It was Alex Ovechkin’s first game back after his three-game suspension, but it turned into the Tomas Vokoun show instead.
Vokoun had 30 saves in earning his third shutout of the season and 47th in his career while Alex Semin had a penalty shot goal and an assist to lead the way to a sleepy 3-0 win over a spiraling downward Montreal team. The shutout pushes Vokoun past Ken Dryden for 26th on the all-time shutout list.
Vokoun headed into this weekend’s action wondering when exactly he’d be playing even though he was open to playing more. Coach Dale Hunter has been working both Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth in and out of goal lately. After seeing Vokoun turn aside all Canadiens shots today, however, Hunter will have a curious decision on who to start tomorrow afternoon against Boston.
It would normally take a solid performance by a goalie to outshine Alex Ovechkin in a game, but Ovechkin’s lackluster return to action today left the door open to get the spotlight stolen easily. Earning a shutout that helps him pass a Canadiens legend in Dryden helps pour a bit more salt in the wounds for Habs fans dealing with a miserable season.
Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp
It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.
Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.
He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.
Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.
The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension
The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.
It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.
Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.