The Ottawa Senators earned a desperately needed 4-3 overtime victory against the Washington Capitals on Saturday and defenseman Erik Karlsson played a big role in that win by logging 27:43 minutes of ice time and contributing two assists.
The first of those points also served as the 300th of Karlsson’s career after just 393 games:
He reached that mark faster than any defenseman since Sergei Zubov when he recorded his 300th point in his 354th game on Jan. 11, 1998, per the NHL’s Communications Department. Karlsson also became the second fastest Swedish blueliner to ever reach that milestone behind Borje Salming, who did it in 388 contests.
Karlsson has been leading the charge of what has become an impressive generation of Swedish offensive defensemen. Along with Karlsson, Sweden’s batch of 24-years-old or younger blueliners includes Oliver Ekman-Larsson, rookie John Klingberg, and Victor Hedman. After years of struggles the 2011 fourth overall pick, Adam Larsson, also seems to be finding his way.
Of course rather than milestones, it seems safe to say that Karlsson’s primary focus right now is on the Wild Card race. The Senators recent surge has kept them in the running, but with just four games left on their schedule they’re still three points behind in the battle for a postseason berth. Ottawa will play Toronto tonight.
Kyle Turris’ overtime-clincher was probably the most important goal of Saturday, at least as of this writing, but Dallas Stars forward Cody Eakin’s tally would require the most initials.
Eakin’s game-winning goal wasn’t just a GWG on Saturday. He gave the Dallas Stars a 4-3 OT win on a penalty shot, so that would make it a PSOTGWG, right? (Or would it be an OTPSGWG?)
Anyway, it was a cool moment, and it came against star Nashville Predators goalie, too:
The Stars remain a ludicrously long shot to make the playoffs (if they’re not already eliminated by some minor tiebreaker), but they could be quite the spoiler threat in the final week. Just ask the Preds.
Halak gets the nod for the Isles
Jaroslav Halak will look to get back on track against the lowly Buffalo Sabres Saturday night. Halak has lost two of three starts while allowing 10 goals on 101 shots. He gave up three goals on 39 shots in the Islanders 4-3 shootout loss to Columbus on Thursday. New York has lost four of five, but can clinch a playoff berth with a regulation win tonight.
Andrey Makarov gets the start for Buffalo.
Penguins at Blue Jackets: Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Sergei Bobrovsky
Canucks at Jets: Eddie Lack vs. Ondrej Pavelec
Red Wings at Wild: Jimmy Howard vs. Devan Dubnyk
Devils at Rangers: Cory Schneider vs. Henrik Lundqvist
Lightning at Panthers: Ben Bishop vs. Roberto Luongo
Capitals at Senators: Braden Holtby vs. Andrew Hammond
Leafs at Bruins: James Reimer vs. Tuukka Rask
Stars at Predators: Jhonas Enroth vs. Pekka Rinne
Sharks at Coyotes: Antti Niemi (unconfirmed) vs. Mike Smith
Flames at Oilers: Karri Ramo vs. Ben Scrivens
Avalanche at Kings: Semyon Varlamov vs. Jonathan Quick
Maybe it was a sign of things to come.
Dallas Stars veteran forward Travis Moen, who hadn’t played since Feb. 17 and entered Friday’s game against the St. Louis Blues with one goal on the season, scored on a penalty shot in the first period to tie the game at 1-1. The two teams suddenly erupted for seven goals in the second period, including three in the first 38 seconds, for a combined nine goals on just 38 shots through the opening 40 minutes.
For the 32-year-old Moen, that was his first career penalty shot attempt. It came with 11 seconds remaining in the opening period.
The Stars jumped out to a 5-3 lead in the second period, but coughed that up in a 7-5 loss to the Blues on what was a record-setting night.
Jets head coach Paul Maurice addressed the media Friday, one day after the NHL levied a four-game suspension against Dustin Byfuglien for his nasty cross-check on Rangers forward J.T. Miller.
Maurice, it seems, took issue with two things. One, what he perceived as inconsistency between the Byfuglien ruling and other cross-check suspensions and two, how Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault portrayed Big Buff in the aftermath.
“Vigneault wanted the electric chair, and I’ve got a lot more time for Dustin than that,” Maurice said, per the Winnipeg Sun. “So we will always be a little agitated by what we feel is the unfairness of it.
“From my point of view, though, you can hand out heavier suspensions on all these events. The players will make the adjustment.”
Maurice mentioned a few incidents from this season for comparison purposes, including the cross-check Dallas’ Antoine Roussel landed on Boston’s Adam McQuaid in early February, which resulted in a two-game suspension for Roussel:
As for the Vigneault quote, Maurice appeared to be referring to what the New York bench boss said immediately following Tuesday’s tilt.
“[It was] violent, deliberate, could have broken his neck,” said Vigneault. “It was one of the most vicious cross-checks I’ve seen this year.”