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.
Canadiens’ Price Starts First Game Since Game 5 of 2021 Stanley Cup Final
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price made his season debut in a 3-0 loss against the New York Islanders on Friday. He was welcomed back to the ice with loud cheers and the chanting of his name in his first game action since Game 5 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final on July 7, 2021, which was 282 days ago. He is the sixth goaltender to suit up for Montreal this season, following Jake Allen, Sam Montembeault, Cayden Primeau, Andrew Hammond, and Michael McNiven.
“It’s definitely been a trying season for myself, on a personal level and for the team,” Price said. “And to be able to come back and feel somewhat normal, I didn’t feel quite normal, but pretty close.”
Islanders’ Sorokin Ties Franchise Record With Seventh Shutout of Season
Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin recorded his seventh shutout of the season to tie the franchise single-season shutout record in a 3-0 win at the Canadiens on Friday. He saved all 44 shots he faced in the game, improving to a .928 save percentage (SV%) and 2.29 goals-against average (GAA) across 47 starts this season. He joins Semyon Varlamov (2020-21) and Glenn Resch (1975-76) as the only Islanders goaltenders to post seven shutouts in a single season.
“We were certainly motivated tonight, obviously they were as well,” Islanders forward Josh Bailey said. “It was nice to get a big win here, and Sorokin, what more can you say, he stood on his head.”
Panthers’ Bobrovsky Sets Franchise Record With 36th Win of Season
Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky won his 36th game of the season to break the franchise single-season wins record in a 6-1 victory against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. The record was previously held by Roberto Luongo who won 35 games in 2005-06 and 2015-16. Bobrovsky is currently leading the Panthers on a very impressive campaign as the starting goaltender, with Florida ranked first in the Atlantic Division and second in the NHL with a 53-15-6 record.
“To be honest, I didn’t know about that,” Bobrovsky said. “I just found out after the game. They gave me a puck and said that I got the record. But it’s a team record. It’s not me, it’s all about the team. By myself I’m nothing, but as a team we’re strong.”
Jets Continue to Fall in Western Conference Wild Card Race
The Jets dropped eight points back of the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, losing 6-1 at the Panthers on Friday. Winnipeg is desperately trying to keep up in the playoff race and had won two games in a row heading into its matchup with Florida. With every game the Jets lose, the team continues to fall further and further from achieving its goal of catching up and playing postseason hockey this year.
“That’s why we’re not in a playoff spot,” Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers said. “We haven’t played the right way in a lot of games. You see what that leads to. Everyone needs to be held accountable. It [stinks]. It just [stinks].”
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.