NHL Rink Wrap: Hurricanes stay undefeated; Draisaitl on fire

NHL Rink Wrap: Hurricanes stay undefeated; Draisaitl still on fire
Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Top players from Wednesday in the NHL

Cole Sillinger, Blue Jackets

You’ll see plenty in this post about two other noteworthy three-point players in the NHL on Wednesday: Leon Draisaitl and Bowen Byram.

So let’s focus on the youngest of a young trio of three-pointers: Cole Sillinger.

Sillinger scored two goals in the Blue Jackets’ OT win against the Avalanche, and the 18-year-old also assisted on Jake Bean‘s game-winner.

A three-point game is quite the way to argue that you deserve to burn the first year of your entry-level contract. Not surprisingly, Sillinger’s production has been up-and-down so far. He collected an assist in his first NHL game, and scored his first goal in his fourth. He’d been held pointless in four straight before Wednesday’s eruption, though.

Overall, Sillinger has generated five points (3G, 2A) through his first nine games. Not bad for an immediate jump from the 2021 NHL Draft (the Blue Jackets selected Sillinger 12th overall).

It should be interesting to see if the Blue Jackets keep Sillinger up or not. Either way, here’s hoping Cole Sillinger doesn’t bounce around the league like his oft-traded father Mike Sillinger. (Though Cole Sillinger may not complain if he plays at least 1,049 games.)

Highlights from Wednesday in the NHL

Heading into the third period, the Avalanche sported a 2-1 lead over the Blue Jackets. Things turned quickly in that final frame, however, as Columbus scored three goals before the midway point of the third. For a while, it looked like Columbus would earn a surprise 4-2 win.

Then Bowen Byram and the Avalanche stormed back. They scored two goals with their net empty, forcing that contest into OT. To Columbus’ credit, Jake Bean won it in OT.

Like the Avs, the Blues scored a late goal to earn a “charity point,” but ultimately lost.

Slick stuff from Seth Jarvis for the first goal of his NHL career to help the Hurricanes stay undefeated.

Probably best just to soak up all of the Draisaitl/McDavid goodness. Matt Duchene‘s sneaky little snipe was pretty sweet, too.

Wednesday’s NHL takeaways

Maybe the Jack Eichel trade will be worth the wait — for the Sabres, anyway?

If you feel like the Jack Eichel trade talks are eternal, we’re with you. On Wednesday, there seemed to be some excitement about a possible deal happening. As this post notes, the Golden Knights and Flames stand as the (latest) frontrunners in the Jack Eichel trade sweepstakes.

Yet, as of this writing, it instead feels like we’ve once again been swindled by The Insiders Who Cried Trade. That’s not totally fair — these things take time to come together — but that’s how it feels.

But if Wednesday indicated anything, it’s that the NHL is buzzing about a Jack Eichel trade actually managing a decent return for the Sabres. A memorable Kevin Weekes tweet really turned some heads.

Maybe Matthew Tkachuk plus futures wouldn’t have been that appealing of a Jack Eichel trade package months ago. Especially before it was clear that Eichel’s neck surgery situation was tricky.

But now, in the beginning of November? That sounds pretty spiffy.

Granted, it’s not necessarily a win for anyone else. If things moved more efficiently, Eichel could be deep into recovery from neck surgery. Essentially, a Jack Eichel trade bidder may have lost part of a season of value after the Sabres dragged things along.

Remarkably, it seems like the Sabres have a chance at actually getting a meaningful return. Some even balk at the cost Weekes floated.

What could happen doesn’t necessarily translate to what will happen. We’ll see. It’s a shame we didn’t see it yet, but maybe it really will happen soon?

(Studio audience rudely laughs.)

Hurricanes narrowly stay undefeated

For a chunk of Wednesday’s NHL action, it seemed like the Blackhawks would churn out their first winning streak, handing the Hurricanes their first loss in the process. With a goal just 1:35 in, the Blackhawks took a 1-0 lead. Almost midway through the second period, Chicago grew its lead to 3-1.

It turns out, a 3-1 lead wasn’t enough to put away the undefeated Hurricanes.

The first goal of Seth Jarvis’ career really opened the door, reducing the deficit to 3-2 through two periods. Then, Jesper Fast and Martin Necas scored twice in the first 3:26 of the third period to give the Hurricanes a decisive 4-3 lead.

With that, the Hurricanes remain undefeated at 9-0-0. The undefeated Hurricanes are a win away from tying a record for the best season-opening winning streak in NHL history.

If the Hurricanes want to tie (then break) that record, they’ll need to earn it. They next face the Panthers in Florida on Saturday, then the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Tuesday (Nov. 9).

This win against the Blackhawks began a three-game road trip for the Hurricanes. The challenges don’t end there, either. They’ll play those two road games, two contests in Carolina, then face a six-game road trip. If the Hurricanes still look hot toward the end of November, then look out.

(Even if they slow down, the Hurricanes are certainly on plenty of radars already.)

Draisaitl and McDavid are on another planet right now

Usually, when we refer to Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, it’s as “McDavid and Draisaitl.” It’s not meant as an insult to Draisaitl. Anyone would get second billing to one of the most sensational hockey players ever.

Yet Draisaitl forgot to take off his most sensational hockey player ever Halloween costume. With three points in Wednesday’s game, Draisaitl now leads the NHL with 20 points in nine games (one ahead of McDavid).

So, it’s Draisaitl and McDavid — at least in the Art Ross race.

Draisaitl generated four points in the Oilers’ win against the Kraken, so he’s molten-hot at the moment. During his current five-game point streak, Draisaitl scored seven goals and five assists for 12 points. While McDavid isn’t as scalding in the short term, he’s been electric, and has at least a point in every game this season. (Seven of McDavid’s nine games have been multipoint outputs. Yeah.)

Thursday’s big story

Revive the Southeast Division, it’s a clash of Capitals vs. Panthers

Remember the Southeast Division? (Waits a moment for Capitals fans to fondly recall braining the Atlanta Thrashers over and over again.)

Well, the Panthers rarely served as “rivals” for the Capitals during the days of the Southleast, but they were neighbors for quite some time. So, it might feel a bit quaint to Alex Ovechkin to see a potent Panthers team (8-0-1) face his Capitals crew, which is still chugging along (5-1-3).

Sure, the Panthers are grasping for normalcy as much as they’re trying to prove their supremacy. Even so, they’ll likely be motivated to face a Caps team they very well might meet in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Just another chance to prove that they’re not the same cuddly Cats Ovechkin’s Capitals dominated time and time again back in those Southeast days.

Wednesday’s NHL scores

Oilers 5, Predators 2
Hurricanes 4, Blackhawks 3
Blue Jackets 5, Avalanche 4 (OT)
Kings 3, Blues 2 (SO)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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