1. Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets
The Jets’ early struggles have kept Hellebuyck’s strong start under the radar (for the most part), but an Oct. 29 showing against the Ducks wasn’t so great, as Hellebuyck allowed five goals on only 19 shots on goal in about a half-game’s worth of action. Hellebuyck made up for that in a big way against Anaheim’s neighbors in San Jose.
The Sharks managed a commanding 53-19(!) SOG advantage on Friday, but they didn’t even get a pity point for their considerable efforts. Hellebuyck basically had a night’s work in the second period alone, allowing just one goal despite a 28-SOG barrage by San Jose.
Hellebuyck ended up making 51 out of 53 stops, so chances are, his strong work is now noticed … if the Sharks, if by no one else.
2. John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks
Goalies had a tendency to steal games involving California-based teams on Friday.
Despite the Canucks generated a 19-5 SOG advantage through the first period, the Ducks ended the first 20 minutes up 1-0 thanks to a Jakob Silfverberg shorthanded goal. Vancouver went on to generate a 40-29 SOG advantage overall, yet the Ducks won in overtime thanks to all-world goaltending by their all-world goalie.
Perhaps the Ducks are playing a little better under Dallas Eakins as they didn’t under Randy Carlyle, but this team still depends on Gibson as much as just about any NHL team leans on a goalie these days.
3. Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes
Feel free to replace Aho with one of Friday’s other three-point players, if you’d prefer.
You may, for example, be more impressed with Tom Wilson‘s ferocious hit, nifty deflection goal, and overall night (1G, 2A). Wilson’s teammate Michal Kempny made a fantastic keep-in to help set up that deflection goal, and finished the night with three points (all assists) of his own. Anders Lee also managed one goal and two assists, helping the Islanders push their league-leading winning streak to a resounding eight games. And so on.
When in doubt — and there’s usually doubt in such an exciting, skilled league, especially on busy nights — I tend to go with goals over assists, and so one. Two of Aho’s three points were goals, and his assist was a primary one.
It also rarely feels like a bad time to mention Aho, who deserves more mentions as one of the NHL’s great stars.
Highlight of the Night
Since we already covered Sean Couturier pulling “The Forsberg,” enjoy this great overtime goal by the Ducks. Troy Terry makes a highly impressive long-distance bomb of a pass, then Ryan Getzlaf manages to settle it down, avoid an aggressive pokecheck attempt from Jacob Markstrom, and steal that stolen win for the Quack Pack:
Markstrom’s earlier glove save could be an honorable mention.
The early word is that Canucks rookie Quinn Hughes isn’t too badly hurt after this scary-looking tweak. Here’s hoping that early word is accurate, because yikes:
- Speaking of Aho, Nathan MacKinnon is apparently just a little bit hotter to start 2019-20 than Aho was to begin 2018-19:
- The Islanders are on their first eight-game winning streak since 1989-90, according to Sportsnet Stats.
- Another good one from Sportsnet Stats: Blake Wheeler has generated 167 primary assists since 2015-16, which ties him for most in the NHL during that span.
- Hellebuyck’s 51 saves is the most in Winnipeg Jets history, according to Statscentre.
- Via NHL PR, Brayden Schenn ranks among four Blues who’ve reached 10 goals or more in 14 games or fewer since 1999-2000.
PHI 4 – NJD 3 (SO)
NYI 5 – TBL 2
WSH 6 – BUF 1
CAR 7 – DET 3
STL 4 – CBJ 3 (OT)
DAL 2 – COL 1
ANA 2 – VAN 1 (OT)
WPG 3 – SJS 2