March 22, 2023
The best and worst in the NHL: No line changes on Lucic's watch

The best and worst in the NHL: No line changes on Lucic’s watch

Milan Lucic provided one of the funniest moments in the NHL this week. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

It’s the spookiest time of year, and that means the NHL has plenty of spooky moments and devilishly sneaky games to witness from the past week. Here’s the best and worst from the last week of October.

goal of the week

It’s always terrible for opposing teams when Connor McDavid clicks and as always is the best player in the league outright on fire. It was another fine week for McJesus, who had five points in four games, including a hat-trick against the Blackhawks. This tally for completing the trifecta in particular was of particular importance, as it left Jake McCabe in the dust before poking fun at Alex Stalock.

Save the week

Marc-Andre Fleury’s uneven start has put The Wild in some sticky situations in the first month of the season, but when The Flower pulls these kinds of tricks out of his bag, you know you’re in for a treat. The 37-year-old keeper had flair on his mind here as he robbed Alex DeBrincat with a deft glove save, including a nifty little windmill to top it off.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time a non-Edmonton Oilers player led the league in points. But by the end of October it’s David Pastrnak who looks as creepy as ever. The Bruins sniper’s nine points this week not only propelled him to the top of the league, but the goals he scored were pretty outlandish. Check out this absolute rocket from earlier this week that Ville Husso couldn’t stop.

performance of the week

Joe Pavelski may be one of the NHL’s oldest players, but it turns out the zombified remains of the Dallas Stars sniper are still producing at the highest level. After an 81-point season last year, it was business as usual for one of the Stars’ most enduring contributors. His eight points in nine games through Saturday is underscored by his stellar performance last weekend against the Montreal Canadiens, where he scored three against a Montreal side who had no chance to slow him down.

The best hands of the week

Did we mention McDavid is not from this planet? An alien invasion is the only logical explanation for the kind of crazy stuff this guy seems to pull off every night. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone with the audacity to juggle the puck in the middle of a game, but when you’re No. 97 it must be just like a normal day in the office.

dish of the week

The Philadelphia Flyers, who are considered bottom-feeders this season, have shot out of the gate with 10 points in seven games, good for the tops in the Metropolitan Division. During Carter Hart’s impeccable goalkeepers was at the forefront of the success of the Flyers, contributions from the top and bottom of the lineup combined with a Coach who knows how to get the best out of his playersled the Flyers to surprising heights in the early stages.

Travis Konecny ​​added a nice little creative wrinkle to his game this year, as evidenced by this cheeky little pass to set Tony DeAngelo up for his second of the season.

The worst of the week

While the Canucks have won a few games since (and be Bruce Boudreau 600th win doing), that doesn’t mean the start of their season isn’t straight out of a horror movie. From team fights to calls for owner Francesco Aquilini to sell the team, things have gone sideways very quickly for this Canucks roster hoping for a playoff push.

Perhaps the deepest moment, however, came last week when a fan had enough and threw his jersey onto the ice in disapproval. It’s certainly one way to take the temperature of an increasingly frustrated fan base.

quote of the week

Brad Marchand is back in action for the Bruins after off-season surgery on both hips, which is remarkable in and of itself. Additionally, everyone’s favorite rat didn’t miss a beat, scoring a pair and adding an assist in his first game of the season on Friday against the Blue Jackets. It’s some really outstanding stuff. But perhaps the best part of Marchand’s triumphant return was this quote he shared with the media last Thursday ahead of his debut. Talk about bringing in the work.

Funniest moment of the week

Announcers being interrupted by games on the ice is nothing particularly new, but this one instance from last Tuesday was particularly funny. Look, I’m just saying there are worse things to talk about while the action is taking place. Just ask Nick Castellanos.

Two for One Milestone Special

Phil the Thrill had a big week on the Milestone Ledger. Of course, as has become widely known, the the most unlikely ironman He may have surpassed the 990 consecutive game plateau in NHL history, putting him ahead of Keith Yandle in most straight games of all time. More understated, however, was that Kessel scored his 400th career goal in the same game. Kessel beat former Maple Leafs teammate James Reimer to become the 106th player in NHL history to reach that mark. Not bad for a guy who was once accused of driving to Front and John Streets every day to eat hot dogs.

Healthiest moment

Alex Nedeljkovic had sweet news for someone special during the Red Wings vs. Anaheim Ducks game last weekend. Who says October is all about spooky stuff? I say kudos to Ned for telling mom she rocks.

Dahlin is Ballin

While his winning streak has now ended, Rasmus Dahlin’s start to the season was a revelation for the Buffalo Sabers, who for the first time since the early 2010s don’t look like the Headless Horseman Lost at Sea. Dahlin, who finished third in a packed Atlantic Division, was a key cog for a youthful Sabers D-Core looking like another beast. Alongside Owen Power, who pundits are expecting to sneak into the Calder conversation, the future in Buffalo is suddenly looking pretty bright…wait, where have I heard that before?

Who says Drai can’t play defense?

For years, Leon Draisaitl’s harshest critics have always had an answer when it comes to his place in the game’s elite. “Sure, he can score at will,” they say, “but he can’t defend for his life.” Yes, Draisaitl actually had it his struggles in the past Suppressing chances against his team but when it comes to defending home ice, Draisaitl shows pretty good flair here as a visiting fan decided to be a little more last Monday.

Mullet Arena Chaos

After a long six-game road trip early in their season, the Arizona Coyotes finally got the opportunity to host a game at Mullet Arena. While the atmosphere was supposedly good fun, the widely shared view of the guests’ dressing rooms certainly caught the attention of many people. Thankfully, it sounds like this setup is only temporary, but this is certainly not the arrangement NHL players are used to.

keep doing

Toronto Maple Leafs equipment manager Bobby Hastings has been in the spotlight before when he drew an assist from the bench in a Mitch Marner game in 2018, but this work by Hastings that went viral last week is something else entirely. Check out the laser-like focus this takes on as it moves from club to club depending on which player is in possession of the puck. These are now some quick twitch reflexes.

Oh no you don’t!

Milan Lucic is a far cry from his days with the Bruins, when he served as a bloody top-of-the-lineup star who could go toe-to-toe with the best of them. Despite his dwindling ability, the 34-year-old still enjoys throwing his weight around and can be a real bully on the ice when he feels the need. For example, check out this funny sequence from last Saturday where the big boy saw the Hurricanes go for a line change and just decided it wasn’t going to happen while skating next to their bench.


No team in the NHL fires on all guns like the Bruins. They are looking deadly to start their season after winning eight of their first nine and five in a row. The club are on the rise, have a league-best goal difference of plus 18 and look like things will only get better from here Marchand back in the herd. Under the hood, the team looks just as deadly as ever, even if key wheels like Charlie McAvoy are yet to miss some time. They rank in the top 5 in the league by goal percentage, expected goal percentage and corsi-for percentage. As Mark Twain once said, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”


There was a time in the mid-2010s when John Gibson seemed poised to follow in Ryan Miller’s footsteps and become the next great American goaltender. Often cited as one of the league’s most underrated goalies, Gibson somehow failed to win a Vezina trophy during his dominance streak in his early 20s.

Those days seem a distant memory as the 29-year-old has tumbled down the league’s elite list and is now ranked by metrics such as; Goals saved over expected on a rotten Anaheim Ducks team that stuttered out of goal. With just 1-6-1 and losers in their last seven games, things are looking bleak for the Ducks, who seemed poised to turn a promising rookie campaign by Trevor Zegras into a stepping stone to future playoff success. Instead, it was a bad case of Duck Season in Anaheim as the club desperately tries to get back on track and salvage a terrible start.

Best Halloween Costume

Finally, late October means group Halloween costumes for NHLers across the league. There were a few real standouts, (Dodgeball with the Rangers is also a real winner), but no one could beat the Bruins’ timeless and current Super Mario Bros. set, which caused a lot of laughter on hockey Twitter. With Patrice Bergeron as Mario and Marchand as his brother Luigi, the B’s filled the roles perfectly.

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