The Buffalo Sabres haven’t been that much better as a team lately – at least as far as any reasonable stat goes – but Michal Neuvirth is on such a hot run that it’s not as safe to write them off as an easy win.
Yes, the Nashville Predators won 2-1 via a shootout on Sunday, but they had to sweat this one thanks almost entirely to Neuvirth’s efforts. They trailed for most of the third period until Mike Ribeiro was the only Predator who could thwart Neuvirth in regulation (and on the power play, to boot).
Overall, Neuvirth stopped 37 out of 38 shots. While he’s still not really winning, just look at what the 26-year-old goalie’s done in February:
1-3-2 record, .944 save percentage, 1.93 GAA.
One almost wonders if Neuvirth might just play himself out of Buffalo, as his strong work may just be a threat to what many believe is a tank job.
In other words, there’s at least some room for concern that the Sabres’ bid for a guaranteed top-two pick could even hit a wall:
“Sometimes you’re mature in certain things. Sometimes you’re not. Unfortunately, we’ll have to deal with him,” said Ted Nolan per The Buffalo News. “We had a number of discussions, and then another thing happened this morning. We’ll just talk to him again.”
Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds scored in the shootout as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the Nashville Predators 3-2 Saturday afternoon.
The win against the league-leaders comes after Philly dropped back-to-back games against teams below them in the standings. With the victory the Flyers move to within four points of the Boston Bruins for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Simmonds also scored in regulation opening the scoring with his 23rd of the season. Ryan White gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead near the midway mark of the second.
Despite registering just three shots on goal in the first period, Colin Wilson’s 19th of the season had the Preds and Flyers tied 1-1 after 20. The Predators, who have now failed to pick up a win in back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 29 and 30, had just four shots on goal in the second period.
Craig Smith had the other Nashville goal while Pekka Rinne made 31 saves in the loss.
Rob Zepp improved to 4-1-0 on the season with a 20 save performance.
The game was the first for both Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli since their trade from the Toronto Maple Leafs last weekend.
Franson had two shots on goal and a hit in 17:52 of ice time while Santorelli was a minus-1 with a shot on goal and two hits in 12:11 of ice time.
Apparently the upper-body injury Mikhail Grabovski suffered thanks to a hit by Nashville Predators forward Eric Nystrom is fairly serious, as the New York Islanders placed him on IR today.
Here’s video of the hit from Thursday’s impressive Islanders win:
Grabovski, 31, has already dealt with injury issues during his first campaign with the Islanders, so this setback hurts that much more. He’s generated nine goals and 19 points in 51 games, and while that output is disappointing, Grabovski has shown flashes of the player the team was expecting when they handed him a $20 million deal.
The team recalled Kael Mouillierat on an emergency basis to make up for the loss.
The New York Islanders’ Mikhail Grabovski was knocked out of Thursday’s game against the Nashville Predators after Eric Nystrom delivered a big hit that flattened the 31-year-old forward. Grabovski remained on the ice for long enough that a stretcher was brought out, but he was eventually able to get back onto his skates and leave the ice on his own strength.
After the incident, the Islanders revealed that Grabovski would miss the rest of the game with an upper-body injury. Although Nystrom’s hit appeared to be clean, it did look like there might have been some contact with Grabovski’s head.
You can judge the hit for yourself below:
This has been a rough season for Grabovski as he has just nine goals and 19 points in 51 games after joining the Islanders on a four-year, $20 million contract.