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Hockey Daily Dose

Dose: Q all alone at 2

by James O'Brien
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

I’m writing this post not so long after the games ended (and in Long Beach, California, where it isn’t even midnight yet.*

(Although it will be once this bad boy goes up.)

The time of night comes up because there’s at least a slight chance that Jonathan Drouin gets traded quite soon after this Dose hits the web. If that's the case, don't worry; Rotoworld NHL will have you covered. You'll get context in no time, assuming he even gets moved.

It just won’t come from your third favorite regular Dose columnist.

Anyway, my hotel Internet is less dependable than Mike Smith right now, so I'm going to get cracking.

* - Oddly enough, Tuesday’s games ended around 11 Central Time, when I was in Texas. This has been a weird (good-weird, but weird) week, and it probably will be stranger for Monday’s Dose when I make the jump from Pacific to Atlantic Time.

Should I sleep upside down to regain my balance then?

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-- With this win, Joel Quenneville breaks his tie with Al Arbour for second all-time in coaching victories with 783.

That's impressive stuff, but Coach Q himself admitted that Scotty Bowman's first place spot is safe. And it would be silly to even pretend that was anything but the truth.

Is he really in that pantheon of coaches? Honestly, it’s extremely tough to place how important a coach is vs. how dependent they are upon talent available. Quenneville definitely deserves credit for keeping Chicago from going complacent, for using modern enough methods to keep winning and to beat some serious opponents along the way.

How much credit does he deserve? I don’t know, but any thought about him being underrated should be balanced with the understanding that he’s absolutely getting paid.

-- The Blackhawks earned their ninth straight win, and while Dallas is technically still ahead, you can say that it's a pretty fair race to the end. There's no denying that Chicago has the "momentum" or whatever you'd like to call it if you're one of those difficult types who can't even engage in the fun fiction of sports.

(I get cringing at talk of "choking" - I do it too - but momentum talk seems harmless enough to me.)

-- Speaking of underrated, Corey Crawford deserves the gold star for this one, stopping 39 out of 40 shots and protecting a Chicago lead that lasted (and wasn't bolstered during) two-plus periods.

Crawford continues to muscle in on best-ever marks, as his 25 wins trail his career-best total of 33 from 2010-11. His save percentage is .929, better than his previous peak of .926


-- Adam Pelech enjoyed quite the night. Derek Stepan's skate caught him in the face in a scary moment, yet he came back. In fact, he came back strong enough to assist on Brock Nelson's 18th goal of the season, which was Pelech's first NHL point and assist.

-- Perhaps that sparked the Isles, as they scored three unanswered goals (albeit with Kyle Okposo icing it with an ENG) in the third period to overcome a 1-0 deficit and win 3-1.

-- That win flip-flopped the two teams: the Islanders are ranked second in the Metro now, while the Rangers are in third. Islanders - Rangers in 2/3 would be a treat of a playoff matchup.

-- Jaroslav Halak improved his record to 11-8-3 by stopping all but one of the Rangers' 35 shots. It's been noted that the Islanders' underlying numbers are being masked by the play of Halak and Thomas Greiss.

Whether that's true or not, there's little sense bickering with people who praise that duo's work in 2015-16.


-- Is Washington really this good? It's tougher and tougher to say no, as the Capitals continue to distance themselves from every other team. There really isn't great competition in the East right now, it seems.

-- The Capitals honored Alex Ovechkin for crossing the 500-goal barrier, yet fellow Russian Evgeny Kuznetsov stole the show. He scored two goals and an assist as the Capitals won their 11th consecutive home game.

-- Andre Burakovsky now has consecutive two-assist games under his belt. I like that and love his potential, yet he managed those four points in 22:07 TOI ... combined. Just 14:04 on Thursday and 8:03 last time around. If you ask me, he's a little risky until it's clear that he has Barry Trotz's trust.


-- Yikes, what a tough week so far for sports in St. Louis. Alexander Steen may very well be injured, on top of this defeat.

Some believe that Jonathan Drouin could be Blues-bound, possibly for promising young'un Robby Fabbri.

Will Ken Hitchcock give Drouin a longer leash than Jon Cooper? I guess that's a question for if it actually happens.

-- Brian Elliott got pulled from this one and raged out. That's what I get for putting in a good word for the guy, I guess?

-- Jeff Skinner continues to heat up. He scored a goal and an assist, so that's four points in as many games.


-- Strange game in a lot of ways, maybe seen most obviously with Dustin Byfuglien.

On one hand, he was dominant at times, scoring two goals to push his season to 11 tallies (and 25 points).

On the other, Byfuglien took an awkward spill and might be injured. Keep an eye out for updates there.

-- That wasn't the extent of the oddness.

For one thing, the Jets overcome an early goal allowed to go up 4-1. They then blew that lead in the third period, but Blake Wheeler scored the OTGWG to save face.

-- Ryan Johansen was a central figure in the drama. He scored a goal and two assists, but he also took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that made a 4-on-3 to a rare regulation 3-on-3.

James Neal scored a goal with 14 seconds left in the third to send the game to OT, so Nashville showed some spine in coming back. Johansen seems to be thriving with this opportunity after getting used to his new surroundings.

(OK, he's probably still getting used to Nashville, but the opportunity's clearly there.)

-- Pekka Rinne remains an anchor in net. Not in a good way.


-- Calvin Pickard grabbed his first career shutout by turning aside all 27 Devils shots. He's 2-0-0 this season, also getting some relief appearances.

-- This win places the Avalanche in the wild card. Indeed, it seems like Colorado's really on a nice roll lately.

-- Good stuff from Tyson Barrie lately, although his goal came after two scoreless outings. Even with that, Barrie has seven points in his past six games. He's shooting the puck more often in recent contests, and let's hope that continues.

-- Matt Duchene scored his 22nd goal and 38th point of the season. Hockey's just that much more fun when Duchene - just 24 - is playing at or near the top of his game.


-- Louis Domingue was a little more than eight minutes away from shutting the Red Wings out. Instead, he couldn't hold off Detroit, who ultimately took that OT decision.

-- Pavel Datsyuk was probably the standout here, scoring a goal and two assists while generating two PIM and four SOG.

As magical as Datsyuk can be to see in action, I imagine Coyotes fans (not to mention players and front office members, likely more so) aren't THAT sad that he's a rarer sight being that Detroit's out East. He tends to feast on Coyotes.

(I assume not actual coyotes.)

-- Could we be seeing signs of progress from Mike Green? He generated two assists in this game. Meanwhile, Danny DeKeyser notched the OTGWG.


-- Nail Yakupov returned from injury, and he managed to score a goal on three SOG despite modest ice time (11:30 TOI). He even - gasp - scored his goal without Connor McDavid helping him out.

-- Martin Jones stopped 24 out of 25 shots, getting the win via the shootout. Cam Talbot probably deserved more credit, as he made 36 out of 37 stops, merely falling in the "skills competition." Talbot's 7-13-3 record is discouraging; that said, it seems like he's starting to adjust to his still-quite-new team.

-- Talbot really must have frustrated Logan Couture in particular. No. 39 fired a whopping 11 SOG but couldn't buy a point on Thursday.

-- The Oilers went 0-for-1 on the power play while the Sharks failed on four opportunities. Really not the worst showing by Edmonton, even if Todd McLellan's old team is at least a few strides ahead of his new one.

James O'Brien
James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.