The Los Angeles Kings might just be OK with Ben Scrivens carrying the torch while Jonathan Quick is out indefinitely with a strained groin.
Scrivens, 27, notched his second shutout in a row (and third of the 2013-14 season) as the Kings blanked the New York Rangers 1-0 on Sunday. It wasn’t a cakewalk, either, as he stopped all 37 shots. That included 15 in the final frame.
He’s stopped an astounding 86 out of 88 shots since taking over for Quick in overtime on Nov. 12.
Scrivens managed to snag a win against a hot Rangers team that had won seven of their last nine games coming into tonight.
In some ways, it might all feel strangely familiar for Kings fans. Last season, a current Toronto Maple Leafs goalie saved the day when things were shaky for Quick. Now a former Maple Leafs backup is producing similar work … albeit early.
It’s worth noting that Scrivens has quietly been competent in his early hockey career. He put up nice numbers with the Toronto Marlies in the AHL and wasn’t half bad with the parent club, notching a mediocre .903 save percentage in 12 games in 2011-2 and a solid .915 mark in 20 games last season.
Perhaps he can produce some strong results behind a stronger Kings defense? He probably hopes so, as a sustained run of impressive production could mean a significant raise from the $550K cap hit that expires after this season.
It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.
Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:
Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games
This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.
The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.
John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.
Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.
Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?
For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting upJohn Tavares.
The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.
Leafs’ Nylander puts on show with breakaway goal, assist on Matthews’ 33rd
This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)
On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.
William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.