By Matt Citak
As we reach the midpoint of November, one thing has become abundantly clear- the 2017-18 NHL season is going to be incredibly entertaining. The season is almost 25 percent done, and we have only seen one team across the entire league begin to pull away from everyone else. Through 18 games, the Tampa Bay Lightning are 14-2-2 and have a +25 goal differential. Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are still first and second in the league in points, which has been a big reason why the Lightning have only lost one game by more than a goal. While Tampa Bay’s play has been downright impressive, they are not the only ones raising eyebrows this season.
Here are this week’s top NHL headlines.
Wild G Devan Dubnyk posts three straight shutouts
After recording five shutouts total in each of the last three seasons, Dubnyk has posted three consecutive shutouts in the last week alone. The 31-year-old goaltender stopped all 41 shots he faced against the Canadiens on November 9th, only to follow that up with two straight shutouts against the Flyers on November 11th and 14th. Dubnyk has not allowed a goal in the last 195 minutes and five seconds, which has led the Wild to three straight victories. His play has been even more impressive considering it follows an initial 11-game stretch to start the year in which he had only a .903 save percentage. The NHL record for longest shutout streak sits at 332:01, meaning Dubnyk would need about seven more shutout periods to make the record books.
Canucks F Sven Baertschi to donate $500 for every goal he scores
Baertschi has pledged to donate $500 to Hockey Education Reaching Out Society for every goal he scores in the 2017-18 season. So far, the forward has already donated $3,000 due to his six goals. Baertschi has been working wtih HEROS since 2014 when he played for the Calgary Flames, and now serves as an ambassador for the program. The organization’s mission is “to use the game of ice hockey to teach life-skills and empower at risk youth.” Baertschi scored a career-high 18 goals last season, and will look to top that number this year. Other HEROS ambassadors in the NHL include Dougie Hamilton, Joel Ward, Matt Dumba, and Jay Boewmeester.
Devils F Brian Boyle scores first goal since being diagnosed with leukemia
Boyle scored his first goal of the season last Thursday night in New Jersey, and it was one that the veteran forward will not be forgetting anytime soon. The 32-year-old was diagnosed with chronic myelod leukemia in September, and was able to fight his way back onto the ice to make his season debut on November 1. A week later, in his fifth game of the season, Boyle picked up his first tally of the season. Emotions were flowing following the score, as Boyle later told reporters that it was the first time in his life that he cried after scoring a goal. In seven games since returning to the ice, Boyle has one goal and one assist.
Gary Bettman says it’s “hard to envision” the NHL returning to the Olympics
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman upset many players back in April when he announced that the NHL would not send players to the 2018 Olympics. The league did not want to interrupt the season to have players return to their home nations to compete, which was a very unpopular decision among some of the sport’s biggest stars. After recent reports indicated that the league might let its players return for the 2022 Olympic Games, the commissioner all but squashed those rumors by telling reporters that it’s “hard to envision” the NHL ever returning to future Olympics.
Kings trade F Michael Cammalleri to Edmonton for F Jussi Jokinen
The Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers swapped veteran forwards in a deal completed late Tuesday night. The Oilers acquired Michael Cammalleri, while the Kings received Jussi Jokinen, both of which joined his former team as a free agent this offseason. Cammalleri racked up three goals and four assists in 15 games with Los Angeles, while Jokinen had just one assist in 14 games for Edmonton. The 35-year-old Cammalleri signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Kings after three seasons with the Devils. Jokinen, 34, joined the Oilers on a one-year, $1.1 million contract after playing the last three seasons with the Panthers.
Matt Citak is a producer for CBS Local Sports and a proud Vanderbilt alum. Follow him on Twitter or send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.