Tuesday night gave us five games as the National Hockey League is nearing their All-Star break. After tonight’s games, there will be no games until Monday evening. Last night, we saw a shutout in Philadelphia and a big performance on Broadway. Plus, an All-Star is looking to get a new contract with his current team.
Moose Gets His Revenge
The last time Philadelphia Flyers netminder Brian Elliott faced the Pittsburgh Penguins, back on Oct. 29, he was yanked after giving up six goals on 28 shots in a 7-1 loss. Elliott got another crack at the Penguins on Tuesday night and got his revenge with a 19-save shutout.
Elliott was starting in his second straight game because of an injury to Carter Hart. The shutout was the 39th of his career and first since Nov. 10, 2018, and marked the first time the Flyers blanked the Penguins since March 15, 2017. His 39 shutouts have Elliott tied with Mike Smith for the 10th most among active goaltenders.
“I thought we really got up for this game,” Elliott said. “Sometimes it’s human nature to go on break a little early (mentally), and I think we really stuck to our guns. You saw that in the preparation and focus in the room before the game and that’s a good sign moving forward.”From “Flyers, Elliott avenger early-season loss and blank Penguins,” The Philadelphia Inquirer – 1/21/20
The Flyers head into the All-Star break winners of four of their last five games. They are currently tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with 60 points.
Greiss Gets the Islanders Back on Track
Even though he didn’t have a shutout, New York Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss had the performance of the evening. He made 40 saves in a 4-2 win over the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers were without the services of All-Star Artemi Panarin, who missed the game with an upper-body injury. They still peppered Greiss with 42 shots, but the veteran netminder was up to the task. This marked the first time Greiss made 40 saves in his 24 games this season.
“I’m ecstatic with the two points,” admitted head coach Barry Trotz. “We’re exhausted. We had to battle through it. It was huge for our psyche. We’ve had so many games in a short period of time. We’re mentally and physically fatigued, and the break is going to do us good. If we would have lost that game in any way, shape or form, I think it would have been a big punch to the stomach.”
The Islanders had lost five of their previous six games and now will enjoy some extended time off. They will go on their bye week following the All-Star break and will not play again until Feb. 1.
Canucks and Markstrom Talking New Contract
The 2019-20 season has been a memorable one, so far, for Jacob Markstrom of the Vancouver Canucks. The soon-to-be 30-year-old netminder is 18-13-3 on the season with a 2.71 goals-against average (GAA) and .916 save percentage (SV%). He will be heading to St. Louis this weekend to represent the Canucks and the Pacific Division in his first-ever All-Star Game.
Markstrom is in the final year of his three-year contract in Vancouver and assistant general manager John Weisbrod revealed that the team is working on getting a new deal done.
“We’ve started the process of moving things around,” Weisbrod told Sportsnet 650 in Vancouver on Monday. “There have been some sort of good place-setting conversations to sort of get a handle on what we’re looking at and what’s the best interest to him and what’s the best interest to the team, and obviously I’m hopeful that somewhere down the stretch here we’ll be able to find some middle ground and get it worked out.”
While Markstrom is not considered one of the elite goaltenders in the NHL, he is definitely an above-average starter. Many thought Thatcher Demko would be the goaltender of the future for the Canucks, and he still might be, but he hasn’t progressed as the team had hoped.
Braden Holtby and Robin Lehner will be the top unrestricted free-agent goalies this summer, but after them, the class is a bit weak. That will work against the Canucks favor as it may cause them to have to overpay in order to outbid potential suitors. Markstrom is making $3.6 million this season and should be in line for a significant raise.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.