The Buzzer: Laine rubs elbows with Gretzky on five-goal night

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Patrik Laine, number one with a bullet

When you have a night a special as the one Laine experienced, you get your own section.

On a night of hat tricks, Laine refused to settle for a mere three goals, nearly managing a double-hatty. Ultimately, he finished with a ridiculous five goals on five shots. If anyone can do that, it’s Laine.

This isn’t just a one-night outburst for Laine, either. By the three-goal mark, he had reached at least a hat trick for the seventh time in his young career … and the third during the month of November.

In case you’re wondering, yes, it’s been a very long time since someone managed a hat trick of hat tricks during a single month.

Laine, 20, won’t turn 21 until April 19. That’s relevant to note because, while he’s unlikely to match this Wayne Gretzky mark, it’s also true that it was already unlikely that he’d generate three hat tricks in a single month.

Laine lands in Gretzky-rarified-air more than once. Sportsnet’s stats staff also notes that he’s the first 20-year-old to collect five goals since Gretzky managed that mark twice. Again, it would be asking a lot for the winger to match that mark by number 99, yet he also has the rest of the season to do so (Winnipeg’s last regular-season game comes on April 6, almost two weeks before his 21st birthday).

PHT’s Scott Billeck did a great job of recapping Laine’s red-hot ways:

Thanks to this ridiculous night, Laine now has 19 goals in 2018-19, giving him the NHL lead. Interestingly, Saturday left him at 99 career regular-season goals. It should be fascinating to see Laine try to climb this list, too.

Interesting to see Jimmy Carson right behind Gretzky, the name he’ll be linked with forever thanks to that famous trade, eh?

The other three stars

1. Kyle Connor and Bryan Little

Let’s give Laine’s partners-in-crime a little love, too.

Both Connor and Little collected four assists during Laine’s five-goal night. If you have to choose one of the two, Connor would probably get quite a bit more credit for driving play, as he finished the night with four shots on goal to go with his four assists (Little had one SOG).

Many joked about how Laine’s going to get paid on his next contract. The way things going, Connor might not be too cheap, either.

2. Andreas Johnsson

Heading into Saturday, this 24-year-old Leafs forward had two goals over his entire, young NHL career. Johnsson generated a hat trick in a single period on Saturday, and actually hit that mark with about seven minutes remaining in the opening frame.

Would Johnsson have generated even more offense if the Flyers ever got on the board in this one? Maybe, but he still enjoyed one of the night’s great performances.

(Garret Sparks‘ 34-save shutout likely kept Toronto from going too over the top.)

Read more about Toronto making life miserable for Philly’s goalies here.

3. Jake Guentzel

Guentzel didn’t need three periods to collect his hat trick. He took advantage of some splendid Sidney Crosby passing to gain three goals without about four minutes left in the second period.

This marks the first regular-season hat trick for Guentzel, who now has 18 points in 22 games during the 2018-19 campaign.

Fun fact unless you’re the one managing Pittsburgh’s salary cap: like Connor and Laine, Guentzel is headed toward RFA status. A big season would go really well with all of those playoff heroics, huh?

Highlights of the Night

Quite the no-look pass by Crosby

Matt Luff had the right stuff to make Jacob Markstrom take his bluff:

Non-Laine, non-Sabres-topping-the-league factoids

Laine isn’t the only youngster playing beyond his years.

Gotta love how specific this stat is:

Scores

WSH 5 – NYR 3
TOR 6 – PHI 0
BOS 3 – MTL 2
BUF 3 – DET 2 (SO)
CHI 5 – FLA 4 (OT)
NYI 4 – CAR 1
PIT 4 – CBJ 2
WPG 8 – STL 4
COL 3 – DAL 2
VGK 6 – SJS 0
VAN 4 – LAK 2

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

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.

Wings’ Franzen: ‘I’m excited to try to get back and have a good year’

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Red Wings’ forward Johan Franzen hasn’t played since suffering a concussion on Jan. 6, but remains hopeful he’ll be ready for Detroit’s season opener on Oct. 9 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The 35-year-old took part in an informal skate at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday with fellow teammates, but has yet to participate in any kind of contact drills.

“It feels good so far; it’s probably too early to tell until I start playing games,” Franzen told MLive.com. “I’m going at it hard – a little bit too much, actually – just to see that I can take it.”

Franzen suffered his latest concussion on a hit from Edmonton’s Rob Klinkhammer. The concussion limited Franzen to just 33 games last season where he scored seven goals and 15 assists.

