What We’ve Learned Through One NHL Weekend

Sidney Crosby

One NHL weekend is in the books, which means every team has played at least two games.

Sure, small sample, but it’s never too early to draw some conclusions.

Without further ado, let’s start the rapid reactions:

Sidney Crosby looks unstoppable

The Kid has six points and three goals in two games — a pair of blowout wins over the Ducks and Maple Leafs. Penguins new head coach Mike Johnston put Patric Hornqvist on right wing on Pittsburgh’s top line with Crosby and Chris Kunitz, and the results have come already. Expect a monster year from Sid.

The Devils should be better at scoring goals

Quick, without looking, who scored the most goals through two games during the 2014-15 season? Pittsburgh scored 11 goals in a pair of wins, and even with them is?

Yup, that’s right, the New Jersey Devils.

New Jersey’s potted 11 markers through two games, a pair of wins over the Panthers and Flyers — more on them below. The competition isn’t great, but the Devils have had remarkably good possession teams over the last two seasons — in which they missed the playoffs — and if goals come more liberally, they’ll be a playoff team.

Last year’s Cup finalists may have a hard time returning

The Rangers allowed 11 goals in two games over the weekend to the Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs, with Henrik Lundqvist being pulled from the latter. Meanwhile in LA, the Kings were shut out on home ice in their opener against the Sharks, then blew a two-goal lead in an overtime loss to Arizona on Saturday.

Both teams are notoriously slow starters, and Lundqvist is too. The Rangers seem to be in worse shape than the Kings, since the Blueshirts are thin at center — with Martin St. Louis playing the role of top-line center — and lost prized defenseman Dan Boyle for four-to-six weeks to injury.

This may be a long season in Philly

Wayne Simmonds is off to a spectacular start, potting four goals in the Flyers’ first two games.

If only the Flyers could keep goals out of their net.

Thus far, the Bruins, Devils and Canadiens combined for 12 goals in three games against Philadelphia, and the Flyers blew a three-goal lead on home ice in a shootout loss to Montreal. There were real questions about Philadelphia’s defense before this season, and thus far those haven’t been answered, particularly after Braydon Coburn went down.

Last year, Peter Laviolette was fired after only three games, and although Craig Berube will be fine, the Flyers have little cap space to improve their blue line. They have prospects, but they are inexperienced and can only get a chance if Philadelphia parts with a cap-unfriendly contract like Nick Grossmann.

The Patrick Roy era is headed for a sophomore slump

You might remember the Avalanche’s remarkable rout of the Ducks on opening night last season, the one that gave us this end-game scenario. That start catapulted the ‘Lanche to the Central Division championship.

Many saw Colorado’s 0-2 start coming, citing the club’s stunningly awful possession numbers last season, and thus far the high-flying club has yet to score a goal in two games against the Minnesota Wild.

Maybe the Wild just own the Avalanche — you might remember that Minnesota won four of the final five games of their playoff series a year ago — but the likelier scenario is that Semyon Varlamov and Co. will finish in the bottom third of the League’s toughest division.

The Islanders’ power play looks legit

New York rode a solid power play to a playoff berth two seasons ago, and this year the Islanders appear poised to do the same. Of their nine goals through two games, four have come with a man-advantage. John Tavares looks healthy and poised to have a massive year. Johnny Boychuk‘s bomb from the point has made their power play even more dangerous, plus Brock Nelson looks like a legit No. 2 center.

Will these trends continue? Who knows. I guess we’ll just have to keep watching.

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Pat Pickens
Pat Pickens covers the NHL for the New York Times, NHL.com and XN Sports.