Thoughts Are My Own: Don’t Sleep on Toronto

Some thoughts as you begin yet another long, cold, winter week:

*I love the way Mitch Marner plays the game. Blazing speed, unbelievable vision. Just another great, young talent all around. Toronto was set up well before Auston Matthews came along, and Marner had much to do with it.

*Connor McDavid has just 10 points in his last 13 games. That said, he’s still the best player on the ice, he’s still getting the opportunities. No cause for concern. He’s on a 94-point pace. He’ll still reach 100.

*I go back and forth on what to make of John Klingberg and where he projects. But this is what I do know, for sure: there’s few players in the league on the back end as skilled as he is.

*Brent Burns is appointment viewing. One of the top-five hockey players in the world right now. Watching him probably mean staying up past bedtime on the East Coast, but you’ll be glad you did.

*Bo Horvat is emerging as one of the NHL’s better players.

*Here’s something out of the old baseball cliche ‘nothing matters before Memorial Day’, aka don’t overplay early-season happenings: the Calgary Flames were in tatters after the first month, but now look like the contending team many expected prior to the season. The Flames 17-8-1 record since November 15 has them in possession of the first Wildcard spot in the Western Conference. I’d be surprised if we’re talking about Calgary missing the playoffs for the seventh time in eight seasons come spring.

*Michigan Tech has seven losses in regulation this year, but none to an unranked team. The Huskies got what may have been its biggest win of the season on Saturday against Notre Dame. Expect Tech to be ranked this week.

*Frozen Fenway never fails to be a spectacle. And it was perfect conditions for it in Boston on Sunday, temperatures hovering in the 20s with snow on the ground. As is usually the case, it was the two Commonwealth Ave powerhouses; BU and BC, emerging victorious. The Terriers beat UMass, 5-3, in the early game before the Eagles beat Providence, 3-1, in the nightcap.

*Huge two points for Columbus on Sunday, with a 2-1 overtime win over Philadelphia, avoiding the three-game losing streak after winning 16 in a row.

*Sebastian Aho will be a NHL star in short order.

Tidbits

*Max Pacioretty has 14 goals in his last 16 games.

*The Oilers are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, seven of which have come on the road.

*Owen Sound has now won 10 straight games in the OHL.

*The good times continue for Minnesota prospects. Dmitry Sokolov scored his 30th goal of the season for Sudbury on Sunday night. He matches his same total from last season, which he assembled over 68 games. He got there in 36 this year.

*Mississauga’s Owen Tippett moved into the OHL goal scoring lead with his 33rd goal on Sunday. Tippett has 15 goals and 24 points in his last 13 games.

*UNH’s Tyler Kelleher had five assists in Sunday’s 7-4 win over Brown to take the national lead in points, eclipsing Union forward Mike Vecchione. The senior won the race to 40 points, reaching the total in 20 games. His scoring line is 14-26=40.

Storylines for Monday

*With 543 career goals, Alex Ovechkin is one tally shy of Maurice Richard for 29th on the all-time goal scoring list. The Captials will be playing in Montreal on Monday.

*Roberto Luongo needs a win to take sole possession of fifth place on the all-time wins list. He’s tied with Terry Sawchuk, with 447.

*Patrik Laine and Matthew Tkachuk faceoff against one another when the Flames visit the Jets.

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