The National Hockey League had a very successful trip to Sweden for the latest edition of the Global Series. Even though the games are over, two lucky fans will be able to own some unique keepsakes from the weekend. Also, we nearly had a goalie goal in Denver and one American Hockey League goaltender had a weekend for the record books.
Viking Pride in Global Series Masks
The Tampa Bay Lightning made headlines for all the wrong reasons last April. After one of the best regular seasons in NHL history, they were swept out of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Columbus Blue Jackets. That didn’t stop many experts from picking them to win it all this season, but they caused some concern due to a slow start.
Now that October has turned into November, Tampa Bay is playing much better and is starting to climb up the Eastern Conference standings. They traveled to Stockholm, Sweden over the weekend to take part in the Global Series and they are coming home with four points after a pair of victories over the Buffalo Sabres.
Both teams had renowned artist Dave Gunnarsson produce a special goalie mask for the memorable weekend. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman had some input for the design for his team’s mask. He wanted to incorporate Tampa Bay’s Gasparilla Pirate Festival into the theme. The mask features 2019 Vezina Trophy winner Andrei Vasilevskiy as a pirate with a cat since he is called the “Big Cat” by his teammates. It also has Hedman in Viking garb holding the flag of his native Sweden.
The Sabres’ mask also included a Viking theme thanks to some help from Marcus Johansson. Half of the mask depicts a buffalo head, while the other half includes a Viking helmet. The mask is painted in blue and yellow, the colors of the Swedish flag.
According to the league, they are working with each team to put these amazing masks up for auction to raise money for charity. How cool would one of these masks look in your collection?
Francouz Goes for the Glory
Only 11 goaltenders in NHL history have scored goals. Billy Smith of the New York Islanders was the first to ever do it back in 1979. Ron Hextall of the Philadelphia Flyers was the first goaltender to not only score twice but do it in the postseason, as well, when he scored against the Washington Capitals in the first round of the 1989 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur is the all-time leader in a lot of goaltending categories, including goals scored with three. The last time we saw a netminder light the lamp was back on Oct. 19, 2013, when Mike Smith, then with the Arizona Coyotes, scored against the Detroit Red Wings.
Pavel Francouz of the Colorado Avalanche tried to become the 12th goaltender to score a goal on Saturday night, but his attempt was stopped short.
Francouz did not get his goal, but he did make 39 saves in a 4-2 win over the Blue Jackets, his fourth of the season. The Czech Republic native has been very good in his six appearances for the Avalanche with a 2.82 goals-against average (GAA) and .915 save percentage (SV%).
Berdin Dominates in Illinois
The Manitoba Moose, the AHL affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets, have gotten the 2019-20 season off to slow start. However, they have played well of late, having won four out of their last five games to climb out of the cellar of the Central Division.
The Moose spent their weekend in Illinois and swept both games over the Rockford IceHogs and Chicago Wolves thanks to the effort of goaltender Mikhail Berdin. He started his weekend off with a 41-save shutout of the IceHogs on Friday night. Head coach Pascal Vincent gave Berdin the nod again on Saturday night and he stopped all 26 shots he saw from the Wolves for his second shutout in 24 hours.
Berdin’s two-game shutout streak has him tied for the all-time Moose record. The last goaltender to have shutouts in consecutive starts was Connor Hellebuyck back in February of 2015. He is the first Moose netminder to post shutouts in back-to-back days. Back in April of 2007, the Moose had shutouts on consecutive days, but that feat was accomplished by two different goaltenders, Drew MacIntyre and Dov Grumet-Morris.