With almost the entire league in action on Monday, we were hoping for some entertaining hockey. We got that and then some. We had the Sabres come back from 2-0 down with an ECHL goalie who hasn't played any game in over a year to beat the Islanders. Colorado came back from two down in the third twice to beat the Sharks. Montreal scored in the last minute of the game before winning in OT against the Leafs. The Wild were down 2 with 10 minutes, then tied the game with the goalie pulled and won in regulation against Vegas. Even for teams that didn't finish them off, the Stars came back from two down in the third to get a point. Also, Columbus came back from 3-0 down in the third to tie it and lose in overtime. Nights like Monday are a reminder of why hockey is incredible during the regular season. Let's take a look at what happened in each game on Monday night:
As President of the “Mark Stone Fan Club” going back to 2014, it’s great to see him playing at an all-world level. Stone had two assists with two shots on Friday before adding a goal and an assist with three shots on Sunday, both against the Ducks. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Things have taken a dramatic turn for the fourth playoff spot in the West division. With the Blues crumbling, Arizona has played its way into the fourth spot. They opened up a three point lead on Sunday night, almost exclusively because of Jakob Chychrun. Chychrun had the first hat trick of his career, tying the game late in the third before scoring the winner in overtime. That gives him twelve goals on the season pushing towards three shots per game and with elite penalty minutes. He's a solid #2 for this season, but what's the long term ceiling? Chychrun just turned 23 years old and this jump in shot rate does a lot for his long term value. In terms of dynasties, Chychrun has shown me enough this year to warrant a spot in the bottom of the top ten for defensemen, making him a #1D. He's a stud, plain and simple. Arizona has been a surprise offensively, and a lot of it has to do with their kingpin defenseman. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Injuries have robbed us of an amazing Cale Makar season. The good news is that he's back now and dominating games on a consistent basis. Makar had three assists with four shots in Colorado's 5-2 win over the Ducks on Monday. That brings Makar up to a point per game on the season with a +12 rating in 22 games that isn't a fluke at all. We've seen a slight uptick in his shot rate this season, but a big jump there is what it will take for Makar to move into being a top five defenseman instead of being a middling to bottom end #1. With how well he plays in his age 22 season, I have no doubt that it's coming. For dynasties, I think he has to be the top defenseman. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Tristan Jarry had his best game of the season on Monday night stopping 42 of 43 shots in the 4-1 win over the Bruins. He's crossed both hockey versions of the Mendoza line and the wins are strong, but it's still not pretty overall. However, I'm very bullish on Jarry and Casey DeSmith going forward. The Penguins are playing much better lately and their schedule going forward is outstanding. They still have six games with the Sabres and all eight games against the Devils. That means half of their remaining games are against teams that they should handle with ease. Think of how well goalies like Andersen normally rank at the end of the season because of how many wins they get. Both Pens goalies should have those kind of numbers in the second half. It's hard to say how the starts will be split, but if you're desperate for goalie help, I'm fine with holding DeSmith, and Jarry is a nice trade target. Let's take a look at what else happened on Monday night:
Going into the season, I was high on Aaron Ekblad because the reports out of Florida were that Yandle was going to get scratched to open the season and his future was in doubt. One bout of COVID later, and Yandle was in opening night and scored. For the bad luck I've had on rankings this year , Yandle has not impacted Ekblad one bit. Ekblad had hit a bit of a rough patch over the last week, but he fixed that in a big way on Thursday. Ekblad scored two goals and added two assists with six shots in the 5-4 win over the Predators. That brings Ekblad to 8+7 in 22 games, an incredible rate of goals for a defenseman. Add in three shots per game and strong PIM, and Ekblad has a chance at finishing as a #2D this season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
In their last two games, Florida has put a whopping 94 shots on goal. Incredibly, they only scored two goals. Anton Khudobin was robbed off a win on Monday stopping 49 of 51 shots so he decided to one up that performance on Wednesday. Khudobin posted a 43 save shutout to get the Stars back on track. I was high on Khudobin going into the season because of the absence of Bishop. The one problem for Khudobin is with the Stars being delayed for COVID, that's more games later in the schedule when Bishop should be back. Regardless, Khudobin should be the workhorse for at least one more month and should be a #1 goalie in the meantime. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Your early leader in goals two weeks through the season is Max Pacioretty. Patches had a hat trick on Tuesday putting eight shots on goal in the process while adding two penalty minutes. That gives Patches six goals in seven games, along with a whopping 32 shots in 7 games. His linemate, Mark Stone, has arguably been the best player in the league to this point, so the opportunities are going to be there for Patches to have a monster season. After a disappointing first year in Vegas, Patches has really found his game again. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
I don’t think most people know that Travis Konecny led the Flyers in both goals and points last season. He’s on his way to a repeat in the early going. Konecny had a hat trick against the Penguins on Friday night which also dishing an assist. Please, blog, may I have some more?
There’s been plenty of young players that have been hyped as breakout candidates, and one that has been generally overlooked is Joel Farabee. The former first round pick is getting a big opportunity on Philadelphia this season and he took full advantage of it on Wednesday. Please, blog, may I have some more?