(Life’s busy — it’s not always easy to stay on top of everything happening around the NHL. So in case you missed it, here are some of the best and worst highlights of the week.)
There were a lot of good candidates this week.
Steven Stamkos continued to starch the opposition with a tidy two-goal, two-assist game against the Stars. Mikko Rantanen also had a four-point night against the Capitals, the same game that Gabe Landeskog picked up his first ever hatty. Speaking of first ever hat tricks, there were many. Artem Anisimov got his, as did Teuvo Teravainen and Miles Wood, who both finished with four-point nights. But we’re going to give the edge to Wood, because it was more unexpected and he did it in only 13 minutes of ice time to Teravainen’s 17.
There was a lot of pizza being served up in Thursday’s game between the Canucks and Golden Knights. Brock Boeser scored on a brutal giveaway by Oscar Lindberg, but it wasn’t nearly as hilarious as Derrick Pouliot’s horrendous pair of turnovers that led to Jonathan Marchessault’s back-breaking goal.
Nicest Individual Goal
Dylan Larkin’s pull up and shoot against the Calgary Flames deserves some recognition. Not the most jaw-dropping goal, but the head fake, toe drag and top-shelf snipe were all money.
Best Squad Goal
This could probably go to Tampa’s trio of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Vladislav Namestnikov every time, but they have been outdone for at least one week, which is funny because there’s an argument to be made they deserved it with this one right here. Carolina’s Jordan Staal, Teravainen and Sebastian Aho came close with this tic-tac-toe goal, but this one by the Oilers was just a cut above. Harlem Globetrotters-esque.
Players have been using the end boards to make plays with more frequency in recent years, but it’s not often you see it work out as perfectly as it did for Dylan Larkin. From the far blue line to the boards and right on the stick of Justin Abdelkader for a goal.
There were some incredible saves this week, like this desperation stop from Matt Murray, and this slick stacked-pad robbery by John Gibson, but none were as impressive as Sergei Bobrovsky’s pair of saves this week.
On Saturday, he made what will probably go down as the save of the year with a show-stopper (on a 2-on-0!) against the Wings in OT, and in his very next start he made what could go down as the second best save of the year with a stretched-out blocker save against the Canadiens. Incredible stuff.
Sure Alex DeBrincat is a natural goal-scorer, but yeesh, this is just bad by Henrik Lundqvist.
Despite all the first-ever hat tricks that were scored this week, and Tomas Plekanec dropping the gloves for the first time in 941 career games, we’d be remiss not to shout out Ryan Johansen for finally scoring his first goal of the season. It wasn’t pretty, but they all count. It also broke Devan Dubnyk’s three-game shutout streak, so that’s fun.
Nikolaj Ehlers was probably just hoping to avoid causing a goal against when his skate blade broke versus the Arizona Coyotes. He certainly wasn’t thinking of setting up a goal when he flipped the puck out of danger and headed to the bench. But, hey, sometimes the bounces go your way. Joel Armia managed to tip the puck in the air and evade two checks before ripping a wrister past Antti Raanta.
Claude Julien was not pleased with his team’s effort in Montreal’s 5-4 loss to the Coyotes.
“We didn’t respect our game plan. I’m not saying we didn’t respect the opponent, but we didn’t respect our game plan because we thought it was going to be easy. For two days we talked about this. Unacceptable, embarrassing — that’s what we were tonight.”
Best Shootout Goal
It’s not original, because he does it literally every time, but Patrik Laine’s go-to shootout move is a thing of beauty and he pulled it off again against the Flyers.
Patrik Laine has scored his first four career shootout goals with the exact same move pic.twitter.com/2TItVhkfJj
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) November 17, 2017
Most Reckless Play
Radko Gudas, not cool dude. You know you messed up bad when almost everybody in the hockey world agrees on something.
Big Buff is a wrecking ball. His hit on (much smaller) Jordan Weal this week proved that again.
Old time hockey returned to Detroit this week and produced one of the most chaotic brawls we’ll see all year. Not your traditional hockey fight, or even the best, but you can’t ignore a donnybrook of this magnitude.
Brent Seabrook’s contract is not aging well, so when he (and the team) struggles, you know you’re going to hear about it.
Brent Seabrook trying to prevent Rick Nash from entering the zone. pic.twitter.com/aal4eSjscc
— Blackhawks Breakdown (@HawksBreakdown) November 17, 2017
Monkey off the Back
Johansen probably deserves this for ending a 17-game goalless drought, but he already earned his shout out, so we’re going to toss this one to every single player on the Arizona Coyotes, who finally picked up their first regulation win of the season in their 21st game.
The Leafs are winning without Auston Matthews, so clearly they don’t need him and might as well trade him for a draft pick. This may be satire. It has to be. Nobody is this dumb.
Golden Knights fifth-string goalie Dylan Ferguson was thrown into the fire this week against the Oilers and it produced this piece of art.