It was an entering day on the ice Friday night. We had double the amount of games than we did last Friday, with two of the six contests decided in overtime, and three battles decided by one goal. While we didn't have any shutouts from any of the goaltenders, we had some big-time performances, and in some cases, some much-needed performances fantasy owners who have been growing impatient after a slow start. It's nice to get off the schneid. Yours truly potted a goal in a 5-4 win in Hillsborough, N.C. last night to snap a three-game scoreless skid, but do yourself a favor and leave me on your fantasy waiver wire. If you are a hockey player, I'd love to hear about you and your hockey team, both fantasy and real life, so hit me up on Twitter with some hockey banter. Let's get started!
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Colorado Avalanche 5, Florida Panthers 4 (OT)
The Avalanche and Panthers have a little fire-wagon hockey in South Florida for the first two periods, totaling eight goals. And then someone turned off the offensive spigot for the third period before the game was decided in overtime.
Philipp Grubauer allowed four goals in the crazy first 40 minutes, while making a total of 40 saves. Andre Burakovsky and Joonas Donskoi were the biggest contributors on offense for the Avs. The Austrian-born Burakovsky registered two goals with an assist and a plus-2 rating, while the former Shark Donskoi went for a goal, two helpers and a plus-2 rating while also blocking three shots. It was Donskoi's first multi-point outing since he lit the lamp twice in Calgary on Oct. 3.
Matt Nieto also registered a goal for the Avalanche in regulation, as it was an offensive day for a lot of unlikely heroes for the Avs. Ian Cole also snapped out of his funk with two assists and a plus-4 rating in just his third game. He had just one assist in his first two games after making a late debut while recovering from injuries to both of his hips, but he is in there now and isn't a bad pick-up. Get in on the ground floor before he takes off.
On the flip side, Jonathan Huberdeau posted two goals for the Panthers, giving him points in six consecutive outings. That's three goals and five helpers since being blanked Oct. 3 in the regular-season opener.
Anton Stralman was also a multi-point performer, picking up two assists and a plus-3. It was his first multi-point performance since Feb. 10 against Florida when he was a member of the Lightning. Despite the solid showing, his fantasy appeal remains restricted to deeper pools.
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Pittsburgh 4, Dallas Stars 2
Anton Khudobin allowed three goals on 32 shots as he slipped to 0-3-0 with a 3.42 GAA and .888 save percentage. He wasn't expected to do so anyway, but he won't cut into Ben Bishop's playing time at this rate.
Fantasy owners have been wringing their hands wondering what is wrong with John Klingberg. He finally posted a goal and an assist, easily his best offensive production, as he had just one assist in the first eight games with a minus-6 rating. He has averaged about 55 points in his past four seasons, so stay patient. He'll turn on the offensive jets soon.
Patric Hornqvist was the big offensive hero in the Steel City, going for a goal and two assists with a plus-3. He has four goals and seven points in eight games, but four scoreless games and three multi-point performances. Talk about feast or famine.
Kris Letang was good for two goals with a plus-3 rating, giving him four goals and 10 points with a plus-5 rating through eight games.
It was more than enough support for Matt Murray, who allowed two goals on 24 shots to pick up the win and move to 5-2-0 with a 2.56 GAA and .914 save percentage. It's uncertain if Murray will face former Pens backstop Marc-Andre Fleury and the Golden Knights on Saturday, or if Tristan Jarry gets the starting nod.
Washington Capitals 5, New York Rangers 2
The most lopsided game of the evening was in the nation's capital. Michal Kempny was back from a hamstring injury, and he posted what stood up as the game-winning goal in his season debut. Nice return.
Henrik Lundqvist allowed four more goals on 33 shots, slipping to 1-2-0 with a 3.73 GAA and .896 save percentage over three outings. We'll see if Aleksandar Georgiev carves into his playing time in the short term.
Nic Dowd endeared himself to the coaching staff with a goal, while T.J. Oshie registered a pair of power-play goals in the victory. That's nothing compared to the red-hot John Carlson, however. He had three more assists, pushing his point streak to six games. The rearguard has three goals and 11 assists over the impressive stretch.
The offensive support was music to the ears of Braden Holtby and his fantasy owners. He allowed just two goals on 28 shots, picking up his first win since the opener in St. Louis, improving to 2-1-2 with a 3.83 GAA and .862 save percentage in six starts.
Chicago Blackhawks 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 2 (OT)
The other overtime game was in the Windy City, as the Blackhawks edged the Jackets. Elvis Merzlikins wasn't too shabby for the Jackets, allowing three goals on 33 shots in the OT loss. Pierre-Luc Dubois scored, giving him three in the past four games, while Markus Nutivaara also lit the lamp for the visitors.
The big fantasy news was on the home side, however. Patrick Kane picked up two assists with a game-high nine shots on net. He has two goals and seven points over his first five contests. His partner in crime in the Windy City, Jonathan Toews, hasn't been as hot. He scored the game-winning tally in overtime, his first of the season, after managing just one assist in the first four outings. Fantasy owners hope he can use this as a springboard going forward.
Alex DeBrincat had a power-play goal and assist for the winners, too, his first multi-point game of the season. Meanwhile, it was more than enough for Robin Lehner, improving to 1-0-1 with a 2.47 GAA and .931 save percentage in his two starts. Corey Crawford has struggled, so Lehner could carve out a larger role for himself if the two trajectories continue.
Edmonton Oilers 2, Detroit Red Wings 1
Jonathan Bernier took the hard-luck loss for the visitors, allowing just two goals on 37 shots. However, only Mike Green was able to provide any offensive support with a goal and plus-1 rating while blocking two shots with a hit. Tyler Bertuzzi, who has been likened to a character on Letterkenny, and Madison Bowey picked up the helpers.
The home side received goals from Ethan Bear and James Neal, which was just enough for backstop Mikko Koskinen, who stopped all but one of the 26 shots he faced to improve to 4-0-0 with a 2.21 GAA and .934 save percentage in his four starts. That's bad news for the prospects of Mike Smith going forward, as Koskinen could play himself into an equal split. Smith hasn't been bad at 3-1-0 with a 2.51 GAA and .917 save percentage, but Koskinen's numbers are slightly better across the board.
Anaheim Ducks 4, Carolina Hurricanes 2
The Hurricanes opened the season 5-0-0, a franchise best through five games, but thanks to the North Carolina State Fair, they have been on the road out west. They probably can't wait to get back. They won in Los Angeles to start, but have dropped games in San Jose and Anaheim to close out three-game Golden State swing.
Erik Haula scored a goal, as he has been an amazing pick-up for the Hurricanes, but he left with an undisclosed injury late in the game. Before departing he had his seventh goal of the season on the power play.
Haydn Fleury also scored an unassisted goal for the visitors, but it wasn't enough to help James Reimer earn the win in relief. He came on in a 4-0 game midway through the second period after Petr Mrazek allowed four goals on just 13 shots.
Rickard Rakell posted two assists, including a helper on Rowney's shortie, giving him three goals and seven points through eight games. He remains available in plenty of fantasy pools, so get him while he is still widely available.
Ryan Miller posted a win, giving up just the two goals on 24 shots, improving to 2-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA and .941 save percentage.