In this edition of NHL Talk, here are the top storylines with quotes from players, coaches, managers, and more.
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Sabres’ Hinostroza Tallies Two Goals, Assist in Outdoor Victory
Buffalo Sabres forward Vinnie Hinostroza tallied two goals and an assist in a 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2022 NHL Heritage Classic in Hamilton, Ont. on Sunday. He assisted on Peyton Krebs’ goal at 1:22 of the second period to tie the game at 1-1, then scored a goal himself at 10:53 of the same frame to make it 2-2, before scoring the game-winning goal that put the Sabres up 3-2 at 5:16 of the third period. His valiant effort helped lead the Sabres to its first outdoor victory in franchise history.
“It’s been a special weekend having my son here and my wife here,” Hinostroza said. “It’s really special, being able to chip in and help the team win. Obviously we got the win, that’s the biggest thing. There’s so many distractions this weekend with family over and everyone at the hotel enjoying themselves, but our team did a great job putting that in the background and coming in and realizing we have a big game to win here. I’m really proud of our team.”
Predators’ Josi Scores Two Goals, Two Assists in Big Win
Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi scored two goals and two assists in a 6-2 win at the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. It marked a big win for the Predators, who have been chasing the Wild in the standings and are now tied with Minnesota in points (72) for third place in the tightly-contested Central Division. Josi has a career-high in points this season, tallying 66 points (17 goals, 49 assists) in 57 games, besting his 65 points in 69 games in 2019-20.
“The best defenseman in the game,” Predators head coach John Hynes said. ”I’m not so sure that there’s a player that impacts their team and their organization the way that Roman does.”
Flyers Have Lineup Changes Coming After Embarrassing Loss
The Philadelphia Flyers lost in humiliating fashion, 4-3 in overtime against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday. The Flyers held a 3-2 lead on the power play in the final minute of the game but allowed the Canadiens to score shorthanded with 43 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 3-3. Montreal sealed the game, scoring at 2:10 of overtime, and robbed Philadelphia of two points in the standings, which is likely to spark lineup changes for the Flyers.
“Take ice time away, put guys on the fourth line, scratch guys if we have to,” Flyers head coach Mike Yeo said. “I don’t know if we have enough [space under the NHL salary cap] to call guys up. This is veteran players we’re going to have to do it to.”
Blue Jackets’ Sillinger Records First Career NHL Hat Trick
Blue Jackets forward Cole Sillinger recorded the first hat trick of his NHL career in a 6-4 win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday. As the youngest player in the NHL this season (18 years, 301 days), he is the second-youngest Blue Jackets player in franchise history to record a hat trick, only behind Nikita Filatov (18 years, 230 days) on Jan. 10, 2009. He scored at 11:53 of the first period, before scoring two goals just 1:50 apart to give Columbus a 5-2 lead in the second period.
“It didn’t really feel real, and then kind of going forward in the second period there, I was kind of, not really zoned out, but just like, oh my God, what just happened?” Sillinger said. “Pretty cool.”
Avalanche’s Kuemper Picks Up Fourth Shutout of Season
Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper recorded his fourth shutout of the season, and 24th of his career, in a 3-0 win against the Calgary Flames on Sunday. He turned aside all 46 shots he faced in the game, leading the Avalanche to its 42nd win of the season, the most wins in franchise history through 60 games. After spending the beginning of his career with the Minnesota Wild, Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyotes, he is finding a home in Colorado and continues to dominate in net.
“I’m really fortunate to play for such a great team and have such great players in front of me,” Kuemper said. “It makes my job a lot easier every night, and it’s been a lot of fun getting a lot of wins.”
Lightning End Three-Game Losing Streak
The Tampa Bay Lightning ended its three-game losing streak with a 2-1 win at the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday. The Lightning were stuck in a rut during the three games prior, outscored 15-6 over that span, but managed to pull out a win and get back on track in Vancouver. Tampa Bay sits fourth in the NHL and second in the Atlantic Division with a 38-15-6 record on the season.
“I know how proud we are and we want to try and win every game, but sometimes you go through these stretches and I don’t know when the last time was we lost three in a row (Dec. 30-Jan. 2), so for us to bounce back today on a back to back was huge,” Hedman said. ” … It says a lot about the character in that locker room. We’re up for the challenge, whatever it is, and it was another example tonight.”
Kings’ Quick Gets the Win in 700th NHL Game
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick helped lead his team to victory in his 700th NHL game, a 3-2 shootout win against the Florida Panthers on Sunday. He made 30 saves through regulation and overtime, adding another three stops in the shootout, to secure the Kings’ 33rd win of the season. He is just the fourth United States-born goaltender to play in 700 NHL games, joining John Vanbiesbrouck (882), Ryan Miller (796), and Tom Barrasso (777).
“Looking back at playing in that many games, you just think about how many great relationships you’ve made over the years with teammates, coaches, trainers that you’ve been with forever. Just feel fortunate to have those memories about all those guys,” Quick said.
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.