It wasn't the best start to the season for the defending Stanley Cup Champions, who were 4-4-1 in October.  Time off before playing the Blue Jackets twice in Finland was just what they needed to get back on track.  Colorado won 6-3 on Friday before winning 5-1 on Saturday.  The stars led the way in both games.  Nathan MacKinnon dished seven assists between the two games, Mikko Rantanen had a hat trick on Friday, totaling 3+2, while Cale Makar had a goal and four assists.  Columbus is a complete disaster defensively, but it's great to see Colorado's stars continue to dominate.  Sadly, their weekend ended on a somber note with the passing of Peter McNab.  He was one of the best TV analysts in the league and he will be sorely missed.  Thankfully, he survived his illness long enough to get to see the Avalanche win the Cup again.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The Canucks have been showing signs of life lately, especially offensively.  Right now, there's no better cure for early season woes than going against the Ducks.  On Thursday, Vancouver scored eight goals, and their big offseason acquisition led the way.  Andrei Kuzmenko had a hat trick and an assist, giving him eight points in his last four games.  He's found great chemistry with Pettersson (more on him later) and Kuzmenko has kept his spot on the first power play unit.  He's on the fringe, but for now, I would definitely hold while he's this hot.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The Sabres got off to a hot start this season despite their top line struggling to get on the scoresheet.  On Saturday, they started the turnaround against the Blackhawks, but that game paled in comparison to what they did on Monday.  Against the Red Wings, the Sabres scored eight goals, led by their $50 million man, Tage Thompson.  Thompson had the game of the early season, scoring three goals, dishing three assists, and putting nine total shots on goal.  All it took was two games for Thompson to turn his October into a monster month with 6+6 in nine games with over four shots per game.  Granato told him that he needed to start shooting the puck more, and that's turned into 25 shots in the past three games alone.  Obviously he's not going to keep up that rate, but Thompson could turn into a top 50 player if he pushes his shot rate to over four per game.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
In terms of expected goals and puck possession, the Devils have been the best team in October, bar none.  They've been absolutely dominant and earned every single bit of their 6-3 record.  Their most impressive win came on Friday beating the Avalanche 1-0, and they followed that up with a complete demolition of Columbus, 7-1.  The common denominator?  Vitek Vanecek started both of these games.  Vanecek saved all 24 shots from Colorado before saving 20 of 21 shots from the Blue Jackets.  We're looking at a time share in New Jersey, but Vanecek appears to have grabbed the upper hand for now.  Before the season, I had little interest in either of their goalies.  Now, with how well they're playing, both could be owned in 12'ers, but Vanecek definitely has to be.  Ride the hot hand while you can.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The Coyotes are stuck in a continual rebuild, but acquiring Shayne Gostisbehere has been one of the bright spots.  Inexplicably, the Flyers gave a second round pick for Arizona to take Ghost Bear, only to give up a first and other assets to get Risto from the Sabres.  Woof.  Now, the Desert Dogs have rebuilt Gostisbehere's value.  He scored two goals and an assist with four shots in the 6-3 win over the Blue Jackets on Tuesday.  that gives him 4+4 in six games this season.  In five of those games, he has at least four shots on goal.  Yes, the plus-minus is bad, but those PPP are excellent.  Even if Chychrun returns and play games, I can't imagine Gostisbehere losing his PP1 spot.  Unless your league puts a big priority on plus-minus, he needs to be held everywhere.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
With Tyler Bertuzzi injured and Jakub Vrana in the league's assistance program (best wishes to him), the Red Wings needed somebody to step up on left winger.  Dominik Kubalik, come on down!  Kubalik wasn't given a qualifying offer by the Blackhawks after last season, leaving him to sign in Detroit as a free agent.  The first two weeks couldn't have gone better, especially the last weekend.  Kubalik had a goal and an assist with 4 shots against the Blackhawks on Friday, before having a goal and two assists with six shots against the Ducks on Sunday.  With eight points in his last four games, Kubalik is in must-own territory right now.  There's no guarantee it lasts, but he's shown he can thrive next to Larkin and Kubalik has been a 30 goal scorer before, so we know he has the upside.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
