November 4 — New Netminders & Taylor’s Thoughts Pt. 2

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

THE OTTAWA “REYN”-ATORS?: The sale of the Ottawa Senators appears to garner some attention from Hollywood, as “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds is reportedly interested in purchasing the franchise if the Melnyk family does intend to sell. Would that mean Hugh Jackman has to make a play for the rival Toronto Maple Leafs?

A HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: Detroit celebrated the 25th anniversary of its 1997 Stanley Cup team with a ceremony that included Red Wings alumni Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidström, and Brendan Shanahan at Little Caesars Arena. What made the night even sweeter was the Red Wings came away with a 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals. 

OVECHKIN TIES HOWE: Scoring the lone goal for the Capitals was Alexander Ovechkin, netting his 786th tally with Washington. That marker tied Gordie Howe’s NHL record for goals with one team (Red Wings), as the final 15 scores of Howe’s career came with the Hartford Whalers. 

PATCHES FOR BIEKSA: After signing a one-day contract to retire with the Vancouver Canucks, defenseman Kevin Bieksa received a proper farewell. Vancouver honored the 13-year veteran by wearing No. 3 Bieksa patches, presenting him with the stanchion from his double-OT 2011 Western Conference Final-winning goal, and the ceremonial puck drop with his daughter, Reese. 

RACE TO 10: Last night, the Vegas Golden Knights and Boston Bruins became the first teams to reach 10 wins in the 2022-23 season. Logan Thompson made 42 saves for the Knights’ sixth consecutive victory in a 4-2 win over the Senators, while David Pastrňák netted his eighth goal of the year to defeat the New York Rangers 5-2 for the Bruins’ seventh straight. At the other end of the standings, the San Jose Sharks dropped their 10th game (3-8-2) in a shootout to the Florida Panthers.

Friday Favorites

Let’s look back at our favorite moments of the week.

A Zegras Exaggeration

When the Anaheim Ducks and the San Jose Sharks squared off on Oct. 1, Ducks forward Trevor Zegras had a funny interaction with Sharks goaltender James Reimer. When Zegras was skating back to the bench, he told Reimer, “Oh, James. What? Because I hit you, you’re upset? I’m 130 pounds,” Reimer asked, “Are you?” to which Zegras responded, “75—on a good day.” At this point, we think no one would contest Zegras being mic’d up for every game! 

Hertl’s Side Gig

NHL Instagram posted a video from the NHL Media Day on Nov. 1, where players were jokingly asked what they do for a living. Every player had a classic response, but Tomáš Hertl’s response may take the cake. He responded, “I’m in a minion fan club.” He was then asked, “Do you make a lot of money?” Hertl responded, “No, but it’s fun.” It was a reference from a road trip to Anaheim in 2014 when he went to Dave and Buster’s for the first time with teammate Matt Nieto. He loved it so much that he went back alone the next day to win prizes, and Nieto mentioned he returned to their hotel room to find that Hertl had three Despicable Me minion stuffed animals on his bed. 

A Revengeful Shorty

Ottawa Senators forward Mathieu Joseph was back in the sunshine state to face his former team, the Tampa Bay Lightning when a special moment for him occurred. The Senators were killing off a five-minute major and minor penalty, causing a five-on-three for the Lightning in the second period. With fewer than 10 seconds remaining on the two-man advantage, Joseph scored a shorthanded goal to put the Senators up 2-1. Recording a huge goal on a former team with which you won two Stanley Cups had to have felt good! 

A Heartfelt Goal

Boston Bruins rookie Jakub Lauko scored his first NHL goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Nov. 1, and instead of keeping the puck for himself, he decided to give it to his late friend Ondřej Buchtela’s mother. Ondřej passed away from cancer, and Lauko said he made a promise to his dear friend two years ago that he would make it to the NHL for him, and with the promise made, he felt it was only proper for the puck to go to Ondřej ‘s mom. What a touching gesture! 

The Fresh Faces Between the Pipes

By just about any performance metric—whether wins, goals-against average (GAA), or save percentage (SV%)—relative newcomers are making their presence known amongst the goaltending ranks. While we have to acknowledge the possibility that this could be the product of small, early-season sample sizes, it’s exciting to think that the next generation of star NHL netminders could be arriving, similar to what we’ve seen among blueliners in recent years.

