Entering the second week of the NHL's 2021 regular season, let’s take a look at some of the highlights, so far:
 The Pierre Luc-Dubois trade was completed. He moves from Columbus to Winnipeg for scorer Patrik Laine and Ohio native Jack Roslovic. Look for my Instant Analysis on the trade, for a deeper dive. READ HERE Otherwise, this may settle down the hot stove for the NHL for a week or two.
 The Dallas Stars have finally played a game and they blew out the Predators Friday night, 7-0. Dallas comes back and defeats Predators again 3-2, in a gritty win and sweeping the set. Looking at the standings, and giving you some insight to the division, those two wins vault Dallas into 4th place but several other teams in the division do not have games played due to COVID protocols. Many experts did not like the additions for Dallas in the shorten offseason, and they had their starting goalie, Ben Bishop, and young scorer, Tyler Seguin, out for a month due to surgery. Most expected Dallas to have a little Stanley Cup hangover, the toil of a long playoff run coupled with a shorten offseason. Getting two quick wins, a blowout, and a tough win, this early may set some tone for the team and help out later in the season.
 A couple of teams that I had some focus on (Colorado, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Chicago) have had some surprises this early season. In my last piece, I mention how bad Chicago is, but then they had two wins and picked up some ground in the Central division. Do not fall for the trick, Chicago is still a bad team and they still have big questions in net. They are showing some potential with their young rookies. New Jersey Devils were supposed to compete for the worst team in the league and a #1 pick this offseason. However, they have had some good wins early and their future star, Jack Hughes, is making up for his rookie season. This week, New Jersey has two games versus Philadelphia and two versus Buffalo. New Jersey could take three of these games but pay attention to the first game (Tuesday Jan.26 vs Philadelphia) to see how they set the tone. This also leads to Colorado and Philadelphia, both teams that have young talent and high expectations. Carter Hart, for the Flyers, has seen a lot of the net and backup Brian Elliot may get a start or two this week, seeing how he reacts about his 40-save shutout in his last start. I do not see any controversy in net, but rather trying to balance the effort and save Hart for the middle of the season. As for Colorado, they have been dominant in their power play, but split their games with their opponents. They traded wins/loses in last four games, against two teams that should not compete for playoff contention (LA and Anaheim). Colorado’s schedule does not get any easier in the coming two weeks, so they may be in the middle of the standings but have some interesting offensive and goaltending stats.
 Goaltending and some other notes… In the early season, look for goaltender John Gibson for Anaheim to have the lead for the Vezina. He has had some great games early in the season and carrying his team despite the contention factor for Anaheim. He should be a factor if your bets are against Anaheim. New York Islanders goalie Seymon Varlamov finally gave up a goal after opening the season with two shutouts. However, his counterpart, Ilya Sorokin, has not had any scoring help in his games. Be on the lookout if this becomes a trend. Vancouver has pretty much split the net time for Thatcher Demko and Braden Holtby. As of right now, Holtby has the two wins and the better record, and he may get the majority of the play this week versus the Senators (3 games). If he falters, you may see some more splits in net. McDavid and Draisaitl have 19 points between them. McDavid looks to be a leader for MVP but Edmonton is struggling with their goaltending thus having to score more or make up for their defensive issues. Mikko Koskinen has done a great job in net, but his role was seen as a “1A/1B” split, not being a clear starter or carrying a team. Edmontion may also make a trade for some help in nets if Mike Smith cannot get healthy.
Look for more insights and notes in the weeks and months to come here at POINTSPREADS.CA!
-- Writer Patrick Day can be reached at: email@example.com
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