There was a lot of action last night and some big performances to cover below, but with the trade deadline just around the corner, there was also another trade of note that happened Thursday evening. The New York Rangers dealt Michael Grabner, who was listed as a healthy scratch prior to the game as a precaution given how close the Rangers were to settling this trade, to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a 2018 second-round pick and defensive prospect Yegor Rykov.
If your initial thought upon hearing that was, ‘wow, I wonder when was the last time the Devils and Rangers agreed to a trade,’ then the answer is: Never. The two bitter rivals have never traded with each other since the Colorado Rockies became the New Jersey Devils in 1982. It’s weird to see happen now, but it highlights the Rangers desire to get the best possible return during their time as sellers, no matter who that highest bidder might be.
In Grabner, the Devils are getting a speedster and a terrific goal scorer. In fact, Grabner’s 25 goals so far this season is only topped by Taylor Hall (26 goals) among New Jersey players. Grabner is also just the second player on the Devils with at least 20 goals and the third (along with Miles Wood) with a minimum of 15 goals. So he fills an important need in New Jersey, but Grabner is also a fairly one-dimensional player, who rarely contributes on goals unless he’s the one that took the shot.
Not much needs to be said about the pick as it will be a while before we see what it becomes, but as for Rykov, the 20-year-old is in his second full KHL campaign and currently has two goals and 14 points in 51 contests. New Jersey took him in the fifth round of the 2016 draft.
Meanwhile, the Devils lost last night, though they still have a five-point cushion between themselves and the top team without a playoff spot, the New York Islanders.
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TORONTO 4 NY ISLANDERS 3 (SO)
Mathew Barzal scored a goal and registered two assists for the Islanders. That gives the rookie 17 goals and 65 points in 62 contests.
The Islanders had a 3-2 lead for most of the third period, but Auston Matthews tied it at 16:31 of the frame. It was his 28th goal and 50th point in 53 games this season.
Mitchell Marner also found the back of the net for Toronto. He’s up to 15 goals and 47 points in 63 games.
Frederik Andersen turned aside 32 of 35 shots in regulation time. He was then perfect in three shootout rounds to collect the extra point.
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MINNESOTA 4 NEW JERSEY 2
The Devils lost, but Taylor Hall scored yet again. His unofficial point streak is now at a stunning 20 games. Unofficial because the NHL counts the time he was sidelined as the end of one point streak and the start of another.
Eddie Lack kicked out 21 of 24 shots last night. He’s surrendered at least three goals in each of his last three starts, but to be fair he faced 51 shots in one of those games.
Chris Stewart scored the game-winning goal. He has nine markers and 13 points in 47 games.
Eric Staal also found the back of the net for the Wild. That gives him 27 goals and 54 points in 60 contests.
Alex Stalock saved 38 of 40 Devils shots. The Wild were up 3-2 going into the final frame, but were outshot 16-6 over the final 20 minutes. Stalock played a key role in holding onto that lead.
PHILADELPHIA 2 COLUMBUS 1
This wasn’t Petr Mrazek’s busiest night, but his Flyers debut went about as good as he could have hoped. He stopped 19 of 20 shots to earn the victory. Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth will be out for weeks, so the Flyers will need to lean on Mrazek, who they acquired from Detroit.
Nolan Patrick scored the game-winning goal. While the 19-year-old rookie hasn’t posted impressive offensive numbers this season, he has been getting better and is presently on a four-game point streak and three-game goal scoring streak.
Shayne Gostisbehere assisted on both of the Flyers’ goals. He has 10 goals and 49 points in 57 contests.
Sergei Bobrovsky turned aside 18 of 20 Flyers shots. He’s dropped three of his last four starts despite allowing two or fewer goals in three of those four games.
Artemi Panarin netted the Blue Jackets’ lone goal. It was his 17th marker and 49th point in 61 games.
MONTREAL 3 NY RANGERS 1
Antti Niemi turned aside 31 of 32 shots Thursday night. The Canadiens announced before the game that Carey Price is out indefinitely with a concussion, so you might be seeing a lot more of Niemi over the remainder of the season.
Tomas Plekanec scored a goal and registered an assist. He’s up to six goals and 24 points in 60 games.
Jeff Petry also found the back of the net for the Canadiens. That gives him 10 goals and 29 points in 60 games.
Alexandar Georgiev turned aside 38 of 40 shots in his NHL debut. Obviously that’s a pretty good showing for a first outing and it’s a shame that his teammates couldn’t offer him more support.
Kevin Hayes accounted for the Rangers’ only goal. It was his 15th marker and 28th point in 55 games.
TAMPA BAY 4 OTTAWA 3
Nikita Kucherov assisted on two of the Lightning’s four goals. With that he became the first player to reach the 80-point milestone this season. He needed just 61 games to get there.
