October 21 — Surprises, Disappointments & Weekend Watching

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

NO. 1 FOR NO. 1: It was a memorable night for Juraj Slafkovský at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Thursday, as the 2022 No. 1 overall pick scored his first NHL goal in the Canadiens’ 6-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Slafkovský’s goal came in the fifth game of the 18-year-old’s NHL career.

SULLIVAN EARNS 300: Mike Sullivan won his 300th game as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, as the Pens routed the Los Angeles Kings 6-1. Sullivan, who spent 2003-06 with the Boston Bruins (70-56-38), has gone 300-156-55 in Pittsburgh since joining the team on Dec. 12, 2015.

THE DAHLIN(G) OF BUFFALO: On Thursday, Rasmus Dahlin became the first defenseman in NHL history to score in each of his team’s first four games of the season and only the second defenseman to have a four-game goal streak at any time for the Buffalo Sabres (Phil Housley, 1988). Dahlin added an assist to finish with two points in Buffalo’s 6-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. 

BACKUP LOCKED DOWN: Yesterday, the Flames signed backup goaltender Dan Vladar to a two-year, $4.4 million extension, keeping the netminder in Calgary for a couple more seasons. Vladar, 16-8-3 in 29 games (25 starts), has a 2.88 goals-against average, with a .902 save percentage and two shutouts with the Flames and Bruins. 

REVERSE RETRO 2.0: Adidas released the 2022-23 versions of the NHL Reverse Retro jerseys on Thursday, two years after its initial design. With the production of the jerseys taking 18-24 months to produce, Adidas worked with haste to create a second iteration of the collection. Jerseys will be available for purchase starting Nov. 15. 

Friday Favorites

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

Slaf’s Big Moment

It has been a whirlwind of a few months for Juraj Slafkovský. Six days after being selected first by the Montreal Canadiens at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, he signed a three-year entry-level contract. Slafkovský made his Bell Centre and NHL debut on Oct. 12, and Thursday night celebrated his first career goal in front of the home crowd. After the game, he said scoring his first goal in that building was a dream come true. Congrats, Slaf!

Tanev’s Trend

Members of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association had some fun on media day and took a page out of Brandon Tanev‘s book by mimicking his now-famous headshot. Two seasons ago, Tanev’s Seattle Kraken media photo went viral, leading to other athletes replicating the look, including DeeJay Dallas of the Seattle Seahawks and Tanev’s former teammate, Kasperi Kapanen.

Sharks Finally Get the ‘W’

It’s been a rough few weeks for San Jose Sharks fans as they dropped their first five games. On Thursday night, they earned an exciting victory as Erik Karlsson scored the game-winning goal 49 seconds into overtime. It was an impressive individual effort by the 32-year-old and his second tally this season. As well as David Quinn’s first win as the Sharks’ head coach coming against his former team, the New York Rangers. 

What’s On Tap This Weekend

It’s Friday, and we are on the cusp of a perfect weekend to enjoy the fall colors and get in some late Halloween preparations—just kidding! Given what the NHL has on tap over a loaded slate of hockey, there’s no way you’ll want to get off the couch long enough for any of that!

Here’s what you’re really going to be doing. These are the must-watch games coming up this weekend:

Tampa Bay Lightning @ Florida Panthers (Friday)

Steven Stamkos of the Lightning and Aleksander Barkov of the Panthers (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

This year’s battle of Florida gets underway tonight, with the Panthers set to host the slow-starting Lightning. When these teams last saw each other, Tampa made surprisingly quick work of their in-state rivals during a 4-0 sweep in the Eastern Conference semifinals. To regroup, Florida went out and landed Matthew Tkachuk, who quickly let his hatred for the 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup champs be known.

Seattle Kraken @ Colorado Avalanche (Friday)

André Burakovsky is off to a strong start (two goals and three assists in five games) with his new team in Seattle, and now he gets to return to Ball Arena to collect his Stanley Cup ring as a member of last year’s Avalanche. Though he missed the last few games after breaking his thumb in Game 2 of the Cup Final, Burakovsky will surely be excited about the reunion.

Carolina Hurricanes @ Calgary Flames (Saturday)

Elias Lindholm, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Only Elias Lindholm remains from the Dougie Hamilton blockbuster trade between the Carolina Hurricanes and Calgary Flames in June 2018 (which also involved Adam Fox, incidentally). However, this potential Stanley Cup Final matchup still carries several intriguing storylines. Don’t expect an explosion of goals here, considering the Flames and Hurricanes have combined to allow just 11 goals in six games.

St. Louis Blues @ Edmonton Oilers | Colorado Avalanche @ Vegas Golden Knights (Saturday)

Apart from the Flames (and maybe the Dallas Stars), these two Saturday tilts represent the best of the Western Conference. Will the Edmonton Oilers answer some questions following a shaky start to the season? Can the Vegas Golden Knights secure a statement win over the reigning champs to cement their hot start? Can the Avs overcome a tough back-to-back, complete with a one-hour time change, to top Vegas?

MSk8 Debate 💬

With the Reverse Retro 2.0 jerseys dropping on Thursday, you would think we would take this time to discuss our thoughts. However, with Brooke off last night, we wanted to wait for our entire team to weigh in on Adidas’ new creations. Therefore, our Morning Skate team picks their biggest surprises and disappointments through the early stages of regular season play.


Surprise: I know they lost last night in overtime, but I’m not sure anyone wants to play the Dallas Stars right now. The offense is still coming along with Jason Robertson getting his legs back following an offseason holdout, but Pete DeBoer has infused this team with a serious defensive identity. Backing that up is Jake Oettinger, who is making an early case for the Vezina Trophy.

Disappointment: It’s a toss-up between the Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks, but let’s go with the Wild, considering the expectations in place. Minnesota was a 113-point team a year ago, and now it needed an overtime victory over the struggling Canucks to remove the zero from their win column. For Minnesota, the entire season may hinge on whether Marc-André Fleury can put his slow start behind him.


Surprise: I think the Boston Bruins have surprised a lot of people. Their current record is 4-1-0, leading the league with eight points. It’s an impressive start, considering Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy are out with injuries. Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak continue to lead the way for their club, but the emergence of A.J. Greer, who they acquired over the summer, could be the biggest surprise, with five points in five games. 

Disappointment: It has to be the Vancouver Canucks. They became the first team in NHL history to lose their first four games of a season by blowing a multi-goal lead, and on Thursday night did it again, giving the Minnesota Wild their first win of the season. It’s never a good sign when the team calls for a player’s only meeting three games into the season. 


Surprise: My biggest surprises have to be the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers. Two teams that made minimal moves in the offseason and were in line to struggle this year have jumped out to identical 3-1-0 records. What’s even more impressive for the Sabres is that they are 2-0-0 on the road after going 15-21-5 away from KeyBank Center last season. 

Disappointment: Although it would be easy to point at the Tampa Bay Lightning or Washington Capitals as disappointments due to their slow starts this season, I think it’s still too early to count either team out of the running. However, one club that did need a hot start to prove they were through their rebuild and have yet to deliver is the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim had a lot of offensive hype coming into the year but is 1-3-1 and tied for the worst goal differential in the league. 

NHL Standings

NHL’s Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule