Elias Says: November 15, 2017

Harden is key player in foul-fest at Houston

The Raptors defeated the Rockets, 129–113, in a game that featured a total of 83 foul shots. Toronto made 33 of 42 free throws; Houston was 35-for-41 from the line, including 19-for-19 by James Harden. It was the first game this season in which both teams took at least 40 foul shots, and only the 11th in the last nine seasons.

As for Harden, if only he were as accurate from the field as he was from the line. Harden made only eight of 25 field-goal attempts. He was only the eight player in NBA history to miss as many as 17 shots from the field in a game in which his shot 17-for-17 or better from the foul line. The only other player to do that in the last 25 years was Kevin Durant for Oklahoma City in an overtime game in 2013.

Morris makes a good early impression

Marcus Morris scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the Celtics’ 109–102 victory at Brooklyn. Morris, who was acquired last summer in a trade with the Pistons for Avery Bradley, became the first Celtics player to post a 20–10 game in points and rebounds during the month of his debut for the team since Brandon Bass did it in December 2011. The only other Celtics players to do so since 2000 were Kevin Garnett (8 times) and Ray Allen, both in November 2007.

Mavs rookie excels in loss to the Spurs

Rookie Dennis Smith Jr. scored 27 points and made five three-point field goals for the Mavericks in their loss to the Spurs. Smith is the third Dallas rookie over the last two seasons with a 25-point/5 threes game; Jonathan Gibson and Yogi Farrell each had one such game last season. Rookies on the NBA's 29 other teams have combined for only two such games over the same span: Juan Hernangomez for Denver in February 2017 and Malik Monk for Charlotte two weeks ago.

Dubnyk can’t be beat

Devan Dubnyk posted his third straight shutout with a 3–0 win against the Flyers in Minnesota. It’s the second time that Dubnyk has recorded three consecutive shutouts in his NHL career, having also done that for the Wild in October 2016. In the NHL’s expansion era (i.e., since 1967–68), the only other goaltenders with more than one single-season streak of three straight shutouts are Brian Elliott (three times for St. Louis: March 2012, April 2013, and March 2016) and Roberto Luongo (twice for Vancouver: Nov. 2007 and Nov. 2008).

Dubnyk made “only” 30 saves in Tuesday’s game, after stopping 41 shots when he shut out the Canadiens in Montreal on Thursday and 32 when he blanked the Flyers in Philadelphia on Saturday. He’s the second NHL goaltender since 1967–68 to rack up three consecutive shutouts in one season while making at least 30 saves in each game. Mike Smith did that in his run of three straight shutouts for the Coyotes in March/April 2012.

Young d-man Werenski is an OT star

Zach Werenski scored the second overtime goal of his NHL career to earn the Blue Jackets a 2–1 win at Montreal. Werenski’s other OT goal came just over a year ago (Nov. 9, 2016), when as a 19-year-old rookie he scored in extra time against the Ducks. Werenski is only the third NHL defenseman to score two regular-season overtime goals before turning 21 years old since the five-minute overtime format was introduced in 1983. The others are the Blackhawks’ Brent Seabrook (both at age 20 within a five-day span in November 2005) and the Ducks’ Cam Fowler (age 19 in February/March 2011).

Sheary’s two-goal game is a rarity for the Penguins this season

Conor Sheary’s second goal of the game was the overtime winner in the Penguins’ 5–4 victory against the Sabres. Remarkably, this is only the second multiple-goal game by a Penguins player this season, with Sidney Crosby having scored twice versus the Panthers on October 14. Entering play on Tuesday, every other NHL team had at least two players with multi-goal games this season.

Crosby snaps a long drought

Sidney Crosby ended his 11-game goalless streak when he scored late in the second period of the Penguins’ game against the Sabres. It was the second-longest goal drought of Crosby’s NHL career, one shy of the 12-game dry spell he had in the 2011–12 season. Crosby recorded only three assists during his just-ended 11-game goal drought.

Forsberg gets his 100th goal

Filip Forsberg scored the 100th goal of his NHL career in the Predators’ 6–3 win over the Capitals. Forsberg was selected by Washington in the first round of the 2012 draft but traded to Nashville and made his NHL debut with the Predators in April 2013. He’s the first player from the 2012 Entry Draft to reach the century mark in goals. The only other members of the 2012 draft class with 60 or more goals are Alex Galchenyuk (93) and Tomas Hertl (62).

Huberdeau tallies twice on power plays

Jonathan Huberdeau scored two goals for the Panthers, both on power plays, in Florida’s shootout victory against the Stars. It’s the first multiple-PPG game of Huberdeau’s six-season NHL career and the first by any Panthers player in just over two years, since Vincent Trocheck scored two power play goals in a 4–1 win over the Avalanche on Oct. 27, 2015. Huberdeau entered play on Tuesday with only one power play goal in 16 games this season.

A pair of two-goal scorers for Edmonton

Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each scored two goals for the Oilers in their 8–2 win over the Golden Knights, with Edmonton matching its goal total from its previous five games combined. This was only the second time in the last two seasons that the Oilers have had two multiple-goal scorers in the same game. Leon Draisaitl and Mark Letestu each tallied twice for Edmonton in its 6–3 victory at Winnipeg on December 1 last season.