Mika Zibanejad was looking like the biggest bust of this season near the halfway point.  Well, it's changing pretty quickly and amazingly, it wasn't the Sabres that turned it around.  Last week, Zibanejad had three goals and three assists against the Flyers.  It was so fun that he did it again eight days later!  On Thursday, Zibanejad doubled down with his second natural hat trick and six point game in rapid succession against Philadelphia in the 8-3 win.  That brings him up to 10+16 in 32 games, not exactly lighting the world on fire, but within reason.  He's still over three shots per game, so while a repeat top 20 season is out of play, a top 50 season is still within reason.  As I said at the time, Zibanejad is prone to huge hot streaks, and I think 17 points in 7 games qualifies.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
I was expecting a big bounce back from Nazem Kadri this season in Colorado after being stuck on the third line in Toronto last season.  It hasn't been spectacular, but Kadri has been a hold all season.  He was going through a rough patch with only one point in seven games before Monday, but he broke out in a big way.  Kadri scored two goals on four shots and added an assist in the Colorado victory over Detroit.  Sure, it's Detroit, but three points is three points.  Kadri has already surpassed last season's goal total in 27 less games and the penalty minutes are through the roof.  His spot on the top power play unit appears locked in, therefore making him a hold for the foreseeable future.  The big offseason trade has been a huge win for the Avalanche, no doubt about it.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Life without Couturier hasn't been as good without Claude Giroux.  He started the turnaround on Thursday night.  Giroux scored two goals and two assists with three shots and two PIM in the 5-3 win over Carolina.  That brings Giroux up to 17 points in 22 games, not exactly lighting the world on fire, but the shot rate is the best of his career.  75 shots in 22 games is a huge step forward, and if that continues, we could be looking at a new career high in goals.  Yes, he only has 7 to this point, but we could be on the verge of a heater.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
One of my main focuses as far as team projections go is coaching, especially when it deals with goaltending.  I always love the Isles goalies because of Trotz, or Arizona because of Tocchet.  Well, I made the mistake of not giving enough credit to Dave Tippett going to Edmonton.  Tippett has always had great defensive teams in Arizona, and that's continued in Edmonton.  The biggest beneficiaries have been the goalies, and over the weekend, that was Mikko Koskinen.  Koskinen had a 29 save shutout on Friday against the Devils before saving 31 of 33 shots in the 6-2 win over the Ducks on Sunday.  His numbers are spectacular as are Mike Smith's.  Do I love these guys going forward?  No, I still prefer the Isles guys, for example.  That said, I probably undersold both of these guys.  I think both Koskinen and Smith need to be held and could be decent #2's for the rest of the season.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
While general sports fans were watching playoff baseball (Go Braves!) or Sunday Night Baseball, hockey fans saw one of the best performances of the season take place on the first weekend.  Anthony Mantha scored four goals on eight shot, including the winner in the last minute of the game, to beat the Stars 4-3.  This comes after an incredible performance in his season opener in which he scored a goal and two assists with five shots and four penalty minutes in the upset win over Nashville.  In both games, the players on the top line were at or above 20 minutes each.  That's extremely encouraging for their long-term success.  Obviously we're not expecting Mantha to be a top 25 player all of a sudden, but the potential is there for 30 goals, 50 PIM and a very good shot rate.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: