NHL Rink Wrap: Goals, assists milestones for Ovechkin; Kings heat up
Top players from Monday in the NHL
Alex Ovechkin, Capitals
Later on in this post, we’ll focus on even more of the history. But we have to start with the headline-grabber. By scoring his 11th goal of the season, Alex Ovechkin reached 741 career goals. At 741, Ovechkin tied Brett Hull for fourth all-time in goals.
(Click here for more on that, including Ovechkin being 153 goals behind Wayne Gretzky’s 894 goals, the all-time record. Oh, and read this for even more on Ovechkin’s pursuit of Gretzky’s record.)
Let’s circle back to Ovechkin earning NHL player of the night honors for Monday, and his shockingly strong season so far. On Monday, Ovechkin scored a goal and two assists.
Heading into Monday, Ovechkin was already comfortably ranked third in NHL scoring behind Leon Draisaitl (23 points) and Connor McDavid (22). He’s now one of three players at 20+ points, as the goal and two assists put Ovechkin at 11 goals and 10 assists (21 points) in just 12 games.
Few bat an eye at Ovechkin scoring goals, even at age 36 -- although 11 goals in 12 games is still really something. But playmaking to a level where he’s a stride behind McDavid and Draisaitl? Ridiculous.
Then again, with Ovechkin, maybe we should just expect this?
Highlights from Monday in the NHL
Watch as Ovechkin scores goal 741 and reaches 600 assists in the Capitals’ win over the Sabres:
The real highlight of this Phillip Danault goal was his reaction to said goal:
There were some exciting moments in Panthers - Rangers, but this K’Andre Miller goal stole the show:
Granted, this was fantastic stuff from (Mr.) Adam Fox, too.
Monday’s NHL takeaways
Ovechkin makes history, even beyond tying Hull for fourth all-time in goals
So, again, Ovechkin tied Brett Hull for fourth all-time with 741 goals.
While Ovechkin didn’t break his tie with Hull, he did add those two assists. With that, Ovechkin’s 598 assists shoots to an even, milestone-friendly 600. The Capitals churned out some interesting facts alongside Ovechkin reaching 600 assists:
Personally, it’s especially amusing that a) his 741 goals received a mention alongside those 600 assists and b) Sidney Crosby’s name came up. That has to get your Ovechkin B-I-N-G-O board close to full. Maybe they just needed to include Ovechkin’s office?
Hey, look, the Kings are now on a roll
After an aggressive offseason, the Kings disappointed. They limped off to a troubling 1-5-1 start to the season. People understandably wondered if The Kings jumped the gun on accelerating their rebuild.
It was too early to tell then, and it’s too early to do a 180 now. After Monday’s win over the Maple Leafs, don’t blame people if the Kings renewed people’s belief in their chances of earning an NHL playoff spot. (Yes, the Oilers and Flames are hot atop the Pacific. However, when it comes to the third seed, the Kings have a shot.)
With that win against Toronto, the Kings are now on a five-game winning streak. Their record is now 6-5-1, putting them in the thick of things in trying to get ahead of the Ducks, Sharks, and Golden Knights. The Central Division’s not a lock to send five teams playoff-bound, either.
Interestingly, the Kings are heating up with Drew Doughty on the shelf. They lost their first two games with Doughty injured, but now are on this five-game winning streak. The Kings’ win also ended a five-game winning streak for the Maple Leafs.
Also: Phillip Danault just keeps tormenting the Maple Leafs. He’s worthy of Monday’s NHL player of the night consideration himself with a two-goal, one-assist game.
Shesterkin, counter-attack explain why Rangers gave Panthers their first regulation loss
When you see a 4-3 score, you don’t necessarily believe that the winning goalie put on a clinic. There’s a reason that fans at Madison Square Garden were chanting “I-gor” in honor of Igor Shesterkin, though. (And not just because it works pretty well as a classic two syllable chant.)
Considering that the Rangers went up 4-0 through the first 40 minutes, it might have seemed like New York dominated. And, sure, they counter-punched and created some great goals. K’Andre Miller’s goal was the best of the bunch, but Adam Fox authored a beauty of his own.
But Igor Shesterkin made the real difference. The Panthers fired 45 shots on goal to just 18 for the Rangers. During the final two periods, the advantage was 34-9. With three goals in the third, the Panthers were finally able to get to Shesterkin a bit. Yet not enough.
More than once, players made contact with Shesterkin. He was asked to make some difficult saves, and came up more often than not. This 42-save performance pushes Shesterkin’s save percentage to .931 in 10 games.
Tuesday’s big story
Lightning present latest test for Hurricanes
The Hurricanes lost for the first time on Saturday, and the Panthers really made no mistake about it. In an 82-game season, you’re going to have nights like those. Chances are, Carolina isn’t too shaken up. (They probably just got that negative energy out by getting some salty tweets and troll-ish web domains ready.)
On Tuesday, the Lightning present a different kind of challenge for the Hurricanes. Where the Panthers are healthy and rising, the Lightning are those cagey veterans. Sometimes those old dogs have a limp, but they can still be dangerous.
Will the high-flying Hurricanes pass this test against the Lightning, or will this be Carolina’s first losing streak? It’s one of the biggest stories to watch around the NHL on Tuesday.
Monday’s NHL scores
Capitals 5, Sabres 3
Rangers 4, Panthers 3
Kings 5, Maple Leafs 1