After recording three multi-point outings and finishing with eight points, Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza has been named the NHL’s first star of the week.
When asked about his performance, here’s what Spezza had to say:
Second star went to Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne. The $49-million man went 3-0-0 with a .957 save percentage and, perhaps most impressively, each win was of the single-goal variety. He beat the Flames 2-1, the Red Wings 4-3 and the Blues 2-1. All told, Rinne stopped 111 of 116 shots faced.
Third star of the week went to Penguins center Evgeni Malkin. Like Spezza, he also recorded eight points in three games — five of which were goals — and notched his first hat trick of the season in an 8-3 rout of the Sabres. It was one of the finest performances of Malkin’s career, right up there with his scintillating acting debut in the A&L Motor Sales commercial.
Capitals defeat Blue Jackets in clash of Metropolitan Division powers
WASHINGTON (AP) T.J. Oshie scored the shootout winner as the Washington Capitals overcame a stellar performance from Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to beat the Blue Jackets 2-1 Thursday night.
Despite 44 saves from Bobrovsky, the Capitals reached 104 points and extended their lead atop the Metropolitan Division and NHL standings. Oshie engendered memories of his Sochi Olympic shootout performance by again beating Bobrovsky, the goalie he scored on four times in six chances that day.
Dmitry Orlov finally cracked Bobrovsky early in the third period on Washington’s 35th shot of the game. Orlov’s goal tied the score after Seth Jones beat Braden Holtby on a wild scramble early in the third for his first goal since Feb. 7.
Holtby had 29 saves in regulation and overtime and three more in the shootout to pick up his 38th victory of the season, one shy of Bobrovsky for the league lead.
A showdown between two of the top three teams in the league jockeying for position atop the Metropolitan Division lacked a playoff feel. But the matchup of two likely Vezina Trophy finalists lived up to that billing as Bobrovsky and Holtby went back and forth with big saves.
Bobrovsky entered the night first in wins, goals-against average and save percentage with Holtby second, second and third in those categories. The 2013 Vezina winner could also be an MVP contender this season given his value to Columbus’ third playoff berth in franchise history.
“When he’s in his game it’s very hard to score on him,” said Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who had eight shots stopped by one of his Russian national teammates. “He likes the big moments, he likes pressure. His worth ethic is unbelievable. … In my opinion he’s one of the best goalies in the league right now.”
Methot ‘out for weeks’ after suffering a shattered finger from Crosby clash
The National Hockey League has announced it will make a “special announcement” at the LeSports Center in Beijing, China next Thursday.
In January, the league’s deputy commissioner Bill Daly made it clear the NHL has interest in playing games in China — likely starting out with pre-season games before potentially adding in some regular season contests in the future, as well.
Just after the league made its announcement on Thursday, the L.A. Kings tweeted out that they will participate in next week’s event, along with the Vancouver Canucks.
But they responded with three unanswered goals, including this beauty from Sean Couturier.
Philadelphia took over for a 3-1 victory, with Mason making 24 saves on 25 shots, as Minnesota’s struggles continue. The Wild still sit second in the Central Division but have only two wins in their last 10 games and were unable to secure a playoff spot Thursday.