2. Kevin Shattenkirk, New York Rangers. Just now entering the second year of his seven-year contract, the Kevin Shattenkirk experience has not been what the New York Rangers were hoping it would be when they signed him due to injury and some ineffective play. On Tuesday night they finally got a glimpse of the player they thought they were getting. Shattenkirk was outstanding for the Rangers in their 3-2 shootout win over the Colorado Avalanche, assisting on two goals and then scoring the game-winner in the shootout. He was also one of the team’s best possession players on the shot attempt chart and was not on the ice for either of the Avalanche goals. In other words: He did what a top-pairing defenseman is supposed to do.
3. Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning prevented the Carolina Hurricanes from matching their best start in franchise history with a 4-2 win that was highlighted by a Tyler Johnson hat trick. The Lightning have now won three of their first four games and should still be one of the best teams in the league thanks to their incredible depth up front. Johnson’s hat trick is the fourth of his career in the regular season.
Here come the Golden Knights
The Golden Knights did not have a great start but there was also an awful lot of bad luck at play there, too. They were playing a lot better than their early record might have had you believe and now the results are starting to match the way they were playing. They were 4-1 winners over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night, giving them their second win in a row. As always seems to be the case with them, it was their top-line doing the damage. Jonathan Marchessault scored a pair of goals in the win, giving him four on the year, while William Karlsson finally had a breakout game finishing with three points. After scoring 43 goals a year ago he finally got his first of the year on Tuesday night while also adding a pair of assists.
Barkov helps Panthers rally, gain point in wild game against Flyers
The Florida Panthers had a terrible second period in Philadelphia, giving up five goals to face three-goal deficit entering the third period. They managed to rally and force overtime — where they would lose in a shootout — thanks to a big-time performance from team captain Aleksander Barkov as he scored a pair of goals including the game-tying goal in the third period. This was also a perfect representation of what the Philadelphia Flyers are this season: A chaotic team that can score a ton of goals and give up just as many. Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds both scored a pair of goals for the Flyers in the win, while Jordan Weal recorded two points (goal, assist) and scored the decisive goal in the shootout.
Highlights of the Night
Connor McDavid is amazing and borderline unstoppable when he gets going at full speed. He showed that on Tuesday night with this goal in the first period.
With that goal, as well as his third period goal and two assists, McDavid had scored or assisted on each of the Oilers’ first nine goals of the season, and each of their past 13 goals dating back to the end of the 2017-18 season.
This save by Darcy Kuemper bailed out the Arizona Coyotes on a 3-on-1 rush. This is tremendous goaltending, even if it was not enough to get a win.
Brock Boeser helped the Vancouver Canucks continue their surprising start with a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road. Boeser scored the game-winner in overtime.
Kyle Palmieri is on quite the roll for the New Jersey Devils and with his first period goal on Tuesday did something no player in NHL history has ever done before.
The Devils are now 4-0-0 on the season.
Marc-Andre Fleury continues to climb the NHL’s all-time wins list.
Henrik Lundqvist has won a lot of shootouts in his career. He picked up another one on Tuesday night.
Canucks 3, Penguins 2 (OT)
Devils 3, Stars 0
Rangers 3, Avalanche 2 (SO)
Flyers 6, Panthers 5 (SO)
Lightning 4, Hurricanes 2
Wild 2, Coyotes 1
Oilers 5, Jets 4 (OT)
Golden Knights 4, Sabres 1
The Edmonton Oilers wrapped up their season-opening four-game road trip on Tuesday night with a stunning come-from-behind 5-4 win against the Winnipeg Jets.
On the surface this looks to be an awesome and much-needed victory for the Oilers.
And it is. It is all of that because not only did it come against the team with the second best record in the NHL a season ago, but wow did they just flat out need this.
They still have not played a home game after opening the season in Sweden, they had won just one of their first three games of the season and looked relatively poor in doing so, and after two periods on Tuesday night in Winnipeg looked to be getting their doors blown off by a Jets team that had stormed out to a 4-1 lead.
In the standings, this will go in the books as a big win for the Edmonton Oilers.
But let’s be serious here about what this really was: This was all about Connor McDavid single-handedly refusing to allow his team to drop another game, putting the entire squad on his back, and driving it to a win.
That is not an exaggeration as to what happened on the ice.
This game wasn’t about the Oilers rallying. This was about McDavid being the best and most dominant player in the world and showing just how unstoppable he can be when he is at his best.
On Tuesday, he was at his best.
He finished Tuesday’s game with four points (two goals, two assists) including three in the third period as the Oilers erased the three-goal deficit.
After winning each of the past two scoring titles he has already recorded nine points (four goals, five assists) in the Oilers’ first four games.
The Edmonton Oilers have only scored 10 goals. You don’t need to be a math whiz to figure out what that means.
They have, quite literally, been a one-line team this season and given the makeup of the roster, as well as the way things went for them a season ago, there does not seem to be much hope that will change as the season goes on.
Darnell Nurse‘s overtime goal on Tuesday night was the first goal the Oilers scored this season that McDavid did not factor into the scoring on. That nine-goal stretch even set a NHL record for most consecutive goals for a player to factor in on to open a season, breaking the previous record of seven that had been set by Adam Oates.
McDavid, for the record, seemed to have no interest in it.
