Sports sometimes stick to “Hollywood” scripting, but hockey can be stubborn. In this case, Justin Williams delivered during his return to the Carolina Hurricanes and NHL in general.
Williams closed out what was a pretty exciting, and occasional strange, shootout in Carolina’s favor. It went eight rounds, but Williams scored the shootout-deciding goal as the Hurricanes beat the Islanders 2-1.
Naturally, that wasn’t enough for this “bunch of jerks.” Williams also fittingly took center stage during the “Storm Surge,” giving a salute. You can watch those great moments in the video above this post.
More on a storybook return for Justin Williams
James Reimer made fun of our thirst for a narrative after the game.
Really, there’s only one question about this Williams return: what took Rod Brind’Amour so long to send him out in the shootout? Just number eight? Nice sense of the moment, Rod.
(Just kidding — mostly.)
Williams made an impact on the game proper, firing three shots on goal, delivering a hit, and blocking a shot during 13:06 time on ice. Despite being a grizzled veteran at age 38, Williams faced some jitters.
“I was nervous the whole game, to be honest,” Williams said. “It was a playoff game out there. That’s what it felt like that. Teams weren’t giving an inch. There were chances either way, and it could have gone either way,” he said. “I’ve played over 1,200 of these, so I was like, ‘OK, Justin. Get real here. You can do this.’ It was fun. We got what we wanted: two points.”
Well, Brind’Amour believes Williams “fit right in.”
Speaking of people getting right back into the groove, the Hurricanes provided a fun variation on his nickname: on Sunday, Williams became “Mr. Round 8.”
Heading into Saturday, Aho only scored in one goal (a goal and an assist) in his past five contests. He made up for that dry spell in a big way against the Wild, generating a hat trick plus two assists.
His third goal was an empty-netter, but Aho’s first tally ended up being the game-winner. Aho was really clicking with Teuvo Teravainen, who finished the night with three assists.
Aho now has 27 points through his first 30 games in 2019-20.
The Lightning made life miserable for the Sharks on Saturday, feasting by way of a 7-1 score.
Killorn was a big part of that, generating a goal and three assists for four points. Killorn now has three goals and three assists for six points during a three-game streak, giving Killorn 22 points in 25 games in 2019-20.
As effective as Killorn has been over the years, his career-high is 47 points. Chances are, he’s going to slow down (example a 15.7 shooting percentage so far this season, against a 10.5 career average), but if reasonably healthy, Killorn should blow that previous number out of the water.
There were other Lightning players who played really well, as you’d expect from a blowout. Steven Stamkos ranked among those who collected three points, while Andrei Vasilevskiy made 37 saves to exaggerate the distance between the two teams.
Really, you can take your pick between Malkin and Jake Guentzel, as they both enjoyed one-goal, two-assist nights on Saturday, and they both clearly play off each other quite well. As much as Guentzel has been conjoined to Sidney Crosby during his young (and underappreciated) career, it seems like he can click with Malkin, too. Obviously, it’s not difficult to transition from one “NHL 100” player to another who should have made the “NHL 100,” yet … we’ve seen wingers who cannot find chemistry with one or more of Malkin and Crosby. So credit to Guentzel for being deadly with both, and likely making life a little easier for each of them.
Malkin now has a fantastic 26 points in just 19 games, and may very well have his biggest year in a while if he can stay healthy — an uncomfortably familiar phrase for the Penguins for quite some time. (Heck, even spanning back to Mario Lemieux.)
Guentzel now has 31 points in 30 games, and a solid chance to exceed last season’s excellent career-high of 76 points.
Highlight of the Night
Uh, you think the Kings were expecting Johnny Gaudreau to pass when he did? (Don’t lie.) This is just a tremendous combination of speed, skill, and vision as he set up Sean Monahan:
Star Wars Storm Surge
Yay or nay on the Star Wars-themed Storm Surge from the Hurricanes? I’d say solid enough, although it lacked a Bunch of Baby Yoda so … maybe not ideal.
The Blue Jackets spoiled Sergei Bobrovsky‘s shutout bid a bit more than halfway through the third period. Still, Bob had a strong night with 33 saves. Hot take: Columbus is still probably relieved to not be spending to the tune of Bob’s $10M AAV, considering how infrequently Bob has looked this good.
NHL PR notes that the Avalanche extended a point streak to 14 games, while they also gave the Bruins their first regulation loss at home this season.
After dusting off the “Storm Surge” with fairly pedestrian post-win celebrations, the Carolina Hurricanes are starting to flex their muscles again.
