Two division rivals exploded on Saturday, both winning in dominant 9-2 fashion. Not too often nowadays that you see two 9-2 scores. For Toronto, a 9-2 win against the Ducks certainly wasn't expected, but isn't actually shocking either. On the other hand, Florida blowing Tampa Bay out 9-2 after falling behind in the first 30 seconds of the game qualifies as jaw dropping. Florida is arguably the best team in the league right now, dominating in multiple ways. Matthew Tkachuk is fully back, scoring two goals and two assists with ten PIM in the victory, giving him 13 points in the last five games. Carter Verhaeghe scored two goals and an assist with six shots and two PIM against his former team. He's back on the point of the top unit and with Barkov, making him a top 50 player. Sam Bennett had two goals and two assists iwth three shots and ten PIM. Bennett is firmly on the fringe right now as long as he's with Tkachuk. For Toronto, Auston Matthews had a hat trick and two assists with four shots as he scores goals at an unprecedented rate. Bobby McMann had two goals and an assist with four shots, although I'm still not buying in with his workload. He's bumping up to decent streamer for the time being. Also, if you need short term defensemen help, Timothy Liljegren is on PP1 and dished three assists with Rielly still suspended. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Steve Yzerman can't ask for a better start from his big offseason swing. After his first game without a point as a Red Wing, Alex DeBrincat followed it up with a hat trick and an assist with five shots in Sunday's win over the Flames. That brings DeBrincat to a whopping eight goals and four assists in his first six games with Detroit. He's clicked with Dylan Larkin (two goals and three assists over two games) to give Detroit an elite first line. We've seen DeBrincat score 41 goals twice before playing with Kane, so it's not like this is completely out of nowhere. While this shooting percentage won't last, given how much Detroit is rolling the first line, I'm expecting career highs across the board for DeBrincat. There's a real chance Detroit plays its way into the playoff picture this season if the first line can win its matchups on a regular basis. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Hello everyone. Welcome to the second edition of JOT This Down! It was so nice to have hockey back on the screens after so long without it. The NHL is in a really good place in terms of the level of talent in the league right now. In almost every game, you will see a jaw-dropping play or an unbelievable stat line, sometimes from someone you would have never expected it from. Take Brock Boeser for example (add him if he is somehow available), nobody could have predicted that on opening night, but you never know what will happen in the NHL. That’s why in a sport with a lot of luck and volatility, never get too upset if things don’t go your way. It’s a long season, and there’s always next week to bounce back. Treat it as a hobby and have some fun.
The Jets have been excellent to open the season, but that hasn't stopped them from tweaking things to get better. On Friday, we saw Bowness go back to last season's duo of Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor together, something I've been clamoring for. They notched one goal on Friday by Connor from Dubois, but they went off against Chicago on Sunday. Dubois had two goals on eight shots, while Connor had a goal and two assists with two shots. I've been saying it was a matter of time for Connor to get going, and I think that time is now. He's too talented to not pile up goals. Dubois has been quite good across the board so far this season, but career highs are now in play. The shot rate is fantastic, the PIM are strong, and he's playing at a 40 goal pace. It sucks that they're missing Ehlers indefinitely so they don't have a great second winger, but even still, look for these guys to improve their even strength performance while remaining great on the power play. Let's see what else happened over the weekend:
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:
One of the most popular names discussed in the trade market lately has been J.T. Miller. A big reason is because whoever trades for him would have him signed for next season as well. The main reason is because he's a damn good hockey player and he showed that on Thursday. Miller had a hat trick and an assist with five shots in the 5-1 win over the Jets. Miller is on pace for the best season of his career, which says a lot because he was over a point per game two seasons ago. There's no guarantee Vancouver moves him, but if he does, I'm hesitant to think it would help his trade value. If anything, I would expect it to hurt. He gets massive minutes that he might not get on his new team, including top power play time. I wouldn't necessarily sell high on him, especially two months from the deadline, but it's something to think about. Here's to hoping we don't have to worry about that. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: