In this edition of “NHL Talk,” these are the top hockey stories with quotes from players, coaches, managers, and more. Check Tom Pepper’s profile every day for a new edition of the “NHL Talk” column.
Rangers’ Georgiev Continues to Dominate Flyers With Eighth Career NHL Shutout
New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev recorded his eighth career NHL shutout in a 4-0 win at the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday. He saved all 28 shots he faced in the game, marking his third shutout in eight games against the Flyers. He has won six-straight starts and moves the Rangers within two points of first place in the Metropolitan Division with his latest victory.
“‘Georgie’ was excellent, real strong game,” Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant said. “He looked really solid in there and made some real big saves for us. He was the difference in the game for sure.”
Blue Jackets’ Blankenburg Tallies an Assist in NHL Debut
Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Nick Blankenburg tallied an assist in his NHL debut, a 5-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. His first point in professional hockey came at 6:24 of the third period, earning the secondary assist on Cole Sillinger’s goal that put the Blue Jackets up, 4-1. He signed with Columbus on April 8 after serving as the Michigan Wolverines’ captain in the NCAA this season, posting 29 points (14 goals, 15 assists) in 38 games.
“There was a sense of relief when I saw it go in,” Blankenburg said. “I’m kind of at a loss of words. It’s a childhood dream to play your first game in the NHL, let alone get your first point. As the game went on, I felt like I had a little bit more confidence with the puck.”
Canadiens Are Mentally Tired as Losing Streak Hits Three Games
The Canadiens dropped a third consecutive contest in a 5-1 loss at the Blue Jackets on Wednesday. Montreal sits in last place in the Atlantic Division and second-last in the NHL with a 20-43-11 record. It has been a tough season full of roster management, and coaching changes for the Canadiens, who have entered rebuild mode after playing in the Stanley Cup Final last season.
“I think this team is mentally tired. I get it,” Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis said. “They’ve had a tough season and then coaches change and I’m asking a lot of them, implementing so many things. So, there’s a lot going on for them in terms of handling all that mentally.”
Avalanche’s MacKinnon Scores Third Career NHL Hat Trick in Blowout Win
Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon scored the third hat trick of his NHL career in a 9-3 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday. His three goals on the night came at 10:15 of the first period, and 1:18 and 9:52 of the third period. MacKinnon was ready to rest when the Avalanche were up 8-2, but he stayed in the game and earned another opportunity to score, capitalizing on the chance to complete his hat trick on Colorado’s ninth goal of the game.
“I wanted to be done,” MacKinnon said. “I asked [Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar],’ I’m like, ‘I don’t really want to. I’m good. I’ll play tomorrow [against the New Jersey Devils].’ I was just chilling, but good bounce and I just kind of whacked at it. I was blessed tonight, for sure.”
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.