I hate titling the article like something posted on NHL.com… Everything posted there has to be super corny or a terrible pun. Today, I couldn’t help myself. There were some surprising performances around the league the first couple nights of the NHL season and one unbelievable, dare I say, Wild, comeback. Okay, I’ll see myself out…And we’re back! The Wild were down 4-1 going into the third period only to score 4 goals in 5:07 to take a 5-4 lead. Leading the way in the comeback was Zach Parise, scoring the first hat trick of the young season on 6 shots. The Sharks came out and after giving up a goal in the second minute, dominated the Kings for the last 58 . The Jets took it to the Bruins in Boston with a balanced attack leading Winnipeg to a 6-2 victory. The team many were picking to light the league on fire, the Pens, were shut out by my favorite long shot Cup contender, Dallas, 3-0. The biggest thing to do after one game is not overreact but there were some interesting developments and key notes to be made. Let’s take a closer look!
Max Pacioretty – Scored two goals on 5 shots, ended +2. One was an empty netter but they all count the same to us! You almost expect this from Patches against Toronto.
P.K. Subban – 3 assists and +3. Only 1 shot but can’t complain about the overall performance.
Carey Price – In a game Toronto surprisingly controlled, the Canadiens’ superstars came to play on opening night. Price started this year where he left off last season. 36 saves on 37 shots in the win.
James Van Riemsdyk – Scored the lone Toronto goal on the power play; added 4 shots and was -1. This will probably a common line for JVR. Getting a point with good shots but ending up a minus.
Henrik Lundqvist – 29 saves on 31 shots in the win. Had zero chance on either goal and saved the Rangers late in the game. The King stay The King.
Oscar Lindberg – Scored on his first shift in his NHL debut with 3 total shots in the game. He’s an intriguing player to watch in shallow leagues and worth having on your bench in 16+ team leagues. Lindberg won’t get much PP time barring an injury but he should be able to replicate what Kevin Hayes did last year for the Rangers as a rookie (45 points).
Derek Stepan – Scored on a goal assisted by both his linemates (Chris Kreider & Hayes). They were buzzing all night long and could have had 3+ goals if Kreider buried his chances. This line has tons of potential and if for some reason Hayes wasn’t drafted in your league, go pick him up.
Artemi Panarin – Looked excellent in his debut scoring a goal on a nifty feed from Patrick Kane. The best sign was that he played 17 minutes. Panarin should have a big role going forward and is a must add.
Teuvo Teravainen – Just like Panarin, played 17 minutes and scored in his first chance on the Blackhawks top line. Another must add.
Daniel Sedin – A goal, two assists, +3 and a whopping 7 shots in his season debut. I expected Vancouver to be dominated by Calgary but it was Vancouver who controlled the game getting some revenge for their playoff loss to the Flames last year. Sedin looked incredible and if he starts shooting like he did a few years ago, he’d be a great player to target in a trade. Keep monitoring this situation.
Brandon Sutter – Took advantage of being on the first line with the Sedins to score a goal, add an assist, be +3 and play a staggering 20:47. To be blunt, Sutter isn’t a particularly good hockey player but the Canucks seem to think he is with the big contract they gave him and almost anyone can succeed with the Sedins. I’m not convinced he holds this spot long term over Radim Vrbata (6 shots Wednesday) but as long as Sutter sticks on the first power play. he’s worth a roster spot.
Ryan Miller – 29 saves on 30 shots. Played very well and didn’t let Calgary back in the game. The key is to not overreact to one game, the Canucks roster is still super thin but if they get off to a good start, Miller can be a good sell-high candidate.
Brent Burns – 1+1 (1 STP), +2 and 4 shots in a dominating win by the Sharks. He should continue to get big minutes (24:21 yesterday despite the blowout) and be a focal point of the Sharks attack.
Joe Pavelski – Same exact statline as Daniel Sedin (1+2, +3, 7 SOG) for The Big Pavelski. The Sharks first line was buzzing all night and should continue to do so.
Joe Thornton – Scored a goal and added an assist. He actually shot the puck on a 2 on 1!
Joonas Donskoi – Like a lot of players on Wednesday, Donskoi scored in his NHL debut. Pavelski’s shot hit Donskoi before it crossed the line but again, they all count the same! I mentioned Donskoi as someone to watch in my Wednesday preview and he looked the part on the first line. That said, I’m not rushing to add him yet in 12 man leagues because he only played 9:46 and didn’t get any power play time. Keep him on your watch list though.
Tomas Hertl – Scored a power play goal. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come and he returns to his form from 2013-14, especially since I had him ranked higher than anywhere else!
Martin Jones – 19 saves on 20 shots in his Sharks debut. Gave up a goal less than 2 minutes in but didn’t give up anything the rest of the game, albeit facing a small total of shots.
Milan Lucic – -2 and 1 shot but added 10 PIM and 5 hits. Lucic was crushed cleanly when he stepped out of the box and felt the need to go after Logan Couture in retaliation. Lucic is still the same clown he was in Boston which is good for fantasy purposes. The first line looked horrible but again, it’s only one game.
