Yesterday’s Game of the Day between the Colorado Avalanche and the Anaheim Ducks ended poorly for the home squad, as the Avs earned the three-goal shutout victory.
Nathan MacKinnon, 2013’s first round pick, scored the opening and winning goal of the game before a full minute was off the clock with a slapshot to beat Frederik Andersen. The two insurance goals were scored by Jack Skille and John Mitchell (an empty netter), in the second and third periods respectively.
Reto Berra stopped all 35 shots he faced to earn his first victory of the year, while Andersen’s record falls to 0-2-1 after stopping 22 of 24 (91.7%).
This was the fourth straight shutout victory in the DtFR Game of the Day series, which now stands at a five-all tie.
Tonight’s schedule features a full 10 games, meaning a third of the league is dormant tonight. As usual, the evening gets started at 7 p.m. eastern with six fixtures (Detroit at Montréal [NHL Network], Nashville at Ottawa, Buffalo at Tampa Bay, Dallas at Florida, Toronto at Pittsburgh and Carolina at Washington). At 7:30 eastern, San Jose and the Islanders drop the puck in the Barclays Center, followed an hour later by Columbus at Chicago. Finally, at 10 p.m. eastern, the final two matchups get started when Edmonton visits Calgary and Boston plays Arizona.
While there are four divisional rivalries being played tonight, there’s one game that sticks out because of the return of a player to the franchise that drafted him. This skater won two Stanley Cups in three years and scored 52 regular season goals and 74 regular seasons assists, much less 15 goals and 19 assists in the playoffs, while playing for the team.
That man is none other than Brandon Saad, which is why Columbus at Chicago is today’s Game of the Day.
During his time with Chicago, he never had a Corsi rating poorer than the +7 he earned last season (with the exception of the two games he played with the Hawks in 2011-’12), and increased his scoring contributions each year. He scored 27 points in the 2012-’13 season, 47 in 2013-’14, and 52 last season.
During last season’s Stanley Cup run, he scored eight goals (third on the team) (seven of them at even-strength, a stat he placed second best in), a +5 Corsi rating (tied for sixth best on team), 11 points (tied for eighth on team) and three assists (tied for 13th on team).
The left winger has scored three goals so far this season (12th best in the league) for the 0-4-0 Jackets, all of them on the power play (he’s best in the league in that category). He is also the proud owner of the 53rd best shot percentage in the NHL after cashing in on three of his 11 shots (27.3%).
The spread currently reads -190 for the Hawks. I’ve said it before this season and been wrong, but it should be two points for the Chicago.