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In this edition of NHL Talk, these are the top storylines with quotes from players, coaches, managers, and more:
Predators Victorious on Rinne’s Number Retirement Night
Former Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne had his No. 35 retired and raised to the rafters of Bridgestone Arena on Thursday. That same night, the team managed to defeat the San Jose Sharks, 2-1, in a shootout, ensuring the Nashville netminder went home happy as could be. For the active Predators players, especially those who played with Rinne during his 15 seasons with the team, it was a very important game to win.
“It’s been a special day obviously for [Rinne], and we all love him so much,” Predators forward Mikael Granlund said. “It was a special day for all of us and especially for [Rinne] and his family. But we were able to get those two points and that’s all that matters. I’m just happy for tonight and I’m really happy for [Rinne].”
Flames’ Franchise Record-Tying Winning Streak Comes to an End at 10 Games
The Calgary Flames’ franchise record-tying 10-game winning streak came to an end with a 7-1 loss at the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. The dominant series of contests for the Flames puts it first place in the Pacific Division, and ties it for eighth in the NHL standings with the St. Louis Blues. It was a fantastic hot streak for the Flames, who look to get back to its winning ways after a tough loss in Vancouver.
“Good teams get beat and good teams have bad nights, but to be a good team you’ve got to respond and be able to learn from these games versus get stuck in a rut,” Flames forward Blake Coleman said. “We had won 10 in a row for a reason. We’re a really good hockey team, and this is part of the growth of our group, is being able to respond after what I view as an embarrassing loss.”
Bruins’ Ullmark Ties NHL Career High With 17th Win of the Season
Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark saved 25 of 27 shots for a .926 save percentage (SV%) in a 3-2 overtime win at the Seattle Kraken on Thursday, marking his 17th win of the season. The victory ties his NHL career high wins in a season from 2019-20 with the Buffalo Sabres. Through 27 games and 26 starts with the Bruins, he has a 17-8-1 record and .909 SV%.
“I don’t even know that, but you know, it’s just I’m not taking anything for granted,” Ullmark said. “I’m very blessed, very happy to be here and know there’s a lot of games left.”
Islanders’ Chara Overtakes Chelios for Most NHL Games Played by NHL Defensemen
New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara became the new leader in all-time games played by an NHL defenseman when he suited up in a 4-3 shootout loss at the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. In his 1,652nd NHL game, the 44-year-old played 16:26 and had a five-minute penalty for fighting. He overtakes Chris Chelios, formerly of the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, and Atlanta Thrashers, as the new No. 1 NHL defenseman in games played.
“I would like to start by thanking Chris Chelios, he set such a high standard for many of us,” Chara said. “It’s been very inspiring and a huge motivation. I want to thank him for that. A tremendous player and a leader…. I’m very grateful and I’m very lucky to have many, many great teammates, great coaches, and trainers, and support from my wife and children…. I’m very lucky that I get to still play the game.”
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.