1. Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers
Barkov already had two assists through the first two periods of the Flames’ eventual 6-5 shootout win over Barkov’s Panthers, yet things didn’t really get rowdy until the third. Florida and Calgary only combined for a modest 17 shots on goal in the third, yet each team scored three goals. Barkov ended up collecting assists on four of Florida’s five goals.
The Selke-level center has been one heck of a distributor so far this season, and especially lately. He’s now at 12 points in 10 games, with all of them being assists. Barkov also has six assists in his past two games, and nine in his last five.
It was a treat to watch Barkov’s line go up against another Matthew Tkachuk‘s puck-hogging group, and Tkachuk was almost as good (two goals, plus a shootout goal) as Calgary ended up squeaking by with the win.
2. Leon Draisaitl/Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
Look, it seems wrong to choose just one of the two. Thursday’s Oilers – Capitals game was hyped up, and with good reason, yet hockey is a random-enough sport that you don’t always know if the stars will align for the stars (sometimes Dallas Stars) to actually produce fireworks to justify such hype.
Well, this one did.
McDavid, Draisaitl, and Alex Ovechkin all filled up the highlight reel, as you can see in the highlights section.
Draisaitl scored two goals and one assist, with his OT game-winner being one heck of an effort. Draisaitl essentially went the distance of the ice after a missed Ovechkin shot, then gave the puck up to McDavid deep in Washington’s zone, only for McDavid to calmly send the puck back to Draisaitl for an unstoppable one-timer.
McDavid finished with a goal and two assists, and was creating plenty of havoc with his great moves. Heck, he even went 16-9 on faceoffs.
Ovechkin was strong too (two goals, very close to a hat trick on nine SOG), yet Edmonton got the OT win.
3. Evander Kane, San Jose Sharks
The 28-year-old has been a little feast-or-famine lately. In three of his last five games, Kane was held without a point. When he’s produced, he’s been explosive. Kane scored a hat trick and an assist against Carolina on Oct. 16, and was integral to San Jose’s win against Montreal on Thursday, generating two power-play goals plus an even-strength assist.
If people needed a reminder that the Sharks missed Kane during his three-game suspension beyond San Jose’s sluggish start to the 2019-20 season, consider that Kane now has nine points (six goals, three assists) in seven games.
Highlights of the Night
For a great single play, you could do worse than Artemi Panarin stealing a puck from Rasmus Dahlin before scoring a beautiful goal. That clip, and more on the Rangers beating Buffalo, can be taken in here.
The Ovechkin/Capitals vs. McDavid/Draisaitl/Oilers duel was fun enough that you should treat yourself to full highlights. If you want, McDavid and Draisaitl combining for the OT-winner is thrilling enough, and that sequence kicks in around the 8:13 or so mark. But some of Ovechkin’s and McDavid’s near-misses are almost as scintillating:
(Also, Dmitry Orlov‘s own-goal can supplement as the blooper of the night.)
An interesting moment
With a 26-save shutout, Pekka Rinne ranks as a strong honorary mention for a spot in the top three stars. He also did this:
- Draisaitl’s OT goal was the eighth of his young career, which ranks as the highest total in Oilers history. Sportsnet notes that Connor McDavid is tied with Jarri Kurri for second in Oilers history at seven.
- John Carlson grabbed an assist to push his league-leading point total to 21 (and stay one ahead of McDavid, who now has 20). Carlson’s point streak is at nine games — his only pointless game of the season came on Oct. 5 — so NHL PR notes that he needs to extend his current streak by one game to tie the Capitals’ record for defensemen.
- One more Capitals/Oilers bit: click here for Statscentre’s collection of Ovechkin milestones.
- More Carlson milestones make it fitting that Bobby Orr became the first defenseman to reach 900 career points on this date (Oct. 24) in 1976.
- Understatement of the night: the Sharks have the Canadiens’ number.
SJS 4 – MTL 2
NYI 4 – ARI 2
NYR 6 – BUF 2
CBJ 4 – CAR 3 (OT)
STL 5 – LAK 2
NSH 4 – MIN 0
PHI 4 – CHI 1
DAL 2 – ANA 1
CGY 6 – FLA 5 (SO)
EDM 4 – WSH 3 (OT)
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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.