1. The Avalanche offense, in general
It feels weird to hand this one to Nathan MacKinnon alone, as he did have the biggest night of any Av (one goal, three assists [two primary] for four points, a whopping 10 shots on goal), but MacKinnon also left the game with an upper-body injury that Colorado has to hope is minor.
Also, it’s difficult to choose between MacKinnon’s four-point game, heavy on assists, and Joonas Donskoi collecting his first career hat trick. As you’d expect with nine goals, including six goals in the span of eight minutes, plenty of Colorado players chipped in. Both Andre Burakovsky and Cale Makar enjoyed one-goal, two-assists performances, for instance.
So let’s just give that entire group the kudos.
The third of Donskoi’s goals was especially pretty:
2. Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks
Couture matched MacKinnon, actually, with one goal and three assists (also two primary) for four points.
You might want to give Couture the nod over any single Avalanche player, as while Colorado’s onslaught eventually felt like stuffing yourself full at a buffet, the Sharks needed every bite.
San Jose finished the first period up 4-0, and ended the second with a 6-2 edge, yet the Wild managed to make it 6-5 with a three-goal final frame. Minnesota even did so while the Sharks had a strange set of power-play opportunities in the third, with a major slashing penalty to Ryan Hartman mixed with some others to … well, let’s just say San Jose had a great chance to kill any drama.
Couture’s four points ended up being crucial as the Sharks just barely won 6-5. Hey, if you have to work your way out of a sluggish start, sometimes you have to win ugly.
3. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
There is a slew of strong three-point nights, even beyond the game mentioned above.
But let’s go with a vintage Lundqvist performance instead, shall we? Yes, the Hurricanes eventually scored two goals, but Thursday presented a classic night where Hank was King again.
Lundqvist made 45 saves, and if you click over to all situations on Natural Stat Trick’s breakdown of the game, you’ll see that the Hurricanes generated a whopping 22 high-danger chances. The Hurricanes peppered Hank, yet he left Carolina salty with a loss.
Highlight of the Night
Chicago Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat shows that sometimes you can get the job done while falling down on the job:
The NHL’s YouTube page collected a bunch of OT goals from Thursday, too, if you need some more highlights:
- The Penguins halted the Islanders’ 10-game winning streak, and did the same to the franchise’s record 15-game run in 1981-82. They’re the fourth team in NHL history to end two 10+ game winning streaks by the same franchise, via NHL PR. This post has more on the Penguins’ rally from behind 3-0 to beat the Isles in OT.
- If you got to your seats (at an arena, or your couch) too late and missed the beginning of games, you were gambling on Thursday. Five different games began with a goal within the first 60 seconds, which ties a single-day league record, according to NHL PR.
- Via Sportsnet: that J.T. Miller has scored at least one goal against all 31 NHL teams. Not bad for someone who’s still only 26.
- Mike Babcock reached 700 wins, and Sportsnet notes that he’s the third-quickest to get to 700 W’s, doing so in 1,295 games. Ahead of Babcock: Joel Quenneville (1,281) and Scotty Bowman (1,192).
TOR 2 – VGK 1 (OT)
WSH 5 – FLA 4 (OT)
PIT 4 – NYI 3 (OT)
PHI 3 – MTL 2 (OT)
NYR 4 – CAR 2
OTT 3 – LAK 2 (OT)
CHI 5 – VAN 2
COL 9 – NSH 4
CGY 5 – NJD 4
CBJ 3 – ARI 2
SJS 6 – MIN 5
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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.