Despite the concussion troubles, the Swede has not considered retirement.

“I haven’t been there yet, really, in my thoughts,” Franzen said. “It’s been so many tough years here the last 2-3 years with injuries; I just want to have a good year. I want to decide on my own when I quit. I’m excited to try to get back and have a good year.

“Being where I was mid-season, not being able to get out of bed, it really makes you appreciate being able to do what we do.”

The Red Wings believe Franzen will be fully cleared when he takes his physical later this month at training camp.

According to Ansar Khan, Franzen suffered his latest setback last week, but continues his rigorous workouts.

“It’s four hours of working out, going on the ice, going biking, going full out, it kind of triggers (symptoms),” Franzen said. “I don’t know if it’s smart or not, but I do that. I think if I can do that, I can get through a game, or 82 games, hopefully.

“The way I work out then is going to be different than it is now. It’s going to be shorter, more explosive. A game is going to be different and I think it’s going to be easier. You’re going to get bumped a lot and there’s the mental stuff, too, but physically it’s going to be easier than what I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks.”

Franzen has five years remaining on his current 11-year, $43.5 million deal.

Wings hope Franzen (concussion) is cleared at camp

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The Detroit Red Wings are hoping to have veteran Johan Franzen in the lineup this season.

Franzen has not played since suffering his latest concussion on Jan. 6. The 35-year-old appeared in 33 games last season scoring seven goals and 15 assists.

Wings’ GM Ken Holland has been in contact with the Swede over the summer and is hoping Franzen is cleared for contact next month.

“My expectations and hopes are he’s going to be cleared when he takes his physical at camp,” Holland told MLive.com. “Ultimately, it’s in the hands of Dr. Kutcher.”

“Johan told me he’s gotten better over the course of the summer. He’s pushed himself hard to test it. So far, so good.”

As Ansar Khan notes, even if Franzen is cleared at camp, how he handles contact drills and preseason games will go a long way to determining whether he’ll suit up for his 11th NHL season.

“Obviously, there’s a history of concussions. I can’t read the future,” said Holland. “I expect he’ll take his physical and pass it and resume his career. As he skates and trains every day, if he has no setbacks — I don’t know why he would — I’m expecting his body is going to tell him.”

Franzen trained hard towards the end of the season for a return in the playoffs, but admitted in May that he suffered a setback.

PHT Morning Skate: The Replacements

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Could we see the return of Dale Hunter? Five potential candidates to replace NHL coaches during the NHL season. (Sportsnet)

How Ben Bishop traveled a long, winding road to success. (The Hockey News)

One argument for Johan Franzen to retire from hockey. (Puck Daddy)

What “defines” the St. Louis Blues? (St. Louis Game Time)

In Lou We Trust ponders the situation at hand for players who were “dead weight” for the New Jersey Devils during the 2014-15 season. (In Lou We Trust)

Who should be the next captain for the San Jose Sharks? (Fear the Fin)

Dawww:

PHT Morning Skate: Franzen gifts Nyquist with Babcock blanket of horror

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Hey, this is pretty cool: Jenny Scrivens looks like she’ll join the NWHL’s New York Riveters, so consider Jenny and Ben Scrivens hockey’s power goaltending couple:

More than a few people clamor for the Anaheim Ducks to go back to their Mighty jerseys, but if these rumored duds are true, expect some really bad “Orange you glad …” jokes. (Puck Daddy)

Phil Kessel in a Pittsburgh Penguins sweater is weird, but it becomes flat-out fun combined with shorts.

Does Tyler Seguin represent a “new breed” of NHL players? Maybe, but he really just wants to emulate other sports stars like Lebron James. (Sportsnet)

Talk about direct nightmare fuel: Johan Franzen presented Gustav Nyquist with this custom bedspread on Instagram:

source:

The caption is even better, though.

Hey Nyquist, I know you been sad ever since your dad signed for Toronto so I had these custom bed sheets made for u so u always can be close to him #detroit #detroitredwings #babcock #nyquist #separationanxiety #nhl

Honestly, if you need to kill some time, just pour over the Instagram account of “The Mule.”

Amazingly, that’s not the most jarring Red Wings-related image featured in this Morning Skate, at least if you follow this link to what they might wear at their next outdoor game. Maybe they won’t actually look like this? /Holds out hope for humanity (Sports Logos)