Thursday night was a big one for National Hockey League goaltenders as we saw four shutouts in three games. Also, a youngster adds his name to some of the all-time greats in Philadelphia as his winning streak lives on.
Saros Blanks Stars in Emotional Night
The Nashville Predators took to the Bridgestone Arena ice for the first time since the city was hit by tornados on Tuesday. Juuse Saros came up big in a very emotional evening. He made 33 saves in a 2-0 shutout of the Dallas Stars.
The shutout was the third of the season for Saros and the 10th of his NHL career as the Predators opened up a big hone-and-home series with the Stars.
“We were tough to play against,” Saros said of the team in front of him. “We blocked a lot of shots. Guys really sacrificed, and our D-men did a really good job clearing all the rebounds. So, it was an all-around good game.”
With the victory, the Predators are now tied for the second wild card in the Western Conference with the Arizona Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets. The race for the final playoff berths will likely go down to the final weekend of the season.
Vasilevskiy Loves Playing the Canadiens
Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Tampa Bay Lightning have struggled of late as they entered Thursday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens losers of the five of their last six games. They both got back on track as Vasilevskiy stopped all 32 of the shots he faced in a big 4-0 victory.
Vasilevskiy now has three shutouts on the season. He is tied with Marc-Andre Fleury for the most shutouts since the start of the 2017-18 season with 17. It was the first time the Canadiens had been held off the scoreboard in 69 games this season.
“I haven’t played well over the last few games,” he said from a victorious locker room. “So, it’s a pretty good feeling to get the shutout, but as I said, we played well defensively as a team. We did a very good job.”
Vasilevskiy loves seeing the Canadiens on the schedule. In 14 career games versus Montreal, he is 11-1-2 with a 1.98 goals-against average (GAA), .939 save percentage (SV%) with a pair of shutouts.
A Rare Double Shutout in LA
While Thursday’s game between the Los Angles Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs ended with a 1-0 score in favor of the Kings, it technically goes down as shutouts for both goaltenders as neither team scored an official goal.
Jonathan Quick and Frederik Andersen renewed their rivalry from when they were Pacific Division foes. Quick made 36 saves while Andersen made 30 in regulation and overtime to take a scoreless tie all the way to a shootout.
The only shot that got in behind Quick on the night was William Nylander’s in the third round of the shootout. Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe both scored to extend the Kings’ season-long winning streak to four straight games. Just like the Canadiens, this was the first time the Maple Leafs were shutout this season.
“Just looked like two elite goalies on their game, and we needed Freddie to be that good tonight, and he was,” current Maple Leafs and former Kings backup goalie Jack Campbell said. “And Quickie was outstanding as well at the other end, so definitely a goaltending battle, for sure.”
The shutout was Quick’s first of the season and 52nd of his NHL career. Andersen now has three shutouts this season and two in his last six games.
Hart, Flyers Stay Scorching Hot
Carter Hart and the Philadelphia Flyers remained red hot with a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday night. The Flyers have now won eight games in a row, scoring at least four goals in each of those wins. Hart made 28 saves to extend his personal winning streak to six games.
This is the second time in Hart’s young NHL career where he has put together a winning streak of at least six games. He won eight straight games during his rookie season between Jan. 14 to Feb. 9, 2019.
He became just the fourth goaltender in NHL history to have multiple win streak of six games or more before his 22nd birthday. He joins a very impressive list that includes Tom Barrasso, Grant Fuhr and Terry Sawchuk.
With their recent surge, the Flyers have tied the Washington Capitals for first place of the Metropolitan Division with 14 games left on the regular-season schedule.
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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.