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Hockey Daily Dose

Classic Spezza leads Leafs with hat trick

by Ryan Dadoun
Updated On: February 10, 2021, 4:17 pm ET

The Maple Leafs knew they weren’t getting the Jason Spezza of old when he joined the team back in 2019. For one night though, he showed up. Spezza, who serves primarily as a fourth liner in Toronto, was already off to a strong start with a goal and five points in nine games going into Thursday’s action. Against the Canucks last night, he took it to another level, scoring a hat trick in Toronto’s 7-3 victory.

It was the eighth hat trick of Spezza’s career, but his first since 2016. Prior to this contest, Spezza had just 26 goals in 221 games dating back to 2017-18.

On a night like this for Spezza, I can’t help but think back to a couple weeks ago when Spezza was on waivers. To be clear, him being put on waivers had nothing to do with Toronto’s opinion of him. They needed some cap flexibility and temporarily moving him to the taxi squad – which required him going on waivers – provided them with that. Spezza clearly loves Toronto too and was understanding of the situation because his agent, Rick Curran, told people that Spezza would simply retire if any team claimed him. In other words, he’ll play for Toronto or not at all.

Still that illustrates both how loyal he’s been for the Maple Leafs and also where he is now in his career. His loyalty was shown in his response to being put on waivers, but also the fact that he’s accepted a fourth line role in Toronto willing. He averaged just 10:50 minutes in 2019-20 and had just 9:24 minutes per contests this season despite his strong start. Even on Thursday, he had to score that hat trick while only spending 12:17 minutes on the ice. It shows where he is in his career too because the reality of the matter is that if he was the player of old, he wouldn’t be in that fourth line role. He wouldn’t have been placed on waivers - even if the reason for the Maple Leafs waiving a player wasn’t about him, they would have waived someone else ahead of him if he was the Spezza of old.

He isn’t that star forward anymore though and at the age 37, no one blames him. But for one night at least, he was that guy again.

 

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NY RANGERS 4 WASHINGTON 2

Alex Ovechkin scored a goal for the Capitals. He’s up to three goals and eight points in seven games.

Vitek Vanecek stopped 27 of 30 Rangers shots. He allowed a goal in each period with them all being even-strength markers.

Ryan Strome netted two goals, including the game-winner. He has four goals and six points in 10 contests.

Artemi Panarin assisted on three of the Rangers’ four goals. That gives him five goals and 15 points in 10 games.

Igor Shesterkin turned aside 31 of 33 shots last night. The Capitals outshot the Rangers 14-8 in the second period, but Shesterkin still held New York to a goal in that frame, so when the third period started, his team was up 2-1, allowing them to push forward to victory.

NASHVILLE 6 FLORIDA 5 (OT)

The Panthers had a 5-3 lead going into the third period, but the Predators scored two goals in the final 2:06 minutes of regulation time to tie the game and eventually win. Matt Duchene netted the game-tying goal, which was his second marker of the game. He has two goals and five points in 10 contests.

Filip Forsberg scored two goals, including the overtime winner, and also added three assists. After that incredible game, he’s up to six goals and 11 points in 10 contests.

Juuse Saros stopped 19 of 24 Panthers shots through two periods. Pekka Rinne was brought in for the third period and saved the 12 shots he faced the rest of the way to help Nashville in its comeback win.

At the other end of the ice, Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 35 of 41 shots. This was his first loss of the 2020-21 campaign after entering this contest with a 3-0-0 record.

Jonathan Huberdeau had a hat trick and two assists for Florida. He’s up to four goals and 12 points in seven contests. Unfortunately for him, his teammates fell short and the Panthers ultimately lost despite his amazing game.

COLUMBUS 4 DALLAS 3

Patrik Laine scored his first goal with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He struggled just a touch in his first game with his new squad, but he’s settling in.

Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and an assist for Columbus. He’s up to four goals and 10 points in 12 contests.

Joonas Korpisalo stopped 25 of 28 Stars shots. He surrendered two goals on nine shots in the second period.