“You know what, it’s whatever,” McDavid said. “I’m not overly proud of it. I don’t think it’s a stat we should be proud of either. It is what it is but we found a way to get a goal there at the end so we don’t ever have to talk about it again.”
How important has McDavid been so far: When he is on the ice they are outscoring teams by a 9-4 margin. When he is not, they have been outscored 10-1. If you go back to the end of the 2017-18 season McDavid had factored into 13 consecutive Oilers goals before Nurse’s overtime winner.
And that is pretty much what the Oilers have been for the better part of McDavid’s tenure with the team.
As he goes; they go. And they will only go as far as he is able to take them. The problem with that is hockey is not really a sport that is tailored for one player to carry a team very far because the best players — unless it is a goalie — only play about a third of the game. There has to be more. A lot more. And it remains to be seen if this team has it or if the management team in charge is capable of providing it.
McDavid is going to give them a chance to win on any given night because he is capable of having games like this. He is going to be worth the price of admission every night because he can do this.
“Each and every night, and especially tonight,” said Nurse, when asked about McDavid’s ability to carry the team. “Going into the third we could have gone two different ways, and 18 seconds in his line makes a huge play. When you have a leader like hat everyone feeds off that. For him to be able to set the tone every single game? It’s incredible.”
At some point, though, they are going to have to find a way to give him some support because while this sort of thing might work on a handful of individual nights over the course of a season, it is not a long-term recipe for success because this sort of superman effort is not possible every game. Not even for Connor McDavid.
We saw how true that is for the Oilers just this past season.
Even though they were one of the hottest teams in the league over the final month-and-a-half of the 2017-18 season the Arizona Coyotes still finished with one of the NHL’s worst records. That was largely because they put themselves in what was an insurmountable hole early in the season by winning just one of their first 14 games.
It pretty much ended the season before it even had a chance to start. Still, that strong finish, as well as a pretty good young core of players, should have been a source of optimism heading into this season.
Unfortunately for them they are coming close to putting themselves in another early hole for the 2018-19 season.
With their 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night, the Coyotes fell to 1-4-0 on the season and are still being plagued by a stunning lack of offense.
But let’s talk about the Coyotes’ lack of offense here because this is starting to become a story.
How bad has it been from a goal-scoring perspective? Historically bad.
Following Tuesday’s loss the Coyotes have scored three goals in their first five games (we are not counting the shootout “goal” that gave them their 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks — when it comes to actual hockey during regulation and overtime they have scored three goals).
That includes the fact they have already been shutout three times on the season, making them just the eighth team in NHL history to be shutout at least three times in their first five games, and only the second such team in the post-Original Six era (2015-16 Anaheim Ducks).
That isn’t all.
There have only been 12 other teams in league history to score four goals or fewer in their first five games, with only two others (the 1970-71 Buffalo Sabres and 1995-96 Montreal Canadiens) coming in the post-Original Six era. Eight of them came before the 1940 season.
They also have yet to score an even-strength goal this season with their goals either coming on the power play (two) or shorthanded (one).
That is rough.
Are there any positives that can be taken away from all of this and offer any sign of short-term hope? Well, yes. There are. As bad as the offense has been there is also an element of bad luck to it as they are getting crushed by the percentages. They are averaging more than 36 shots on goal per game and had 32 on Tuesday. At some point some of those will start finding the back of the net. Enough to make them a competitive team? That remains to be seen. But there is more offense in there than what we have seen.
Getting Alex Galchenyuk back will help, too.
And for as much as the offense has struggled they have been very good defensively as they have — so far — been one of the best shot suppression teams in the league and are in the top-six in terms of goals against.
It is obviously not the start they wanted, and things definitely look bleak right now, but there are some signs that maybe — maybe — things can still turn around this season.
They just can not let this slow start get out of control the way it did a year ago.
(Historical goal data via Hockey-Reference database)
NBC’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Tuesday night’s matchup between the Arizona Coyotes and Minnesota Wild at 8 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports App by clicking here.
As they look to stop their slow start to the season, the Arizona Coyotes received good news on Tuesday. Alex Galchenyuk, who’s get to play this season since being acquired over the summer from the Montreal Canadiens, practiced with his teammates for the first time since suffering an injury during preseason.
Galchenyuk will likely take over No. 1 duties when he’s completely healthy. For now, he’s been cleared for contact but there’s no timetable for a return.
The Wild traveled home after Monday’s 4-2 loss to the Nashville Predators staring at a 1-2-2 record and last place in the Central Division. Head coach Bruce Boudreau emphasized the imporatance of putting together a few wins together, especially with a weekend back-to-back away at Dallas and at home against Tampa Bay.
“If you look at our schedule, we have to get to .500 quick, and then you have to start moving above .500 if you want to stay in this race,” he said.
What: Arizona Coyotes at Minnesota Wild
Where: Xcel Energy Center
When: Tuesday, October 16th, 8 p.m. ET
Live stream: You can watch the Coyotes-Wild stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.
Richard Panik – Derek Stepan – Clayton Keller
Lawson Crouse – Dylan Strome – Christian Fischer
Michael Grabner – Brad Richardson – Nick Cousins
Brendan Perlini – Josh Archibald – Vincent Hinostroza
Starting goalie: Darcy Kuemper
Starting goalie: Devan Dubnyk