1. Petr Mrazek, Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes headed into 2019-20 as the Hurricanes analytics darlings, a team that hogged the puck with considerable greed for the vulcanized rubber. Before them, the Kings were in a similar boat as a team that would often horde the Corsi and Fenwick, even while not always dominating the standings in the same way.
Maybe Tuesday was fitting, then, for how these two teams are moving in different directions. When Jonathan Quick isn’t in the net facing an existential crisis and Jack Campbell is looking like a first-rounder about a decade late, the Kings are proving to be a tougher-than-expected out.
That was the case against Carolina, as Los Angeles managed a 31-23 shots on goal advantage against a Hurricanes team that recently kept the dangerous Lightning without a SOG during a full period.
Despite that edge, the Kings couldn’t beat Mrazek, who pitched a 31-save shutout.
Mrazek’s off to a 4-0-0 start despite being mostly mediocre before Tuesday, and in a way, that’s scarier for the Hurricanes’ opponents. If they can win most nights just by denying possession to opponents, but occasionally get a gem from Mrazek, how scary can Carolina become?
2. Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs
Yes, Morgan “Typo” Rielly plays for a fast-paced, talented team like the Maple Leafs. He certainly gets to baste his stats in secondary helpers, and generally get access to opportunities that a comparable defenseman might not on a more tortoise-speed-like team would not.
Still, it’s hard not to shake your head in awe at Rielly’s 72 points from last season. That’s the sort of year that could make forwards unaffordable for their current team.
While his production has been streaky – Rielly failed to score in his previous three games before Tuesday – the talented blueliner had himself a night, collecting an assist on all four of the Maple Leafs’ goals in a 4-2 win against the Wild. That boosts him to nine points – all assists – in seven games so far this season, giving Rielly more fuel for a Norris argument — or at least a really big raise once his $5M cap hit expires after 2021-22.
The only thing that keeps him from being Tuesday’s top star is that all four of his assists were (wait for it) secondary ones.
3. Alexander Edler, Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks had some nice contestants in their 5-1 win against the Red Wings, including Brock Boeser (three assists) and J.T. Miller (two goals).
Edler gets the edge via his one-goal, two-assist night. For one thing, his goal was a game-winner. For another, Boeser piled up three secondary assists, while Edler had one primary and two secondary. Edler also fired three SOG, delivered three hits, and blocked four shots in an consummate 25 minutes of ice time on Tuesday night.
Highlight of the Night
The move Viktor Arvidsson made to set up Calle Jarnkrok‘s goal was really something else, and a reminder that Arvidsson is more than just a very nice (and remarkably underpaid) sniper.
If that’s not enough, enjoy some howitzers from Jeff Petry and Steven Stamkos in Tampa Bay’s 3-1 win against Montreal (more on that here).
The latest Marc-Andre Fleury oopsie
MAF is good for, what, four of these per season?
- Via NHL PR, Reilly’s four assists – all in the second period – match the franchise record for most in a single period, tying Rick Vaive, who managed the feat in 1984. Sportsnet notes that Brock Boeser’s three assists in the second period is the most since Henrik Sedin managed as many Feb. 18, 2012.
- The Hurricanes’ 6-1-0 record marks the best start in franchise history, according to NHL PR.
- One more from NHL PR: Filip Forsberg extended his season-opening point streak to six games, sharing the Predators’ franchise record held by Marek Zidlicky.
TOR 4 – MIN 2
TBL 3 – MTL 1
ARI 4 – WPG 2
CGY 3 – PHI 1
NSH 5 – VGK 2
VAN 5 – DET 1
CAR 2 – LAK 0
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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.