Time will tell if the Minnesota Wild and Detroit Red Wings can gut their way to the postseason by the close of 2013-14, but they played a playoff-caliber game on Sunday and both improved their chances in the end.
Widened lead for Wild
The Wild redeemed themselves with a 4-3 OT win after losing in regulation 3-2 on Saturday. They didn’t let two Gustav Nyquist first-period goals fluster them enough to let this one slip away.
Matt Moulson was credited with the overtime game-winner, giving him 21 goals (four of them game-winners) this season. The 30-year-old has 46 points in 65 games played … pretty nice work for someone who’s been traded twice in 2013-14.
The Wild had lost four of their last five and only won two of nine games (though they collected points in four of those contests thanks to OT or shootouts) coming into this one, but now they have a beefier lead over the rest of the pack for the West’s top wild card spot. Their 85 standings points in 72 games played give them a comfortable cushion in front of Phoenix, Dallas and the rest vying for positioning.
Far from settled East
Even with this overtime defeat, the Red Wings should probably feel pretty solid about this weekend, taking three of a possible four points against a challenging opponent in the Wild. It continues to be the Jimmy Howard and Nyquist show, it seems:
Detroit can also feel nice about the fact that they jumped from the second to first wild card spot out East because they reached 80 points in two fewer games than the wilting Toronto Maple Leafs.
Take a look at the updated East standings with Saturday’s Red Wings – Maple Leafs in Toronto looming pretty large:
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: