San Jose’s Tomas Hertl might just be ready for life in the NHL.
After finding the back of the net twice in his second career game, the 19-year-old Czech forward followed it up with a four-goal night against the New York Rangers. That alone is such an impressive feat that it’s difficult to put into context, but his highlight reel fourth goal alone would have been enough to earn him heaps of praise.
He’s the youngest player to get four goals in a single game since Jimmy Carson in 1988, according to the the NHL Public Relations’ Twitter feed. Jamie Baker pointed out that he also became the first Sharks player to ever score five, let alone six, goals in his first three contests with the team.
But citing his statistical accomplishments doesn’t do his night justice. It would be much better to simply show you what he did:
Of course, Hertl’s night was part of a larger 9-2 slaughter of the New York Rangers. It’s a night where they can’t really take away any positives. On top of everything else, star forward Rick Nash suffered a potential concussion when he was hit by Brad Stuart.
“I have a headache,” Nash admitted, according to the New York Post’s Larry Brooks. “It got worse. It was a head shot. I’m concerned the way it feels.”
Rangers captain Ryan Callahan and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist both felt embarrassed by what happened tonight, according to the team’s Twitter feed, but they need to put this behind them and try to bounce back on Thursday against the Anaheim Ducks. At the same time, the Sharks will aim to build off of their early season momentum versus the Vancouver Canucks.
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”
Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).
Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.
Read more about his rise here.
In his fifth NHL game, intriguing Washington Capitals prospect Jakub Vrana scored his first NHL goal (and point).
Let’s be honest, though; Evgeny Kuznetsov deserves plenty of the credit, as he sent a fantastic pass for Vrana’s tap-in tally.
See it for yourself:
Even if that was mostly Kuznetsov, Vrana has been getting his chances so far.
He generated four shots on goal in two separate occasions so far in his four games of NHL action, so maybe he was due for a chance like this.
Considering he’s just 20 years old, the Capitals could get used to Kuznetsov to Vrana.
Update: The Capitals won 4-1, and Vrana’s first goal wasn’t the only noteworthy “first.” After piling on shots, John Carlson finally scored his first goal of the season:
No one’s going to confuse Dmitry Kulikov with Jack Eichel, but the Buffalo Sabres are likely happy to have him back after a long absence, too.
The Sabres have been on an upward trend lately (5-2-2 in their last nine games), and now they get a key defenseman back against the Washington Capitals on Friday night.
Kulikov last played on Nov. 9 and hasn’t recorded a point in 12 games, making for a tough start to his stint with the Sabres. Maybe he’ll begin to get a little more traction with his new team tonight?
He’s far from the only returning Buffalo player, either, as Josh Gorges and Nicolas Deslauriers are also back in the mix. Kulikov is slated to be on the Sabres’ second pairing with Cody Franson.
Buffalo sent Brendan Guhle to the AHL to make room for these tweaks.
The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without captain Nick Foligno because of an illness on Friday, opening up an opportunity for interesting prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand.
The team tweeted out his linemates as Matt Calvert and Lukas Sedlak as a solid fourth line facing the Detroit Red Wings.
He failed to generate much (zero points, two shots on goal) in three games so far with Columbus this season, receiving about 25 minutes of ice time over that span.
With eight goals and 12 points in 19 AHL games so far in 2016-17, there’s the thought that he could eventually make the next step to becoming a decent contributor for the Blue Jackets.
Perhaps this will constitute his first real step in that direction?
Apparently this is a pretty abrupt situation for the 21-year-old: