In this edition of NHL Talk, these are the top storylines with quotes from players, coaches, managers, and more.
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Kings Steal Victory With Late Third-Period Goal, Overtime Winner
The Los Angeles Kings stole a 3-2 overtime win at the Boston Bruins on Monday with a late third-period goal and the final dagger in overtime. The Kings trailed, 2-1, in the final minute of the third period, before Los Angeles forward Trevor Moore scored to tie the game up at 2-2 with 25.2 seconds remaining in regulation. Kings forward Andreas Athanasiou finished the job with a goal at 1:53 of overtime, sealing the late comeback victory for Los Angeles.
“It was a competitive game, right from the drop of the puck to the bitter end, and it was contested very hard by both teams,” Kings head coach Todd McLellan said. “A lot of heavy lifting for both teams. So good for our team to play in that. Really good for our team to play in it and stick with it. We found a way to get two in the last few minutes of the game and used every minute we had, which was important.”
Panthers’ Montour Scores Goal in Return to Buffalo
Florida Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour scored a goal in a 6-1 win at the Buffalo Sabres on Monday, his first game returning to Buffalo since being traded to Florida on April 10, 2021. His goal opened the game’s scoring at 5:22 of the first period, which sparked five consecutive goals from the Panthers (four in the second period, one in the third period). He was welcomed back to Buffalo, along with former Sabres forward Sam Reinhart and goaltender Jonas Johansson, with a video tribute.
“It was nice,” Montour said. “Obviously, it’s good to see some good faces. It’s obviously a little different playing against them, but it’s hockey. Once you get to game time, it’s all the same. So, obviously, it was good to get that one early and keep going from there.”
Maple Leafs’ Matthews Tallies 40th Goal of Season
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews became the first NHL player to reach 40 goals this season, scoring in a 5-4 win at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday. The Maple Leafs’ leading points-getter has 72 points (40 goals, 32 assists) in 53 games, on pace for the best year of his career. His goal on Monday gave Toronto a 3-0 lead at 17:06 of the first period, which the Blue Jackets countered with three consecutive goals (two in the second period, one in the third period), but the Maple Leafs managed to retake the lead again and close out the game in the final frame.
“The start that we had was really positive,” Matthews said. “We let them back in the game, but I thought our bench and our team as a whole just stayed poised and confident and we just kept playing and scored a couple of big goals to give ourselves a lead.”
Avalanche Hang On For Win in Eventful Third Period
The Colorado Avalanche were victorious in an eventful 5-4 win at the New York Islanders on Monday that saw a combined seven goals between the two teams in the third period. The Islanders and Avalanche each scored once in the first period, but neither team found the back of the net again until the final frame. Entering the third period tied 1-1, Colorado scored four consecutive goals, before allowing New York to score three straight of its own, but the Avalanche ultimately hung on for the win.
“I loved our game from the drop of the puck until the 5-1 lead, it’s that simple,” Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said. “I thought we were doing a great job getting back above pucks, ‘D’ gaps were great, turning pucks in transition quickly the whole night, dangerous on the offensive side of things…. They made a strong push following our push at the start of the third, so it ends up closer than what we would have liked for sure, but lots of positives to take out of that game for me.”
Flames’ Toffoli Scores Two Goals in First Battle of Alberta Appearance
Calgary Flames forward Tyler Toffoli got his first taste of the Battle of Alberta on Monday, scoring two goals in a 3-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers. The Flames’ newest addition, acquired from the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 14, has five goals in his past five games and 10 points (seven goals, three assists) in 10 games since joining the team. His two goals on Monday were the first two scored in the game, and his second goal stood as the game-winning goal for Calgary.
“It was just a really important game for us,” Toffoli said. “And I thought we did a good job of containing their top guys and, obviously, ‘Marky’ made some big saves at the right time. I thought we just did a really good job overall in not really letting them get to their game as much as they probably wanted to.”
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.