Jonathan Quick – 27 saves on 32 shots. Despite the horrible numbers, those numbers are more indicative of the Kings in front of him than Quick himself. I had Quick ranked lower than most places because his postseason success hasn’t translated to regular season success most years but don’t overreact to this bad game.
Ondrej Pavelec – Played amazing stopping 29 of 31 shots in a Jets 6-2 victory. The Jets should be very good again and that bodes well for Pavelec. Hopefully last year is the goalie he is now and not the goalie from the Atlanta days.
Alex Burmistrov – Goal, assist and 2 PIM in his return to Winnipeg from the KHL. He was developing into a solid two-way player before suddenly bolting to the KHL. He’s worth monitoring, especially in deep leagues.
Tuukka Rask – 26 saves on 31 shots. Not a good game from the Bruins in general which is part of the problem with Rask now. He’s a great goalie but the team in front of him has gotten much worse. His save percentage will be among the best but expect his GAA to be in the middle of the pack.
David Pastrnak – Goal on 3 shots. Liking him more and more this season.
Jack Eichel – Goal in his first career game. I LIKE EICH!
Robin Lehner – Left the game injured and it doesn’t look short term. In deep leagues, if you are desperate, Chad Johnson (8 saves on 9 shots) will be the main goalie going forward.
Kyle Turris – 2 goals, both assisted by Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman. Dominated the game at times. This line has 70 point potential across the board and should dominate games at times.
Craig Anderson – 26 saves on 27 shots. Looked controlled most of the game. He has a good chance of locking down the starting job before Andrew Hammond returns.
Jonathan Drouin – 2 assists playing 15 minutes on the first line. The potential is through the roof for the wunderkind with Steven Stamkos.
Ryan Callahan – Goal and assist as the third wheel on the Stamkos line. I’m not sure if he’ll stick on the top line but he’s a must add while he’s on it.
Jason Garrison – 2 goals on 4 shots, including the OT winner. 3 on 3 overtime is bonkers! Garrison is a good source of shots and +/- as a defenseman so if you’re weak at the bottom of your fantasy roster, he’s worth the speculative add. He’d be a stud if either Victor Hedman or Anton Stralman were injured.
Cam Talbot – 28 saves on 30 shots in the Oilers loss. Despite not getting the win, a strong performance from Prince Cam in his first game as the main guy in Edmonton.
Vladimir Tarasenko – Goal on 3 shots. Almost expected at this point for him against a bottom feeder like Edmonton.
Jaden Schwartz – 2 assists and 2 shots. Wasn’t hurt being on a different line than Tarasenko.
Robby Fabbri – Scored on an excellent feed from Jori Lehtera. The Blues have high hopes for Fabbri going forward and is worth monitoring on the new offensive zone start line for the Blues.
Seth Jones – Two secondary assists and 2 shots in 21 minutes. He’s still being blocked by Shea Weber and Roman Josi from a prime opportunity but if one of those two were injured, Jones would be a top 20 defenseman going forward. He’s a good stash in shallow leagues and worth owning just for that potential in deep leagues since he will be serviceable regardless.
Pekka Rinne – 25 saves on 26 shots, lost the shutout with less than 2 minutes remaining in the game on a poor tie-up by Weber. Quality start to the season nonetheless; should repeat last season with the incredible depth the Predators have in front of him.
Antti Niemi – Recorded the aforementioned shutout in his Stars debut stopping all 37 shots. I have Niemi as my 2nd goalie in a few RCL’s and love every part of it. He has the chance to be a number 1 goalie behind this loaded Stars team.
Ales Hemsky – Goal and an assist despite starting on the third line. He’s made of glass and doesn’t hold much value barring an injury to a winger in the Stars top 6 but he’s worth keeping an eye on.
Jamie Benn – Power play goal with 2 shots and 2 PIM. Jamie Benn doing Jamie Benn things.
Kris Letang – 8 shots on goal playing 28+ minutes. If Letang is playing 28 minutes a game this year, he’s scoring 70 points. Book it. How ESPN ranked him outside the top 100 is beyond me.
Phil Kessel – 6 shots in his Pens debut. Goals, they will be coming.
Mikael Granlund – 2 assists playing 21:28. A little concerning that he took 0 shots but Parise was in the zone. Granlund has the potential for a Henrik Sedin type of season; 50+ assists but with a horrible shot total.
Jason Pominville – 2 assists, 2 shots and +3. Good time to be on the first line in Minnesota.
Thomas Vanek – Goal on 4 shots. The 4 shots are the good sign; if he gets his shot total to 3 per game like it has been in the past, he should approach 30 goals again.
Francois Beauchemin – 3 assists in his Avalanche debut with 3 shots. I mentioned him as a late round flier and he’s worth a speculative add in place of your last defenseman. He looks primed to have a good offensive role for the Avs.
Gabriel Landeskog – Goal and 4 PIM. Looks set to play with Nathan MacKinnon (2 assists, 5 shots) this season which will only help them both.
That’s a wrap on the first two nights of the hockey season. As always, feel free to comment on your thoughts on the games plus any fantasy questions you have below. I’ll have a weekend roundup posted early Monday morning. Have a good weekend Razzball Nation!