When Claude Giroux started this season without scoring a goal in his first 15 games, things got a bit stressful for the Philadelphia Flyers captain.
What helped settle him down? A few words from an old friend as Dan Rosen of NHL.com shares.
“It wasn’t going right, and I got a nice text from Mike Richards. … I think he gave me a boost to relax and play the game,” Giroux told NHL.com on Tuesday prior to playing the Ottawa Senators at Wells Fargo Center. “It’s a great game. There’s a reason why we play in the NHL. It’s because we know what we’re doing. It’s just about going back to basics, going out there, have fun, play the game.”
Richards was a teammate of Giroux’s in Philadelphia before he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. So how has he done since getting Richards’ text? Not bad. Two goals and three assists and the Flyers have won four out of their last five games.
Perhaps once Richards’ playing days are over with he can start a motivational text message business. Who couldn’t use a verbal kick in the pants every now and then?
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.
Winnipeg forward Drew Stafford will meet with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for his high stick on Colorado’s Nick Holden on Saturday night, the DoPS announced this afternoon.
There was no immediate video of the incident available. Stafford wasn’t penalized on the play, which occurred during the third period; Holden finished the final frame with 10 shifts for 6:46 of ice time.
Stafford, 30, has a clean disciplinary history and hasn’t been fined or suspended during his 10-year NHL career.
Braden Holtby continued his Vezina-worthy campaign on Super Bowl Sunday with an outrageous pad stop on Flyers d-man Mark Streit, midway through the Washington-Flyers game on NBC.
Pretty impressive effort from “Holt-beast,” who currently sits first in the NHL in wins, with 32.