After Sunday's games, the first two NHL teams to ten wins are...the Avalanche and Sharks.
Just like we all predicted.
If you actually predicted the Avalanche and Sharks would be the class of the NHL at this point in the season, you're either lying or one of those precogs that Tom Cruise is trying to get rid of.
Most people had given up on the Sharks after years of postseason disappointment. So far, they're proving why we shouldn't have doubted them. They boast a talented group of forwards and a Vezina-worthy goaltender that are playing up to their capabilities, and there's no stopping them right now. (Just ask the poor Ottawa Senators.)
As for the Avalanche, you have to think the other shoe will drop eventually for one of the worst teams in the league last season. Yet somehow, this team seems to have everything figured out. Maybe it's a fluke. Or maybe it's a culture change.
Whatever it is that's making these clubs click, it's pretty darn impressive.
All the NHL Scores
Sharks 5, Senators 2
Ducks 4, Blue Jackets 3
Avalanche 3, Jets 2
Kings 2, Oilers 1 (SO)
On Sunday we asked you five burning questions about the day's games. These are your cool, soothing answers.
1. Who will sit atop the NHL standings on Monday?
That would be the San Jose Sharks, by a single point over the Avalanche. Both teams showed why they're the class of the NHL so far with impressive, gritty wins on Monday.
2. Can Columbus win its fourth straight?
Nope. They ran into the buzzsaw that is the Anaheim Ducks top line. Ryan Getzlaf scored again, and Corey Perry netted the game-winner to lead Anaheim's 4-3 win. To make matters worse, Brandon Dubinsky might be suspended for his hit on Saku Koivu.
3. Will the Sharks' offense finally show up?
They showed up in droves. Something about the Ottawa Senators ignites opposing offenses. Ironically, goalie Craig Anderson had a subpar game on the one night the Senators didn't give up 50 shots. Five different skaters scored for San Jose on Sunday.
4. Will the Oilers be inspired or downtrodden after Saturday's collapse in Phoenix?
Inspired, if only by their goaltender's play. Richard Bachman was astounding in his first start for Edmonton, stopping 47 of 48 shots. It was in a losing effort, but the Oilers have to be wondering if they've solved their goalie problem.
5. Will Jacob Markstrom finally win?
It's the Panthers, so I'm not sure what we expected. That said, Markstrom kept Tampa Bay off the board long enough in the third period for Florida to score twice and send the game to a shootout. At that point it was Steven Stamkos versus Jacob Markstrom, and it's not hard to guess who won that battle.
The one play or moment from Sunday's games that will be making headlines for the next couple of days
The biggest moment of the night happened off the ice. The Buffalo Sabres traded Thomas Vanek to the Islanders for Matt Moulson and two picks. Vanek is an elite scorer with 554 goals in his ten-year career. And he's just 29 years old. But the price the Islanders gave up is substantial for a player who might walk in free agency anyways next summer.
Stat of the Night
Of the top goal scorers in the NHL since 2009, Thomas Vanek is 18th...and Matt Moulson is 10th.
Post to Post
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins avoided a serious injury on Sunday.
- Pekka Rinne's hip infection is a serious problem.
- Finally, the good folks at Lighthouse Hockey bid farewell to Matt Moulson.