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NHL Rink Wrap: Fleury heats up, home not yet sweet for Islanders

NHL Rink Wrap: Fleury heats up, home not yet sweet for Islanders

VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 21: Kyle Burroughs #44 of the Vancouver Canucks reaches over Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Chicago Blackhawks during their NHL game at Rogers Arena November 21, 2021 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

Top player from Sunday in the NHL

Marc-Andre Fleury, Blackhawks

For the 68th time in his career, Marc-Andre Fleury earned a shutout. That breaks a tie with Roy Worters, leaving Marc-Andre Fleury alone at 14th all-time in NHL shutouts.

(Next up: Lorne Chabot and Harry Lumley, both tied at 12th with 71 shutouts. If you haven’t heard of Worters, Chabot, or Lumley, that’s understandable. Lumley was born in 1926, while Chabot and Worters were both born in 1900. So much for Marc-Andre Fleury being old at 36, eh?)

It’s also Fleury’s first shutout of the season, and first with the Blackhawks. It ranked as one of the best of Fleury’s 68 shutouts, too, as he needed to make 40 saves.

Granted, he also needed some help from his posts.

Highlights from NHL on Sunday

Quite the wild one between the Rangers and the Sabres. For one thing, the Rangers and Sabres traded four goals in the span of 1:22.

If that wasn’t enough, Ryan Lindgren scored the game-winner for the Rangers with less than a second left in regulation (poor Sabres):

Jake Muzzin sent just a splendid pass to set up Mitch Marner’s shorthanded goal. It ended up being the game-winner, as the Maple Leafs contributed to a Sunday brimming with shutouts. (More on that in the takeaways.)

There were enough worthwhile moments (Adam Larsson’s breakaway [!] goal, that Evgeny Kuznetsov pass) from Capitals - Kraken just to throw the full highlights in here:

Funky overtime game-winner in Kings - Coyotes. Coyotes defenseman Kyle Capobianco thought he scored the OTGWG, only to see play go the other way. It turns out, he did score it:

Sunday’s NHL takeaways

Fleury’s standout just part of a Sunday of NHL shutouts (including another for Flames)

Fleury’s shutout was just part of a Sunday fairly heavy on donuts.

  • Dan Vladar continued his hot start to the season (and his Flames career) by pitching a 27-save shutout. It’s Vladar’s second shutout of the season, pushing his record to 4-0-1, with a fantastic .945 save percentage.
  • Joseph Woll earned his first career shutout by stopping all 20 shots by the Islanders.

Considering that Vladar pulled that off after the Bruins, who drafted him in the fifth round in 2015 (75th overall), that must have been sweet. While Vladar had some ups and downs during a cup of coffee with the Bruins, his stats at other levels have been promising. Could be a goalie to watch, especially behind that stout Darryl Sutter system.

Speaking of the Flames, they’re now on a three-game winning streak, and have won four of their last five.

A different form of frustration for the Canucks

Before Friday’s desperately-needed win, the Canucks dropped five in a row, gaining a single standings point. People kept their jobs, surprising outsiders more than Canucks fans who’ve seen this movie before.

For the most part, the crumbling Canucks have often looked totally outmatched during their stumbles. Most of the losses felt “earned.”

On Sunday, the Canucks outshot 30-13 through the first 40 minutes, and 40-24 overall. Marc-Andre Fleury (and his posts) pulled the shutout, though, leaving the Canucks muttering to themselves (and maybe MAF’s posts?).

While you could argue there was quantity over quality (the Blackhawks won the high-danger chance battle 6-4 at even-strength), that’s still a better formula for success than Vancouver’s typical “shrug.”

Unfortunately, there’s more bad news for the Canucks. After this loss, they head out for a five-game road trip. Those games don’t look killer on paper, but maybe it would actually hurt more to lose “winnable” contests?

New home still not sweet for ailing Islanders

Finally, that grueling, historic 13-game road trip ended. And, hey, there was a nice little break. That said, the Islanders opened their new home arena with a back-to-back set. Worse yet, they had to host two of the hotter teams in the NHL: the Flames on Saturday, and the Maple Leafs on Sunday.

The Islanders ended up losing their first two home games by three goals each. They’ve now lost six in a row -- all in regulation.

They even have to endure the indignity of more than a couple John Tavares barbs.

At least, uh, the guy from “Entourage” showed up?

Monday’s big story

Interesting “prove it” opportunity for Ducks, Predators?

With two straight losses and a modest 9-7-1 record, maybe the Predators aren’t that much better-than-advertised. That said, the Predators still look more spry than many expected, and they’re about to get a chance to beef up.

Starting with Monday’s game against the Ducks, the Predators play their next three games in Nashville, and six of their next seven overall at home.

At 10-5-3 (but most importantly, 8-1-1 in their last 10 games), the Ducks have made their argument more assertively. During an 82-game season, you have to make a lot of statements, though. We’ll see if the Ducks pass another test. Frankly, even in losing to the Hurricanes, they looked quite viable.

Sunday’s NHL scores

Blackhawks 1, Canucks 0
Maple Leafs 3, Islanders 0
Flames 4, Bruins 0
Rangers 5, Sabres 4
Coyotes 2, Kings 1 (OT)
Lightning 5, Wild 4 (SO)
Kraken 5, Capitals 2

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.