In this edition of NHL Talk, here are the top storylines with quotes from players, coaches, managers, and more.
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Islanders Narrowly Defeat Rangers in Battle of New York
The New York Islanders were victorious in the latest Battle of New York, taking down the New York Rangers, 2-1, on the road on Thursday. Islanders forward Anders Lee opened the scoring at 0:49 of the second period before Rangers forward Chris Kreider evened up the game at 13:38 of the same frame, but Islanders forward Kyle Palmieri ultimately sealed the win at 17:16 of the third period. Goaltending was the story of the night, as Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin stopped 29 of 30 shots for a .967 save percentage (SV%), and Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin turned aside 26 of 28 shots for a .929 SV%.
“I just thought it was a [heck] of a hockey game, both teams,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “That was as fast as you’re going to see it, especially the first period. You saw unbelievable goaltending on both sides. You saw commitment on both sides. You saw a good rivalry game. I’m going to say it was the most fun game of the year.”
Maple Leafs’ Kallgren Impresses Again in Second NHL Start
Toronto Maple Leafs’ goaltender Erik Kallgren earned his second win in his second NHL start, defeating the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2, on Thursday. He stopped 34 of 36 shots by the Hurricanes, good for a .944 SV%, after shutting out the Dallas Stars with a 35-save effort in his first NHL start on Tuesday. Through three games and two starts, he has an impressive .963 SV% and 1.20 goals-against average (GAA) to go along with a 2-0-1 record.
“It’s been one of the most eventful weeks of my life so, there’s been a lot going on,” Kallgren said. “It’s surreal, but I’m just trying to enjoy it.”
Stars’ Klingberg Seals Overtime Win With 10 Seconds Left
Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg came up clutch for his team, scoring with 10 seconds remaining in overtime to defeat the Montreal Canadiens, 4-3, on the road on Thursday. While his game-winning goal was the highlight of the night, he also tallied another goal and an assist in the game, giving him three points (two goals, one assist). The win moves the Stars within one point of the Vegas Golden Knights for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.
“We’ve been up and down all year, and to get a comeback like this is huge for the team,” Klingberg said. “And it shows that we’re sticking with it. Their goalie played really good. We had a lot of chances to start the game. I think throughout the game we had a lot of chances as well, so it’s great to see us come through with the two points.”
Flyers Get the Win in Giroux’ 1000th NHL Game
The Philadelphia Flyers celebrated forward Claude Giroux‘s 1000th NHL game with a 5-4 win against the Nashville Predators on Thursday. He is just the second player in Flyers franchise history to play 1000 games with the organization, joining Hall of Famer Bobby Clarke (1,144), who was included in Giroux’s pregame ceremony. With trade rumours continuing to swirl around Giroux, it appears that Thursday may have been his final game in a Philadelphia uniform.
“During the game I was trying to keep it together,” Giroux said. “I wasn’t too bad the first two periods, and then the third period hit, and the crowd and the teammates, they were extra special. I didn’t know what to expect, but tonight was pretty awesome.”
Penguins’ Jarry Picks Up 30th Win of Season
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry picked up his 30th win of the season in a 3-2 shootout victory at the St. Louis Blues on Thursday. It marks the first time Jarry has reached 30 wins in an NHL season, and the first time a Penguins goaltender has done so since Matt Murray had 32 in 2016-17. In addition to Jarry, only Marc-Andre Fleury (eight times), Tom Barrasso (twice), and Murray (once) are the only ones to reach the 30-win mark in a season with Pittsburgh.
“It’s cool,” Jarry said. “It’s something you don’t really think about when it happens, but it’s pretty cool when it happens. It’s like a little milestone, but I think there’s still a lot of work to do and games to be played. I hope to have a lot more.”
Red Wings’ Nedeljkovic Records 43-Save Shutout
Detroit Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic put on a stellar shutout performance in a 1-0 win at the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. Saving all 43 shots he faced in the game, it marked his second shutout of the season, and fifth of his NHL career. Only two Red Wings goaltenders have made more saves in a shutout since 1954-55: Terry Sawchuk (50 saves on Nov. 14, 1959, in a 4-0 win at the New York Rangers) and Glenn Hall (44 saves on March 1, 1956, in a 2-0 victory at the Boston Bruins).
“It’s big. It’s one that we can look back on as the year goes on now and kind of tell ourselves we can play in these low-scoring kind of games,” Nedeljkovic said. “We can play good defense and I think we did play some really good defense tonight. We gave up some chances, but they got some high-end players so they’re going to get their chances and tonight pucks were hitting me.”
Kings’ Petersen Posts 29-Save Shutout
Los Angeles Kings goaltender Cal Petersen earned the fourth shutout of his NHL career in a 3-0 win against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. He saved all 29 shots he faced in the game for his third shutout of the season, and second in his last four starts. The victory gives the Kings a four-point lead on the Edmonton Oilers for second place in the Pacific Division.
“They’ve kind of had our number the last couple of years here,” Petersen said. “For whatever reason, every game that we play, they’re a great team and it’s a dogfight for the whole 60 minutes, and that’s what makes a rivalry great, but glad that we were able to win this round.”
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.