On Thursday, many eyes of the sporting world were on opening day in MLB. Hopefully you remembered to set your lineup if you play fantasy baseball! In spite of all the baseball, there was still more than enough hockey on Thursday to talk about.
Due to COVID, Vancouver Canucks games are now postponed for Saturday in Edmonton and both Sunday and Tuesday in Winnipeg. If the Canucks return to action on Thursday, they would have only a two-game week, so weekly leaguers should probably consider benching any Canucks next week. As well, this disruption and resulting condensed schedule should all but finish any playoff hopes that they had.
Adam Gaudette was joined on the COVID protocol list by Travis Hamonic on Thursday, so these players could be facing lengthier absences once the Canucks do return. You may remember that Hamonic opted out of the summer return to play when he was a member of the Flames. In his statement explaining why he opted out, Hamonic described the difficulty of watching his young daughter hospitalized with a respiratory illness. It's easy to sit and complain about not watching your favorite team for a week, but remember that these players face human challenges like the rest of us.
The goals came early and often for the Islanders, who exploded for four goals in the first period and eight against the Great 8 and the Capitals. It should come as no surprise that Mathew Barzal did the most damage with a hat trick, two assists, a plus-5, and eight shots. Two of the goals and one of the assists were in the first period alone.
Barzal's first goal in particular is really something. His third goal fits in with the MLB opening day theme. He's an exciting player who can score many different ways, giving you a good reason to watch Islanders games.
Barzal's linemate Jordan Eberle also had a game with two goals, an assist, and a plus-4. Eberle entered this game with just one point in his last four games, so hopefully you didn't bench him after the mini-slide.
The points didn't just come from the Barzal line. Josh Bailey scored a goal and added two assists of his o