NHL Top Three: McDavid, Outbreak, North Division

After the paused 2019-2020 NHL season and a playoff run like we’ve never seen before, the NHL has returned! Every week on NHL Top Three, we’ll be going over and diving into the top three highlights from all across the league! Stay tuned every Wednesday to stay up to date!

Connor McDavid Scores Hat Trick Two Games In

The Edmonton Oilers began their season on a low note after a 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, in which Connor McDavid didn’t register a single point all game. As usual, McDavid has high expectations coming into the season and looks to help Edmonton rank high within the North Division. Not registering a point was certainly disappointing because, let’s face it, when McDavid performs well, the Oilers perform well.

This was, however, only the first half of a back to back against the Canucks, so McDavid would have another chance to lead the Oilers to their first win of the season, which is exactly what he did. With 2.5 seconds left on the face-off, McDavid beat the buzzer to put the Oilers up 2-0 heading into first intermission. The Canucks then got on the board early in the second to bring them within one. Five minutes later on the power play, McDavid glided past three Canucks and sniped one past goaltender Thatcher Demko to extend the Oilers lead to 3-1.

The Canucks came close to tying it once again after a tip-in from Motte, but McDavid finished off his hat trick on another beautiful wrister, leading the Oilers to a 5-2 victory. This was McDavid’s 7th career hat trick in just over 5 years in the NHL at age 24. He continues to edge closer towards being a top five active player with the most career hat tricks; he trails Evgeni Malkin who currently sits at 12.

Dallas Stars Forced to Postpone Game Due to Covid-19 Outbreak

During the Dallas Stars training camp, the NHL announced that 17 members had tested positive for Covid-19, forcing them to shut down their facilities and thus training camp. Due to the amount of players and staff that would be out due to the positive tests, and for traveling purposes, the Stars were forced to postpone the first two weeks worth of games. The Stars will not play their first game of the season until January 22nd against the Nashville Predators.

This obviously compromises the Stars season as they will have two less weeks to fit in all 56 games. This creates more back to backs, increases the risk of injury, and diminishes rest time. Not to mention, despite this outbreak, the Stars just began selling single game tickets at the American Airlines Center. Talk about tone deaf.

As much as everyone wishes to forget about what’s going on in regards to the pandemic, the NHL has chosen to continue play in the middle of it and with that comes many consequences. We’ve seen that with the shortened season and even more now as players from teams across the league continue to test positive. The Dallas Stars look to suit up for their first game since the Stanley Cup Final on Friday, January 22nd, against the Nashville Predators.

North Division Off to an Unpredictable, Fiery Start

As everyone everywhere has already put it: this NHL season is like no other. Every year, each team comes in with certain standards they’re held to and each division has different expectations. But not this year. In order to rework this NHL season around a global pandemic, the league had to create new divisions. During the 56 game season, teams will only play within their respective division, as to eliminate as much unnecessary travel as possible.

As a result, a Canadian division was formed. This all Canadian division, known as the Scotia North Division, has been the most anticipated to watch and has certainly lived up to that expectation. Each team in the North Division has registered at least one win, even the Ottawa Senators who defied all opening night expectations when they defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs. Despite losing to the Senators, the Leafs remain first within the division as expected.

The Montreal Canadiens trail the Leafs by one point with a game in hand. While many expected Montreal to make top four within the division, they have shown tremendous improvement from last season as they remain undefeated in three games, tallying 12 total goals.

A disappointment so far, however, has been the Edmonton Oilers. While they undoubtedly have a lethal first line composed of Draisaitl, McDavid, and Kassian, they struggle in terms of defense and goaltending. This was obvious through the first two games against Montreal as they were outscored 8-2.

The rivalries are flaring up once again as we have the battle of Ontario and the battle of Alberta, along with your typical Montreal vs Ottawa and Montreal vs Toronto rivalry. Playing the same teams 9-10 times in a single season can seem exhausting, but it will give these rivalries a chance to continue to grow and create a competitive atmosphere like we’ve never seen before.

As the new NHL season continues to progress, stay tuned here at NHL Top Three as we cover three different notable highlights from the week. With everything going on in the world and around the league, we have no idea what to expect next, but we’ll break it all down for you here!

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