In this edition of NHL Talk, these are the top hockey stories with quotes from players, coaches, managers, and more.
Click here for The Hockey Writers Podcast on your favourite audio streaming app (new episodes five days a week).
Blues End Three-Game Winless Skid, Sit Second in Central Division
The St. Louis Blues put an end to its three-game winless skid, defeating the Washington Capitals 5-2 on Tuesday. The Blues sit second place in the Central Division with a 35-18-9 record (79 points), with the Minnesota Wild (78 points), Nashville Predators (78 points), and Dallas Stars (73 points) not far behind in the standings. St. Louis’ recent skid caused concern, but the team got back on track with its latest win, which included forward David Perron extending his goal-scoring streak to seven games.
“Every game’s important,” Blues forward Brandon Saad said. “Every team in our division is battling for positioning. For us, it’s just controlling what we can and winning hockey games. Playoff hockey starts now.”
Devils Complete Comeback With Five Consecutive Goals in Second Period
The New Jersey Devils scored five consecutive goals in the second period of a 7-4 win against the New York Rangers on Tuesday. The Devils trailed 2-0 at the end of the first period, but Ryan Graves, P.K. Subban, Dawson Mercer, Tomas Tatar, and Yegor Sharangovich combined for five goals in the second to put New Jersey up more goals than the Rangers could match. Devils forward Jack Hughes scored two goals 70 seconds apart in the third period to seal any hope New York had for a comeback.
“Being down by two you know you have to have a strong start when you come out [for the second period],” Devils forward Dawson Mercer said. “I remember [coach] Lindy [Ruff] saying, ‘Let’s go out there and win this game, skate.’ I really think we did that. We skated well, ended up finding the back of the net, and we came out with a lot of smiles after the second.”
Penguins Win Third-Straight Game, Move to Second in Metropolitan Division
The Pittsburgh Penguins won its third consecutive game, defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1 on Tuesday. Penguins forward Jake Guentzel scored two goals, his linemate Sidney Crosby had three assists, and goaltender Tristan Jarry made 26 saves in the victory. Pittsburgh now has sole possession of second place in the Metropolitan Division with a 39-16-9 record (87 points), three points behind the Carolina Hurricanes and two points ahead of the New York Rangers.
“We’re just trying to get better every day,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said. “That’s what we keep telling our team. We have to become a team. We’ve got to push each other to be better every single day. Every game is an opportunity for us to grab points in the standings.”
Jets’ Hellebuyck Makes 42 Saves for Fourth Shutout of Season
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck stopped all 42 shots he faced in a 4-0 win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday. It marked his fourth shutout of the season and the 28th of his seven-year career with the Jets. Despite Winnipeg being outshot 42-26 in the game, Hellbuyck felt confident in net from start to finish.
“It was one of those nights that they just hit you,” Hellebuyck said. “I could tell early on when the puck was just going my way, bounces were going my way, tips were going my way, posts were going my way. It was just one of those nights.”
Maple Leafs Reveal Alternate Jersey Collaboration With Justin Bieber
The Toronto Maple Leafs revealed the first reversible jersey in North American professional sports in a collaboration with Canadian pop-star and diehard Maple Leafs fan Justin Bieber’s clothing company, Drew House, on Tuesday. The jersey features black and blue as its main colours, with a silhouette of the Toronto skyline featured on the sleeves, and when turned inside out, becomes a black and yellow Maple Leafs-inspired Drew House sweater. It is the fifteenth alternate uniform in franchise history and will be worn (black and blue) in the team’s game against the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday.
“My love for the Maple Leafs has always been a big part of who I am, and my passion for the team, and the passion of millions of fans, is stitched into this Next Gen sweater,” Bieber said. “I’m grateful to the Leafs for the chance to team up again to create something so authentic for the team and its fans.”
Wild’s Fleury Focused on Trying to Win Stanley Cup in Minnesota
Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-André Fleury has his eyes on the Stanley Cup, hoping to bring Minnesota its first championship in franchise history. The Wild acquired Fleury from the Chicago Blackhawks ahead of the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline on Monday. He is a three-time Stanley Cup champion, winning hockey’s ultimate prize in 2009, 2016, and 2017 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and will be now looking to do it again in Minnesota.
“There’s not much that beats winning,” Fleury said. “You can ask anybody who has won. You’re always chasing that feeling, that achievement.”
Kings’ Doughty Could Miss Remainder of Regular Season
The remainder of Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty‘s regular season is in question as he continues to recover from an upper-body injury that has kept him out of the team’s lineup since March 7. He is an important piece to the Kings, leading team defensemen in goals (seven), assists (24) and points (31) in 39 games. He has returned to the ice but is not yet participating in drills.
“It’s a little early to say,” Kings general manager Rob Blake said. “I think we’ll exhaust every option possible. I mean, he’s out there skating now but not participating in drills and things. That’ll be an assessment with the doctor in the next few days to understand the next step to see if he can come back and play.”
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.