Thursday’s Philadelphia Flyers-Washington Capitals game was supposed to be a big deal, but the Caps flexed their muscles in that early test. As it turns out, that game was an undercooked appetizer for what should be a delicious main course on Saturday night.
The Detroit Red Wings casually dismissed the hopeless Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday to set the stage for a battle between the league’s only unbeaten teams. Sure, it’s just October. And yes, the Capitals’ playoff struggles are well-documented and the Red Wings aren’t exactly Doogie Howsers in skates.
Still, go ahead and get a little excited about a game that at least a few breathless onlookers will call “a possible Stanley Cup finals preview.” These two teams are clearly ahead of the pack so far, as a few of these numbers should attest.
Scoring goals like hot cakes: the Capitals have 23 goals in six games while the Red Wings scored 18 in five (placing both around 3.6 per game).
Stingy Wings: Detroit’s defensive weaknesses flew under the radar last season, but they’ve only allowed seven goals so far. (Feel free to blame Brian Rafalski or Chris Osgood, even if that’s completely unfair.) The Capitals only allowed eight goals in the five games in which Tomas Vokoun didn’t lose his mind.
Other signs of dominance: The Red Wings average a staggering 37.8 shots per game while the Capitals power play is connecting at a 26.1 percent rate.
To paraphrase Dennis Green, the Capitals and Red Wings have been what we thought they were. It all sets up for a tantalizing “measuring stick” game Saturday night.
For a while, the story of the Florida Panthers – Toronto Maple Leafs game would be the remarkable march of Jonathan Marchessault.
As great as his story remains (he gave Florida 1-0 and 2-1 leads), those pesky young Maple Leafs keep stealing the headlines.
In tonight’s case, it was Mitch Marner who was raising eyebrows as he assisted on all three of Toronto’s goals in a 3-2 victory.
His third assist was just sublime:
After the game, Tyler Bozak pondered the two goals Marner helped him score and deemed the youngster “an elite player,” according to the Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle.
Considering the growing discomfort regarding Frederik Andersen‘s play, this tweet should help to make Maple Leafs fans smile:
Ehhhhh, Marner might deserve that first star, but the gesture means almost as much as the win.
Devan Dubnyk already showed signs of having a hot start to 2016-17, but Thursday made that point abundantly clear.
For the second straight game, Dubnyk generated a shutout, with the Minnesota Wild beating the Buffalo Sabres 4-0 in this instance.
It’s not as if Dubnyk is just leisurely turning aside the occasional chance, either; he made 38 saves to blank Buffalo and needed to stop 65 shots on goal considering the 27 he turned aside in a 5-0 win vs. Boston.
Ryan Suter said that Dubnyk bailed his teammates out during the second period, as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo reports.
He’s now allowed just 10 goals in six games so far in 2016-17, with Taylor Hall‘s overtime-winner being the last shot to beat him. That came on Sunday:
More often than not, Dubnyk’s been making those saves so far in this young season.
There are plenty of differences between Alex Ovechkin and Patrik Laine, including obvious things like one being from Russia and the other from Finland.
Still, there are moments when Laine inspires comparisons to his idol, even this early in his rookie season.
Thursday presented one of those moments. It wasn’t just that Laine fired a 3-0 goal home for the Winnipeg Jets against the Dallas Stars with such moxie; it was also that he showed some swagger with a celebration afterward.
This GIF captures the moment brilliantly, while you can also watch the goal in video form.
Sure, there will be some grumbles from the “act like you’ve been here before” crowd, but this is brilliant stuff for the rest of us.
Early this season, Dmitry Orlov delighted onlookers and angered Matt Duchene with a mind-blowing, throwback hip check. People really seemed to enjoy it.
While you’d struggle to top that hit, Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier must have sensed the void in checks that almost seem to flip opponents, doing so against Anthony Duclair during Thursday’s contest.
Rate this as you will:
Want another look at the Orlov one for comparison’s sake or to chuckle in disbelief? Why not: