It's been such a fast-paced and crazy week that we all need a debriefing of what went on!
Only three rookies for the Leafs scored 30 goals in their first season: Wendel Clark (1985-1986, 34 G), Daniel Marois (1988-1989, 31 G), and Auston Matthews (2016-2017, 30 G*).
Here's a breakdown of Matthews' big week:
Faced Laine for the first time and did not register any points in the game, but the Leafs beat the Jets 5-4 in OT.
Leafs are defeated by the Canadiens 3-2 but Matthews is still named #2 Star of the Game for scoring the only two goals for the Leafs, #29 and #30 for his total.
Matthews leads the team with 54 points and is tied with Laine for the lead in rookie scoring.
P.S. I found a rap video about Matthews on Twitter but since there was at least one bad word in it, I didn't want to share it on here.... BUT you can find it on this link!
Laine's week was short but it was not uneventful because he got to face the only other player standing in the way of the Calder Trophy, Matthews. In that game, it was Laine who shined and reached 30 goals all in one night.
Laine's two goals vs. the Leafs were in the first and second period, including a goal that kept the lead for the Jets and allowed them to go to OT when William Nylander (hey!) tied the game in the third. Too bad Laine was that close to another hat trick but he's not made of magic... or is he?
On Presidents' Day, Dvorak gave the home crowd something to howl about when he opened up the scoring vs. the Ducks and helped the Coyotes win a close one, 3-2. He also was named #1 Star of the Game.
Dvorak is beginning to become more of an asset for the Coyotes after he contributed 9 points in his last 13 games. February has been his biggest month scoring-wise as he's scored 6 out of his 10 goals in just this short month. He also is tied for fourth in the team's list for goals, so Arizona needs him right now.
There seems to have been an offensive burst for this young defenseman this week... Two goals in two games?? Yep. He did that. Chychrun scored the second goal in Arizona's victory over Anaheim on Monday and notched #3 Star of the Game. He also scored on Thursday at Chicago against Corey Crawford. Arizona lost that game (what do you expect from Chicago?!) but at least they got to see their rookie take down a big market team that people love to hate for one shining moment.
Kase gave his team hope last Wednesday when they faced Boston at home. After being down 1-0 going into the second period, Kase decided that it was enough and he was going to tie the game with a nice goal for his fifth of the season. His goal opened up a three goal period that was a turning point for the Ducks. That goal was not enough for him to help save the day though; he needed to assist a goal that would put his team in the lead in the second period and he did just that. He was named #2 Star of the Game for all that he did.
I wonder who will be named February's Rookie of the Month... Find out next week!
Good morning and welcome to this week's latest on the farm system.
News Around the League
Bryan Bickell: After being diagnosed with mutiple sclerosis in early November, Bickell was placed on waivers by the Carolina Hurricanes with hopes that he would play with the affiliate team, Charlotte Checkers. Bickell practiced with the team in the past month and hopes to return soon to the NHL.
Nathan Walker: Remember that name. Why? That name could make history this season as the first Australian to play in the NHL. Walker could have already played this year for the Washington Capitals but he sustained a broken hand that set him back. For now, fans can see him play with the Hershey Bears before he debuts in the big league. Barry Trotz believes in him and so should all of us.
Playoffs: San Jose Barracuda now have the best record in the league as the playoff race begins for the Calder Cup. Their .783 home-winning percentage also helps with them being on top of everyone. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins lead the Atlantic, Syracuse Crunch have the North, and the Grand Rapids Griffins are first place in the Central Division. All this will change as the season gets shorter.
*all news comes from theahl.com*
Goals Against Average Leaders
The wait is over! Here are the outstanding performances by rookies around the league this week.
Hat Trick Laine returns for the THIRD time this season on Valentine's Day! Laine's big week saw him with EIGHT points and ahead in both points (52) and tied for the lead goals (28) for all rookies.
*Tuesday's game will be big!!
Matthews scored twice in the 7-1 blowout vs. Islanders on Valentine's day. Matthews' total now is at 28 goals after scoring the gorgeous goal above and is tied with Laine for the rookie lead in goals. Thanks to 3 points in two games, he now has 49 points total.
Matthews was not the only one who received 2 points for Valentine's Day; Nylander had his 7th multipoint game. He now has 38 points this season. On Saturday, he scored his 16th goal and netted his 24th assist. He now has 40 points in 57 games this season and 8 multipoint games.
Mantha scored his 13th goal of the season that put Detroit on the scoresheet in the second period in Sunday's loss vs. Minnesota. Mantha continued with an assist in each game this weekend and now is at 18 assists.
Perlini and the Coyotes traveled to LA with one mission in mind: to take down the Kings. Perlini succeeded as his team won 5-3, thanks to his 2 goals. Perlini's power play goal in the first opened up the scoring for the game.
Werenski collected 2 assists and a +/- of 2 in Wednesday's game vs. Toronto. The defenceman continued with a THREE point game tonight where he had 2 assists and 1 goal vs. Nashville. Werenski is at 9 goals and 27 assists now, making him the top scoring defenseman for all Columbus rookies.
Enjoy today and see some good games!
Photos of the Week:
IF you have not heard about it already, tomorrow is National Free Hockey Card Day in Canada and the U.S.
Which means that you can go into any of the participating card stores and ask for a free pack ans they will give it to you! Make sure to spread the word because free and hockey cards are two things that need to go together more often!
Celebrate Valentine's Day with some awesome cards created for hockey fans! Sorry if your team isn't listed here, but at least the puns are perfect from the other teams!
San Jose Sharks
St. Louis Blues
And I had to include ones that I made on my own... (which are 100% clean and can be shared with your hockey loving grandma, the younger hockey fans in your life, and ANYONE in between!).
If there isn't a Valentine's card in French, did they even exist?
Final Score: Team Kessel wins, 11-10, over Team Steadman.
MVP: Captain Amanda Kessel
Goal Scorers: Brianna Decker (Steadman), Amanda Kessel (×3), Megan Bozek (Kessel), Rebecca Russo (Kessel), Emily Pfalzer (Steadman), Madison Packer (Steadman, ×2), Kelly Babstock (Steadman), Harrison Browne (Kessel, ×2), Alex Carpenter (Steadman), Haley Skarupa (Steadman), Hilary Knight (Kessel).
Note: Team Kessel lead Team Steadman going into the game, 3-2, because of points being awarded from the Skills Competition.
Since the game managed to sell out in Pittsburgh, maybe the league can expand out there in the future... Sounds nice to me.
Even though many teams are having their bye weeks, this week still continues to impress with great rookies!
Toronto Maple Leafs Rookie Trio
Game Timeline This Week:
Mon., Feb. 6 at Islanders: Toronto loses 5-6 in OT, but ALL three score in each period (Auston Matthews first, Mitch Marner second, then William Nylander third). Nylander's goal would have won the game if it weren't for Andrew Ladd wanting free hockey and taking it to OT.
Tues., Feb. 7 vs. Stars: Toronto wins 3-1 and Matthews nets his 25th goal of the season, giving him a two-goal lead over Patrik Laine as the leader in rookie goals. Matthews is tied for 8th in the league right now. Marner also gets his 32nd assist, making him still the rookie points leader and 14th in the league.
Thurs., Feb. 9 vs. Blues: Toronto loses 1-2 in OT-- thanks, Tarasenko-- but Nylander still had his hand in the game with an assist to the game-tying goal by Morgan Rielly. Nylander earned his 22nd assist in this game and places him at 5th in team for assists.
Sat., Feb. 11 vs. Sabres: Marner scores the lone goal for Toronto as they lose 1-3 to their neighbor. Marner now has 15 goals and 47 points.
In Review (4 GP):
Matthews: 2 G (2 P)
Marner: 2 G, 1 A (3 P)
Nylander: 1 G, 1 A (2 P)
Toronto gained the third spot in the Atlantic this week but lost it again to Boston. As of right now, they have the second Wild Card in the East, which is great because the East is tough and that shows that they are working hard to make their playoff dreams come true.
The run for the playoffs would not be possible without this trio of rookies playing the way that they are right now. Their efforts get them into OT situations and at least earn them a point or they help win games not only with goals but with assists that create the play. Toronto really deserves to be in the playoffs and I hope to see them there.
When to see them this week:
Tkachuk had a 3 point week, including a 2 point game vs. New York Rangers where he scored his 10th goal and had an assist. In Tuesday's game vs. Pittsburgh, he had an assist. Tkachuk now has 24 assists and 34 points.
Calgary is one spot out of the Wild Card in the West right now.
Want to see the rookie doing nice things? Here you go!
Aho still remains at second in goals for the Canes at 17 after he scored in yesterday's 2-5 loss to Dallas. He also is still third in goals for rookies but holds that title with a two-goal lead over Marner. This should get interesting and I think Aho can maintain his awesome scoring pace and bring more excitement to Carolina.
Three points this week makes it 20 career points for Point! So many points I had to make there. Anyways, Point scored his 6th and 7th goals vs. Minnesota (NHL's best) and Winnipeg. He also had an assist in the Winnipeg game last night. Tampa has won 10 games since Point's breakthrough goal on Dec. 20 after being scoreless since his injury.
Dvorak had his first multigoal game of his 48 game career--at that time--against the Canadiens. Dvorak's first goal was a wrist shot that fooled Carey Price in the second period. The second goal in that game sent the Coyotes into OT where they eventually lost. The centre also won 12 of his 21 faceoff draws.
Dvorak now has 7 goals in his 49 games played. He also leads the team with a 2 +/-.
Congratulations to Team Kessel on winning the entire competition!
Here's how they did it:
Rebecca Russo of the New York Riveters is fast!
If Blake Bolden competed in the NHL's Hardest Shot Competition vs. Nate McKinnon, she could've given him a run for his money... Just saying...
And Kelley Steadman wins it for her own team because she's just that awesome of a captain.
How to break a tie? Let the fans vote and give it to Gigi Marvin!
And then Team Kessel won the shootout and took over the competition completely.
Watch The Full Competition Here!
Great news following the upcoming game: It is SOLD OUT! May not sound nice that you can't get a ticket, but hear me out. The League needs to see that fans really care about the game and that fact that this sold out in a city that does not have a team shows great support.
Some of your questions regarding the game can be answered below!
Q: When is everything and what exactly is happening?
Q: Who is playing?
Who to Watch: Meghan Duggan, tied for the league lead with 10 goals. Brittany Ott, shutouts (3) leader and 9-0 this year with the Boston Pride.
Who to Watch: Alex Carpenter, assists and points leader (14 A, 22 P). Haley Skarupa, tied for league's lead in goals with 10.
Q: Where can I watch this?
Every game this season is posted on the league's YouTube and the link below should take you to where you can access all videos on the official site. Enjoy the game!
One century of this game and League is a wonderful milestone to celebrate. Let's hope to do this in the next century!