Steven Stamkos isn’t even 23 years old yet, but he already has a huge contract, hilarious hockey hair and two 50+ goal seasons. (Erik Erlendsson points out the historical significance of the accomplishment: only six NHL players have hit the 50-goal plateau at least two times.)
The elite forward took advantage of a dual disaster for Boston Bruins goalies Marty Turco and Tim Thomas, collecting tallies 49 and 50 in a 6-1 romp.
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Stamkos seemed primed to go toe-to-toe with Sidney Crosby for the Maurice Richard Trophy last season, but things fell apart for both players. Crosby had injury issues while Stamkos fought lesser ailments and inconsistency to “settle” for 45 goals in 2010-11. The talented sniper’s career-high is 51, which he set in 09-10, just his second season in the NHL. Overall, Stamkos has 169 goals in just 312 career regular season games.
Corey Perry was the only player to cross the 50-goal barrier last season and it’s hard to fathom this season generating multiple 50-goal scorers either. Here’s a look at the rest of the top five:
Evgeni Malkin: 38 goals, 14 games left
Marian Gaborik: 34 goals, 13 games left
Corey Perry: 34 goals, 13 games left
Phil Kessel: 34 goals, 12 games left
I hate to be the guy to doubt that elite club of talented players, but it’s tough to imagine anyone else ending up with 50 goals or more this season.
Pessimists might point to that fact while worrying about league-wide scoring, yet that only shines a brighter light on Stamkos’ all-world (and downright historic) sniping skills.
Tuesday’s Dallas Stars – New York Rangers almost seemed destined to be a wild affair, and so far, the two teams aren’t disappointing.
For one thing, Chris Kreider and the Rangers were open about “not forgetting” Cody Eakin‘s hit on Henrik Lundqvist, something Eakin realized heading in. The Stars had their own irritations coming into this game, as they clearly weren’t happy with their loss to the Buffalo Sabres and their shaky play overall.
So, yeah, plenty of reason for this to be a rowdy affair.
Kreider is delivering in particular, with the most memorable moment being his strange fight with Eakin, which you can see above. SBNation’s Pat Iversen points out that Kreider probably should have been ejected for hitting Eakin with a piece of his equipment, a violation of Rule 53.
As many know, Kreider has even more of a reputation for “interacting” with goalies, as he did once again with Antti Niemi:
The Stars currently lead the game 5-3, so it’s been a busy one on the scoreboard, too.
Down 2-0 to the Buffalo Sabres, the Toronto Maple Leafs are off to a shaky start on Tuesday. Still, their concerns likely revolve the most around the health of defenseman Morgan Rielly.
As you can see from the video above, the young Buds blueliner was shaken up by an awkward spill into the boards.
It’s too early to know if he avoided injury or might miss some time, but there’s at least some concern that he might have aggravated an issue from before his NHL days:
We’ll need to wait and see, but with his offensive skills and overall importance in mind (average just under 23 minutes a game this season, more or less in line with his breakthrough year in 2015-16), the Maple Leafs are crossing their fingers that this isn’t anything major.
The Chicago Blackhawks need to put a tough weekend behind them; maybe the Colorado Avalanche are just what the doctor ordered.
Colorado is clearly ranked last in the league, whether they believe they have some assets in the likes of Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog or not. Perhaps there will be a few scouts on hand to see how such potential Avs trade targets perform against a contending team?
It’s rarely a dull night when the Blackhawks roll out talented players like Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin and Jonathan Toews – among others – so it should be a good time on NBCSN on Tuesday.
You can watch online or via the NBC Sports App. Click here for the livestream link.
Tyler Ennis‘ return to the Buffalo Sabres lineup on Monday after a 30-game absence seemed like a breath of fresh air. Tuesday, then, represents letting the air out of the balloon.
The Sabres announced that Ennis wasn’t out for warm-ups heading into tonight’s Sabres – Toronto Maple Leafs game. It certainly gives the impression that his groin injury isn’t fully healed.
Ennis contributed a goal to Buffalo’s 4-1 win against the Dallas Stars on Monday and nearly scored another in “lacrosse” style:
When healthy, he’s been a 20-goal, 40+ point player for Buffalo lately, so he was missed. The team tweeted out Ryan O'Reilly‘s comments about Ennis’ return mere hours ago, so you get the impression that it was a surprise for many:
Maybe it’s just a minor setback?
Update: The Sabres deem it a “precautionary scratch,” according to John Vogl of the Buffalo News. So maybe file this under minor setback. We’ll see.