NHL Talk: Panthers, Canucks, Maple Leafs & Red Wings

Read what NHL players, coaches, managers, and more are saying about the League’s top stories with the “NHL Talk” column. Also, listen to The Hockey Writers Podcast on iHeartRadio and wherever you listen to podcasts for daily hockey talk from THW contributors, every weekday (Monday to Friday).

In this edition of NHL Talk, a pair of Florida Panthers put together a historic night, the Vancouver Canucks have a player hit a milestone and goaltender return in fashion, a Toronto Maple Leafs’ superstar leads a valiant comeback victory, and a Detroit Red Wings hometown player celebrates a special moment in front of family and friends.

Marchment Tallies Career-High, Franchise Record-Tying, Six-Point Game

Panthers forward Mason Marchment tallied a career-high six points (two goals, four assists) in an 8-4 win at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday. He ties Olli Jokinen (March 17, 2007) for most points in a game in Florida franchise history.

Mason Marchment Florida Panthers
Mason Marchment, Florida Panthers (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

“Honestly, I lost count. It was awesome,” said Marchment. “I’ll never forget it.”

He credits his linemates, centre Anton Lundell and right-wing Sam Reinhart, for helping him put together a night he’ll remember for the rest of his life.

“My linemates are doing a great job finding me, getting open,” said Marchment. “We really enjoy playing together and just want to keep it rolling. It’s been so much fun. I’m having a blast.”

The 6-foot-4, 209-pound winger also received praise from his head coach for the well-deserved performance.

“He’s relentless on the puck. He’s slippery,” said Panthers head coach Andrew Brunette. “Marchment is a unique player with his size and reach.”

Reinhart Scores Hat Trick, Assist in Columbus

While Marchment’s six-point night is the main storyline coming out of the Panthers’ victory on Monday, his linemate Reinhart put together an incredible night as well, with three goals and an assist. It marks the fifth hat trick of his career. The 26-year-old has 43 points (15 goals, 28 assists) in 43 games this season and is one of the main reasons that Florida ranks first in the NHL with a 32-9-5 record.

“I think the better we play, the better everybody plays,” said Reinhart. “I think we feed off of each other. We seemed to have found some chemistry with each other. It’s fun to play when everyone is playing together.”

Chiasson Scores Game-Opening Goal in 600th NHL Game

Canucks forward Alex Chiasson played in his 600th NHL game in a 3-1 victory at the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday. He scored the game-opening goal, giving Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 12:21 of the first period.

Alex Chiasson Vancouver Canucks
Alex Chiasson, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“Pretty special,” said Chiasson. “I think today I had a moment just to realize a lot that I’ve been through. I’ve had a lot of people supporting me throughout the process. This isn’t just about me. I’m thankful for them. This is the greatest game to play. I’ve had the opportunity to win (the Stanley Cup) in Washington. I think that kind of keeps you open-minded on things.”

The 36-year-old has put together a solid NHL career with 211 points (106 goals, 105 assists) through his first 600 games. Before joining the Canucks this season, he suited up for the Dallas Stars, Ottawa Senators, Calgary Flames, Washington Capitals and Edmonton Oilers.

“I’ve had the opportunity to play with some of the best players in the game,” said Chiasson. “This game has given me so much. I just feel really grateful for these opportunities and now being part of this group.”

Halak Gets Win in Return from COVID-19 Protocols

Canucks goaltender Jaroslav Halak hadn’t played a game since Dec. 30 and was placed in COVID-19 protocols on Jan. 15, before making his return on Monday. The 36-year-old netminder turned aside 20 of 21 shots for a .952 save percentage (SV%), only allowing one goal against the Blackhawks.

“It is always hard, even if you don’t play for a couple weeks or a month, it is hard, especially being out for 10 days, meeting the group and trying to get in the groove right away,” said Halak. “It’s never easy. The guys played pretty good in front of me, and we didn’t give them a lot, especially in the third (period). They got that first goal, but I still think we played pretty good defensive hockey in the third. Really a great effort.”

Matthews Leads Valiant Comeback With Hat Trick, Assist

The Maple Leafs had a rocky start to a 6-4 win versus the New Jersey Devils on Monday, but forward Auston Matthews helped lead a comeback to claim victory. Toronto trailed by a two-goal deficit three times (2-0, 3-1, 4-2), but Matthews kept his team in it with a pair of first-period goals, a third-period assist, and finished the night off with a power-play goal with 22 seconds remaining on the clock. He had four points (three goals, one assist) in the game. It marks the fifth hat trick of his career.

Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews
Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)

“Our start wasn’t very good. It seemed like we weren’t ready to play from the puck drop and it showed,” said Matthews. “They’ve got a lot of really young, skilled guys that can make you pay. Credit to our guys for staying with it, staying patient, and continuing to fight.”

Related: NHL Talk: Oilers’ Kane Scores & Flyers End 13-Game Skid

Matthews also praised his teammates Ilya Mikheyev and Alex Kerfoot, who combined on a shorthanded goal at 16:56 of the third period, which ended up being the game-winning goal, for helping secure the Maple Leafs’ comeback.

“It was a huge play by the penalty killing with [Kerfoot] and [Mikheyev] to get us that goal there,” said Matthews. 

Oesterle Pots First Goal, Overtime Winner for Hometown Team

Defenseman Jordan Oesterle, reigning from suburban Detroit, is in his first season with his hometown Red Wings. After a 61-game scoring drought dating back to Jan. 22, 2021, with the Arizona Coyotes, he led his team to victory with the game-winning goal in a 2-1 overtime win at home against the Anaheim Ducks. He had family and friends in attendance to witness the special moment.

Jordan Oesterle Arizona Coyotes
Former Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jordan Oesterle (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“It was a surreal moment,” said Oesterle. “I didn’t know when I’d get my first goal here or what it would be like, but it was special to have it be an overtime winner for the team I grew up cheering for, in front of my family and friends.”

His big goal came directly after a faceoff win by Dylan Larkin. The puck went back to Oesterle, he found an opportunity to take advantage of the Ducks in a bad position, and then fired home his first goal in a Red Wings uniform.

“We were trying to run a play for [Lucas Raymond], but they moved the forward over to that side of the ice,” said Oesterle. “When the puck came my way, I backed up a little to see what [Raymond] was going to do, but I saw I could use (Ducks defenseman Cam) Fowler as a screen, so I took the shot.”



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