Let’s take a closer look at some of the league’s top plays from the weekend as well the top storylines.
Goal of the weekend: Jack Hughes visits the bank
Few players in the NHL are as hot as Jack Hughes these days (more on that later), and he put on a show against the Capitals on Saturday. On one of his goals, Hughes walked down the left wall and rifled a shot off the side of Charlie Lindgren’s mask and into the net for his 10th goal of the season.
I try not to reward luck when it comes to handing out this prestigious honor, but I don’t think this was luck. Based on the replay, it’s pretty clear that Hughes was aiming for that top-left corner by Lindgren’s ear, and he hit it. When you’re hot, you’re hot.
Robbery of the weekend: Connor Hellebuyck swats Seguin
The game between the Stars and Jets was one of the best last week (more on that later, too), and while it was a high-scoring affair, the goaltenders turned in their share of highlights. That brings us to Jets netminder Connor Hellebuyck.
With Winnipeg up 3-2 in the third period, the Stars rang a power play shot off the post. The rebound popped out to Tyler Seguin in front of the net, and he was staring at a 24 square foot opening. Just as Seguin went to tap in what he thought would be one of the easiest goals of his career, Hellebuyck reached out his paddle and swatted away Seguin’s shot.
With the Jets winning in overtime, that save loomed large.
Bruins defending their den in historic fashion
The Bruins have made NHL history by winning their first 12 home games of the season, and the record-breaking victory came in entertaining fashion. On Friday, the Bruins faced a 2-0 deficit against the Carolina Hurricanesand it seemed like their 11-game home winning streak would come to an end.
That’s when veteran center David Krejci scored a pair of goals to tie the game at 2-2, and it would go to overtime from there. In the extra frame, the Hurricanes gave the Bruins a power play, which turned out to be a bad idea. Brad Marchand slid a pass to David Pastrnak on the left circle, and the Czech sniper ripped a slapshot past Pyotr Kochetkov to win the game.
The Bruins have a chance to extend their home winning streak to 13 games on Tuesday night, when the Lightning come to town.
Three-goal comebacks in New York and Florida
In their game against the Oilers, the Rangers took a 3-0 lead into the third period and failed to get even a single point in the standings. Just over 10 minutes into the period, Oilers rookie Dylan Holloway scored his first career goal to tie the game.
With just over two minutes left in regulation, Leon Draisaitl scored a power play goal to give the Oilers a 4-3 win. The groans in Madison Square Garden might have been heard in outer space.
Over 1,200 miles away in Florida, the Panthers held a 4-1 lead over the St.Louis Blues in the third period. Much like the Rangers, the Panthers tried to weather a barrage of scoring chances unsuccessfully.
With under four minutes left in the third period, Vladimir Tarasenko fired home a nice pass from Ivan Barbashev to level the score at 4-4. Florida did manage to get a point, but Jordan Kyrou finished off a nice deke in overtime to win the game for St. Louis.
If you’re wondering how often two teams blow three-goal leads in the third period on the same day, the answer is not very often. Saturday was just the sixth time in NHL history it has happened, and the last time it occurred was on Jan. 31, 2012, according to NHL Public Relations.
Jets win Central Division showdown
The matchup of the top two teams in the Central Division did not disappoint. Down 4-2 late in the third period, the Stars pulled the goalie before Jason Robertson played hero with back-to-back tallies to tie the game.
The second one was accompanied by some controversy because Jamie Benn knocked off the helmet of Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. Normally, the play would be whistled dead, and the goal would be overturned because of goaltender interference. However, officials ruled that Benn was pushed into Hellebuyck by Winnipeg defenseman Josh Morrissey.
However, it didn’t take long for Morrissey to atone for his mistake. In overtime, Morrissey got a breakaway and cashed in on his opportunity to win the game.
Jack Hughes scores hat trick… and gets style points
Hughes was one of the players the devils needed to take the next step in order for the whole franchise to do the same. Through 22 games this season, Hughes has been one of the best players in the NHL. The Capitals were the latest team to suffer Hughes’ wrath.
During Saturday’s game, Hughes scored a hat trick, and he gained some style points in the process. On his first goal of the game, Hughes flew into the offensive zone with speed, deked out Charlie Lindgren and tucked the puck into the net off of Lindgren’s pad from below the goal line.
That wasn’t the only time Hughes would use a piece of Lindgren’s equipment to score a goal. You’ve already seen Hughes’ second goal of the game, which he fired off Lindgren’s helmet, because it was the goal of the weekend above. Hughes’ third goal, to complete the hat trick, was a little more straightforward.
The Devils would go on to win the game, 5-1, and Hughes now has four goals in his last two games.
Appointment viewing this week
Lightning at Bruins | Tuesday, Nov. 28: As mentioned above, the Bruins have started the season with 12 straight wins at home. They will put that streak on the line against the Lightning in what might be an early playoff preview.
Panthers at Flames | Tuesday, Nov. 28: This game has been circled since Matthew Tkahuck requested a trade out of Calgary. On Tuesday night, Tkachuk makes his return as Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar face their former team after being shipped up to the Flames as part of the blockbuster deal.
Golden Knights at Penguins | Thursday, Dec. 1: The Golden Knights are headed east for a four-game road trip on the heels of being outscored 9-3 in back-to-back losses to the Kraken and Canucks. In this one, we’ll get to see a rare showdown of Jack Eichel and Sidney Crosby at center ice, which is well worth tuning in for.
Panthers at Kraken | Saturday, Dec. 3: The Kraken have arguably been the biggest surprise out of the gate this season. Seattle sits near the top of the Western Conference standings thanks to rookie center Matty Beniers pacing a lethal offense that averages the sixth-most goals (3.57) in the league. It’s crazy to think that the Panthers will probably be the underdog in this one.