NHL Three Stars from Wednesday
1. Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers
The kids would probably say that, when facing the hapless Senators, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have no chill.
Whatever kind of slang you want to smother it in, the point is that McDavid and Draisaitl have really milked every game against Ottawa this season. Without those games, they’d be battling for the Art (Ross) and the Hart (Trophy), but loading up in these contests might leave them untouchable.
In Wednesday’s case, Leon Draisaitl left the NHL in awe with an outstanding five-point performance. That included a hat trick and two assists. With that absurd five-point outburst, Draisaitl now has 42 points in 28 games. In doing so, Draisaitl extended his point streak to four games (4G, 4A).
We’re combining dominant Oilers in this category, even if you could probably place Draisaitl then McDavid as the top two stars of the night. Or at least two of the three stars of the night for Wednesday in the NHL.
Leon Draisaitl collected at least five points against the Senators for the second time in 2020-21 (also 0-6—6 on Jan. 31 vs. OTT).
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 11, 2021
McDavid collected a goal and two assists, pushing his multi-point streak to three games (2G, 6A). After this stretch, McDavid now sits at 48 points in 28 games, about the only player who can actually create some distance in front of Draisaitl. For now.
2. Dylan Coghlan, Vegas Golden Knights
Coming into Wednesday’s game, Dylan Coghlan hadn’t yet scored a goal in the NHL. In 11 NHL games, Coghlan only managed a single assist.
He remedied that in a big way.
Just 1:42 into the Wild’s eventual win over his Golden Knights, Coghlan scored his first NHL goal. Two periods later, Coghlan gave a Golden Knights team down 4-1 a chance. He generated two more goals to generate an unlikely hat trick.
Understandably, Peter DeBoer sent out Coghlan more often, as he logged 18:23 TOI. With Alex Pietrangelo out for some time, maybe someone like Coghlan can step up? Read a little bit more about Coghlan in this post.
Joel Eriksson Ek enjoyed a nice game for the Wild, helping them win with two goals.
3. Antti Raanta, Arizona Coyotes
Here’s something that’s easy to forget. If goalie-related things went to plan, Antti Raanta would’ve been able to jump from a great backup to a very good No. 1 goalie. Darcy Kuemper came in with the hope of maintaining a recent uptick in backup goaltending, with some potential to create a platoon situation.
Instead, Kuemper’s game took off, while injuries really robbed Raanta of a chance to truly establish himself.
Granted, we saw some of that ability from Raanta when the Coyotes needed it the most. When injuries hit Kuemper last season, Raanta came up big, going 15-14-3 with a strong .921 save percentage. If the Coyotes gave him more goal support, Raanta likely would’ve gained more attention.
Well, Raanta probably once again felt like he had to do a lot on his own against a returning Nathan MacKinnon and the Avalanche on Wednesday. Raanta made an impressive 44 saves in a game where his opponent, Philipp Grubauer, faced just 14 shots on goal. The disparity was severe enough that the Coyotes tweeted about “quality over quantity.”
Quality > Quantity pic.twitter.com/yE0vWAyDd2
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 11, 2021
Raanta and the Coyotes fell in overtime, just 38 seconds from reaching a shootout.
Troy Grosenick creates one of the stories of Wednesday in NHL
If you’re in the running for best story in the NHL on Wednesday, you’d have a tough time beating Troy Grosenick’s start.
(Sorry, Leon Draisaitl absolutely picking on the Ottawa Senators.)
Back in November 2014, Troy Grosenick appeared in two games, earning a 45-save shutout in one of them. Dreams came true. Parents cried.
Maybe some would look at this like an “emergency backup” situation. But there’s some evidence Troy Grosenick isn’t a mere fluke. As this post elaborates upon, Grosenick’s put up some impressive AHL stats.
Either way, Grosenick made the most of his long-awaited latest opportunity. He made 33 out of 34 saves to make sure that the Kings never had to really sweat things against an overmatched Ducks opponent.
Adrian Kempe stayed hot for the Kings, scoring two goals.
Highlights of the night, including magic from McDavid and Draisaitl
Fittingly, both Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid made plays worthy of highlight of the night consideration for Wednesday in the NHL.
You could say that this Draisaitl goal is almost a McDavid impression. As exciting as Draisaitl can be, some of his offense is a bit more “meat and potatoes” than that of McDavid. Most of the time at least, but not here:
Poor Murray; poor Senators. They continue to have no chance against McDavid and Draisaitl.
Wednesday’s NHL scores