Young talent – particularly at the forward position – was a big reason why the Washington Capitals topped many pundits’ lists this pre-season.
It’s early, but Friday likely made those prognosticators feel pretty smart.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, in particular, emboldened many. He recorded his first career hat trick (see above) and added two assists for a five-point night in the Capitals 7-4 win against the Edmonton Oilers.
He now has 11 points in seven games.
You’d think the Capitals would be a little winded after winning a close game the night before (3-2 victory against Vancouver). Instead, they won an 11-goal contest in convincing fashion.
Washington now gets to rest until Wednesday, which may not be all that welcome with such a streak going.
They’ll need to settle for this stretch for now, which included ending Edmonton’s winning streak at three games.
The Calgary Flames sure looked like the often-magical 2014-15 version on Friday.
It looked like the Detroit Red Wings might get be able to adhere to a 2-1 lead stemming from the first period, yet the Flames kept hammering away until the point of no return.
With a little more than a minute left, Joe Colborne tipped a Mark Giordano shot to tie it up 2-2 and sent the game to OT.
Giordano then closed off some magnificient 3-on-3 OT work from Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau to score a great, exasperating clinching goal to win it 3-2 in OT (and continue Detroit’s misery).
Yep, that sure looks like the Flames from last season: Plenty of points for Giordano, Gaudreau, Monahan and Jiri Hudler … and they needed every bit of it.
Granted, there are some differences. Lady Byng winner Hudler got in a fight. That Dougie Hamilton kid is still getting things together, too.
Calgary likely wants to step forward from last season considering its off-season moves, but considering the way things started (not well), it’s OK to take a nostalgic trip.
In other bad news for the Red Wings, Mike Green is hurt.
Like a graceful skater, hockey narratives can turn on a dime.
For a while, it looked like people would point to a puckhandling gaffe by Ben Bishop and a quiet night for Steven Stamkos as the Tampa Bay Lightning’s downfall against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.
Instead, things flipped thanks to a thrilling overtime exchange.
Bryan Little was shut down on a golden semi-breakaway opportunity by Bishop. Just moments later, Stamkos and Victor Hedman sent perfect tic-tac-toe passes to Ondrej Palat for the game-winner.
You can see that exchange in the video above.
Just to give you an idea of Bishop’s situation, check out the regrettable goal he gave up to Blake Wheeler:
That’s a bummer, but Bishop is unlikely to lose sleep over it thanks to that finish (plus a few nice saves in between).
Oh yeah, he also nabbed his 100th career win. The Bolts took it 4-3 in OT.
Falling behind 6-3 in just the second period – as the Edmonton Oilers have done against the Washington Capitals tonight – can get a team feeling sorry for themselves.
The Oilers are getting a bit of luck on Friday, nonetheless, as their frequently fragile former No. 1 pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had quite the scare.
As you can see via the GIF below, John Carlson‘s skate blade clipped RNH, sending Nugent-Hopkins off to get stitched up.
Edmonton tweeted that he’s seemingly OK, so breathe a sigh of relief, Oilers fans.
The Detroit Red Wings haven’t seen a ton of the often-offensively potent version of Mike Green yet.
Unfortunately, they may become acquainted with the oft-injured edition.
Green is doubtful to return to Friday’s game against the Calgary Flames thanks to an upper-body injury, according to the Red Wings.
MLive.com’s Ansar Khan believes that he was hurt thanks to a hit by Josh Jooris. You can see the exchange (with Green responding) in the video above.