fantasy relevant, but it's hard to ignore the numbers. He's been locked with a burgeoning Andreas Athanasiou at even-strength and on the second power-play unit. He did just watch his other most common linemate in Nyquist elevate up the line up though.
21-year-old rookie, Mathieu Joseph led the way for the Bolts with a goal and two helpers. Joseph was a high-impact junior player and posted strong metrics in the American league as a rookie pro a season ago. He's one to watch if he ever sticks up the lineup. As of now, he's a bottom sixer with no power-play time.
Nikita Kucherov's insane 10-game, 24 point streak came to an end on Tuesday. He did bury the shootout winner though. This guy is earning his lofty top-five draft slot.
Fresh off a trade from Toronto to Vancouver, Josh Leivo was gifted the team's most plum of assignments in his Canuck debut. The power forward skated alongside Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser at even-strength. It took him just seven minutes to find the back of the net. The assists? You guessed it, Pettersson and Boeser.
With Dustin Byfuglien on the shelf with that terribly-handled concussion, Josh Morrissey’s value sky-rocketed. He was seeing all his ice with the big dogs and had recorded two points in his last two contests.
However, the 23-year-old was a late scratch for the Jets on Tuesday due to a lower-body injury. It was rookie blueline, Sami Niku who took his place next to Jacob Touba at even-strength. Niku was the AHL’s top scoring defender last season and has a very high offensive ceiling.
But, it was Trouba who finally found himself on that Jets’ vaunted top power-play unit. The 24-year-old delivered too. He potted a power-play marker in 28 minutes of ice as the Jets beat the Islanders 3-1. If Morrissey is out for any length of time, you'll want to get in on the Trouba-train.
Nick Schmaltz continued his desert dance. The newest Coyote potted a power play goal in a win against the Kings. That's five points in his last three games. He's riding with Clayton Keller (also five points in his last three games) in all situations, and they seem to mesh quite well. Here's hoping you scooped Schmaltz off the wire when you had the chance.
Adin Hill with another terrific showing stopping 25/26. The 22-year-old has posted three wins and a 0.977 save percentage in five appearances. He's been a top end streamer who may be playing himself into a full-time job in AZ.
The Golden Knights beat the Capitals 4-3 in one of the late affairs. Jonathan Marchessault was pointless in this one. He has just two points in his last seven games. The snow is falling.
Meanwhile, Ryan Reaves opened the scoring and then blindsided Tom Wilson.
It doesn't matter his history, that's a dirty hit. Wilson left the game and did not return. Sure looks like a concussion to me. Reaves should be hearing from the league on this one.
That's all for now. Thanks for reading and feel free to follow me on Twitter @Hockey_Robinson
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