The Wraparound: Edmonton Oilers’ James Neal back to being ‘The Real Deal’ in NHL’s opening week

first_imgFlorida Panthers netminder Sergei Bobrovsky has a horrid 4.78 goals-against average and .859 save percentage in three games, including the last game where he got pulled.Tweet of the weekPatrick Marleau is back with the San Jose Sharks and no one could have been happier than fellow 40-year-old Joe Thornton. Be sure to watch this tweet from NBC Sports California with the sound up. Oh, and by the way, in his first game Marleau scored twice, because of course.Nobody is happier than Jumbo 😂— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) October 10, 2019MORE: Marleau’s Sharks career in numbers It’s been a wild and wacky start to the 2019-20 season.Here’s what happened in the NHL from Oct. 2 through Oct. 10.O Captain! My Captain!The Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks kept their new captains shrouded in mystery until fancy on-ice reveals at their respective home openers. On Oct. 2, John Tavares was the last player announced during Toronto’s introductions as he was anointed the 25th captain in franchise history. Then on Oct. 9, with the franchise’s first and last captains on the ice — Orland Kurtenbach and Henrik Sedin, respectively — Bo Horvat changed out of the jersey he was wearing to showcase the “C” on his new jersey.MORE: Ex-NHLer Richard Park on former teammate John Tavares’ captaincy with Maple LeafsYou get four goals! And you get four goals!Four goals games don’t come easy — or at least they didn’t used to. The NHL saw not one but two four-goal games in the opening week. First, there was the Detroit Red Wings’ Anthony Mantha on Sunday with four goals, including the game-winner in the final minute of regulation.On Tuesday, James Neal proved he truly is “The Real Deal” again as netted four in the Edmonton Oilers’ 5-2 win over the New York Islanders. Neal has been on a torrid pace as he puts a disastrous 2018-19 season in Calgary behind him. He added a seventh tally on Thursday in New Jersey, equaling his entire goal total from last year.MORE: Is James Neal back to being ‘The Real Deal’?Welcome to the NHLThe next generation is here and the 2019 draft class is well-represented in this young season. Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, the top two picks, made their NHL debuts while the biggest surprise is the play of 18-year-old defenseman Ville Heinola. The Winnipeg Jets rearguard already has three points in four games, including his first NHL tally.Hughes debut | Kakko debut | Calder Trophy contendersGoal of the weekCome get your award, Blake Coleman, because, let’s be honest, you’re never scoring this way ever again. And it’ll never be replicated either. Tkachuk vs. DoughtyIt’s a rivalry that dates back to . . . 2017; but Matthew Tkachuk and Drew Doughty added a new chapter on Tuesday night when the LA Kings defenseman scored the game-winning goal in overtime. Doughty then proceeded to mock the Calgary crowd, and after the game the Flames winger, who also scored in the contest said, “I’m excited for round two in two weeks in L.A.”MORE: Top 25 players under 25 in 2019-20Quote of the weekIt’s been an interesting start to the season for the Winnipeg Jets, and game No. 2 was the epitome of that. The Jets climbed out of a 4-0 hole to win 5-4 in a shootout against the New Jersey Devils and afterward, head coach Paul Maurice had quite the interesting take on the game.”The first period was like eating a sand sandwich on toast. And then, it devolved or got way better into nobody defended so it got pretty darn exciting at the end.”MORE: Why Winnipeg Jets’ defense will crumble without Dustin ByfuglienTime to panic?It’s only Week 1 but fingers are already itching to hit the big old panic button. The New Jersey Devils are winless (0-2-2) with Hughes scoreless on the third line and San Jose only has one win under its belt  — which didn’t come until Thursday night against a now winless Blackhawks squad (0-2-0). The Wraparound is a new weekly series by Sporting News that will bring you everything that happened in the NHL.Just nine days into the NHL season and it’s already been quite a doozy. The unexpected has expectedly happened. Did anyone see an undefeated Edmonton Oilers squad? Or James Neal potting seven in those games? I think not.last_img

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