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.
Wild Move Into Tie for Second Place in Central Division
The Minnesota Wild moved into a tie for second place in the Central Division with a 2-0 win at the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday. Wild goaltender Cam Talbot stopped all 26 shots for his third shutout of the season and 27th of his NHL career. Minnesota and the St. Louis Blues continue to battle it out for the next-best spot in the division behind the Colorado Avalanche, who have already clinched first place.
“It’s always good to go out there and just help the team win. That’s all I’m looking to do,” Talbot said. “I mean, shutouts are always an added bonus, but the win is what really matters, especially this time of year with the standings the way they are and playing for home ice.”
Lightning’s Stamkos Ties All-Time Franchise Points Record
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos tallied three assists in a 4-3 loss against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. With three points on the night, he increased his NHL career total to 953 points (472 goals, 481 assists) in 916 games, all with the Lightning. He is now tied for most points in franchise history, alongside Martin St. Louis, who had 953 points (365 goals, 588 assists) in 972 games over 13 seasons with the organization from 2000 to 2014.
“It’s [stinks] to have something that special for me to happen in a game we don’t win,” Stamkos said. “I definitely have ‘Marty’ on my mind tonight. He means a lot, still means a lot to me and what I have become as a person and as a player. … To have your name right up there with the great Marty St. Louis is pretty humbling. I remember all the amazing times we had on the ice together and the amazing career that Marty had and what he means to this community.”
Rangers Reach 50-Win Mark in Third Consecutive Shutout Victory
The New York Rangers reached the 50-win mark with a 3-0 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. It was the Rangers’ third consecutive shutout victory and second in a row for goaltender Igor Shesterkin, who made 31 saves in the game. New York has not allowed a goal against in 180:06, chasing its franchise record of 297:43 set in 1927-28.
“It’s not just the last three games, the shutouts, it’s been the last number of games we’ve been playing a lot better defensively,” head coach Gerard Gallant said. “It makes you feel more confident as a coach that you’re not just winning because of your goaltending.”
Panthers’ Barkov Scores Hat Trick in 11th-Straight Win
Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov scored a hat trick in a 3-2 overtime win at the New York Islanders on Tuesday. It marked the Panthers’ 11th-straight win, which moved it into a tie with the Avalanche for first place in the NHL, with both teams sitting at a 55-16-5 record. Barkov’s hat trick on Tuesday was the third of his NHL career and helped give Florida an eight-point lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs for first place in the Atlantic Division.
“We’ve been “We’ve been talking a lot about getting our game ready for the playoffs, and it was pretty close to the one we want to play,” Barkov said. “It was the game we wanted to play. We played in their zone. … The main thing for us is to get ready for the playoffs. We’re tied with Colorado for first place in the league. It means we’ve done something right.”
Predators’ Duchene Becomes First 40-Goal Scorer in Franchise History
Nashville Predators forward Matt Duchene scored a goal in a 3-2 shootout win against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday, giving him 40 goals on the season. He is the first player in franchise history, dating back to 1998, to reach the 40-goal mark in a season. He may soon have company, as his teammate Filip Forsberg sits at 39 goals with five Predators games remaining.
“Obviously, to do it in my 900th [NHL] game, too, is kind of cool,” Duchene said. “It’s one of those things that you enjoy after the year, but the reaction from the crowd was unbelievable. It made me a little emotional on the bench for sure…They made it hard not to feel that moment a little bit, so I really appreciate that from the fans.”
Sharks Use First-Period Push to End 10-Game Winless Skid
The San Jose Sharks ended a 10-game winless skid with a 3-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. All three of the Sharks’ goals came in the first period, with Scott Reedy scoring twice and Rudolf Balcers scoring once. A late push by the Blue Jackets, who scored two goals in the third period, was not enough to complete the comeback.
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“We feel a little relief, obviously,” Sharks head coach Bob Boughner said. “It didn’t come easy. They pushed us hard. But to get two points, especially after a long road trip, coming home and it’s a quick turnaround.”