Welcome back to another edition of the NHL’s Best and Worst. As the season gets chugging along, we’ve got everything you’ll want to see from this past week in puck.
Goal of the week
Connor McDavid took some time to get rolling, but the superstar was back to his awesome self this week — falling to his knees, then leaving the Predators in his tracks with one of the most creative goals you’ll see this season.
MCDAVID WITH A SPIN ON HIS KNEES AND THEN FINDS THE NET 😱 pic.twitter.com/G8jtkGggSR
— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) October 18, 2023
Save of the week
The goaltenders were in fine form this week, but nothing could quite match this brilliant glove save by Ilya Sorokin on a potential Hart candidate in Jack Hughes. The Islanders netminder flashed the leather on this one, but he ultimately didn’t get the last laugh in overtime.
Sorokin just SHUT DOWN Jack Hughes 😱 pic.twitter.com/MR71niescB
— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) October 21, 2023
Player of the week: Leon Draisaitl
Somebody please stop a puck for the Edmonton Oilers, because despite their 1-3-1 record, the superstars showed out in full force this week. Draisaitl did his part for Edmonton with a six-point week in three games, catapulting the German force into a tie for second in NHL scoring.
One of his three tallies this week was this snipe from in tight to push him past Glenn Anderson on the Oilers' all-time power-play goals list.
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights & News (@HockeyDaily365) October 18, 2023
Last season, Sasha Barkov and Radko Gudas had one of the better post-game rituals in the NHL with their “highest of fives” after every Florida Panthers win. With Gudas now in Anaheim, however, Barkov was all by himself after Florida dropped the Devils for their first win of the season, leading to this hilarious — and a little bit sad — clip of Florida’s captain performing the routine solo.
Aleksander Barkov and Radko Gudas had a postgame high five celly and now that Gudas is gone Barkov does it without him 😢 pic.twitter.com/mqsbb4IJ91
— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) October 17, 2023
— Armando Velez (@Mandoman12) October 19, 2023
Worst of the week
As the saying goes, “if you’re a goaltender, tend the goal.” Stuart Skinner is the first victim of that this season, as the netminder decided to go for a stroll and paid the price for it, with the Oilers immediately conceding the tying goal and eventually coughing up a point as a result of this completely avoidable misplay.
Just sit back and enjoy this one 😊 pic.twitter.com/PzKh0lZat8
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) October 22, 2023
Milestone of the week
Cale Makar is literally something out of a video game. The superstar defenseman accomplished the unthinkable this past week, passing the legendary Bobby Orr to become the fastest blueliner ever to hit 250 points. Who does that? What kind of supernatural, hockey-playing alien do you have to be to out-produce the greatest defenseman of all time? Enjoy it folks, Cale Makar is an absolute machine.
With his assist tonight, Cale Makar becomes the fastest defenseman in NHL history to 250 career points, doing so in 241 games.
The previous mark was held by Hall-of-Famer Bobby Orr, who did so in 247 games. pic.twitter.com/xANVHhIjRv
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 18, 2023
Skinner throws it back
The Buffalo Sabres introduced individual goal songs once again this year, with some players sporting more unique choices than others. Jeff Skinner, for instance, figured he’d keep his Head in The Game with this one, channeling his inner Troy Bolton by triggering his goal song against the Tampa Bay Lightning for his first of the year. As an aside, check out the slick feed from Owen Power on this one too.
As the saying goes, revenge is a dish best served cold, which Pierre-Luc Dubois clearly understood against his former team, the Winnipeg Jets, on Tuesday. In his third game with the club, Dubois finally hit the scoresheet with his first as a King, and why wouldn’t it be against his former friends in Manitoba?
— NHL News (@PuckReportNHL) October 18, 2023
Feed of the week
Sportsnet reporter Gene Principe remains a national treasure for Canadians, as perfectly evidenced by this hot dog segment during the Oilers game against the Predators. Nothing but pure dedication to your job demonstrated here.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 18, 2023
Dish of the week
Check out this dazzling display of creativity from Colorado Avalanche superstar Nathan MacKinnon. In super slo-mo, MacKinnon puts Jaccob Slavin, who's no slouch himself, into the blender before threading the needle with a gorgeous feed to Ryan Johanssen, who taps in possibly the easiest goal of his life.
