The National Hockey League was back at it on Monday night after its successful All-Star Weekend in St. Louis. Fans were treated to six contests after four long days with no game action. There was plenty of goaltending news with personal streaks and franchise records galore.
Vasilevskiy Keeps Point Streak Alive
The Tampa Bay Lightning have been on fire lately and have spent the last few weeks looking like the team that won the Presidents’ Trophy last season. The returned to the ice on Monday night at the Dallas Stars after not playing since Jan.17 thanks to their bye week and the All-Star break.
Steven Stamkos scored both of the Lightning’s goals in regulation, including one late in the third period to send the game to overtime. Stars’ captain Jamie Benn won the game about two minutes into overtime to end Andrei Vasilevskiy’s personal 10-game winning streak.
“Our compete was there in the game, but our brains just weren’t in it,” head coach Jon Cooper said. “We gave up more chances tonight on turnovers and odd-man rushes than we’ve given up in two months combined. You can chop it up to whatever you want. It’s unfortunate because it was a winnable game for us. It’s rare this year that we’ve laid a game on our goalie to bail us out, but he definitely bailed us out and got us a point tonight.”
However, thanks to that second Stamkos goal, Vasilevskiy extended his point streak to 13 straight games, the third such streak of his career. He joins Martin Brodeur, Ken Dryden, Jacques Plante and Tiny Thompson as the only goaltenders in NHL history to have three 13-game points streaks. That is quite a list of players to be associated with.
Canucks Keep Rolling at Home
The Rogers Arena has become a house of horrors for visitors of late. The Vancouver Canucks beat the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues, 3-1, on Monday night to extend their home winning streak to nine games.
The Canucks have not lost at home since Dec. 17, which is the longest active streak in the league and is two wins short of the franchise record set in 2009. They are 12-3-0 on their last 15 games and now have a three-point lead in the Pacific Division.
Thatcher Demko started his second straight game, but it was just his fourth start in the last 20 games. He made 36 saves on the night and none of them were better than this flat-out robbery of Jaden Schwartz in the third period.
“We have been playing really good hockey,” Demko said from the winning locker room. “Sometimes teams can get a little bit complacent during a break. It was good to get back in it. It was a huge two points against a really good team. I’m really proud of the effort.”
Demko is now 7-0-1 at the Rogers Arena, which is the longest home point streak to start a season in franchise history. The previous record of seven games was set by Dan Cloutier to start the 2003-04 season. Breaking records is nothing new for Demko, who has the single-season shutout record at Boston College with 10.
Hogberg Stands on His Head for a Point
The Ottawa Senators hosted the New Jersey Devils last night and dropped a 4-3 decision in a shootout. The only reason they were able to earn that point and have a shot a victory was because of the play of goaltender Marcus Hogberg.
Hogberg turned away 50 of the 53 shots the Devils threw at him to make some Senators franchise history. The 25-year-old netminder now holds the team’s rookie record for the most saves in a regular-season game. Prior to Monday, the record was split between Mike Bales, Robin Lehner and Darrin Madeley who all had 47-save games during their rookie seasons.
“I like when it’s a lot of shots,” said Hogberg after the game. “I had a lot of fun out there.”
If shots equal fun for Hogberg, that was the most fun he’s ever had playing hockey. He became the fifth goaltender this season to make at least 50 saves in a game and the second one to do it for the Senators. Anders Nilsson made 52 saves against the Vegas Golden Knights on Oct. 17; a game they also lost in a shootout.