Streaks aplenty: Ducks win 10th in a row


Quite a few streaks – some great, some lousy – were on the line on Saturday, most notably the Anaheim Ducks’ impressive winning run. Let’s take a look at a few of the more interesting ones in a single, tidy post:

Anaheim 3, Phoenix 2 (OT)

The Ducks have now won 10 games in a row thanks to Saku Koivu, who scored two goals (including the game-winner). The Coyotes likely feel about the opposite of Anaheim right now; while the Ducks are on that historic run, Phoenix has lost three in a row and six of its last seven games. On the bright side, they’re collecting points; five consecutive contests have gone beyond regulation and they squeezed into OT by scoring two goals in about four minutes late in tonight’s contest. Still, they might regret this lull if they’re fighting for a playoff spot toward April.

(Anaheim, on the other hand, might just be jockeying for the best seed. The Ducks haven’t just won a lot, they’ve also braved a road-heavy schedule; they have eight more home than away games remaining, even after this win in Anaheim.)

Montreal 2, Tampa Bay 1 (SO)

The Canadiens ended the Lightning’s five-game winning streak on Saturday. With this win, Carey Price (18-11-2) isn’t that far behind Ben Bishop (20-5-3) in the wins department. Both are enjoying excellent seasons, which is why it probably shouldn’t be surprising that each goalie only allowed one goal before the shootout.

Nashville 3, Los Angeles 2

The streaky Predators came out on top in a game that featured a wild finish, ending their five-game losing streak in the process. Mike Fisher scored 16:42 into the third period, Jeff Carter tied things up 2-2 with 37 seconds left and then Fisher scored a goal that ended up being reviewed 10 seconds later to win the game.

Naturally, this was a Kings loss, so it was Ben Scrivens taking the defeat instead of Martin Jones.

Check out today’s other posts for more results, although you might want to check back on Sunday morning for bits about the New Jersey Devils’ 2-1 win against the New York Islanders …

After years of hype, McDavid to play first NHL game

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The hype surrounding Connor McDavid couldn’t be much greater, but finally expectations will start to give way to results.

The NHL career that’s been talked about for years will begin tonight when his Edmonton Oilers face St. Louis.

“It’s something that you dream of for so long,” McDavid told NHL.com. “The draft is one thing, but to finally be in this situation is another, so I’m really excited. It’s been a long road; it’s been a lot of hard work. I think a lot of guys’ stories are different in how they get here, but the one common theme is hard work and my story is not any different that way.”

McDavid has transformed the Oilers with his mere presence. Its breathed fresh optimism into a city that have watched this team struggle in its efforts to dig out of the NHL basement. One also has to wonder if Peter Chiarelli would be the team’s new general manager and Todd McLellan its new head coach if Edmonton hadn’t won the draft lottery.

But where will he lead Edmonton? Will he be just the sixth 70-point rookie of the salary cap era? Will he struggle out of the gate, putting the hype into question? Perhaps he’ll draw comparisons to Steven Stamkos, who had a modest rookie campaign by the standards of a highly regarded top pick, but has nevertheless gone on to become a superstar.

That would surprise Stamkos as the Lightning captain feels McDavid is better than he is currently. Just further proof that those lofty expectations are coming from all sides.

“You don’t want to put too much weight on his shoulders; he’s an 18-year-old kid,” Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “I don’t care how good he is or how good he’ll be, it’s a lot to shoulder if you’re supposed to be the guy and you’re the only guy. Fortunately we have a lot of high-pedigree players that are high picks who have gone through similar situations that he’s going through.”

Edmonton certainly has no shortage of first overall picks, but none as highly regarded as McDavid. But then, few ever are.

Related: There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

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Jack Eichel didn’t disappoint in the preseason, finishing with six points in four games, including two shorthanded goals.

Tonight in Buffalo, his NHL career will start for real when the Sabres host the Ottawa Senators in regular-season action.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, stepping foot on that ice and making the NHL,” Eichel said, per NHL.com. “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, but you’re finally playing hockey for a living and everything you’ve done your whole life is to get to this point. It’s pretty special.”

The 18-year-old’s debut was front-page news this morning in Buffalo, where the Sabres have been among the NHL’s worst teams since last making the playoffs in 2010-11.

Eichel front page

Granted, even with the additions of Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, Robin Lehner and Cody Franson, expectations for 2015-16 remain modest for the new-look Sabres. Certainly, a spot in the playoffs would count as a surprise.

But for the fans of a team that’s barely possessed the puck the past couple of years, it’s night and day.

“People are excited,” GM Tim Murray said earlier this week. “It’s great. They think we’ve improved, and there’s a real positive vibe, I believe.

“That’s what I said to our coaches, ‘I want everybody to be positive. I’m the only guy in the organization allowed to be negative.’ That’s the way I wanted it. If I’m the most negative guy in the city about the team, that’s pretty good.”