In praise of Matt Beleskey


The list of the NHL’s top-10 goalscorers is filled with familiar names — Tyler Seguin, Steve Stamkos, Corey Perry, Alex Ovechkin — but there’s a new one in the mix, highlighted here:


That’s 26-year-old Anaheim winger Matt Beleskey, a career checking forward that’s never scored more than 11 goals in an single NHL season. Yet there he is, looking down the goalscoring chart at Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel after the quarter mark, on pace for a 38-goal campaign.

Last night, his 12th goal of the year was the game-winner in a 3-2 win over Boston and his second GWG of the season. Which begs the question: How is this happening?

Simply put, Beleskey was gifted an opportunity this year and ran with it. Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau came into ’14-15 looking for winger to play on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry and, after the Dany Heatley experiment failed before it ever really started, Beleskey got his shot.

“It’s awesome,” Beleskey said, per the O.C. Register. “[Boudreau’s] been giving me confidence and has had confidence in me all year. It’s been nice.”

The relationship with Boudreau has been key to Beleskey’s breakout campaign. Boudreau recognized Beleskey’s versatility two seasons ago and expanded his responsibilities in an opening-round playoff loss to Detroit, and Beleskey responded by scoring two goals and three points in seven games.

The former fourth-round pick again showed his ability to raise his game in the postseason last year, scoring two goals and four points in five games (despite missing extensive time with a lower-body ailment.)

“Hockey’s a big confidence game,” Beleskey said upon signing a two-year extension last summer, per the Register. “For a little bit, I kind of lost that scoring touch. It all comes with opportunity. Bruce has put me in different situations and got me some more opportunities.

“Taking advantage of it is a big part.”

The Ducks are glad he’s found that confidence and is taking advantage of his chance. Anaheim’s had issues this season with secondary scoring; the Getzlaf-Perry-Beleskey line has combined to score 33 of 57 goals tallied by forwards this season. The likes of Emerson Etem (two goals), Jakob Silfverberg (one) and Rickard Rakell (zero) have given the Ducks virtually nothing in terms of goalscoring this season, which makes Beleskey’s contributions all the more vital.

That’s why Boudreau has a message for Beleskey: Keep shooting.

“You shoot the puck enough with a good shot, and good things are going to happen,” Boudreau said. “[Beleskey’s] feeling like he can score.”

Rangers’ Kreider fractures foot vs. Flyers

Chris Kreider #20 of the New York Rangers
Getty Images
Leave a comment

New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider suffered a fractured foot against the Philadelphia Flyers Friday.

The alternate captain blocked a shot from Philippe Myers with 7:40 remaining in the opening period. He played one more shift for 10 seconds before heading to the locker room. The Rangers have not provided a timeline for the injury.

New York signed Chris Kreider to a $45.5 million, seven-year extension prior to the trade deadline. The 28-year-old power forward has 24 goals and 21 assists in 63 games this season.

Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.

Robin Lehner to make Golden Knights debut; Mark Stone injured

Golden Knights
Leave a comment

The Vegas Golden Knights have been one of the league’s hottest teams over the past month and will be looking to extend their current winning streak to eight games on Friday night when they host the Buffalo Sabres.

Coach Pete DeBoer had some significant lineup news ahead of the game on Friday afternoon, including a potentially significant injury.

First, is the news that big trade deadline acquisition Robin Lehner will be making his first start in goal for the team. The Golden Knights acquired Lehner from the Chicago Blackhawks just ahead of the NHL trade deadline on Monday for a draft pick and a prospect. Lehner has been one of the league’s best goalies for the past two years and alongside Marc-Andre Fleury should give them one of the league’s best goaltending duos.

The far more serious news, though, was the announcement that forward Mark Stone will not play on Friday due to a lower-body injury.

DeBoer had no immediate information on how long Stone could be out, only to say that he is still being evaluated.

When asked if it could potentially be a long-term injury DeBoer said “There’s always fear. We don’t know, but we’ll see,” via

Stone is one of the league’s best all-around forwards and has not only been a point-per-game player for the past three seasons, he is also one of the best defensive forwards in the league. He finished the 2018-19 season as the top runner-up for the Selke Trophy, something that has become almost unheard of for a winger.

The Golden Knights enter Friday’s game in first place in the Pacific Division, four points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks.

Related: Blackhawks trade Robin Lehner to Golden Knights

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.


Oilers’ Mike Green to miss 3-4 weeks with sprained MCL

Leave a comment

Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland was busy at the NHL trade deadline adding Mike Green, Andreas Athanasiou, and Tyler Ennis to his roster in an effort to improve its depth. But just two games later his team has already lost one of those new players to injury.

The Oilers announced on Friday that Green, acquired from the Detroit Red Wings for Kyle Brodziak and a draft pick, will be sidelined for the next 3-4 weeks due to an MCL sprain.

That is the way things seem to be going for the Oilers right now as injuries keep adding up throughout their roster.

Green joins an injury list that already includes the team’s top defenseman (Oscar Klefbom), as well as James Neal, Kailer Yamamoto, and Kris Russell.

Green played 19 minutes in the Oilers’ 3-0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday.

Athanasiou was also injured in that game, but is expected to play on Saturday when the Oilers host the Winnipeg Jets.

The Oilers enter the weekend in third place in the Pacific Division with 74 points, four points back of Vegas and only two points ahead of the non-playoff teams in the Western Conference.

Related: Red Wings send Mike Green to Oilers

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Report: Islanders will play all home games at Nassau Coliseum in 2020-21

Getty Images
Leave a comment

March 22 will be the final Islanders’ game at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, according to Newsday.

Randi Marshall reports that New York governor Andrew Cuomo will announce on Saturday that the Islanders will play any home playoff games this season and all of their 2020-21 home schedule at Nassau Coliseum.

The Islanders are currently building a new arena by Belmont Park race track which is expected to be ready in time for the 2021-22 NHL season. The franchise played all of its home games at the Coliseum from 1972-2015 before moving to Brooklyn full-time in 2015. That lasted until 2018 when they split home games at both arenas, with Nassau Coliseum playing host to their Round 1 matchup against the Penguins and Barclays for their second round series against the Hurricanes.

While Barclays Center helped keep the Islanders in New York, it has not been the easiest arena to travel to for fans. The ability to get there via mass transit was a positive that the Coliseum doesn’t have. Yet when the Islanders returned back to Long Island last season, there was plenty nostalgia over the building that was home for the franchise’s glory days.

In September the Islanders broke ground on the new 19,000-seat arena by Belmont Park which is less than 10 miles from Nassau Coliseum.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.