It was a rare quiet Tuesday night in the NHL with only three games on the docket but that didn’t amount to a lack of action.
Alexander Radulov and Michael Del Zotto faced their former teams for the first time, Shea Weber was a late scratch, Cam Talbot and Michal Neuvirth both got the yank after rough outings, and Loui Eriksson scored his first goal of the season. Here are four things we learned in the NHL.
Schwartz-Schenn-Tarasenko line nearing ‘best in NHL’ status
Sportsnet.ca contributor Andrew Berkshire acknowledged and analyzed the NHL’s top lines in a recent article and the St. Louis Blues trio of Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko were ranked among the top five.
Well, after watching their collective performance Tuesday night, you can make a strong argument the Blues’ top line is in fact the best in the league, full stop.
That line combined for 12 points in an 8-3 drubbing of the Edmonton Oilers.
Tarasenko had two goals, two assists, a game-high eight shots and even five penalty minutes after dropping the mitts with Matt Benning. Schenn also had two and two as he extended his point streak to eight games—he has 19 points over that impressive stretch—while Schwartz added a goal and three helpers.
They’ve combined for 86 points in 22 games on the season with Schenn and Schwartz now tied for fourth in league scoring with 30 points apiece and Tarasenko tied for sixth place with 26 points. They also happen to occupy the top three spots in the plus/minus category with Schenn and Schwartz at plus-19 and Tarasenko at plus-18.
The Detroit Red Wings’ “Production Line” featuring Ted Lindsay, Sid Abel and Gordie Howe finished one-two-three, respectively, in league scoring during the 1949-50 season and ended up hoisting the Stanley Cup that year. The Schwartz-Schenn-Tarasenko combination won’t, in all likelihood accomplish, the same feat—not sure any line in the modern era will—but what they have going right now is special and it has the Blues at the tippy top of the NHL standings heading into Wednesday’s full slate of games.
Boeser stays on pace to set Canucks rookie record
Brock Boeser’s name was frequently brought up among potential Calder Trophy candidates heading into the 2017-18 campaign after gaining momentum and scoring four goals in his first nine NHL games towards the end of last season. The Vancouver Canucks forward is now one point back of compatriot Clayton Keller for the NHL’s rookie scoring league after a two-goal performance in a 5-2 win over the Flyers.
With 19 points in 18 appearances not only has Boeser emerged as a Calder frontrunner, leading all rookies in points per game, he’s on pace to set a Canucks franchise record for most points by a rookie.
If he can stay healthy and maintain close to his current production he will shatter the current record of 60 points shared by Pavel Bure and Ivan Hlinka.
Hlinka set the record in 1981-82 with 23 goals and 37 assists in 72 games, while Bure tied the record in 1991-92 with 34 goals and 26 assists in only 65 games.
Birthday boy Bishop beats bleu, blanc et rouge
Bishop was 10-4-3 with a 1.81 GAA and a .931 save percentage in his career against the Canadiens prior to the season and his dominance over the Habs continued Tuesday with a 29-save performance in a 3-1 Dallas Stars victory. Not a bad way for Bishop to spend his 30th birthday.
Random factoid: There have been 15 players in NHL history with a Nov. 21 birthday but Bishop is the only goalie on that list.
One NHL linesman is having a rough year
Brian Murphy, like all NHL linesmen, does his best to be in the right position at all times, yet it doesn’t always work out that way.
Murphy was bowled over by Shayne Gostisbehere midway through the second period of the Canucks-Flyers game.
Unfortunately for Murphy, that wasn’t the first time he has been unintentionally roughed up this season.