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The Buzzer: First start, first shutout for Binnington; Karlsson gets hat trick of assists

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Three stars

1. Jordan Binnington, St. Louis Blues

We will forgive you if you haven’t heard of Binnington. He’s not exactly a household name. But they certainly know of him now.

Binnington dropped a 25-save shutout in his first NHL start as the Blues rallied behind their inexperienced goalie. Binnington’s only other NHL action has come in relief outings — twice this season for Jake Allen, and another appearance way back in 2015-16. He had a career .840 save percentage and a 3.53 goals-against average coming into Monday. He’ll wake up on Tuesday with a .907 and 2.13, respectively, and perhaps more importantly, another start down the line.

2. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

You know your team had a heck of a night when you allow only 18 shots on goal from a potent offense like the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Truth be told, Nashville’s incredible defensive core came out as advertised on Monday. But Rinne, despite the low shot totals, wasn’t relegated to just making routing saves. With just over four minutes left in the second period, Rinne stretched across his crease and robbed Mitch Marner of making the game 2-1 and changing its entire complexion.

Rinne’s last few starts have all been sub .900 save percentage outings, so it was nice to see him get back on the horse again and playing at his best. He’s up to a .921 save percentage on the year now.

3. Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild. 

The night of the goalie continued in Montreal, where Dubnyk came into the Bell Centre and stopped all 32 shots he faced from the Habs in a 1-0 win for the Wild.

Dubnyk has put in some good performances of late, getting wins against the Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs while winning four of his past five starts, including three straight now.

He’s improved his save percentage to .915 on the season with his first shutout of the season and the Wild are clinging to the second wild-card spot thanks to a three-game winning streak.

Other notable performances: 

  • Erik Karlsson made a little history with a hat-trick of assists in a 3-1 win for the San Jose Sharks.
  • Johnny Gaudreau kept scoring, netting his 25th and 26th goals of the season in a 4-3 win against the Chicago Blackhawks. Johnny Hockey has seven goals in a five-game goal-scoring streak, 10 goals in his past seven games and 14 in his past 13.
  • Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist for the Predators in their big win.

Highlights of the night

Hart with an early save of the year candidate:

The law of angles (is that a thing?) was destroyed here:

Kopitar > Brown > Kopitar:

Factoids

Scores

Predators 4, Maple Leafs 0
Blues 3, Flyers 0
Wild 1, Canadiens 0
Flames 4, Blackhawk 3
Sharks 3, Kings 1


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Game 7 OT thrillers on NBCSN: Martinez sends Kings to 2014 Cup Final

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Hockey Week in America continues Sunday with Game 7 overtime thrillers.

In a back-and-forth affair, the Kings tied the Game 7 at four goals apiece in the third period to send the matchup into overtime. With a trip to the Stanley Cup Final on the line, Alec Martinez played hero for the Kings with the game-winner early in overtime, a role he would reprise in Game 5 of the Cup Final against the Rangers to clinch the title for the Kings.

Kenny Albert, Joe Micheletti, and Brian Engblom called the matchup from United Center in Chicago, Ill.

You can catch a replay Sunday on NBCSN at 12 a.m. ET.

SUNDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE
• Kings vs. Blackhawks (Game 7, Western Conference Final, 2014 playoffs) – 12 a.m. ET on NBCSN

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

Game 7 OT thrillers on NBCSN: Goodrow clinches Sharks’ comeback

My Favorite Goal Goodrow's Game 7 OT winner Sharks Hertl
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Hockey Week in America continues Sunday with Game 7 overtime thrillers.

Vegas led the game 3-0 midway through the third period, before a major penalty that gave San Jose a five-minute power play. The Sharks scored four times on that power play to take a 4-3 lead, but Vegas evened the score in the final minute to force OT. In the overtime period, Barclay Goodrow scored the series-winning goal, helping the Sharks become the second team in NHL history, along with the 2013 Bruins, to overcome a three-goal deficit in the third period of a Game 7.

Gord Miller and Ray Ferraro called the action from SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.

You can catch a replay Sunday on NBCSN at 10 p.m. ET or watch the stream here.

SUNDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE
• Golden Knights vs. Sharks (Game 7, Round 1, 2019 playoffs) – 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN
• Kings vs. Blackhawks (Game 7, Western Conference Final, 2014 playoffs) – 12 a.m. ET on NBCSN

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

Game 7 OT thrillers on NBCSN: Bruins pull off comeback vs. Maple Leafs

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Hockey Week in America continues Sunday with Game 7 overtime thrillers.

The Maple Leafs held a commanding 4-1 lead in Game 7 in Boston midway through the third period, before the Bruins stormed back to force OT, punctuated by a pair of goals with their goalie pulled. Patrice Bergeron scored the overtime winner for a 5-4 victory, which marked the first time in NHL history a team overcame a three-goal deficit in the final period of Game 7 to go on to win the game and the series.

The late, great Dave Strader and Brian Engblom had the call at TD Garden in Boston, Mass.

You can catch a replay Sunday on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET or watch the stream here.

SUNDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE
• Maple Leafs vs. Bruins (Game 7, Round 1, 2013 playoffs) – 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN
• Golden Knights vs. Sharks (Game 7, Round 1, 2019 playoffs) – 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN
• Kings vs. Blackhawks (Game 7, Western Conference Final, 2014 playoffs) – 12 a.m. ET on NBCSN

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

What is Taylor Hall’s future with Coyotes?

Taylor Hall Coyotets
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Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka said this weekend that he has continued to have some discussions with Dan Ferris, the agent for pending free agent forward Taylor Hall, but that they have not yet exchanged numbers in potential contract talks.

Instead, it has simply been a matter of trying to get their heads wrapped around the current situation — everything being on hold due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — and how it impacts both the Coyotes and Hall.

“It’s unique. I don’t have an answer for you other than to say, no, we haven’t exchanged numbers or anything like that,” said Chayka in a wide-ranging interview with the Athletic’s Craig Morgan.

“Obviously, our intent was always to get through the season and not having any conflict with Taylor’s play. This leaves us in a bit of a limbo where it’s obviously not technically the end of the season, but it also wouldn’t conflict with his play to talk. All I would say right now is that both sides are gathering information and having some discussions. Where that goes I’m not entirely sure today. As we talk, we’ll see where things go.”

The Hall-Coyotes storyline is going to be an interesting to watch unfold over the coming months because he could be one of the top players to hit the open market — whenever free agency actually begins — if he does not re-sign with the Coyotes.

The Coyotes acquired Hall from the New Jersey Devils in a mid-December trade. It was a fairly significant move at the time because Hall was the top in-season trade target in the league. He also gave the Coyotes the type of impact forward that they desperately needed to help drive their offense in an effort to make the playoffs.

While Hall has mostly met expectations (27 points in 35 games) things have not exactly worked out as the Coyotes hoped from a team perspective. When the 2019-20 NHL season went on hiatus they Coyotes were four points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference with several teams ahead of them. A big part of their tumble down the standings was injuries, specifically to their top two goalies (Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper).

The next step

In an ideal world the the Coyotes would almost certainly prefer to keep Hall. When healthy, he is an elite offensive player and the type of talent the franchise really has not had in more than a decade. He is an MVP winner, one of the most productive wingers in the world, and while he turns 29 next November he still probably has several outstanding years ahead of him as a top-line winger. They are not likely to find an upgrade or a better player anywhere else on the open market or as a realistic trade target.

There are, however, some obstacles.

The first of which is simply a matter of what Hall wants to do with his opportunity as a potential UFA. This will be the first time he has a chance to test the open market and probably his last chance to get a significant contract. Add in the fact he has played on just one playoff team in his career, and there has to be a lot of incentive to explore what is out there.

But there is another pretty big hurdle that may not get a lot of attention in this situation — the salary cap.

While the Coyotes salary situation tend to be a punch-line for people that don’t pay close attention to them, they actually have one of the largest salary cap numbers in the entire league right now, have some significant long-term investments, and do not have a lot of wiggle room under the cap in the near future. Considering that Hall is almost certain to be able to command something in the neighborhood of $8-9 million per season, there is going to be some extra work needed to make it all work.

MORE:
• Looking at the 2019-20 Arizona Coyotes
• Coyotes’ biggest surprises, disappointments so far
What is the Coyotes’ long-term outlook?

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