NHL Talk: Capitals, Lightning, Stars & Blackhawks

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.

Blackhawks Get Back in Win Column Following Two-Game Skid

The Chicago Blackhawks ended a two-game losing streak with a 3-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday. The victory comes after a tough stretch for the Blackhawks, losing their last four of five games. Chicago goaltender Kevin Lankinen saved 33 of 34 shots for a .971 save percentage (SV%), and forward Patrick Kane tallied his 66th assist of the season to tie his career-high from 2018-19.

Derek King Chicago Blackhawks
Derek King, Chicago Blackhawks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“Yeah, the guys battled. They worked,” Blackhawks head coach Derek King said. “[Lankinen] played well. We did some good things. We got a little risky at times, but the fans like it. I don’t like it all the time, but I think [Kane] should’ve had about another 10 assists tonight. He was feeling it, but it was just good to get a win, especially at home.

Lightning Visit White House After Back-to-Back Stanley Cup Wins

The Tampa Bay Lightning visited the White House on Monday for the first time in franchise history, following back-to-back Stanley Cup wins in 2020 and 2021. The Lightning first won the Stanley Cup in 2004 but did not visit the White House due to the NHL lockout and were unable to visit in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Needless to say, it was a long time coming for Tampa Bay, who will look to win a third consecutive championship this postseason.

Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning 2021 Stanley Cup
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

“We weren’t sure if we were going to get this opportunity, but it was certainly worth the wait,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. “That was one of the highlights of a lot of our lives, not just their hockey careers to get with the President. It was a tremendous honor for a lot of us and an unforgettable experience.”

Stars Have Opportunity to Clinch Playoff Berth and Eliminate Golden Knights

The Dallas Stars have an opportunity to clinch a berth in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs and eliminate their rival for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference when they play the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday. The Stars have a three-point lead on the Golden Knights for the final ticket to the postseason and can secure their spot in one of the biggest NHL games of the season. If Dallas wins in regulation, they will qualify for the playoffs and eliminate Vegas from contention for the first time in franchise history.

Jamie Benn Dallas Stars
Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“It’s huge,” Stars captain Jamie Benn said. “That’s obviously what you want as a player and a team, is to not rely on somebody else to do your job. We have a chance to get into the playoffs with a big win, so that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

Capitals’ Ovechkin Will Be a Game-Time Decision on Tuesday

Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin will be a game-time decision against the New York Islanders on Tuesday. He is listed as day-to-day after sustaining an upper-body injury in the third period of a 4-3 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. The injury occurred after he was stopped on a breakaway, tripping over the stick of Maple Leafs’ goaltender Erik Kallgren and crashing shoulder-first into the end boards.

Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Related: NHL Talk: Ducks, Lightning, Capitals, Golden Knights & Jets

“I’ve never met anyone tougher than that guy,” Capitals forward T.J. Oshie said. “We all hope he’s fine. I just talked to him, and I think he’ll be all right. It’s always scary seeing ‘Big 8’ go down and lay on the ice. He’s a tough guy. But if there was anyone I would imagine wouldn’t miss any more time than he needs to, it’d be 8.”

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