(Life’s busy — it’s not always easy to stay on top of everything happening around the NHL. So in case you missed it, here are some of the best and worst highlights of the week.)
Mathew Barzal is making this hockey thing look a little too easy. The Islanders’ rookie sensation, who already has a five-point game to his name, bagged his second five-pointer of the season against the Rangers.
Barzal is the only player with two five-point games this season and he’s the first rookie since Marian Stastny in 1982 to have a pair in a season. He’s now eight points up on Brock Boeser in the rookie scoring race, albeit with five games in hand, and ranks 15th overall in the league.
Nicest Individual Goal
Everything about this goal is sensational. The stick lift, the patience, the cheeky finish, the fact he did it in Boston. Just a satisfying play all around.
Best Squad Goal
This one looked like it was going to fall apart at the end, but the Devils managed to make it count. Not the prettiest one you’ll see, but a nice team effort complemented by individual skill.
It was a good spread this week, with a variety of dishes to please every appetite. Rick Nash delivered a nice no-look behind the back pass. Jakub Voracek had a slick one using his skate. Joonas Donskoi brought the dangles on this one. Pavel Buchnevich hit Rick Nash with a beautiful seeing-eye pass, and Ryan Ellis one-upped up him with a perfect long-bomb to Scott Hartnell.
It’s hard to pick just one, but for the sake of this exercise, we’re going to go with this beauty from Alexander Radulov. He’s standing behind the goal line and throws a no-look pass through four Red Wings — and the goalie — right onto Jason Spezza’s tape. This might say more about the Red Wings’ defense, but that’s a ridiculous play by Radulov.
Quality stops were also in abundance this week. Jonathan Bernier stealing a goal away from Ryan Kesler with an incredible diving save and Michal Neuvirth robbing the Leafs on a 2-on-1 were among the contenders, but the top two came during the Stars-Jackets game.
Joonas Korpisalo got the fun started with a spectacular desperation save on Tyler Seguin:
And Ben Bishop countered by stretching out his glove to stone Alex Wennberg with 30 seconds remaining in a tie game.
Jonathan Quick isn’t to blame for the Kings’ five-game slide, but allowing two eerily similar stinkers early in the first period this week certainly didn’t help. Ondrej Kase snuck one by him from the bottom of the faceoff circle last Saturday, and Patric Hornqvist did the same on Thursday 43 seconds into the game.
This was pretty bad from Arizona’s Kevin Connauton, but not as bad as Brandon Carlo once again coughing one up against the Islanders. He had a similar gaffe a few weeks back, and strangely both resulted in a Jordan Eberle goal.
Best Shootout Goal
Not much sizzle in the shootout this week, but this was a bullet by Jake DeBrusk against Carey Price.
With a stellar performance against the Flyers on Tuesday, Henrik Lundqvist became the first goalie in NHL history to win 20 games in 13 straight seasons.
This is what happens when I play goalie in NHL 18, not something that should happen to an actual NHL goalie.
Most Reckless Play
This was going to go to Sebastian Aho for cutting across the slot with his head down against the Flames, but it doesn’t seem right to add insult to injury. Especially after Dustin Brown’s cheap shot against Justin Schultz, which somehow didn’t result in a suspension.
Tom Wilson’s hit on Brian Gibbons sounded the biggest, but Matt Martin sent Kyle Brodziak flying, and he’s a much bigger man than the 5-foot-8 Gibbons.
There’s always fireworks when the Ducks and Kings collide, but three fights in four seconds? That’s truly some old time hockey.
The Kings are in a bad place right now, losers of six straight with only 11 goals scored over that span. Naturally, John Stevens is taking heat as Kings fans are surely having some unpleasant flashbacks to Darryl Sutter’s offensive system. Defenseman Andy Andreoff, who only plays nine minutes a night, is also a frequent whipping boy. But this week, it’s Tyler Toffoli. The Kings’ top goal scorer had no points in four games, which gets magnified when the team isn’t scoring. He also turned the puck over on Anaheim’s game-winning goal Friday. Not a great week for a good player.
Monkey off the Back
Radek Faksa scored for the first time in 19 games, which is a long haul. But there’s got to be some kind of multiplier when you go 18 games and you make $6 million a year on a long-term deal like Loui Eriksson.
John Klingberg has a point in nine straight games and 12 of the last 13, an absurd run for a defenseman. It matches the longest streak fellow Swede Erik Karlsson has ever put together in his career, which is pretty good company.
Also, shouts to Sidney Crosby for matching a career-high this week by recording his fifth-straight multi-point game, a streak that came to an end against the Kings.
Newly acquired Lightning goalie Louis Domingue got a few things off his chest this week on The Lightning Power Play Podcast, and it’s not a good look for the Arizona Coyotes, his former team.
They got [goaltender] Scott Wedgewood and I didn’t think anything of it. I thought it was just another move to get stronger at that position. Then I was on waivers and then I’m [sigh] – this is when the story gets interesting because I got put on waivers, didn’t get claimed, and they didn’t want to send me down to the AHL. They wanted to keep me at home while they were trying to deal me somewhere, trying to find me a spot.
For a good week and a half, I was left without ice or a gym or any support from the team. I was just home waiting for a call. They told me to rent my own ice [chuckles]. I was there – I gave call to my old friend Shane Doan. He came out with me on the ice in the afternoon with his son.
I rented the ice at midnight just to shoot pucks and skate around because I was tired of being at home.
Shocking, the grown man with face paint is acting obnoxious at a hockey game. Also, when did Andy Reid get a job at Amalie Arena?