Lots of news today with the headline being the suspension of two games for Zack Kassian for his altercation with the Flames Matthew Tkachuk. While I disagree with the decision, Kassian’s first game back will be after the All-Star Game and it will take place against the same Calgary Flames on January 29. It should be a doozy!
The Toronto Maple Leafs look to be in plenty of trouble on their blueline and things got a lot worse Monday when it was revealed that Morgan Rielly, he of the 20-goal, 72 point season of a season ago, will miss at least the next eight weeks with a fractured foot, suffered when blocking a shot against the Florida Panthers Sunday. With the Maple Leafs already down a good rearguard in Jake Muzzin, there is plenty to be worried about in Toronto. The Maple Leafs called up their top prospect, defenseman Rasmus Sandin, and if the 19-year-old can perform admirably, this could be a blessing in disguise.
The three stars of the week were announced and Andrei Vasilevskiy was the first star as he was 3-0-0 with a 0.67 GAA and a .972 save percentage. He picked up a couple of shutouts in his last two games and is working on an eight-game winning streak heading into this week.
The second star was Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo who had three goals and four assists in four games, including his first career hat trick and the first one by a Rangers defenseman in 37 years when Reijo Routsalainen did it.
The third star was Calgary goaltender Cam Talbot. The Flames backup netminder was 3-0-0 with a 1.67 GAA and a .940 save percentage. He could get a lot more starts, causing David Rittich owners some grief.
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MONTREAL 2 CALGARY 0
Maybe Carey Price is snapping out of it. Price stopped all 31 Calgary shots and halted the Flames five-game winning streak as the Montreal Canadiens defeated Calgary 2-0.
Price has had a poor season, especially by his standards as he has needed back-to-back stellar games to get his GAA under 3.00 as well as his save percentage, safely over .900. Price has given up only one goal in the last two games, stopping 72-of-73 shots to raise his record to 18-16-4 with a 2.87 GAA and a .907 save percentage. The Habs truly need this type of netminding.
David Rittich was also great in the Calgary net as Montreal poured 37 shots on goal. Rittich is 18-11-5 this season with a 2.79 GAA and a .913 save percentage. As mentioned above, Cam Talbot played last week and played well, winning all three games as he was the third star of the week.
Jordan Weal opened the scoring in the first period and Ryan Poehling scored his first of the season in the third. Poehling had the hat trick in his first and only NHL game against Toronto last season but it took him 20 games to score another one as he now has four goals in 21 career NHL games.
NEW YORK RANGERS 6 NEW YORK ISLANDERS 2
It was a wild one in New York as the Rangers beat the Islanders 6-2. It was Artemi Panarin night as he struck for two goals and three assists. It was the fourth straight home game that Panarin has had three assists on the night and that comes courtesy of Dan Rosen of NHL.com.
Panarin has been outstanding for the Rangers this season with 26 goals and 67 points as he moved into third place in the NHL scoring race, four behind Connor McDavid and three in arrears of Leon Draisaitl.
Alexandar Georgiev picked up the start and made 32 saves. He had been a healthy scratch the last two games as the Rangers plucked Igor Shesterkin out of the minors and played him in both contests. Georgiev improved his record to 11-9-1 with a 3.11 GAA and a .911 save percentage. Don’t be surprised if he is traded before the February 24 deadline.
Kreider also had seven shots on goal while Panarin and Derick Brassard had six each.
Brady Skjei had two assists.
Mathew Barzal was a minus-four.
The two teams meet again Thursday at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. It should be a wild one.
PHILADELPHIA 6 BOSTON 5 (Shootout)
Travis Sanheim’s second of the game sent the game into extra time and Travis Konecny’s shootout goal in the fifth round was the only puck to beat either netminder as the Flyers came away with a 6-5 win Monday.
The Bruins, who were up 5-2 7:21 into the second period, could not hold on but still managed to pick up a point.
Sean Couturier had a goal and two assists while Kevin Hayes with his 14th, and Connor Bunnaman completed the scoring for Philadelphia. It was the 21-year-old Bunnaman’s first career NHL goal in his fifth game. He was called up Sunday but played four games at the start of the season before the Flyers sent him back to the minors. Congratulations go out to Bunnaman.
Carter Hart picked up the win despite stopping only 26-of-31 shots. The netminder has been a stud at home but a dud on the road. The home win gives him a 13-2-2 record at home, but he is 2-9-1 on the road.
Jaroslav Halak picked up the shootout loss. He made 34 saves and 10=4=6 with a 2.46 GAA and a .920 save percentage.
WASHINGTON 2 CAROLINA 0
Alex Ovechkin scored twice and passed Teemu Selanne for 11th place on the all-time NHL goal scoring list with his 686th goal as the Washington Capitals beat Carolina 2-0.
Both goals were scored in the first period and Ovechkin’s feat out-shadowed the performance in net of rookie Ilya Samsonov who stopped all 23 shots for his first career shutout. The netminder is 13-2-1 with a 2.11 GAA and a .925 save percentage and does not get enough notice for the Calder Trophy, although he deserves it.
Petr Mrazek stopped 28 shots but took the loss. He is 17-11-2 with a 2.62 GAA and a .906 save percentage.
ST. LOUIS 4 ANAHEIM 1
Jake Allen stopped 20 shots to pick up his eighth win of the season and first since December 21 as the Blues beat up on the Ducks to the tune of 4-1.
John Gibson stopped 30-of-34 shots in taking the loss. Gibson has lost three games in a row and is 13-18-3 for the lowly Ducks.
Max Comtois was the only Duck to solve Allen as he scored his fifth of the season on an unassisted effort.
Brayden Schenn had a pair of assists for St. Louis.
David Perron had three minors for the Blues as well as four hits.
David Krejci – 2
Alex Ovechkin – 2
Artemi Panarin – 2
Travis Sanheim - 2
Artemi Panarin – 3
Jakub Voracek – 2
Sean Couturier - 2
Danton Heinen – 2
Jake DeBrusk – 2
Jesper Fast - 2
Brady Skjei – 2
Brayden Schenn - 2
Shots on Goal
Chris Kreider – 7
Artemi Panarin – 6
Derick Brassard - 6
Brett Ritchie – 8
Zac Rinaldo – 6
Ross Johnston - 17
Brendan Smith – 15
Matt Martin – 15
Chris Kreider – 14
Tony DeAngelo - 14