This view of Nathan MacKinnon’s filthy assist 🔥👌 pic.twitter.com/zEIDE05zWj
— Gino Hard (@GinoHard_) October 22, 2023
Hit of the week
Most of the time, the hit of the week tends to come from tough guys like Radko Gudas or Ryan Reaves. Now and again, however, you’ll see a surprising figure come out of nowhere and lay the body, even catching the victim totally off guard.
For instance, take this past week, when referee Graham Skilliter lowered the boom on Tony DeAngelo, who then proceeds to take a penalty for giving Skilliter the business afterward.
Tony DeAngelo got an accidental hip check from the ref and then picked up an unsportsmanlike penalty and misconduct 👀 pic.twitter.com/SfS1jNeBKs
— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) October 18, 2023
The NHL’s total mishandling of everything to do with Pride and allyship has been nothing short of unforced error after unforced error. Like watching Sideshow Bob repeatedly step on a rake, the league’s latest includes a baffling total ban on Pride Tape, which unsurprisingly was met with significant pushback.
With others, including the strong-willed Brian Burke, putting their money where their mouth is, it was only a matter of time before a player told the NHL where to go, as noted good dude Travis Dermott rocked the rainbow tape during the Arizona Coyotes' showdown with the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.
— Trent Leith 🏳️🌈 (@trentl14) October 21, 2023
My Own Worst Enemy
With the Seattle Kraken in town, it’s only fitting that the St. Louis Blues and their fans had some fun with this punk rock anthem, as captured by Blues organist Jeremy Boyer.
This sequence was awesome tonight! Blues DJ, @_carltheintern was playing “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit and not only did the Blues fans sing it loudly, but they kept it going after we were back in play to the next stoppage and Carl brought it back in and the fans didn’t miss a beat!… pic.twitter.com/IZ1K9RBAYC
— Jeremy A. Boyer 🎹 (@JABsMusic) October 15, 2023
Hello old friend, may I punch you in the face?
From linemates one year to rivals the next, Alex DeBrincat and Brady Tkachuk got reacquainted on Saturday afternoon as DeBrincat made his return to the Canadian Tire Centre.
Given all the backhanded shots the Sens took at DeBrincat after his brief one-year stay, and the cold, cold reception he got from fans in his return, it sure seems like there’s no shortage of bad blood in a potential burgeoning Atlantic Division rivalry.
Former teammates Brady Tkachuk and Alex DeBrincat exchange some words. pic.twitter.com/hPSOyp0SOO
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 21, 2023
We want Florida
Maple Leafs fans might never live down the viral videos of some chanting “We Want Florida” from last year's postseason. After being brushed away in five games last spring by the eventual Stanley Cup finalists, Cats fans got loud in Toronto’s return to the Sunshine State on Thursday to remind them that they got their wish.
If I had a nickel for every time a Boston Bruins player was scratched because they missed an early morning team meeting, I’d have two nickels. Which isn’t a lot, but it’s weird that it happened twice, right?
Per Coach Montgomery, Jake DeBrusk was late to a team meeting and will not play tonight in Los Angeles. pic.twitter.com/1Hm9oWldVA
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) October 21, 2023
Trending Up: Vegas Golden Knights, 6-0-0, W6
It’s hard to be trending up when you won the Stanley Cup last season, but somehow, the Vegas Golden Knights have found a way. Buoyed by their exceptional defensive structure while bringing back basically their entire squad, Vegas has ironically completely erased any concerns of a Cup hangover, setting the record for wins to start a title-defense campaign.
WE HAVE JUST MADE NHL HISTORY!!!
THAT'S A 6-0-0 START FOR YOUR 2023-2024 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS!!!
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) October 22, 2023
Trending Down: San Jose Sharks, 0-4-1, L5
Despite this being the plan all along, the San Jose Sharks look like a different tier of terrible this season. With eyes firmly planted on Mack Celebrini, the Sharks are dreadful and will be the last team to win a game this season.
Things also don’t get any easier in the Bay Area any time soon, as the Sharks are set to begin their southeast road trip, with stops in Florida, Tampa Bay and Carolina over their next three games. They should stand a fighting chance against the equally tepid Washington Capitals and their struggling star to end that trip, but there’s a decent chance San Jose goes winless to begin the first month of the season.
One step forward and two steps back.
Nico Sturm on what San Jose has struggled with this season pic.twitter.com/7Q1hw2v1gs
— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) October 22, 2023
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