After being a healthy scratch in four of the last eight games, Minnesota’s Mikael Granlund was sent to AHL Houston on Tuesday.
Granlund, 21, was heavily hyped heading into this season and on a number of Calder Trophy shortlists — and with good reason.
The ninth overall pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft was tearing up the American League during the lockout, scoring 21 points in 21 games while winning Rookie of the Month for October.
The Finnish forward then started fast to begin the year — he scored in his NHL debut, a 4-2 win over Colorado — and had a nice streak in February where he scored points in three consecutive games and logged a career-high in ice time (19:14) against Calgary on the 11th.
Lately, though, Granlund’s been a spectator.
He was held out of Minnesota’s last two games — victories over the Predators and Canucks, the latter moving the Wild atop the Northwest Division — and in his last contest, a 5-3 loss to Chicago, he finished a disastrous minus-3 with no points and just one shot on goal.
For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.
The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.
They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.
It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.
Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)
Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.
This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.
Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.
His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.
As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.
The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.
This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.
Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.
Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: