NHL Rink Wrap: Hot Flames, corny Kraken
Top player from Tuesday in the NHL
Juuse Saros, Predators
Truly, take your pick. Several NHL goalies flirted with shutouts on Tuesday, settling for wins and one goal allowed, apiece:
- Saros and the Predators beat the Sharks, with the smallish netminder stopping 28 out of 29 shots.
- Similarly, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 out of 29 saves against the scrappy-but-undermanned Penguins.
- Robin Lehner (26 saves, one goal allowed) got the slight edge over Darcy Kuemper (26 saves, 2GA) as the Golden Knights beat the Avs.
Saros has been heating up lately, generating at least a .931 save percentage in four of his last five appearances. Saros is pretty much essential to a limited Nashville team’s success. Considering that, the Preds must be elated to see him deliver more often than not early on this season.
NHL injury, COVID news
- Add Jonathan Toews and Henrik Borgstrom to the Blackhawks’ COVID list. Also there: Patrick Kane, Jujhar Khaira, Riley Stillman, and members of the Blackhawks’ coaching staff. Of course, Tuesday also represented the end of Stan Bowman’s time as GM after the findings of an internal investigation were released.
- The Blues announced that Ryan O’Reilly and Brandon Saad were placed on their COVID protocol list.
- Blue Jackets defenseman Dean Kukan fractured his wrist vs. the Stars, and is expected to miss about eight weeks.
Highlights from Tuesday in the NHL
Nifty stuff from Yanni Gourde. Imagine the Canadiens weren’t expecting him to pull this off.
Add “scoring two goals in 10 seconds” to the list of times where it’s appropriate to discuss the Lightning “striking.”
If the Lightning scored at the speed of light, then the Jets did so at the speed of sound.
Tuesday’s NHL takeaways
Report about the Blackhawks
Tuesday’s most important NHL story didn’t play out on the ice.
As mentioned earlier, Stan Bowman resigned as Blackhawks GM after an internal investigation detailed how the team handled 2010 sexual assault allegations regarding former video coach Brad Aldrich. Time will tell if there are ripple effects from that report, but either way, it’s by far the most important story of the day.
The Flames are hot, and Mangiapane is breaking through
If you’re a nerd
like me, you’ve been aware of Andrew Mangiapane as a hidden gem for the Flames for some time. Maybe the 2021-22 season will represent Mangiapane’s leap to more mainstream attention?
Early on, it feels like a solid Tyler Toffoli impression.
With two goals during Tuesday’s NHL action, Mangiapane now has seven points (all goals) in six games this season. Last season, Mangiapane set a career-high with 18 goals. Before, it was about his overall play, and the impression that he could accomplish more with heightened opportunities. All of these goals might make it tough for him to sneak under the radar.
Don’t let the Flames totally escape your attention, either. They’re on a four-game winning streak, with those victories coming via consecutive road triumphs.
There were subtle signs that the Flames were improving their overall game under Darryl Sutter late last season. It was just easy to miss because, big picture, the 2020-21 Flames were a bummer.
In a stingy system, the Flames won’t always be this hot. There’s a decent chance they’ll get back to the playoffs, though.
The Kraken are corny, and that’s OK
The very birth of the Seattle Kraken team name revolved around ... well, dad jokes, basically. Internet humor of middling effectiveness. We’re just now wading through some of the early Kraken/cracking puns. Refreshingly, people haven’t been too offensive about those puns, for the most part.
Early on, it seems like they’re comfortable becoming Team Dad Joke. Retiring the number 32? Hokey, but cute enough. Raising a banner for the 1917 Stanley Cup champion Seattle Metropolitans? Practically sailing the seas of cheese, there.
Hey, sometimes dad jokes transition to more earnest tales of the olden times, too. So this is pretty cool:
Wednesday’s big story
Panthers get a real test in the Bruins
Earlier this week, we discussed how big Wednesday’s Maple Leafs - Blackhawks game might be for both teams. After that jarring Blackhawks news surfaced, it put a single regular season game in better perspective.
(Granted, that perspective could become skewed again in Toronto if the Maple Leafs suffer another embarrassing loss.)
So, let’s move from focusing on who might be in the bleaker situation, to a team trying to hold onto glory vs. an opponent reaching for it.
The Florida Panthers blazed off to a 6-0-0 start this season. They’ve outscored opponents 27-12, and soared up various power rankings.
On the way, they’ve beaten some established powers in the Lightning, Penguins, Islanders, and Avalanche. That said, you could wave away those wins to some degree. Many of those teams haven’t exactly been at full strength.
With that in mind, Wednesday’s Bruins - Panthers game represents an interesting test. Winning or losing won’t swing an 82-game season, but if Florida prevails, it might give skeptics another hard nudge toward taking these Cats seriously.
Tuesday’s NHL scores
Flames 5, Devils 3
Lightning 5, Penguins 1
Golden Knights 3, Avalanche 1
Predators 3, Sharks 1
Wild 3, Canucks 2
Jets 4, Ducks 3
Kraken 5, Canadiens 1