1. Robin Lehner
When it comes to the shocking success of the Islanders, a lot of credit’s going to Barry Trotz, and rightfully so.
When a head coach wins the Jack Adams by helping an underdog overachieve heavily, they almost always enjoy over-the-top great goaltending from their netminders. That’s been the case for the Islanders, as Lehner and Thomas Greiss have essentially been equally brilliant in 2018-19.
It becomes a chicken-and-the-egg situation when it comes to trying to meter out praise. How much is it Trotz’s system? How much of this comes from goalie guru Mitch Korn? And how much does it boil down to Lehner and Greiss stopping everything?
Other goalies had shutouts on Saturday, with Sergei Bobrovsky doing so not just in back-to-back games, but consecutive days. Lehner had to work the hardest for his, however, making 36 saves.
2. Sam Reinhart
With a small group of players generating three points on Saturday, it was difficult to determine who deserved to round out the top three.
At first, it seemed like Reinhart might be someone you’d surprisingly dismiss. While he generated a hat trick (the third of his career), that third goal came on an empty-netter. Kind of a cheat, right?
Well, check out where he shot the puck from:
OK, that seems like a worthy hat trick.
Jakub Voracek deserves consideration, what with scoring with 20 seconds remaining to send the Flyers’ eventual, stunning win into overtime. MacKinnon’s teammate Alex Kerfoot also managed a three-point game.
But MacKinnon holds a few advantages. While Kerfoot and Voracek managed one-goal, two-assist games, MacKinnon generated two goals and one assist. Also, while Voracek scored a game-tying goal, MacKinnon had the GWG for Colorado. He managed six shots on goal, matching Voracek’s robust offering.
MacKinnon now has 32 goals and 80 points in just 62 games, lining him up with an opportunity to pass last year’s career-best 39 goals and 97 points (in just 74 games), and maybe hit 100 for the first time in his young career.
If you wanted Voracek in the top three
Enjoy these highlights from that wild Philly win.
Erik Karlsson hurt again?
It seemed like Erik Karlsson pulled or tweaked something in San Jose’s 4-0 loss to Columbus. It’s too early to know for sure, but Sharks coach Peter DeBoer seemed concerned.
If this is an issue, it’s been a tough one for guys who could finish high in the Norris voting, as Kris Letang was injured in Pittsburgh’s painful loss.
Jordan Binnington continues to be quite astounding for the St. Louis Blues.
Matt Duchene‘s first Blue Jackets goal was as much about Artemi Panarin‘s slick moves as anything else.
We already covered Gritty’s entrance, but the true highlight might be how he was forced to exit the 2019 Stadium Series.
- This puts the strong start to Mitch Marner‘s career into perspective.
- Roberto Luongo continues to make history. Bobby Lou notched his 484th regular-season win, tying Ed Belfour for eighth all-time.
- Bobrovsky is the first Blue Jackets goalie to get a shutout on consecutive days, and the last since Marc-Andre Fleury did so in November 2018.
- Rasmus Dahlin became the first 18-year-old defenseman in NHL history to score three game-winning goals.
BUF 5 – WSH 2
NYR 5 – NJD 2
STL 2 – BOS 1 (SO)
CAR 3 – DAL 0
FLA 6 – LAK 1
CBJ 4 – SJS 0
COL 5 – NSH 0
TOR 6 – MTL 3
PHI 4 – PIT 3 (OT)
NYI 4 – VAN 0
EDM 2 – ANA 1
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.