The daily “NHL Recap” column is your go-to for the top quotes from every game in the NHL. Listen to THW contributors talk hockey every weekday on The Hockey Writers Podcast, available on iHeartRadio and wherever you listen to podcasts.
In this edition of NHL Recap, these are the top quotes from players and coaches following all games played on Feb. 15, 2022:
St. Louis Blues @ Ottawa Senators
Final Score: Blues 5-2 Senators
The St. Louis Blues win its second game in a row, defeating the Ottawa Senators, 5-2 on Tuesday. St. Louis’ line of Vladimir Tarasenko (two goals, one assist), Robert Thomas (one goal, two assists), and Pavel Buchnevich (three assists) combined for nine points on the night.
Blues head coach Craig Berube: “The Thomas line was excellent tonight. Puck possession was excellent; they were strong on it. They competed on the puck, they kept it and hung on to it. It’s not always open space, they had to compete for it at times and they were strong.”
The Senators were simply outplayed by a much stronger team on Tuesday. Ottawa, who ranks 29th in the NHL with a 17-24-4 record, just didn’t have the experience to compete with the Blues, who rank 10th in the NHL with a 28-14-5 record.
Senators defenseman Josh Brown: “I think it’s good for us to play a team like that to see what it takes. They’re a good team, so yeah, it’s a bit of a reality check. It’s great to play teams like that. I think that’s the next step for us as a younger group. We get to see how playing down low, cycling, and just hitting guys all over the ice, how that really pays off.”
Philadelphia Flyers @ Pittsburgh Penguins
Final Score (OT): Penguins 5-4 Flyers
The Pittsburgh Penguins scored in overtime to win a back-and-forth Battle of Pennsylvania, 5-4, over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. The biggest storyline of the game; Pittsburgh forward Sidney Crosby scored the Penguins’ first go-ahead goal of the night to make it 2-1 in the first period, marking the 500th goal of his NHL career.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan: “It’s been an incredible journey for me, to be the coach of the Penguins and, in particular, to coach Sid. I’ve had the privilege of seeing a fair amount of milestones over this time here, with respect to Sid. I thought tonight might be the most special.”
The Flyers held a 4-2 lead at the end of the second period, but allowed a pair of Penguins goals in the final frame, which sent the game to overtime. Despite Philadelphia’s efforts to hold the lead, Pittsburgh proved to be too much to handle.
Flyers head coach Mike Yeo: “I thought the leadership, our veteran guys, it’s easy to sit there and feel sorry for yourself. I think they’re going out there and still fighting, still playing hard. Obviously, that’s a very good team we’re playing against tonight. I think we came out with the right attitude. We came out with the mindset that we want to take the fight to them.”
New York Islanders @ Buffalo Sabres
Final Score: Sabres 6-3 Islanders
The Buffalo Sabres put together a strong performance on Tuesday, defeating the New York Islanders, 6-3. After coughing up a one-goal lead three times, Buffalo buckled down and scored three consecutive goals, including two empty-netters, to finish out the third period strong and win the game.
Sabres forward Alex Tuch: “I think the energy was a little bit different from previous games that we gave up the lead. We didn’t sit back. We didn’t change our game. We said, ‘Hey, you know what, (it) happens.’ … We didn’t have any doubts seep into our minds. I think that was really good for this group.
The Islanders tied the game three times after trailing, but never held a lead in the game. New York couldn’t seem to find the go-ahead goal whenever it had the chance to take a lead, and instead allowed the Sabres to stay in control.
Islanders forward Anders Lee: “It was one of those games where we found ourselves behind and having to keep coming back and tying it and tying it up. These are games that we have to start having. They’re moments that we have to start being successful in, and that’s how we’re going to be able to dig out of this. If this keeps happening, we’re going to be on the wrong side.”
Tampa Bay Lightning @ New Jersey Devils
Final Score: Lightning 6-3 Devils
The Tampa Bay Lightning win its second consecutive game with a 6-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. Tampa Bay found itself trailing, 3-1, early in the second period, but fought back in the game with five goals in a row (two in the second period, three in the third period).
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper: “If you want to have a chance to win in this league, you’ve got to keep the opponent to two (goals) or under, so I’d say you’re playing with fire (allowing three goals). It’s a hard league to score in, and we kind of caught fire at end of the second and to start of the third. The boys found a way, and [Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy] shut the door after allowing that third one, which was big.”
The Devils got off to a hot start, but couldn’t keep control of the game when the Lightning pushed back. New Jersey expected Tampa Bay to make a strong push for the comeback but were unable to keep up with its compete level.
Devils defenseman Damon Severson: “They’ve won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships and were going to be a lot better than they were to start the game. I don’t know what happened there in the last 20 minutes. We were fully in control, 3-1, and just let it go.”
Boston Bruins @ New York Rangers
Final Score (SO): Rangers 2-1 Bruins
The New York Rangers won a thrilling game in the ninth round of a shootout, 2-1, over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday. New York forward K’Andre Miller scored the shootout-clinching goal, while goaltender Igor Shesterkin held down the fort by stopping 31 of 32 shots faced for a .969 save percentage (SV%), despite having to briefly exit the game for concussion protocols.
Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin: “The stands just gave me so much energy that I couldn’t do anything else but save the game.”
The Bruins also put together a strong performance, primarily led by goaltender Jeremy Swayman, who turned aside 33 of 34 shots for a .971 SV%. Boston gets one point in the standings from the shootout loss, and Swayman gets his first memory playing close to where his father grew up in Brooklyn, New York.
Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman: “My dad grew up in Brooklyn, so it was pretty cool being in the Garden for the first time knowing he was here when he was younger. Definitely a sentimental game for me, but coming out with one point isn’t as satisfying so I can’t wait to come back and get two.”
Washington Capitals @ Nashville Predators
Final Score: Capitals 4-1 Predators
The Washington Capitals rebound from a 4-1 loss to the Senators on Sunday with a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. Washington has struggled to stay consistent recently, with a 5-5-0 record in its last 10 games, but hopes to build off its latest win over Nashville.
Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette: “The fact that it’s Nashville and this is the last stop that we had … for me, the win was really good for our team. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster. The Ottawa (Senators) game (a 4-1 loss Sunday), you don’t feel good about it. You lose a game at home and you want to get back and win a hockey game. It ends up being Nashville. That’s just the way it was kind of dealt out. It was a good win for our team.”
The Predators had a solid performance, outshooting the Capitals, 34-28, on Tuesday. Although it marks Nashville’s third consecutive loss, there are some positive takeaways from the game that it can use to get back on track.
Predators head coach John Hynes: “I liked [our] game tonight. I thought we had good energy. I thought we were on our toes, the things we talked about. It’s icing a game that we feel gives us the best chance to win night in and night out, and play consistently. I think lots of times we talked about controlling what you can control, and I thought for the most part tonight, we did that.”
Columbus Blue Jackets @ Calgary Flames
Final Score: Flames 6-2 Blue Jackets
The Calgary Flames win its seventh game in a row, taking down the Columbus Blue Jackets, 6-2, on Tuesday. Calgary is on a roll right now, and despite a few slip-ups, managed to neutralize Columbus, who entered the game on a three-game win streak of its own.
Flames forward Dylan Dube: “A lot of positive vibes coming into the rink, but I think we’re moving on game to game, we’re trying to get better. I think there’s some stuff we still need to clean up tonight.”
The Blue Jackets were unable to keep up with the Flames’ pace of play, being outshot, 41-20, in the game. Due to some sloppy playmaking and a shorthanded goal against that gave Calgary a 4-1 lead late in the second period, Columbus couldn’t match the Flames.
Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski: “We put in some good minutes and kind of shot ourselves in the foot with some of the turnovers, power play, they score a shorthanded goal. It’s frustrating, but we’ve played some good hockey as of late. We can learn from this and move by it. We just have to get back on track.”
Dallas Stars @ Colorado Avalanche
Final Score: Stars 4-1 Avalanche
The Dallas Stars took down the NHL’s top-ranked Colorado Avalanche, 4-1, in a valiant performance on Tuesday. Dallas goaltender Jake Oettinger stole the show with a career-high 46 saves, only allowing one goal against for a .979 SV%.
Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger: “[Colorado is] the best team in hockey, and you’re playing with, like, half your lungs out there pretty much (due to the altitude), so I knew I was going to have to weather the storm a little bit. The guys just did so many good things in front of me. If they let me see [the puck] and tie up guys around the net, then I think we’ll have success. Ton of blocks, and a couple of saved goals, and all around it was just huge for our team.”
The Avalanche’s 19-game point streak comes to an end with its loss to the Stars on Tuesday. Colorado took three minor penalties in the game and squandered two goals to Dallas on two of three penalty kills. The Avalanche had four power-play opportunities of its own, but failed to score with the man advantage.
Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar: “I don’t think we did enough around the net to make it difficult enough on Oettinger. Five-on-5, though, I liked our game. I thought it was good. No problems with it at all. At the end of the day, we gave them one, right? [Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz] behind the goal line, we handed them that one. They got a power-play goal, one I think is goalie interference, and then they got an empty net. They won the special teams battle tonight.”
Edmonton Oilers @ Los Angeles Kings
Final Score: Oilers 5-2 Kings
The Edmonton Oilers win a third consecutive game under new head coach Jay Woodcroft, defeating the Los Angeles Kings, 5-2, on Tuesday. It was a back-and-forth game, but Edmonton managed to pull away in the third period, anchored by goaltender Mike Smith who stopped 30 of 32 shots for a .938 SV%.
Oilers goaltender Mike Smith: “‘Woody’ has obviously come in and made some changes, but I think, all in all, players got to want it. You got to want it as a player. You got to want to win and do anything it takes to do that. The details in the game matter so much, and that comes down to the players willing to do that, willing to do what it takes to play a whole 60.”
The Kings held a 1-0 lead in the game at the end of the first period, but allowed the Oilers back in it with forward Connor McDavid’s second-period goal to tie the game up, 1-1. From that point onward, Los Angeles never held another lead.
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty: “We had some good practices and I thought we were prepared, but we just didn’t have all our stuff tonight. We didn’t have everybody.”
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.