There may be fewer games than yesterday, but that’s not to say Friday is a slouch, as we’ve got six matchups to choose from. Two games get us started at 7:30 p.m. (Chicago at New Jersey and the New York Rangers at Carolina [TVAS]), with two more following at 9 p.m. (Winnipeg at Colorado and Ottawa at Calgary [RDS2]). Finally, at 10 p.m., our final two contests go underway (Edmonton at Vancouver [SN1/SN360] and Columbus at Anaheim). All times eastern.
With the season not even being three weeks old yet, I’m in the business of giving everybody some love. In essence, I guess what I’m saying is let’s head to Newark!
Enter right wing Jordin Tootoo. A little bit of a journeyman, Chicago is the fourth team he’s played for in his now 13-season career.
Most recently, he was a member of his opposition this evening. He played 134 games over two seasons with the Devils, easily his second-longest tenure with an NHL club.
Similar to Steve Ott, yesterday’s subject of the Game of the Day, Tootoo plays the role of agitator and enforcer. While playing at The Rock, he spent 174 minutes in the sin bin (1.3 minutes, or 77.9 seconds per game), 58.6% of which were last season.
In his defense, life in Jersey wasn’t always about being a nuisance. During the 2014-15 season, he found the back of the net 10 times en route to a 15 point season – the second-most goals he’s ever scored in a season since his junior days in Brandon.
He’s appeared in every game this season for the 3-3-1 Blackhawks, a team that scores as many goals as they give up – 25. Part of the problem for the numerous scores against them has been a pitiful penalty kill. Their 46.1% kill rate ranks worst in the league, trailing the Nashville Predators by 22.1%.
For those wondering, the average kill rate in the league entering Thursday’s action was 79.97%. Chicago has been atrocious.
Life has been treating Jersey only slightly better, as they’re sitting at 3-2-1 for an early third place in the Metropolitan Division.
Defense and goaltending have by far been the name of the game for the Devils, as Cory Schneider has allowed only 12 pucks to get past him this season. Saving .936 percent of his shots faced for a solid two GAA, he’s played every second of the season so far. That is, up until tonight. Keith Kinkaid takes the crease this evening for his first game since April 7, a 4-2 loss on home ice to Tampa Bay.
Last season, the Devils ranked dead last in the NHL with only 182 goals to their credit, and this season has been more of the same. Taylor Hall has done his part, leading the team with five goals for six points, but more players than Travis Zajac will have to contribute if the Devils want to make the run at the playoffs Schneider deserves.
Some players to keep an eye on tonight include Chicago‘s Anisimov (nine points [tied for fifth-most in the NHL]), Patrick Kane (six assists [tied for fifth-most in the league] and a +7 [tied for seventh-best in the NHL]) and Panik (six goals [tied for the league lead]) & New Jersey‘s Hall (five goals [tied for fifth-most in the NHL]).
Bets look to be off the table at most establishments in Sin City, but sportsbook.com still has a line posted at -110 in favor of the Devils. If only Jersey had somebody on their team that could ensure the Hawks would head to the penalty box… Huh. Since that’s not the case, I worry for Kinkaid’s safety against an offense that has scored six goals in their past two games. I’m taking the Hawks.
- Martin Skoula (1979-) – This Czech defenseman played 10 seasons in the NHL with six different teams, but 383 of his 776 games were with Colorado, the team that drafted him 17th in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. Three years later, he hoisted the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche.
- Jack Eichel (1996-) – Buffalo‘s wonder-boy from Boston University scored 56 points in his rookie year, 24 of which were goals to lead the team. Hopefully he’ll return to the ice soon.
After an eight-round shootout, the Detroit Red Wings extended their all-time record over the St. Louis Blues to 146-136-37.
Kevin Shattenkirk (Patrik Berglund) opened the scoring at the 22:31 mark of this game, but the Red Wings leveled again with 6:06 remaining in the second period with a Second Star of the Game Frans Nielsen (Darren Helm and Alexey Marchenko) backhander to set the score at one-all, the score that held through the remainder of regulation and overtime. And off to the shootout they went.
- Alexander Steen: bingo, Blues up a score.
- Nielsen saved by Third Star Jake Allen.
- Vladimir Tarasenko straight-up missed the cage.
- Gustav Nyquist found the back of the net to tie the shootout.
- Shattenkirk: saved by First Star Petr Mrazek.
- Dylan Larkin: saved by Allen.
- David Perron: third-straight save.
- Andreas Athanasiou: mixing it up with a miss.
- Nail Yakupov: Mrazek says “No way, bruh.”
- Tomas Tatar gets the same memo from Allen.
- Robby Fabbri learns that not just Jesus saves.
- Riley Sheahan gets some of the same medicine.
- Berglund finds Mrazek.
- Helm can’t score either.
- Dmitrij Jaskin can’t get it done.
- Henrik Zetterberg scored so he could go to bed. Wings win 2-1.
Mrazek earns the victory by saving 31-of-32 shots faced (96.9%), while Allen’s 26-of-27 (96.3%) is only good enough for a shutout loss.
Detroit‘s victory earned the road teams in the DtFR Game of the Day series another two points, but the homers still have a five-point advantage with a 11-6-2 record.