I was impressed by James Neal, who had some jump and seemed faster than during the regular season. Ethan Bear has maintained his level of play and that’s important. Connor McDavid is beyond this earth and Leon Draisaitl is a finesse center inside a locomotive. A fun scrimmage in honour of Colby Cave.
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NOTES ON A SCANDAL
Josh Archibald gets a shot from distance, he’s skating well but not getting looks. His center is in the room. Archibald gets another chance from closer seconds later.
Andreas Athanasiou sends a nice pass to Gaetan Haas for a chance. Backhand chance early second, he’s skating well. A nice goalmouth tip for a chance in the middle of the second. Set up Haas with a deft pass net front but the Swiss center couldn’t cash.
Tyler Benson hammers a shot from inside the blue line, that’s the best I’ve seen him from that range. Scored a nifty late goal driving to the net. If he does that often, he’ll score enough to stay in the league.
Alex Chiasson drives to the net for a chance five minutes into the second. Another chance on the same shift was the better one. Picked up an assist somewhere don’t remember.
Leon Draisaitl buries a shot past Mikko Koskinen, Adam Larsson with the pass and Joakim Nygard a nifty dish to the defenseman to set up the play. The key was the shot. Later: Insane pass to Nygard, holy hell. Second period breakaway the puck bounced last minute. The big man looks ready.
Tyler Ennis very active, he’s holding on to the puck a long time. Score late second by Ennis, who was buzzing in the minutes leading up to this goal. He’s small but gritty, stay healthy young man! Sent Draisaitl a lovely pass but just missed clicking.
Gaetan Haas tries to shoot the gap late first period, he made a nifty entry and touch pass earlier in the period. Lots of aggressive forechecking.
Zack Kassian has his legs. A good sign. Apple on the James Neal goal. Tough game for him to play his style in, crunching teammates isn’t cool.
Jujhar Khaira with a good stick on the PK, effective. Hit the post late in the game.
Cooper Marody on a promising sortie but the play is broken at the blue line. Had a good look late but couldn’t catch the goal mouth pass. He was flying during the recent scrimmage.
Connor McDavid intercepts a Draisaitl pass and on a two-on-one shorthanded feathered a nice pass to Jujhar Khaira who was unable to control. Breakaway early second just missed, goalie no chance. Middle of the second 97 is taking over. Chances every shift now. Defense are backing down because he’s so damn fast. Sets up Matt Benning late second for a goal. Hammers a shot a little later, there’s some more torque on that release. Sets up Neal with three minutes left in the second. My goodness. Set up Nuge late.
Ryan McLeod to Benson to Cooper Marody just misses. Lots of brilliant skating but did not impact the game.
James Neal gets a fine look on a nice feed from McDavid. Scores on a goal from McDavid and Kassian. Hmmm. Nice look later in the third.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins impressive pass from blue line to McDavid in the slot, dangerous chance. Great shot on a McDavid pass to score in the third period.
Joakim Nygard was fast, played mostly on the outside but for me he’s on of the 12 best forwards on the roster.
Riley Sheahan with an early look coming from below the goal line right side, Koskinen with the save. Sheahan injured later in the first period and gone for the game.
Patrick Russell made good plays but for me got lost in the shuffle once Sheahan was injured.
Kailer Yamamoto gets a step and Nuge brings him down. Sets up Draisaitl, so close. Bear caught him in the neutral zone and KY looked injured for a moment.
Ethan Bear impressive against Andreas Athanasiou on a sortie that took at least three Mississippis to solve. Great passing in the first and the second and he’s getting in passing lanes, too. A nice player. Hard to believe speed was an issue at one point. Smooth and effective. Great pass to Benson for the final goal.
Matt Benning, very active, gets a good look. Scores late second from McDavid. Nice. Mobile, headman passes are solid, jumped into play well. It wasn’t a game for rugged defending, but he did defend well.
Evan Bouchard with a nice outlet early, and then a clumsy sortie into the offensive zone where he missed his winger by a mile. He then made a nice interception of the ensuing outlet pass. Took a good shot off a Patrick Russell pass. Nice sequence in the third period where he protected the puck in his own zone while waiting for a good outlet.
Philip Broberg with a nice sequence early, confident puck mover and he can fly. He has another sortie later in the first that looked good. Scored late in the first, Chiasson getting the puck to Bear who sent it across to Broberg. Great shot.
Caleb Jones slides into the slot, Leon feeds him a cherry pass and it’s a good chance but Koskinen stops him. If Jones is behind Russell it can’t be by much.
Oscar Klefbom with a nice look, the veteran is skating well. Koskinen good stop. Great chance early second driving down from the blue line.
William Lagesson was involved, good on coverage and engaged offensively but lacking creativity
Adam Larsson had a nice assist, blocked some shots, pinched well. As with Kassian, not a game where he’ll be able to use the full arsenal.
Darnell Nurse did not play.
Kris Russell’s first pass doesn’t make it through but he sends a good pass on the re-try. Nice interference on a pass along the boards in neutral zone that could have been dangerous. Terrible pass along the opposition blue line sent Leon the other way all alone. Defended Nygard on a jailbreak well in the third.
Mikko Koskinen played well, he looks sharp and ready.
Mike Smith looked a little ragged.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP OPENING NIGHT V. CHICAGO
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Connor McDavid—Zack Kassian
- Tyler Ennis—Leon Draisaitl—Kailer Yamamoto
- Andreas Athanasiou—Riley Sheahan—Josh Archibald
- James Neal—Jujhar Khaira—Alex Chiasson
- Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
- Darnell Nurse—Ethan Bear
- Kris Russell—Matt Benning
- Mike Smith (Mikko Koskinen)