Vladislav Namestnikov scored a goal and registered an assist. He has 20 goals and 44 points in 61 contests.
Derick Brassard had a goal and an assist for Ottawa. That gives him 18 goals and 38 points in 58 games in 2017-18.
Craig Anderson surrendered four goals on 24 shots. This is the third straight start where he’s allowed at least three goals.
Louis Domingue kicked out 33 of 36 Senators shots. Of the three wins he has with Tampa Bay, he’s surrendered three goals in two of them.
BUFFALO 3 DETROIT 2 (OT)
Marco Scandella scored the overtime winner. It was his third marker and 17th point in 61 games.
Rasmus Ristolainen found the back of the net and registered an assist. The Sabres defenseman has six goals and 29 points in 52 games.
Robin Lehner turned aside 35 of 37 Red Wings shots. That ended his run of five straight starts where he surrendered at least five goals.
Justin Abdelkader scored a goal for Detroit. He has 10 markers and 26 points in 53 games.
Jimmy Howard stopped 27 of 30 shots last night. He has a 16-19-7 record, 2.84 GAA, and .910 save percentage in 44 games.
FLORIDA 3 WASHINGTON 2
Vincent Trocheck netted the game-winner with just 20 seconds left in the contest. It was his 23rd goal and 54th point in 58 games.
Andre Burakovsky scored a goal and registered an assist for the Capitals. He’s up to seven goals and 16 points in 35 contests.
Braden Holtby turned aside 30 of 33 Panthers shots. He’s been struggling mightily lately with 22 goals allowed over just five games.
At the other end of the ice, Roberto Luongo saved 33 of 35 shots. He improved to 8-7-1 with a 2.51 GAA and .930 save percentage in 18 starts.
Maxim Mamin scored his first NHL goal. The Panthers forward was playing in his eighth career game.
NASHVILLE 7 SAN JOSE 1
Pekka Rinne saved 33 of 34 shots to pick up his 300th career victory. He’s just the 34th goaltender to ever reach that milestone.
Ryan Johansen scored a goal and registered an assist on Thursday. He has eight goals and 39 points in 57 contests.
Nick Bonino also had a goal and an assist for Nashville. That gives him nine goals and 19 points in 49 games.
Roman Josi assisted on two of the Predators’ seven goals. This was his third straight multi-point contest.
Logan Couture netted the Sharks’ only goal. He’s up to 25 goals and 47 points in 57 games.
Aaron Dell was charged with all seven Nashville goals over a staggering 46 shots. This really came apart in the third period when he surrendered four goals on 19 shots.
EDMONTON 3 COLORADO 2 (OT)
Connor McDavid scored the overtime winner and registered an assist. He has 27 goals and 71 points in 60 games this season.
Leon Draisaitl also had a goal and an assist for Edmonton. That gives him 18 goals and 54 points in 56 games.
Cam Talbot turned aside 28 of 30 Avalanche shots. He has a 21-23-2 record, 3.09 GAA, and .903 save percentage in 48 starts.
Colin Wilson found the back of the net for Colorado. He’s up to six goals and 16 points in 47 games.
Semyon Varlamov was bombarded with 46 shots and stopped 43 of them. He’s 15-12-3 with a 2.87 GAA and .913 save percentage in 34 games.
CALGARY 5 ARIZONA 2
Johnny Gaudreau led the charge for Calgary with a goal and two assists. He has 20 goals and 73 points in 62 contests in 2017-18.
Sean Monahan scored the game-winning goal and registered an assist. Of his 28 markers this season, 11 of them have been game-winners.
Jon Gillies stopped 35 of 37 Coyotes shots. This was his first start of the season and the second of his career.
Derek Stepan scored a goal for Arizona. It was his 11th goal and 38th point in 60 games.
Antti Raanta saved 33 of 38 shots last night. He has a 12-15-6 record, 2.53 GAA, and .922 save percentage in 36 games.
DALLAS 2 LOS ANGELES 0
Kari Lehtonen stopped all 18 Kings shots to earn his first shutout of the season. He’s 11-5-1 with a 2.14 GAA and .923 save percentage in 21 games.
Anze Kopitar tied for Los Angeles’ team-high with three shots on Lehtonen. Kopitar has 25 goals on 148 shots this season for a 16.9% success rate.
Tyler Seguin scored the first and therefore game-winning goal. It was his 30th marker and 52nd point in 61 games.
Alexander Radulov also found the back of the net for Dallas. He has 22 goals and 54 points in 61 contests.
Jonathan Quick kicked out 26 of 27 shots Thursday night. He has a 2-2-0 record over his last four starts despite allowing just six goals over that span.