Following Tuesday’s 2-1 win against the Calgary Flames, the Hurricanes did a fun Halloween-themed bit where they handed out candy. Friday presented one of their best bits yet, though, as the Hurricanes presented a delightful “penalty kick” by Jessica McDonald, star of the North Carolina Courage (who recently became National Women’s Soccer League champions). It was a great moment after the Hurricanes beat the Detroit Red Wings 7-3.
As you can see from the video above, McDonald had to get her penalty kill in a much smaller net than usual, and also had to beat Hurricanes forward Brock McGinn. McDonald nailed it, and added to the Hurricanes run of great sports-themed “Storm Surge” celebrations, as this very much ranks up there with their great basketball-dunking celebration from 2018-19.
In case you want to see that Halloween “Storm Surge” from earlier this week, here it is:
Ovechkin provided some potential bulletin board material for the Maple Leafs before the game, but instead he essentially called his shot.
The star sniper generated two goals (including the overtime-winner) and two assists, firing 10 shots on goal. He now has 11 goals and 18 points in 14 games to start the 2019-20 season strong. Oh yeah, he also logged a ridiculous 12:38 TOI on the power play on Tuesday, part of a wild game that included a couple controversial Tom Wilson hits.
Ovi wasn’t the only player who had a strong night in that one. John Carlson scored two goals to reach 23 points. Auston Matthews wasn’t far behind Ovechkin with two goals and one assist. Nicklas Backstrom collected three assists.
Dallas came into Tuesday’s game against the Wild with a -10 goal differential in the third period of games. They brought that down to a more respectable -5 on Tuesday as part of a thunderous comeback. Late in the second, the Wild went up 3-0, only for the Stars to score six unanswered goals to stun Minnesota 6-3.
Radulov began that rally with Dallas’ first goal, and ended up generating a hat trick plus an assist. He simply wouldn’t be denied, firing 10 SOG. If this was about Minnesota sitting on a lead in any way, Dallas showed that it’s probably not the best way to put them away.
Ovechkin gets the slight nod because Radulov’s third goal came on an empty-netter. Radulov’s second was the GWG, so they had clinchers in common on Tuesday.
The Predators scored three goals on Tuesday, and Bonino generated all of them for a natural hat trick. No Bones about it, that’s an impressive night.
(Sorry … ish.)
Other players like Sidney Crosby deserve a mention (more on that in a moment), but a natural hatty is really something. Considering that Bonino and Crosby were teammates, and Bonino’s goals came from the “dirty areas” of the ice, so 87 probably wouldn’t be so unhappy.
Bonino wasn’t far from the other top two in SOG, either, with nine on his way to that hat trick. This continues a strong start to 2019-20 for Bonino, who now has 10 points in 12 games.
Crosby and the Penguins absolutely feasted on an overmatched Flyers team, and that meant filling up the scoresheet. Crosby scored a goal and two assists for three points, matched by Dominik Simon and Dominik Kahun. Bonus points to Kahun, who managed his goal and two assists in just 8:49 TOI.
Again, Matthews and Backstrom had three-point nights of their own.
Rocco Grimaldi got assists on all three of Bonino’s goal. Bones and Grimaldi sounds like it could be a buddy cop show. Just a lot to like, folks.
Ovechkin finished the night with 669 career regular-season goals. According to NHL PR, that puts Ovechkin ahead of Luc Robitaille for most as a player listed as a LW. He’s also now ranked 12th all-time in goals scored, in general. Depending upon how his season goes, Ovechkin could really climb the ranks in 2019-20, or soon after.
8. Mark Messier – 694
9. Steve Yzerman – 692
10. Mario Lemieux – 690
11. Teemu Selanne – 684
12. Ovechkin – 669
Ovechkin’s teammate Carlson scored two goals to finish the night with 23 points on the season, and in October. Only one defenseman’s had a better October in NHL history: Al MacInnis in 1990, according to NHL PR.
The Red Wings ended an eight-game losing streak by beating the Oilers.
BOS 5 – SJS 1
WSH 4 – TOR 3 (OT)
PIT 7 – PHI 1
CAR 2 – CGY 1
NYR 4 – TBL 1
DET 3 – EDM 1
NSH 3 – CHI 0
DAL 6 – MIN 3
ANA 7 – WPG 4
With Williams on hiatus, and the 2019-20 season upon us, it was fair to wonder if that bunch of jerks would dust off that post-win celebration again. The answer appears to be “Yes.”
Dougie Hamilton led the first “Storm Surge” after the Hurricanes slipped by the Montreal Canadiens via a 4-3 shootout win on Thursday, putting Carolina at 1-for-1 for such opportunities (Surge-itunities?)
The Hurricanes decided to keep it simple with their classic celebration this time around.