Player of the Night: Artemi Panarin, Columbus Blue Jackets
PHT already gave Panarin (and his five primary assists) the spotlight in the form of a full post, so check that out here. His performance demands a repeat mention as the best of the night, nonetheless.
Runner-up: Gustav Forsling, Chicago Blackhawks
Forsling, 21, grabbed points in all three of Chicago’s goals as the Blackhawks imposed their will on the Sabres (51 shots on goal) in a 3-2 overtime win. Forsling scored the overtime game-clincher, with a simple-solid bit of good work:
Subban vs. Subban, plus Neal’s return to Nashville
The Golden Knights’ eventual shootout win against the Predators was brimming with storylines, particularly for a fairly run-of-the-mill Friday in early December, when the “new car smell” is starting to wear off an NHL season.
(You know, when there isn’t a lockout.)
Curiously, Predators coach Peter Laviolette decided *not* to use P.K. against his brother, even though the shootout went six rounds and Malcolm was not beaten, something The Score noted tonight.
The other fun narrative was James Neal‘s return to Nashville after being one of the most prominent expansion draft losses, as Golden Knights GM George McPhee was driving a hard bargain. To little surprise, what with the departure not being Neal’s fault, he was given a warm reception.
Neal then scored a very, well, James Neal goal:
Amusingly, Calle Jarnkrok answered with a goal of his own about a minute later. As you may remember, Jarnkrok was one of the key players Nashville protected instead of Neal. You have to love when sports stories come together like that, right?
(Lavi shakes his head no, makes it a point not to put P.K. against Malcolm Subban, ever.)
Highlight of the Night
Here’s your latest reminder that Jack Eichel is awesome and doesn’t deserve the bulk of the blame for Buffalo’s bumbling. Also, I’m a big sucker for a great moment where a player shows skill keep the puck in the zone, so this one puts many checkmarks in many boxes, personally:
More on Subban vs. Subban:
And a bonus bit about Artemi Panarin, beyond the Blue Jackets-specific stuff:
Blue Jackets 5, Devils 3
Capitals 4, Rangers 2
Golden Knights 4, Predators 3 (SO)
Blackhawks 3, Sabres 2 (OT)
Wild 3, Ducks 2 (OT)