NHL Talk: Panthers, Blues, Wild, Islanders & Sabres

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.

Panthers Extend NHL’s Longest Active Winning Streak to 10 Games

The Florida Panthers extended its winning streak to 10 games with a 6-1 win at the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. The victory moves the Panthers, who rank first in the Atlantic Division, within two points of the Colorado Avalanche for first place in the NHL. The winning streak is the longest active in the NHL, and second-longest in Florida franchise history, only behind its 12 consecutive wins from Dec. 15, 2015 to Jan. 10, 2016.

Andrew Brunette Florida Panthers
Andrew Brunette, Florida Panthers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“I didn’t even realize we had gotten to 10,” Panthers head coach Andrew Brunette said. “I just know I have really liked the way we have played in the last three or four games. We’re bringing our top game every night and when we do that, we’re tough to beat.”

Dahlin Becomes First 50-Point Sabres Defenseman Since 1995-96

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin recorded two assists in a 5-3 win at the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, giving him 50 points (11 goals, 39 assists) in 76 games this season. He is the first Sabres defenseman to reach the 50-point mark since Garry Galley tallied 54 points in 1995-96. In Dahlin’s fourth NHL season, he has a career-high in points, goals, and assists.

Rasmus Dahlin Buffalo Sabres
Rasmus Dahlin, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“I think the big part is competitiveness,” Sabres head coach Don Granato said. “He is an extreme competitor, but he was so concerned with trying to maybe hold his spot or not make a mistake and we gave him the green light to just go…What we really wanted to unleash was his competitiveness, just not worry about anything but competing and be immersed in the moment. And he’s been able to accelerate progress from that point because he’s so competitive.”

Blues Win Ninth-Straight Game in Blowout Victory

The St. Louis Blues extended its winning streak to nine games with an 8-3 win at the Nashville Predators on Sunday. The Blues scored seven goals in the second period, setting a new franchise record. St. Louis’ recent success has boosted it to second place in the Central Division, only behind the Avalanche who have clinched first place in the Division.

Jordan Kyrou St. Louis Blues
Jordan Kyrou, St. Louis Blues (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

“When everyone is playing the right way, obviously you get a lot of bounces, and obviously in the second period we got a lot of bounces going our way,” Blues forward Jordan Kyrou said. “We’ve been saying it all year. We all know that we have a really deep offensive group, so it’s not that surprising.”

Wild Clinch Stanley Cup Playoffs Berth for Third Season in a Row

The Minnesota Wild clinched a berth in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 5-4 overtime win against the San Jose Sharks on Sunday, led by Wild forward Kevin Fiala who tallied four points (one goal, three assists) in the game. It marks the third consecutive season the Wild have qualified for the postseason and the ninth time in the last 10 seasons. Minnesota ranks third in the Central Division, only one point behind the Blues.

Kevin Fiala Minnesota Wild
Kevin Fiala, Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“It’s always nice to make the playoffs,” Fiala said. “It’s a tough league. It’s the hardest league in the world. You want to do it every year, so it’s just great. Just great for us to make it. That was our goal from the beginning, and we’re here right now, but it’s nothing. It’s [regular season] and we have still seven more to go. And still the second place (in the Central Division), still the home advantage there we want to take. And from there it starts. The playoff is not here yet.”

Islanders Miss Playoffs for First Time Since 2018

The New York Islanders were eliminated from playoff contention with a 4-2 loss at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. It marks the first time the Islanders have missed the postseason since 2018 and comes after the team made it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals last year against the eventual champion Tampa Bay Lightning. Despite being disqualified, the Islanders have played solid hockey as of late, with a 14-7-1 record over its last 22 games.

Barry Trotz
Barry Trotz, New York Islanders (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Related: NHL Talk: Panthers, Islanders, Jets & Canadiens

“We knew what the odds were and all that, so I think we’d come to the realization a while ago, but we’ve just continued to play,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “We had to make up a lot of games. We had those five games a week for a number of weeks and tanks are a little bit low but at the same time, this group will play to the end.”