1. Detroit Red Wings’ top line
Handing out a collective award feels appropriate here.
Both Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha managed one-goal, three-assist performances. Two of Mantha’s assists were primary ones, while Next Bert nabbed one. Dylan Larkin only finished a stride behind generating a goal and two assists (one primary) while also chipping in a shootout tally to help Detroit upset Tampa Bay. (Larkin even dominated in the faceoff circle, going 14-7.)
The Bertuzzi – Larkin – Mantha trio really seemed to catch fire during “garbage time” last season. Really, Bertuzzi especially saw the benefits start to kick in last March.
The Red Wings are so far behind everyone else for the highest draft lottery odds that they can enjoy these performances from the top line, and maybe some keyed-in work from Jonathan Bernier if this small pattern holds.
2. Morgan Geekie, Carolina Hurricanes
It’s cool enough that Geekie scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game. Like a cinematic nerd avenging a movie jock, Geekie went big. The 21-year-old generated a three-point debut, scoring two goals and one assist.
This makes Geekie the second player in Hurricanes/Whalers history to generate three points in a debut, and the second in said history to generate two goals in their debut.
In case you’re wondering, the 21-year-old presents some interesting potential to be more than a one-day curiosity.
While his draft pedigree his modest (third round [67th overall] in 2017), Geekie’s produced some solid offense at lower levels. After scoring 19 goals and 46 points in the AHL last season, Geekie already had 22 goals and 42 points in 55 AHL contests in 2019-20.
If nothing else, Geekie helped the Hurricanes complete a key weekend, as Carolina also beat the Islanders in OT on Saturday.
3. Jakob Silfverberg, Anaheim Ducks
Like Geekie, Silfverberg generated two goals and one assist for his team. Unlike Geekie, Silfverberg’s team lost, as Kevin Fiala continued his red-hot streak by scoring in OT for the skyrocketing Wild.
Nonetheless, SIlfverberg deserves recognition. By collecting those two tallies, Silfverberg reached the 20-goal mark for the second season in a row, and the fourth in his last five seasons. It’s unclear if Silfverberg can match his career-high for points (49), but he could enjoy one of his best campaigns with 38 points already.
Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog rank as honorable mentions with one-goal, two-assist nights in Colorado’s snug win. Jake Allen demands some attention for his 29-save shutout against Chicago, too.
Highlight of the Night
Elias Pettersson ranks high on the list of players you don’t want to let loose out of the penalty box. He probably climbed a rung or two up that ladder with this blazing bit of speed and fancy finish:
Standings after Sunday (big wins for Carolina, Minnesota, Columbus)
CAR 6 – PIT 2
DET 5 – TBL 4 (SO)
STL 2 – CHI 0
MIN 5 – ANA 4 (OT)
CBJ 2 – VAN 1
COL 4 – SJS 3