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.
Sabres’ Power, 2021 No. 1 Pick, Signs Entry-Level Contract
Buffalo Sabres defensive prospect Owen Power signed a three-year, entry-level contract on Friday and is expected to make his NHL debut at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. He was the No. 1 overall selection at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft and scored 32 points (three goals, 29 assists) in 33 games in his sophomore season with the Michigan Wolverines. In his two seasons with the NCAA team, he tallied 48 points (six goals, 42 assists) in 59 games.
“It’s a proud day for our organization,” Adams said. “We certainly believe in Owen and his abilities both on and off the ice, just the person he is. You’ve heard me talk over and over again about culture and what we’re building here and he is a phenomenal person, human being, just the way he carries himself. He treats people well. We’re excited just to have him join this group and come in and be himself.”
Bruins Jump to Third Place in Atlantic Division
The Boston Bruins defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-1, on the road on Friday to move into third place in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins’ latest victory put them one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and three points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the division. Boston goaltender Linus Ullmark stopped 28 of 29 shots he faced on Friday for a .966 save percentage (SV%).
“It’s fun to play these sort of games when it’s getting close to the playoffs and you’re actually a part of it,” Ullmark said. “There are still 11 games to focus on and we’re not trying to get ahead of ourselves. We’re trying to battle for home-ice advantage, and we’ve got to bring it every night.”
Panthers’ Bennett Scores 100th Goal and 200th Point in NHL
Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett scored the 100th goal and 200th point of his NHL career in a 4-3 win against the Sabres on Friday. He accomplished the impressive feat with 38 seconds remaining in the third period, scoring the game-winning goal after redirecting a pass from teammate Aleksander Barkov. In 473 games as a member of the Calgary Flames and Panthers, he has 200 points, perfectly split with 100 goals and 100 assists.
“Obviously, first and foremost, getting a game-winning goal is the most important,” Bennett said. “And getting to 100 is a great feeling as well.”
Blues Move into Tie for Second Place in Central Division
The St. Louis Blues moved into a tie for second place in the Central Division with a 4-3 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild on Friday. It was a pivotal game for St. Louis, who have been chasing Minnesota in the division and are now even with it at 92 points apiece. The Blues improved to an 8-0-1 record in its last nine games against the Wild.
“I’ve seen it go a bunch of different ways,” Blues defenseman Justin Faulk said. “Sometimes you can get the better of a team in certain situations. And it can be a coin flip sometimes. It just goes one way for a certain amount of time. But I’m sure there’s a team in the league right now that has our number pretty good, right?”
Jets Pick Up Crucial Point in Overtime Loss
The Winnipeg Jets picked up a crucial point in its chase for a playoff spot in a 5-4 overtime loss against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday. The Jets, who trail the Dallas Stars by seven points for the second wild card in the Western Conference, were desperate for points after a four-game winless skid. A strong performance against the Avalanche, who rank as the No. 1 team in the NHL, should give Winnipeg some hope of turning things around and making a late push for the postseason.
“The desperation level, and battling every night, no matter what the situation is for us, I thought we did that for a lot of this game,” Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey said. “You’re fighting to try to tie it up and stay alive in the game. You obviously need everybody battling who’s out there, and fortunately we had some good plays and won some key battles.”
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.