It seemed like the Phil Kessel – James van Riemsdyk combo stepped out of the limelight when Joffrey Lupul and Nazem Kadri were tearing it up. With Lupul out, it seems like the Toronto Maple Leafs’ other big duo is coming through, especially in a 4-3 win against the New York Rangers on Monday.
(That’s not to say Kadri has become irrelevant; he had a point tonight, too.)
Kessel scored two goals (including the game-winner midway through the third period) and an assist while JVR had one goal and a helper himself. That allowed Toronto to out-duel the Blueshirts despite another strong game from Rick Nash, who scored two of New York’s three tallies.
This win gives the Buds 48 points in 39 games, securing themselves fairly comfortably in fifth place in the East (which will likely mean that the Leafs will face either the Boston Bruins or Montreal Canadiens in round one of the playoffs).
This leaves the New York Rangers with an identical record to the New York Islanders at 19-16-4 for 42 points in 39 games. They’re still in the East’s top eight, but lost a chance to put heat on the Ottawa Senators for the sixth seed.
The Boston Bruins updated Malcolm Subban‘s condition a day after the goaltending prospect was hospitalized after being struck in the throat with a puck.
“Malcolm Subban was struck in the throat with a puck Saturday night during pregame warmups. He was transported to Maine Medical Center and was diagnosed with a fractured larynx. He stayed overnight at Maine Medical Center and was transported to Mass General Hospital on Sunday for further evaluation. He is in stable condition and will be sidelined indefinitely. The team will provide additional details when they become available.”
Awful news, although at least he’s in stable condition.
PHT will stay tuned for further updates regarding the 22-year-old.
Subban did tweet a thanks for support:
A little context makes that a little sad, too.
Pulling Anders Nilsson didn’t stop the bleeding for the Edmonton Oilers. Instead, it really just spread the “wealth.”
The New York Islanders are up 7-1, so don’t be surprised if there’s some ugly stuff in the final frame.
Zack Kassian is an author of at least one outburst, as he was tagged with 19 penalty minutes for a display that included fighting Brian Strait, as you can see in the video above.
It’s not the only fight stemming from the blowout, either, as Eric Gryba just tangled with Matt Martin.
Could there be more?
There was a time when Anders Nilsson seemed like the best bet in the Oilers’ net this season. This … is not that time.
Less than 12 minutes into Sunday’s game, the New York Islanders roared to a 3-0 lead, and that was enough for Edmonton to give Nilsson the hook.
He allowed those three goals on 10 shots, so to be fair, that’s a pretty impressive chunk of chances (almost a shot on goal per minute).
Still, the Oilers were likely hoping to give Cam Talbot a breather, and instead he was rushed into action. Nilsson hadn’t played since Jan. 19, and he’s only appeared in three games in 2016.
As if this didn’t sting enough for Nilsson, consider the fact that he began his NHL career with the Islanders, who eventually decided he wasn’t worth keeping.
Alex Ovechkin scored to join Wayne Gretzky and Mike Gartner as only players with at least 30 goals in each of their first 11 NHL seasons, and Matt Niskanen netted the game winner as Washington beat the Flyers 3-2 at Verizon on Super Bowl Sunday.
Michael Del Zotto and Nick Schultz replied for the Flyers, who suffered their second straight loss.
The win was the Capitals’ third in a row.
It didn’t always look as though Washington would emerge the victor, however. The Caps were out-shot 35-30 on the day and looked disjointed at times, finishing with 12 giveaways (Philly was credited with just five, for comparison’s sake).
But good teams find ways to win when they’re not playing especially well, and the Caps are a pretty good team — especially when Braden Holtby is on his game.
Holtby, atop many Vezina lists at the moment, had another terrific outing on Sunday, making 33 saves, perhaps none better than this one on Mark Streit in the second period:
Holtby’s counterpart, Steve Mason, had a solid outing as well, finishing with 27 stops.
Looking ahead, the Caps will now head out on a three-game Western Conference swing through Minnesota, Nashville and what promises to be a high-octane game in Dallas on Feb. 13.
The Flyers, meanwhile, will now kick off a three-game homestand against Anaheim, Buffalo and New Jersey.