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NHL Rink Wrap: Kraken get first shutout; Ugly day for Blackhawks

Seattle Kraken v New York Islanders

ELMONT, NY - FEBRUARY 02: Philipp Grubauer #31 of the Seattle Kraken makes a save against Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders at UBS Arena on February 2, 2022 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

Top players in the NHL on Wednesday

Philipp Grubauer, Seattle Kraken

It has been a tough debut season for the expansion Seattle Kraken, and starting goalie Philipp Grubauer especially. Grubauer was supposed to be one of the main pieces of the Kraken roster this season and one of the players that was supposed to help them be competitive. It has not worked out as planned as Grubauer, and by extension the Kraken, has struggled this season. On Wednesday he made some more first year history for the Kraken when he recorded his first shutout of the season, and the first shutout in Kraken franchise history, when he stopped all 19 shots he faced in a 3-0 win against the New York Islanders.

Highlights from around the NHL on Wednesday

Vince Dunn scored an absolutely beautiful goal for the Kraken in their win over the Islanders. Great move and shot here.

Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello continued their fantastic seasons on Wednesday night with this beautiful goal against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored two goals for the Edmonton Oilers in their 5-3 win over the Washington Capitals, including this shorthanded goal late in the third period for the game-winning goal.

Three takeaways from the NHL on Wednesday

Flames keep rolling

About a week ago the Calgary Flames put 62 shots on the board in a 6-0 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. On Wednesday night they put more than 50 on the board in a 4-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes. They are starting to turn into a machine right now in the Western Conference and are 6-2-0 in their past eight games. Blake Coleman scored two goals and added an assist in the win. By points percentage they have the second best record in the Pacific Division and are just one percentage point (.620 to .619) behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the best mark.

Ugly night for Blackhawks

Just a brutal night for the Chicago Blackhawks organization in every possible way. Team chairman Rocky Wirtz derailed a town hall gathering with fans and media, and then the team went out on the ice and got embarrassed by the Minnesota Wild by a 5-0 margin, resulting in starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury getting benched late in the third period. The Blackhawks have the third-worst record in the Western Conference (ahead of only the Arizona Coyotes and Seattle Kraken) and one of the worst overall records in the league. The Wild, meanwhile, are one of the league’s best teams and have now won six games in a row and are 9-0-1 in their past 10 games for a 10-game point streak.

Capitals power play struggles without Alex Ovechkin

The Washington Capitals were without Alex Ovechkin on Wednesday night after he was entered into the league’s COVID protocols earlier in the day, also keeping him out of the All-Star Game. They struggled on the power play without him. Not only did they go 0-for-3 in a 5-3 loss, they allowed a shorthanded goal and did not even record a single shot on goal. The Capitals’ power play has been a bit disappointing at times this season, but this was probably its worst showing of the season.

Thursday’s big story

The NHL All-Star break has now arrived with the conclusion of Wednesday’s games. The big stories to watch on Thursday are going to be the continued fallout from the Rocky Wirtz comments on Wednesday night, as well as the continuation of the Women’s Hockey Tournament at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The tournament opened on Wednesday night with Canada defeating Switzerland, while the United States team begins play on Thursday against Finland.

Wednesday’s NHL Scores

Seattle Kraken 3, New York Islanders 0
Edmonton Oilers 5, Washington Capitals 3
Los Angeles Kings 5, Detroit Red Wings 3
Calgary Flames 4, Arizona Coyotes 2
Minnesota Wild 5, Chicago Blackhawks 0