Rick Nash continues to close in on his career high for goals. He also happens to be nipping at the heels of Alex Ovechkin for the league lead in that department, too.
Nash scored the game winner for the New York Rangers, as they defeated the Buffalo Sabres by a final score of 3-1 on Friday.
Mackenzie Skapski, making his NHL debut in goal for the Rangers, gave up a goal 14 seconds into the first period, but that was it, as he stopped 24 of 25 shots and picked up his first career victory in the big league.
At the age of 30, Nash is up to 37 goals this season. That’s one back of Ovechkin, who was not in action on Friday, and four off his career best of 41, set back in 2003-04. The veteran Rangers’ winger finished off a pretty passing play less than a minute into the second period, giving his team a 2-1 lead.
When Cody Franson was traded to Nashville, much of the focus leading up to the March 2 deadline turned to Edmonton’s Jeff Petry.
Like Franson, Petry is a right-shooting defenseman in the final year of his contract. Both players can become unrestricted free agents this summer. And unlike Mike Green in Washington — who also matches the preceding description — Petry plays for a team that’s well on its way to missing the playoffs.
Today, Oilers GM Craig MacTavish provided an update on Petry.
“I’ll just say this about Jeff — we really challenged him on a one-year contract and he’s clearly met that challenge. His game is at a level I think right now that it hasn’t been at before and I give Jeff a lot of credit for that,” MacTavish said, per the club’s website.
“As for a contract or what the course of action is going forward, I’ve had many conversations over the last four weeks with Wade Arnott, Jeff’s representative, as you might imagine and they’ve all been constructive conversations but I’m just going to leave it at that and we’ll see what happens going forward.”
The consensus is that Petry, 27, will be traded. Perhaps to Los Angeles, as a replacement for Slava Voynov. Or maybe to the Ducks, who were “pretty adamant about trying to add another d-man” even before Sami Vatanen was lost for 4-6 weeks. That’s just two potential destinations. There are others.
A couple of Olympic gold-medal winners will be between the pipes tonight in Montreal, where the Canadiens’ Carey Price will be staring down the Bell Centre ice at the Panthers’ Roberto Luongo.
Both Canadian netminders are enjoying excellent seasons. Price is a serious Hart Trophy candidate, while Luongo has helped keep Florida in the playoff race with a .920 save percentage in 46 appearances.
With a win, the Panthers would move to within one point of the Bruins for the final wild-card spot in the East.
So let’s hear those “Go Habs Go” chants, Boston sports fans!
Jaroslav Halak will look to rebound from a shaky performance versus the Rangers when the Islanders host the Predators, who are likely to go with Pekka Rinne.
Cam Talbot for the Rangers versus Ryan Miller for the Canucks.
Curtis McElhinney for the Blue Jackets versus Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins.
Ondrej Pavelec will see his first action in a week when the Jets visit Washington to take on Braden Holtby and the Capitals.
Michal Neuvirth for the Sabres versus Ray Emery for the Flyers.
Antti Niemi for the Sharks versus Kari Lehtonen (likely) for the Stars.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Nearly 40 lots worth of items owned by the late coach Herb Brooks will be up for auction, including memorabilia related to the Miracle on Ice. (NHL.com)
Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $50,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday’s NHL games. It’s just $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Alex Ovechkin was doused in beer by a Pittsburgh Penguins fan during Tuesday’s game. Capitals coach Barry Trotz shrugged it off saying, “He was probably thirsty anyway.” (CSN Washington)
Devan Dubnyk recalls his time with AHL Hamilton last season and his return to grace. (Calgary Sun)
Here are the highlights from New Jersey’s 2-1 shootout win over Buffalo:
The argument against the Edmonton Oilers trading Jeff Petry. (Lowetide)
St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock is approaching the 700-win milestone. (Dallas Morning News)
Dave Bolland is having fun in his first season with the Florida Panthers. (Toronto Star)
Alex Ovechkin has been front and center a few times in the past few days.
He’s been accused of diving, continues to score goals, including another pretty one Tuesday, and, in the same game, he sent Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang sliding hard into the end boards after a slash to the back of the leg early in the third period.
There was no call on the play.
What ensued next was the Penguins trying to get revenge on Ovechkin, though the star wouldn’t bite. He smiled, though.
The Capitals took advantage of the Penguins’ lack of discipline in the final 20 minutes, scoring on a late power-play to win the game 3-1.
Washington’s head coach Barry Trotz defended Ovechkin after the game.
Their stories remain the same: Ovechkin’s intent was to hit the puck, which Letang was working to maintain control of with the Capitals captain on the forecheck.
“If you look at it, Ovi’s just trying to whack at the puck there,” said Trotz, as per CSN Washington.
“I looked at it on TV. From behind you can’t even see the puck, but from the front view you can see the puck is right by [Letang’s] skate and he actually moves his skate in front of the puck and Ovi sort of tries to throw it at the net.
“Letang slid a little bit, he tried to get his balance and went into the boards. I think you’re making a lot out of nothing. The ice is really slippery in the beginning of a period. Ovi doesn’t do that. It’s not in his game.”