With the added “it’s still early” caveat that takes all the fun out of over-reacting to league trends after 10 or so games, let’s look at some of these new tenders on the rise:

Jake Oettinger

Jake Oettinger, Dallas Stars. (Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Anyone who watched Jake Oettinger nearly single-handedly steal last year’s first-round series against the Calgary Flames won’t be entirely surprised by his success as the clear No. 1 in the Dallas Stars net. Oettinger ranks near the top in GAA (1.40) and SV% (.952) after sporting a 1.81 GAA and .954 SV% last May. Let’s not forget, however, that his postseason “breakthrough” lasted just seven games. This season represents the 23-year-old’s first as an undisputed starter at the NHL level. And up until being slowed by a lower-body injury, he’s making it count.

Logan Thompson

Goaltending was arguably the biggest of the many questions facing the Vegas Golden Knights after a disappointing season followed by the loss of forward Max Pacioretty (trade) and starting goalie Robin Lehner (hip surgery). Like many other early questions involving the club, this answer came emphatically. Buoyed by solid support from Adin Hill, Logan Thompson has already posted two shutouts as part of a stellar start. The 25-year-old is one of the main reasons behind the team’s blazing 10-2-0 start.

Stuart Skinner

Things could be getting awkward quickly in the Edmonton Oilers’ crease. Jack Campbell, the big-ticket free agent, has struggled but isn’t going anywhere with four years and $20 million remaining on his deal after this season. Enter unheralded backup, Stuart Skinner. Taking on a more significant role than expected, albeit in a small sample size, Skinner has offered Oilers fans a possible glimpse of their future with an ultimately unsustainable 1.59 GAA and .955 SV% in four games.

Ilya Samsonov

Ilya Samsonov, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

For as bad as it might seem in Toronto right now for angst-ridden Maple Leafs fans, it could be worse. After Matt Murray went down to injury after just one appearance, all the pressure fell on Ilya Samsonov, hardly a proven No. 1 netminder in his own right. And yet, he’s been one of the few bright spots amidst a challenging start for the Maple Leafs, backstopping all five of the team’s wins while sporting a 2.30 GAA and .920 SV%.

First Month of the 2022-23 Season – Told by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is back to break down the NHL’s opening month for us. Today she shares her thoughts on the Western Conference. Enjoy!

Central Division

“The 1” to watch in the Central was the St. Louis Blues, who had a disappointing first month with a 3-5-0 record. They finished seventh in the division, barely ahead of the Arizona Coyotes, who played their first game at Mullet Arena, which “Hits Different” due to its 4,600 capacity. “If This Was A Movie,” the Minnesota Wild would have had a much better start as they didn’t earn a regulation win until Oct. 25. Minnesota finished the month ranked fifth in the division, tied with the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche. After a mediocre start, you have to wonder if the Avalanche players text Nazem Kadri, saying, “All You Had to Do Was Stay.” 

“Hold On,” the Nashville Predators finished the first month of the season with a points percentage of .389. “Dear John” Hynes, how could your team lose to the Columbus Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers? “I Knew You Were Trouble,” Chicago Blackhawks, but I was not expecting you to finish third in the Central with four points and 10 wins, but there you are! The Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets are the teams to beat as both finished October with a division-leading 11 points, which leads to the “Question,” can you remain “Untouchable” at the top?

Pacific Division

We knew “All Too Well” that it would not take the Vegas Golden Knights long to reclaim the top of the Pacific Division, winning eight of their first ten games. There is still “Bad Blood” between the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames, who already faced off twice this season, with each team earning a win. “Long Live” the Los Angeles Kings, continuing to be the team to beat in California as they finished October with a six-point advantage over the San Jose Sharks. The Bay Area doesn’t need to fret, though, because Erik Karlsson has re-emerged and earned 11 points through the first month of the season, and speaking for all Sharks fans, “We Were Happy.”

Anaheim was sadly on “The Outside” looking in, as the Ducks only won two out of nine games. Thankfully, they traded for Dmitry Kulikov in “August,” which will help keep them afloat while Jamie Drysdale is out. Very little has gone right for the Vancouver Canucks over the past few weeks, but fans just had to sit and “Tolerate It” as the team did not celebrate their first win until Oct. 27 against the Seattle Kraken, who wrapped up the month with a 4-4-2 record.

NHL Standings

NHL’s Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule