1. Bo Horvat
Instead of Oilers – Maple Leafs being the high-scoring Canadian clash of Wednesday night, Canucks – Canadiens took the cake. The Canucks ended up winning this one 6-5 via a shootout.
That shootout stands as the difference-maker between the first star and second star of Wednesday. Bo Horvat scored two goals and one assist during regulation, while making a nice defensive play during a hectic overtime period. Horvat also beat Carey Price during the shootout to help the Canucks eke out the extra point.
In a game like this, it’s not surprising that there were other strong choices for Vancouver.
For one thing, J.T. Miller continues to assert himself as he’s back in the Vancouver lineup. He collected three assists and scored a shootout tally. Brock Boeser couldn’t score during the shootout, but he collected two goals and one assist during the game.
2. Tyler Toffoli
Through the first three games of his Canadiens career, Tyler Toffoli failed to score a goal and settled for one assist. Toffoli earned his looks and seemed sharp at times, including firing seven SOG during that three-game span, but critics might have shouted about his lack of finishing skills.
Those critics mostly shut up on Wednesday night.
Facing the Canucks team he briefly joined as a trade deadline rental, Toffoli collected a hat trick. The volume-shooter came close to scoring during the shootout, but (fittingly?) hit the post.
For Canucks fans who wished the team kept Toffoli around, that hat trick burned. At least their team won, though.
3. Jordan Binnington
The Blues and especially the Sharks have engaged in some high-scoring games lately. However, this latest meeting between the Blues and Sharks ended with a 2-1 shootout victory for San Jose. While Binnington didn’t win on Wednesday, he stopped 37 shots.
By trading Jake Allen, the Blues exposed themselves to greater risks that Binnington’s Stanley Cup run was merely a fluke.
As a pending UFA, Binnington has money to go on the line alongside the pride of proving doubters wrong. So far, he’s produced two strong starts and two shaky ones to start this season.
- The Golden Knights didn’t need a late surge to beat the Coyotes this time around. Vegas handled Arizona on Wednesday, and plenty of players staked a claim as three star nominees. Alex Pietrangelo scored his first goal as a member of the Golden Knights. Shea Theodore scored two goals, always impressive for a defenseman. Alex Tuch was explosive, generating three points of his own (1G, 2A).
Lowlight of the night
Evander Kane speared Jordan Binnington below the belt. Generally speaking, the NHL fines players for spearing/slashing, rather than handing out suspensions. Is it time for a change?
NHL highlights from Wednesday
Marc-Andre Fleury‘s sprawling saves are probably the best part of the highlight package that includes Pietrangelo’s first Golden Knights goal:
Tyler Toffoli’s hat trick was mostly workmanlike, but worth a look nonetheless:
The NHL announced the following COVID-related absences for Wednesday. Note that the Anaheim Ducks are listed as “TBA.” (Teams without absences are not listed.)
Carolina – Warren Foegele, Jordan Martinook, Jaccob Slavin, Jordan Staal, Teuvo Teravainen
Columbus – Mikko Koivu
Dallas – will be released prior to its first game
Detroit – Adam Erne; Robby Fabbri
Florida – Juho Lammikko
Minnesota – Alex Stalock
Nashville – Mikael Granlund
New Jersey – Eric Comrie
New York Islanders – Josh Bailey
Philadelphia – Shayne Gostisbehere
Tampa Bay – Curtis McElhinney
Vancouver – Jordie Benn
Washington – Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Samsonov
Winnipeg – Anton Forsberg, Tucker Poolman
The Washington Capitals were also fined for players breaking COVID protocol. For more on that, including statements from the Capitals and Alex Ovechkin, click here.
NHL scores from Wednesday
Oilers 3, Maple Leafs 1
Sharks 2, Blues 1 (SO)
Wild 3, Ducks 2
Golden Knights 5, Coyotes 2
Canucks 6, Canadiens 5 (SO)
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.