During the longest playoff drought in NHL history, there have been plenty of hot starts from the Sabres.  While I still expect that drought to extend for another season, Thursday's game against the Flames felt different.  Coming off a win that they stole in Edmonton, the Sabres came in with house money.  They got a 4-1 lead before giving a goal with 1.6 seconds left in the second that the linesman inexplicably kicked into the middle of the ice.  Then, the Flames scored a minute into the third.  Old Sabres teams would have collapsed, but this one took over the rest of the game, winning 6-3 and being the better team against an elite Calgary team.  Leading the way was Alex Tuch, scoring a hat trick to give him five goals in the past three games.  Tuch has at least three shots on goal in all four games this season.  Buffalo's schedule for the rest of the month?  Vancouver, Seattle, Montreal, Chicago and Detroit.  Yeah, Tuch definitely needs to be held for the time being.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: 
Vancouver has managed to blow multi-goal leads in each of their first four games.  Pretty remarkable stuff that already has Boudreau on the hot seat.  The good news is that there's still been some offensive bright spots for the Canucks, and Elias Pettersson is leading the way.  Pettersson had five points over the last two nights, totaling two goals, three assists, and six shots in the two games.  That brings Pettersson to 3+3 in four games, along with 3.5 shots per game.  That's a good start to one of my bold predictions of the season, which is that Pettersson will score 45+ goals this year.  Time will tell if that pans out, but I have no doubt that Pettersson can be a top 25 player despite the low penalty minutes.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Kevin Fiala's first two games for the Kings left a lot to be desired.  He didn't generate much in terms of chances, he took a stupid penalty in their opener against Vegas, and his ice time suffered as a result.  His old team, the Wild, were coming off giving up seven goals against the Rangers and were big favorites to get their first win of the season.  Instead, the Wild gave up seven goals again, with the Los Angeles top line leading the way.  Fiala scored a goal and two assists with six shots in the 7-6 win, while Anze Kopitar dished three assists and Adrian Kempe scored two goals and an assist with three shots and four PIM.  My biggest takeaway from this trio in the early going is that I was too low on Kempe this season.  While he's not the focal point of the power play anymore, he's still vital to its success, and the addition of Fiala strengthened the top line.  All of them are easy holds at the moment and I don't expect that to change.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Friday and Saturday:
One of the highest variance players for fantasy hockey this season is Logan Thompson.  You can't ask for much of a better start.  Thompson had a 27 save shutout on Thursday, and the Golden Knights needed every bit of it in the 1-0 win over the Blackhawks.  He also had 27 saves on 30 shots in the first Vegas win, 4-3 over the Kings.  I liked Thompson as a #2 this year, and this start makes me feel better about it.  It's not going to be smooth, but that happens for only a few goalies in the entire league.  Outside of the worst matchups, I feel good about rolling Thompson against everybody for the time being.  Let's see what else happened on Thursday: 
With all of the Boston injuries to start the season, there was no easing David Krejci back into the NHL after a year in Czechia.  In the season opener, Krejci delivered and then some.  He scored a goal and two assists, one of which came on the power play, in the 5-2 win over the Capitals.  Krejci went right onto the first power play unit and was excellent on the second line with David Pastrnak (goal, three assists, six shots) so as long as you're okay with below average shots, you can hold Krejci.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We're finally at opening night for the NHL season after two day games in Europe at the end of last week.  I'll be back on Thursday doing my usual daily notes for the first two nights, but today, I want to hit on a few topics quickly.  I want to discuss both games in Europe and what I took away from the Predators and Sharks.  Then, I want to do a quick preview of Tuesday's and Wednesday's games highlighting some stuff that I'll hit on in Thursday's post.  Then, I want to mention a few teams I'm higher and lower on than consensus when it comes to this season's expectations.  Let's get to it!