Top players from Friday in the NHL
Kirill Kaprizov, Wild
For the second time in five games, Kirill Kaprizov scored four points in a single contest. In both cases, Kaprizov got there via one-goal, three-assist outputs.
No doubt, Kaprizov played a big role in the Wild clobbering the Jets 7-1 during Friday’s NHL games. Beyond the four points, Kaprizov filled up the stat sheet with a +4 rating and a whopping six shots on goal. (Kaprizov’s hit the six SOG mark three times already this season.)
Overall, Kaprizov’s generated 22 points in 20 games this season. During the past five games, he produced 11 points (3G, 8A).
Anthony Stolarz, Ducks
Could Anthony Stolarz be a good, NHL-caliber goalie? It’s worth pondering once more after Stolarz pitched a 34-save shutout, standing out among Friday’s best NHL goalie performances.
With that shutout, Stolarz still doesn’t have an impressive record (2-2-1) this season, but his .930 save percentage is impressive.
In small sample sizes, Stolarz has looked really strong in other recent cases. Last season, Stolarz stood out in a “cup of coffee” with the Ducks (.926 save percentage in eight games) and generated a .920 save percentage in three AHL games. Maybe most promising was his 2019-20 AHL season, actually. In 39 games, Stolarz generated a .922 save percentage, and looked good in one NHL appearance.
Again, these are sprinklings of games. Maybe a quirk of injuries and/or COVID disruptions.
Yet … Stolarz has played well enough that the Ducks — or maybe some other curious team — should at least consider giving him a longer look. After all, the Flyers selected Stolarz with a second-rounder (45th overall in 2012), so there was at least some belief in the big goalie earlier in his career.
Highlights from the NHL on Friday
Want a player with an underrated career? Try Joe Pavelski. Even this deep into his run, he earned my (unofficial) Selke vote last season. By scoring two goals in quick succession, Pavelski reached the 400-goal mark:
Maybe the Lightning weren’t gentle with Yanni Gourde‘s Kraken (what with the shutout and all), but this is a delightfully warm reception:
We’re not crying, you’re crying. pic.twitter.com/XrTUpzHStB
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) November 26, 2021
Can’t hate that a lacrosse-style goal is “the Michigan,” being that it was an iconic highlight. That said, did I miss the meeting where it became a near-unanimous way to describe it? Anyway, read more about it here, but Chris Kreider almost pulled off “the Michigan.”
Chris Kreider attempts the Michigan 👀 #NYR pic.twitter.com/UkqGzeUgNN
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) November 26, 2021
Friday’s NHL takeaways
Islanders lose eight in a row, all in regulation
What else can you say about the New York Islanders right now. After narrowly, agonizingly, dropping a 1-0 loss to the Penguins on Friday, the Islanders are on an eight-game losing streak.
After that shutout loss, the Islanders opened their new home arena with four straight losses. During that span, they scored just three goals. That said, in the NHL, an eight-game losing streak can be misleading with “loser points.” Not here, sadly. The Islanders lost eight straight games in regulation.
At least Barry Trotz has seen some dark times during his coach career. Actually, on that note, his comment reads like a big gulp.
Trotz: "This is one of the biggest challenges I've faced (in my career). And I started with an expansion team."
— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) November 27, 2021
More of the same for Canucks, Canadiens
Yes, you can squint and see hope here and there. For example: Elvis Merzlikins made 39 saves to help the Blue Jackets beat the Canucks.
But the “something has to give” feeling followed the Canucks and Canadiens into Friday’s NHL action, and merely continued. Few will be swayed much by the Sabres and Blue Jackets being more competent than expected so far.
Though we’re not that deep into the season, it’s possible the Canucks and Canadiens are both more or less cooked. Losing to teams “you’re supposed to beat” won’t exactly help anyone’s job security.
This time, hat trick history from Alex Ovechkin
For the 28th time in his career, Alex Ovechkin generated a regular-season hat trick. By reaching 28, Ovechkin tied Bobby Hull and Marcel Dionne for sixth all-time in hat tricks.
Read more about that, including other observations about Ovechkin, in this post.
The highlights from Panthers – Capitals includes that Ovechkin hat trick, and other moments from an exciting and close game:
BREAKING: Brad Marchand is an effective troll
Do yourself a favor and bask in the glory of Artemi Panarin throwing a glove at Brad Marchand.
Although you can watch that clip above, you can also read more about Marchand – Panarin here. Frankly, it’s worth a click to see the perfect screenshot.
Saturday’s big story
Surprise favorite (Oilers) vs. expected favorite getting back to full-strength (Golden Knights)
If someone told you the Oilers’ record (14-5-0) and then revealed that of the Golden Knights (12-8-0) before the season, you’d probably think some wires were crossed. Yet, the Oilers are giving Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl enough help to accentuate their red-hot starts. Meanwhile, the Golden Knights have been mainly just hanging in there through trying injuries.
Well, the Golden Knights are getting closer to boasting the roster they expected to deploy. Max Pacioretty returned recently, while Mark Stone played in six November games so far.
Now, the Golden Knights are still pretty banged up. Even with Jack Eichel presenting a potential salary cap riddle, the Golden Knights expect to put a more complete lineup against the Oilers in a potential playoff series. Even so, there’s enough star power slated to suit up in Oilers – Golden Knights to make for a captivating clash.
Friday’s NHL scores
Rangers 5, Bruins 2
Hurricanes 6, Flyers 3
Blackhawks 3, Blues 2 (OT)
Capitals 4, Panthers 3
Ducks 4, Senators 0
Wild 7, Jets 1
Predators 4, Devils 2
Sabres 4, Canadiens 1
Lightning 3, Kraken 0
Blue Jackets 4, Canucks 2
Penguins 1, Islanders 0
Stars 3, Avalanche 1
Maple Leafs 4, Sharks 1
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.