Could Michal Neuvirth be this season’s answer to Devan Dubnyk?
OK, maybe that’s a stretch … although plenty of people dismissed Dubnyk as he enjoyed an unexpected near-Vezina campaign in 2014-15, too.
If there’s at least one parallel between the two, it’s that Neuvirth is picking up the slack for a struggling entrenched No.1 goalie. (Alright, it’s true that Dubnyk seemingly took over for multiple goalies …)
By stopping 28 shots by a dangerous Winnipeg Jets team, Neuvirth helped the Flyers break a six-game losing streak. He also earned his third shutout of the season, making him the early league leader in that elusive category.
Neuvirth’s 3-2-1 record won’t make him an award finalist, but he’s been a steadying force for the Flyers, sporting an impressive .945 save percentage.
It’s quite a step up for a guy who likely felt at a career crossroads as he struggled with the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders last season.
If nothing else, he must be feeling a lot more optimistic about his NHL future than about a month ago.
Plenty of penalties. Plenty of controversy surrounding various penalties.
… Not plenty of love.
In an era of sports where athletes are sometimes accused of being too chummy, there’s indeed something brewing between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
The Canadiens managed a 4-2 win thanks to scoring three unanswered goals in the third period.
As much as the Bruins rued their poor finish and arguable disciplinary lapses, it was hard not to rubber neck a bit out of the more scandalous elements of tonight’s game.
Take, for instance, claims of “acting” from both sides/bad decisions that resulted in penalties.
(There was also Andrei Markov‘s … interaction with the Bruins’ bench, as Puck Daddy shares.)
Tomas Plekanec drew some derision for a penalty he drew on David Krejci, but one way or another, Krejci regrets that moment.
It’s not like this wasn’t a two-way street of shaky hits and debated calls, though.
At first, it seemed like the story would be all about Alex Ovechkin seeing his second goal of the night (and would-be record-breaker) dissolve away with a coach’s challenge.
MORE on Ovechkin’s tying goal and negated record-breaker here
With it, it appeared that the Washington Capitals would go from at least a standings point to a controversial 2-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It sure seemed that way … until there was about a second left in the third period. Nicklas Backstrom scored then 2-2 tally with .8 seconds left, changing much of the narrative after that.
Ovechkin didn’t score during a typically hectic 3-on-3 OT session, but he did notch the shootout winner, and with that the Capitals won 3-2 (SO). Washington improves to 10-3-0 in 2015-16.
Toronto’s hard luck and hard lessons continue; the Maple Leafs are now 2-8-4 with two straight losses beyond regulation and three consecutive defeats in general.
This was a pretty wacky finish, so enjoy the full highlights from CSN Mid-Atlantic.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are already struggling to score to surprising degree in 2015-16. Losing Ondrej Palat wouldn’t help matters.
As you can see from the video above, Nino Niederreiter landed on Palat’s leg in a very unfortunate way, and it looked pretty ugly on the ice.
At the moment, it’s a very unlucky accident, though it’s too early to say what kind of damage might have occurred.
Palat was able to get to the Lightning’s bench, but after that, he was helped to the locker room. PHT will keep an eye out for updates regarding the two-way forward’s condition.
Update: The Lightning reported that he suffered a “lower-body injury” and will not return.
The Wild shut the Lightning out 1-0, so those scoring concerns aren’t exactly dying down.
The Philadelphia Flyers are trying to break a troubling losing streak. The Winnipeg Jets are battling to keep pace in a brutal Central Division.
Add a hard hit on Blake Wheeler to the mix, and things go testy on Saturday, culminating in the fight you can see above between Andrew Ladd and R.J. Umberger.
Both players received fighting majors while Umberger also received a two-minute interference penalty for his check on Wheeler.
Speaking of rough moments, Michael Del Zotto got dinged up in this one: