The Boston Bruins mounted two successful comebacks in the third period on their way to a 3-2 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.
The Bruins, who have been surging as of late, won for the 10th time in their past 12.
The Red Wings, in quite the opposite scenario, lost their third straight and for the 11th time in their past 12 contests.
By all accounts, the Red Wings deserved a better fate, at least until the third period.
They limited the high-flying Bruins to just two shots in the first period and clawed out a 1-0 lead midway through the second frame, with Tomas Tatar‘s wrist shot finding twine after a perfect screen from Justin Abdelkader.
Boston found the equalizer they needed early in the third frame, and from an unlikely source.
Detroit took the lead for a second time, this time short-handed after David Pastrnak got caught pinching, allowing Dylan Larkin to get behind the Bruins rearguard, scoring a beauty on a breakaway to make it 2-1.
Scoring for Boston had been a strength coming into the game.
David Pastrnak, Boston’s top point-getter, came into the game sporting an eight-game point streak. Brad Marchand, sitting just behind Pastrnak in terms of points, have a five-game heater of his own going.
The dynamic duo wouldn’t be denied; the streaks would continue.
Marchand picked out Pastrnak with a perfect back-door feed to tie the game 2-2 with 1:26 remaining in regulation, forcing overtime.
Tuukka Rask extended his win streak to five games. Rask, who struggled out the gate to start the season, stopped 31 shots and continues to look like the goalie of years past.
Starting goalie: Tuukka Rask
Starting goalie: Jimmy Howard
Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion addressed a wide variety of subjects today, and he mostly said what needed to be said, but also left the door open just enough to allow all sorts of sadness to slip through.
Shortly after Erik Karlsson described listing the 10 teams he’d accept a trade to as a “formality” and after he walked back/spun comments about free agency, Dorion came close to saying what he should about the mega-star defenseman.
Not as good: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch notes that Dorion did say that the team is listening in calls about all players.
Now, look, many GMs will say that they’re listening and may even actually scribble down offers, even if they have no intention of making a trade. And, as Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin shows us, a GM could say “I will not trade P.K. Subban (for example)” and then trade him days later.
Still, with the temperature rising in Ottawa … maybe an even more emphatic “No” would have been more effective here? Just saying.
“It’s tough because I think management did want to sign me, but I think that the owner didn’t. And that was his decision,” Turris said.
Yeah, not good.
There are many rumor swirling around Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, whether he ends up retaining his ownership status or not. It’s no secret, really, that Ottawa has been a budget-conscious franchise at times, which certainly brings into question whether they can stomach paying Karlsson what he actually deserves. Especially if things don’t settle down.
Dorion did what he could to affirm his shot-calling strength to the media, as Mendes and others report:
“Everything in the hockey department goes through me, not Mr. Melnyk,” Dorion said.
Speaking of the hockey department, Dorion also noted that a coaching change won’t happen.
Personally speaking, this is the area where it’s easiest to see eye-to-eye with Dorion. While Guy Boucher’s leanings, from the 1-3-1 and on, frequently make for yawn-inducing hockey, it’s difficult to quibble with the results. In a way, Boucher might be so effective that he’s put himself in a pickle: by creating a mirage with such a strong run, many likely expected the Senators to keep pulling rabbits out of hats.
We’ve seen plenty of Jack Adams winners become victims of past successes. In some cases, they got there through sheer luck. With Boucher, it might be a mix of shrewdness and luck, and now that luck is fading away.
Long story short, firing Boucher would be foolish when he’s likely made Dorion and others look smart.
Amusingly enough, you could apply a similar logic to the dangers of trading Erik Karlsson. The superb Swede is the sort of talent who can camouflage a lot of issues; moving him would essentially be an admission of defeat, as you’re simply not going to get a fair return in any EK swap. The only sensible situation in which a Karlsson trade happens would be if you went into a rebuild, and it could be a grim one in that.
Speaking of grim, that remains the best way to describe the current state of affairs for the Senators, who are suffering from dealing with tough situations but also, in some cases, from self-inflicted wounds.
But hey, much like when Paul MacLean spoke of his kid’s use of Taylor Swift lyrics, at least Dorion’s kid is having a good time with all of this. Kind of:
That might not be so easy to shake off.
When it comes to impressive milestones, some numbers register with players, fans, and media more than others.
With that in mind, it’s not overly shocking that Henrik Lundqvist essentially shrugged his shoulders when he was informed that he was on the verge of 20,000 saves, which would make him the 15th goalie to do so. NHL.com’s Dan Rosen reports that Lundqvist admits he’s more interested in wins (and you can be certain more interested in a certain large, silver thing you can drink and eat out of.)
“It means a lot to me to be up there with those names,” Lundqvist said. “The amount of saves, I don’t know, I’ve never really thought about that number. I’m happy I’ve been able to play a lot of hockey throughout my 12 and a half seasons here. That’s pretty much the only thought I get when I hear 20,000 saves.”
Lundqvist needs four stops to reach that mark, in case you’re counting.
Rosen recently provided perspective that should really cement that Lundqvist isn’t merely accruing volume: “King Henrik” is slated to allow the lowest total of goals of any netminder who’s collected 20,000 saves. Lundqvist comes into tonight’s game with 1,748 goals allowed, while Jacques Plante is the current gold standard in that regarding, giving up 1,960.
Lundqvist notes that he’s happy to have played a lot of hockey, and that brings something else to mind: how remarkable a success story he really is.
It’s easy to forget that the Rangers drafted Lundqvist in the seventh round (205th overall) back in 2000. You don’t hear Lundqvist’s name mentioned all that often when people discuss all-time draft steals, perhaps because goalies are tough to project and possibly also because he took off almost the instant he hit the NHL.
In 2005-06, Lundqvist managed a sparkling .922 save percentage in 53 games as a rookie, helping the Rangers make the playoffs. He really never looked back, and Hank is really starting to pile up milestones, all while managing a fantastic .920 career save percentage.
Maybe that’s also part of the reason this is such a “meh” thing for Lundqvist: he’s probably getting bored when it comes to setting high marks.
Two other interesting goalie milestones
While Lundqvist has been the model for consistent brilliance for more than a decade, two other veteran goalies are reaching or have reached fairly significant milestones, even as their careers have been far more turbulent.
In each case, we’re talking about 300 career wins.
Carolina Hurricanes stalwart Cam Ward already accomplished that task, as his team’s 3-2 shootout win against the Vegas Golden Knights marked his 300th W.
It’s been an odd career for Ward, who started off hot as the 25th pick of the 2002 NHL Draft. As you almost certainly remember, Ward won the Conn Smythe Trophy as a rookie, taking over for the Hurricanes mid-playoff-run (after a weak regular season for Ward) and helping them to a shocking Stanley Cup. How bizarre is it to realize that both Ward and Lundqvist would diverge after sensational starts to their NHL careers? Considering where they were drafted, many probably would have tabbed Ward to be the guy with great year-in, year-out numbers, yet he’s instead floundered, sitting with backup-like career save percentage of .909.
Still, he has that championship ring, so there’s at least one area where he’d draw Lundqvist’s envy.
The third goalie of note was taken before Ward in the 2002 NHL Draft, as Kari Lehtonen‘s walked an odd path since going second overall that year.
There were flashes of genius during his early days, yet injuries and inconsistency marred his Atlanta Thrashers run with disappointment. His time with the Dallas Stars has been mixed, as he’s gone from a goalie who often carried an over-matched team to a netminder who, along with Antti Niemi, often held the Stars back.
(Many will, fairly, point out that Lehtonen’s play dipped noticeably after concussion issues, opening another “what if?” door for the occasionally star-crossed goalie.)
Either way, he aims for win 300 of his own tonight, as he’s getting back-to-back games as the Stars face the Islanders.
As an aside, one might find it interesting that Kari Lehtonen currently boasts the same average save percentage of .912 between his Stars and Thrashers years. Maybe he’s just been secretly consistent?
Ultimately, this could be quite the week for goalie milestones, even if certain marks might be met with a shrug by the netminders in question.