What a splendid way to wake up on Sunday morning. It doesn’t get much better than that. Shutting John Tavares and his new team out in convincing fashion and his direct replacement scores a natural hat trick right in front of him. And you could tell this game meant a lot to Mathew Barzal. Seems someone wasn’t a fan of his name being forgotten.
- Before the game, Jordan Eberle was placed on IR with his stiffness and Michael Dal Colle was recalled. He would go on to record his first NHL point on Valtteri Filppula’s goal. [AP]
- James Mirtle wrote a long-form piece about the budding rivalry between the Islanders and Maple Leafs that was actually quite level-headed and not too fanboy-ish. I was quite impressed - he has fallen victim to fanboy-ing quite a bit since the Leafs’ turnaround. [The Athletic]
- The game was important to Leo Komarov, he of five seasons with Toronto. He’s happy for his former teammates’ success, but he’s even happier to not be “under a microscope” anymore. [The Athletic]
- In light of the game against the former captain, Andrew Gross pens a column in which he stresses the importance of keeping the current captain, Anders Lee, who is in the final year of his contract before UFA. [Newsday]
- In his Slapshots column, Larry Brooks laments what could’ve been with John Tavares in the fold of a Lou Lamoriello- and Barry Trotz-led squad, and the thought is something that’s plagued me since it became clear the Isles weren’t going to roll over and die this season. [NY Post]
- The Sound Tigers are winners of three straight, sweeping their 3-in-3 with a gutty OT victory in Hartford. Bridgeport was playing with a depleted squad due to injuries, suspension, and the call-up of Dal Colle, but eked out three important wins. Travis St. Denis scored the OT game-winning goal last night to beat the Wolf Pack twice in three games. [CT Post | Sound Tigers]
- The Railers, meanwhile, have been struggling of late and are looking forward to 2019. They fell 3-1 at home to the Maine Mariners, who were backstopped by Hannu Toivonen, one-time goalie for Maine’s NHL affiliate, the Boston Bruins. The more you know. [RailersHC]
The fellas were trying to stay hyped for the duration of the game, so you can’t blame them for getting a little slap-happy.
Beyond the Glow of Blue and Orange
Last night’s NHL scores, of which there were many. Every team but the Blue Jackets was in action. Some highlights include the Lightning stealing the regulation win over the Canadiens with 62 seconds left - Tampa Bay has won 13 of their last 14 to get to 30 wins, and the one game they lost still gave them a point, good for a 14-game point streak. Good gravy. Also the Sharks topped the Oilers 7-4 despite an absolutely ridiculous Connor McDavid goal.
- Speaking of the Oilers, the luck from Ken Hitchcock coming aboard has worn off, and they currently sit four points out of a playoff spot, 11th in the 15-team Western Conference. Something has got to give, eventually, in Edmonton. [Lowetide]
- The Bruins and Blackhawks both won their Winter Classic tune-ups in overtime, Boston over the Isles’ next opponent, the Sabres, and Chicago over the Avalanche. [NHL Facts and Figures]