1. Dougie Hamilton, Carolina Hurricanes. Rod Brind’Amour has allowed his defenseman to play up in the zone and not be afraid to take chances. Hamilton registered an assist on the opening goal of the Hurricanes’ 5-2 win against the Islanders when he delivered a beautiful cross-ice pass to set up Teuvo Teravainen. Then, added a goal of his own when he launched a one-timer from the point. Carolina has wins in five consecutive games and are out to prove that last year was not a fluke.
2. Dallas Eakins, Anaheim Ducks coach. He waited a long time for another opportunity in the NHL and through the early going of the season, he has pressed the right buttons as Anaheim skated to a 2-1 victory against Columbus. The Ducks have started the season 4-1, including a road trip that had three games in four nights. Eakins has had his team ready to play every night and is looking to take advantage of a wide-open Pacific Division. Ryan Miller added 26 saves in his season debut, which always helps the coach look good.
3. Mike Hoffman, Florida Panthers. The sniper knotted the game against Buffalo with a sneaky wrist shot late in the third period against Buffalo. Ultimately, the Panthers fell in a shootout after Vincent Trocheck and Aleksander Barkov failed to score. Hoffman is off to a terrific start with five goals in four games and is poised to benefit greatly from Joel Quenneville taking over behind the bench. Florida is expected to create some chaos in the Atlantic Division, and Hoffman playing like this can only help.
Highlights of the Night
Hamilton had no qualms about taking the puck from his own blueline and generating an odd-man rush opportunity. Then, he led Teravianen perfectly to help the Hurricanes open the scoring on Friday.
Blooper of the Night
Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk netted his first goal of the season when he hammered a slap shot past Petr Mrazek. But the highlight came when he took off his glove and aimed it right between the pipes. Former teammate Robin Lehner also got a kick out of the celebration.
- Ryan Getzlaf becomes the Ducks franchise leader in games played with 989, passing Corey Perry.
- Ducks have allowed one goal or fewer in four of their first five games for the first time in franchise history [Sportsnet Stats]
- Hamilton’s seven points through Carolina’s first five games is tied for most by a defenseman in Hurricanes/Whalers franchise history [NHL PR]
- The Sabres extended their season-opening point streak to five games (4-0-1), their longest such run since 2009-10. [NHL PR]
- Jeff Skinner‘s goal tonight gives him at least a point in three straight games (3G, 1A) and eight points (5G, 3A) in five games against the Panthers since he joined the Sabres. [Sabres PR]
Anaheim Ducks 2, Columbus Blue Jackets 1
Buffalo Sabres 3, Florida Panthers 2 (SO)
Carolina Hurricanes 5, New York Islanders 2
Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.