The 2018-19 NHL season is almost two full months old and if I had to describe the season in one word, it’d be “surprising”. With the rise of betting in the NHL, thank God there are websites to help with it because there are just so many surprises that no one could’ve predicted these off the top of their head.
The Buffalo Sabres are the third best team in the Eastern Conference while the Pittsburgh Penguins sit in the basement of the East. The John Tavares-less New York Islanders and lowly New York Rangers sit in playoff spots while the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers would be watching the postseason from home if it started today.
Out West, the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights, and Los Angeles Kings line the bottom of the ocean floor.
With these surprises have come some really great hockey games. Here is the best we’ve seen thus far.
October 4th: Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
On the second night of the season, the Capitals and Penguins, bitter playoff rivals of the past decade, had a vintage back and forth game that saw Kris Letang eventually score the game-winner in overtime.
The matchup involved some of the game’s best superstars. T.J. Oshie, Jake Guentzel and Letang all had two-goal games. Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel both had two assists. Russian superstars Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin both had a goal.
The game saw four lead changes as the Penguins won 7-6 in OT.
October 16th: Edmonton Oilers vs. Winnipeg Jets
The future was on full display in this one.
At the end of the second period, the Jets had a 4-1 lead, the fourth coming from elite centerman Mark Scheifele.
The Oilers answered by mounting a third period comeback that saw Connor McDavid, the league’s best player, factor into every goal to tie the game (a goal and two assists). McDavid also scored the first goal of the game for the Oilers, which was the first of four points he’d have that night.
In OT, Oilers d-man fired one past Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck to win the game for the Oilers and cap off a comeback that saw Edmonton score four unanswered.
The Oilers won 5-4 in OT.
November 2nd: Colorado Avalanche vs. Vancouver Canucks
Two teams with ample amounts of talent for the future are the Avalanche and the Canucks. On November 2nd, that talent was on full display.
And it was beautiful.
Canucks superstar Brock Boeser opened the scoring in the first period with a breakway goal on Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer.
The second period featured seven goals: four from the Avs and three from the Canucks. Boeser had his second, capping off a four-point night for him. Canucks phenom Elias Pettersson potted his first of the game in this period – he’d go on to register a total of five points in the game.
On Colorado’s side of things, Hart trophy runner-up Nathan Mackinnon would register one in the second and in the third.
By regulation’s end, the score was tied up at six.
In OT, Derrick Pouliot would win it for the Canucks, giving the Canucks the hard-fought 7-6 win. And of course, it was Pettersson and Boeser assisting the game winner.
November 17th: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Philadelphia Flyers
If you can sense a trend with these, it’s that these games are consistently hitting the over. High-scoring yields an entertainment value that is unparalleled.
The Lightning and Flyers recently played a vintage classic that included a comeback from 5-1 down by the Flyers only to lose in OT.
Halfway through the third period, the Bolts went up 5-1 on Brayden Point’s second goal of the night. The Flyers responded by potting four goals in the second half of the period, tying the game at five.
The comeback was to no avail however, as the Lightning woke up from their 10-minute nap when Anthony Cirelli put on an incredible individual effort to rifle one top corner over Flyers goalie Calvin Pickard.