How do you stop arguably the hottest team (the Pittsburgh Penguins) and hottest player (Evgeni Malkin) in the NHL? Apparently you just have to call upon a guy who hasn’t played in two weeks.
Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer’s been waiting in the wings since Jan. 17 as Jonas Gustavsson played some of the best hockey of his shaky NHL career, but he’s likely to receive more reps after Wednesday. The Leafs should-be starter stopped all 25 shots as the Maple Leafs halted the Penguins’ eight-game winning streak with a 1-0 decision.
Clarke MacArthur scored the only goal of a rather sleepy game, which closed out a back-to-back set that featured a wild Penguins come-from-behind victory on Tuesday. Toronto is now fairly comfortably placed in seventh place in the East with 58 points in 51 games.
This was a valuable win for Toronto because February represents an early challenge with six of its next eight games coming on the road.
Thin margin of error for Penguins
To some extent, it seemed like it was a matter of time for Pittsburgh, as much of its recent wins came in dramatic fashion lately. Five of the Penguins’ last six victories came via shootout or overtime triumphs, with quite a few coming thanks to late heroics from Malkin.
The Penguins’ next game should be an interesting measuring stick of where they really are right now, as they’ll visit the Bruins in Boston on Saturday.
It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?
OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.
Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.
There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:
Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.
In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.