We are almost a quarter into the season and it already has been filled with drama, heroes and zeros, and a ton of surprises.
Let's take a look at them:
1) MARC ANDRE FLEURY
After all the talk this off-season about potentially dealing him, he has had a great start to the season. It's only been three games played for him but he is sitting at:
3-0-0 1.0 GAA SV% .951 1 SO
This flower is far from wilting in the desert.
2) MONTREAL IS SCORING GOALS
Who are these guys?
This years version of the Habs are 2nd in the league in GF, tied for first in goal differential with the Stars at +13, and in the top three in 5vs5 goals.
This team can score!
If you are a long suffering Habs fan like I am, drink it up. We haven't seen a Habs team come out of the gate shooting like this since the Kovalev-Plekanec- Kostitsyn line over 10 years ago.
3) JACK HUGHES
Anyone remember this guy? He was underwhelming last year in his rookie year, but the first overall pick is a point per game to start the year in Jersey. He is looking much more comfortable out there and is showing exactly why he went 1st overall. Hughes will be HUGE.
4)DADONOV IS A DO NOT
2 points so far in 8 games and a -4. I know Ottawa is a trash barge right now as they develop, but this guy was brought in to set the bar offensively. He needs to step it up. He is going to make Alex Galchenyuk look good by comparison.
5) LITTLE JOES, BIG START
Pavelski is picking up where he left off in the playoffs with a scorching hot 9pts in 4 GP. Dallas is a perfect 4-0-0 alongside him. He's putting up those "BIG" Joe vibes. One day I will even stop calling him "Little" Joe.
6) RUTHERFORD RESIGNING
I still don't know why he would leave midseason. I can only assume some issue behind the scenes. Still, the team is barely keeping its head above water and this was not an ideal time. Sid is still Sid, but as we have seen he can't do it all on his own. This team is in trouble.
7) PITTSBURGH NEEDS A GOALIE
Speaking of trouble and their needs.
3.92 and 2.76.
Those are the GAA for the two Pittsburgh goalies. Casey Desmith and Tristan Jarry are getting absolutely lit up out there. While some of it can be attributed to atrocious defence, these guys have not been good either. A lot of softies have been slipping through.
In an offseason that was loaded with goalie options, I don't know how they decided on Jarry and Desmith to take the reigns. Collectively they barely had over a 100 starts between them to begin the season, and their underlying numbers were not astounding. They need a veteran or this may get ugly.
8) THE BRUINS BIG BAD COMBO
Opposite of the Penguins are the Bruins. A team that appears for all intents and purposes perennial cup challengers. In net they have the best tandem in the league in Halak and Rask.
Rask has an excellent 2.13 GAA alongside a slightly more pedestrian .905 SV%. Yet, while his numbers are pretty good, Halaks are even better. A 1.30 GAA and a sparking .938 SV% puts him close to the top of the league. Together they provide one of the many reasons the Bruins can make a deep run.
You have to give the Bruins their due sometimes.
9) ANTON KHUDOBIN A STAR
Just getting all the goalie stuff out of the way. Khudobin, like Fleury has a 3-0-0 record. But even more impressive is the 0.99 GAA alongside his .958 SV %. This guy is a "STAR". A Dallas Star that is. He is showing that the playoffs were no fluke, and he is no-back up.
10) ANZE KOPITAR: A PILLAR OF LA
I really always forget about Kopitar out there in LA. He has quietly produced for LA so consistently that a good start is not out of the norm. This year though he is off to a sizzling start with a statline of:
8 GP 1 G 11 A 12 PTS
Kopitar is still one of the most underrated forwards in the game. LA is a respectable .500 alongside him. This team rises and falls with the Kopitar current.