Jason Pominville’s first multi-goal game of the season couldn’t have come at a better time for the Minnesota Wild.
Pominville scored twice in the third period, including game winner on a wicked slap shot following a Washington turnover in the neutral zone, to give the Wild a 2-1 victory over the Capitals, who were without Alex Ovechkin due to a lower-body injury, on Thursday. The Wild have now won four straight, as they move to fourth in the Central Division.
“We’re a confident group,” Pominville told NHL.com. “We’re playing well. We’re doing a lot of good things. We’re getting great goaltending when we need it. You can tell we’ve improved our road record, and a big part of that is goaltending and confidence.”
The Nashville Predators still have a four-point cushion between them and the second best team in the Central Division, but they must now find a way out of a losing streak that hit five games Thursday.
Facing the New York Islanders, in contention for the Metropolitan Division, the Predators quickly erased a two-goal deficit in the third period, scoring twice in 31 seconds. But just over three minutes later, with the score even, the Predators surrendered a goal to Brock Nelson and would eventually lose 4-3.
Five straight losses.
“I really think we’ve got to look at the team,” said Predators head coach Peter Laviolette, as per NHL.com.
“We’ll get out of this together. Our guys have done an excellent job of staying tight as a group. There’s lots of things that could have been better tonight as well, still. We still gave up scoring chances, and we gave up chances point-blank in front, so there’s things that we can do better. I think it’s important that we stick together right now.”
The St. Louis Blues, also losers in Philadelphia on Thursday, still trail the Predators by four points. Given their solid play right up until the end of February, it’s next to impossible to see this skid eventually costing Nashville a playoff position. But it’s a spot of adversity in the stretch drive.
Four of their last five losses have come against teams currently holding down a playoff spot.
The Islanders, with the win, jumped back ahead of the New York Rangers for top spot in the Metropolitan Division with 87 points. That’s only four back of the Anaheim Ducks for the Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s best regular season team.
The Calgary Flames waited until the eighth round of the shootout to unleash their secret weapon — David Schlemko.
Yeah. That guy.
The 27-year-old defenseman Schlemko once scored four goals in an NHL season. That was for the Arizona Coyotes, back in 2010-11.
Making his Flames debut, and with Calgary needing a win to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race, Schlemko scored the shootout winner in the eighth round to give his new team a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday.
The Flames, without Mark Giordano for the remainder of the season and a below average puck possession team at even strength, continue to hang in there, third in the Pacific Division.
Words don’t do the Schlemko move justice. See for yourself.
From 1996 to 2013, Daniel Alfredsson played his National Hockey League career with the Ottawa Senators. For his contributions, he received a key to the city of Ottawa, as per The Canadian Press.
From The Canadian Press:
The 42-year-old spent 17 of his 18 NHL seasons with the Senators before signing with the Detroit Red Wings. Alfredsson officially retired this past December as a member of the Senators after signing a one-day contract.
Alfredsson was moved by the city’s offering and says he always enjoyed being an active member of the community.
“It’s humbling there’s no question,” he said. “I think I’ll always underestimate the recognition I get in this city and the response I’ve been getting has been overwhelming at times. I’m very proud to be getting this recognition and I feel it’s something I want to share with everybody that helped me to get it.”
It was first reported in January that Alfredsson would receive such a distinction from the city.
In December, Alfredsson retired as a Senator after signing a one-day contract, after his final year in the league as a player coming with the Detroit Red Wings.
David Booth, who was once a 30-goal scorer in the NHL but then endured a number of different injuries and a buyout last summer, finally scored his second goal of the season on Thursday.
You know what? It was actually quite a nice goal, too. It ends a scoring drought at 31 games for the winger.
Booth forced the turnover in the neutral zone, and seconds later he buried a Peter Holland pass top corner, over the shoulder of Ben Bishop. Booth last scored on Dec. 16 against the Anaheim Ducks. That goal also counted as the winner.