1. Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers
The second “Battle of Alberta” of the week ended up lopsided. Leon Draisaitl ended up being a big part of that.
Impressively, Draisaitl collected four assists in Edmonton’s 8-3 win over Calgary. Draisaitl exits Saturday with a commanding lead in the Art Ross race with a resounding 83 points. Last season’s jump to 105 points was incredible, no doubt. Yet, Draisaitl is almost at last year’s assist total of 55, as he reached 54 on Saturday. That’s about a 130-point pace.
The German-born forward has been especially hot lately. Draisaitl pushed his point streak to 11 games, scoring 22 points during that span. That four-point outburst also gives Draisaitl a streak within a streak: five consecutive multi-point games.
The Mike Smith – Cam Talbot goalie fight will grab a lot of the attention. And, really, why not? Goalie fights are too odd not to be fun. But Oilers fans should be just as excited about Draisaitl’s dominance.
2. Jeff Petry, Montreal Canadiens
There’s an argument for Petry over Draisaitl, as they both ended Saturday with an impressive four assists. To me, Draisaitl’s blistering overall play, NHL points lead, and involvement in the “Battle of Alberta” overwhelmed the Petry dish of accomplishments.
Regardless, Petry remains a strong contributor for the up-and-down Habs. Those four assists pushed Petry to 33 points in 53 games in 2019-20. It sure looks like Petry will continue his trend of setting new career-highs (he tied his old mark of 42 in 2017-18, set a new one in 2018-19 with 46, and now has months to flirt with 50+).
3. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Here is another spot where there are tough calls. Even ignoring other scorers and just focusing on goalies, Lundqvist has competition. Carey Price pitched a 29-save shutout. Curtis McElhinney blanked the Sharks with 30 saves. Ryan Miller didn’t get a shutout, but he stopped 46 out of 47 shots on goal for Anaheim.
But who knows how many more times we’ll see “King Henrik” warrant a three stars nod? Hopefully the answer is “A surprisingly large number of times,” yet it’s unclear.
Lundqvist generated a 33-save shutout against the Red Wings on Saturday. In doing so, Lundqvist earned a shutout for the first time since Nov. 19, 2017. That marks the 64th of his outstanding career. Considering the Rangers’ defensive struggles, Lundqvist and other goalies will have to earn each goose egg.
Also, for what it’s worth: yes, the Red Wings are dreadful, but it was a 1-0 game so New York needed all of Lundqvist’s saves.
Highlight of the Night that’s not a Goalie Fight
No doubt, many will pick Talbot vs. Smith as the highlight of the night. Bask in that glory here, and you know what? This can save you a click:
But it feels worthwhile to give another goalie some of the spotlight. Antti Raanta should practice his “Mortal Kombat” voices after pulling off a scorpion save:
Poor Ryan McDonagh
Consider this one of the lowlights of the night. Sorry, Ryan McDonagh.
That must have hurt 🥴 pic.twitter.com/1GRvlZkm8U
— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) February 2, 2020
- Patrick Kane pushed his point streak to 12 games with an assist. That point streak (5G, 12A for 17 points) is the longest active streak in the NHL.
- The Sharks gave kudos to Marc-Edouard Vlasic for his 1,000th game played. The Blues did the same for Alexander Steen, with some help from the Jets. Oh, and Valtteri Filppula reached that milestone with the Red Wings. Filppula’s milestone is bittersweet, as I used to be pretty good at spelling his name without double-checking, but no longer.
- Click here to read about Quinn Hughes‘ big game for the Canucks.
- Sportsnet stats with an interesting one: Smith vs. Talbot represents the first goalie fight in “Battle of Alberta” history.
- At 23 years and 19 days old, Connor McDavid became the fifth youngest player to reach 450 points, also via Sportsnet Stats.
- Marc-Andre Fleury earned his 59th career shutout. That moves him from a tie (including with Pekka Rinne) for 19th to a tie with Evgeni Nabokov for 18th. Turk Broda isn’t up much higher at 17th (61) while Lundqvist padded his lead for 16th with his 64th. Lundqvist and Fleury also maintained their tie for fifth all-time in wins, as both ended Saturday at 459.
BUF 2 – CBJ 1 (OT)
VAN 4 – NYI 3 (OT)
MTL 4 – FLA 0
TOR 2 – OTT 1 (OT)
NYR 1 – DET 0
DAL 3 – NJD (OT)
PHI 6 – COL 3
WPG 5 – STL 2
VGK 3 – NSH 0
BOS 6 – MIN 1
CHI 3 – ARI 2 (SO)
EDM 8 – CGY 3
ANA 3 – LAK 1
TBL 3 – SJS 0