In this edition of NHL Talk, these are the top storylines with quotes from players, coaches, managers, and more:
Islanders’ Chara to Tie Record for Most Games Played by an NHL Defenseman
New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara will tie Chris Chelios for most games played by an NHL defenseman when he suits up for his 1651st game on Tuesday, against the Seattle Kraken. The 44-year-old has seven assists in 42 games with New York this season and has scored 673 points (207 goals, 466 assists) throughout his career with the Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins, and Washington Capitals. As a member of the Bruins, he won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and took home the Norris Trophy in 2009 as the NHL’s best defenseman.
“When it comes to work ethic, he doesn’t cut any corners,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “I mean, there are no corners cut. He doesn’t take a day off unless I force him to take a day off. He’s not taking a day off. There will be times that he will go (home) from practice and I’ll say, ‘What’d you do last night?’ and he’ll say, ‘I got a little treatment, I did this, I had a real good supper and then I worked out and I did some stretching.’ You hear about him doing two-a-days, the work ethic is undeniable.
“He always calls me Coach, and I’d say, ‘You can call me Barry, that’s fine.’ He will not. He will call me Coach. He’s extremely respectful of everybody around him — teammates, trainers — but what’s more impressive is that he really takes the time for the people in that secondary, third layers away from the team. You should always be respectful, but he goes out of his way to make sure that everybody’s included. It’s unique to watch, especially in this day and age.”
Avalanche’s Frachise Record-Tying Road Winning Streak Ends at Seven
An impressive run on the road for the Colorado Avalanche came to an end with a 5-1 loss to the Bruins on Monday. After winning seven consecutive games as the visiting team, the Avalanche’s franchise-record tying road winning streak is over. The Bruins were relentless in ensuring Colorado’s impressive feat would not continue in Boston.
“We came back on [the Bruins] at home (in a 4-3 in overtime win on Jan. 26) after they got a lead, and sort of turned the table in the game,” Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said. “I was hoping we were going to go do that after we got that one to make it 2-1. It felt like our bench came alive and we were going to push for it. I was hoping to come out of that period 2-2 and make a strong push in the third after weathering the storm, especially the first. That didn’t happen tonight.”
Flames Tie Franchise Record With 10th Consecutive Win
The Calgary Flames tie its franchise-record winning streak with 10 consecutive wins after taking down the Winnipeg Jets, 3-1, on Monday. The Flames have surged into eighth in the NHL and first place in the Pacific Division amid its latest hot streak. Calgary is at the top of its game right now, and looks to bulldoze any team in its path.
“I don’t put a whole lot into 10 in a row unless they were 10 in a row in the playoffs,” Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said.
“Ten in a row is nice,” Flames forward Elias Lindholm said. “Ten in a row, that’s good. We were struggling a little bit there before we started the streak. It was just nice to see it go in. It was a tough game. It was tight, not a lot of chances, but we stuck with it. Ten in a row feels pretty good.”
Canadiens Win Third-Straight Game on First Winning Streak of Season
The Montreal Canadiens extend its first consecutive-game winning streak of the season to three games with a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday. Since new head coach Martin St. Louis took over behind the bench, the Canadiens hold a 3-3-0 record. It is evident that the team’s top players are buying into St. Louis’ program and making an effort to turn things around in Montreal.
“We’re playing for each other, and I think the energy in the room is a lot higher right now,” Canadiens forward Cole Caufield said. “I think we’ve been playing well, even those games before we started this three-game win streak. But I just love the way we’re playing right now.”
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.