Alexander Radulov assisted on all three of Dallas’ goals. He has three goals and 11 points in eight games.

Anton Khudobin kicked out 21 of 25 shots on Thursday. He has allowed at least three goals in each of his last three games.

OTTAWA 3 MONTREAL 2

Tim Stutzle scored a goal and registered two assists. The Senators rookie has four goals and six points in eight games.

Thomas Chabot found the back of the net and registered an assist for Ottawa. That gives him three goals and seven points in 10 contests.

Matt Murray stopped 36 of 38 Canadiens shots. This victory ended his five-game losing streak.

At the other end of the ice, Carey Price saved 19 of 22 shots. That snapped his three-game winning streak.

Both of Montreal’s goals were assisted on by Phillip Danault. He has five helpers in 11 games this season.

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TORONTO 7 VANCOUVER 3

Jason Spezza led the charge for the Maple Leafs with a hat trick. He’s up to four goals and eight points in 10 games. Keep in mind, the last time he finished a season with 10 or more goals was 2016-17, so this is a particularly impressive pace for Spezza at this stage of his career.

Auston Matthews chipped in two of Toronto’s goals. He has eight goals and 12 points in 10 contests.

Mitchell Marner scored a goal and registered two assists. He’s up to six goals and 17 points in 11 games.

Frederik Andersen stopped 16 of 19 Canucks shots. He never had to face more than eight shots in a single period.

At the other end of the ice, Thatcher Demko was bombarded with 37 shots and stopped 30 of them. While he’s had some really good starts, this is also the second time in 2020-21 that he’s allowed seven goals in a game. As a result, his GAA is now an ugly 3.81.

J.T. Miller scored a goal and registered an assist for the Canucks. He has three goals and 13 points in 11 games.

CHICAGO 6 CAROLINA 4

Patrick Kane scored a goal and registered three assists. The Blackhawks star is up to six goals and 15 points in 12 contests.

Alex DeBrincat netted a pair of goals, including the game-winner. He has four goals and 10 points in eight games.

Sebastian Aho had a goal and an assist for Carolina. That gives him two goals and eight points in eight contests.

James Reimer stopped 29 of 34 Blackhawks shots. Three of those five goals were scored on Chicago power plays.

At the other end of the ice, Kevin Lankinen saved 30 of 34 shots. He has a 4-1-3 record, 2.32 GAA, and .928 save percentage in eight contests.

ARIZONA 4 ST. LOUIS 3

Christian Dvorak scored the game-winning goal and registered an assist. He has six goals and 11 points in 10 games.

Conor Garland also had a goal and an assist for Arizona. He’s up to four goals and 10 points in 10 contests.

Antti Raanta saved 40 of 43 Blues shots. He faced 16 shots in the second period and 18 shots in the third. He held up in that second frame, but in the third he surrendered three goals, including two in the final 1:11 minutes. Fortunately for him and the Coyotes, St. Louis ran out of time before they could complete the comeback.

Mike Hoffman scored a pair of goals in the Blues’ third period offensive. He has four goals and seven points in 10 games.

Jordan Binnington stopped 26 of 29 Coyotes shots. He surrendered two goals on 15 shots in the first period.

WINNIPEG 4 CALGARY 1

The Flames’ lone goal was scored by Andrew Mangiapane. It was his second goal and third point in 10 games.

Jacob Markstrom stopped 23 of 26 shots on Thursday. The damage came in the second period when he allowed three goals on 11 shots.

Mason Appleton scored the Jets’ first and last goal of the game. He has three goals and seven points in 11 contests.

Mathieu Perreault assisted on three of Winnipeg’s four goals. That gives him a goal and five points in 11 games.

Connor Hellebuyck saved 23 of 24 Flames shots. He improved to 5-2-1 with a 2.48 GAA and .913 save percentage in eight starts.

Ryan Dadoun
Ryan Dadoun is an Associate Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or check out his blog.