1. Frank Vatrano, Florida Panthers
The Lightning understandably drew a ton of attention for their rise up the rankings. Should we give their in-state neighbors some love, too? Consider the Panthers’ winning run, which cued up nicely with Joel Quenneville’s return to Chicago:
- The Panthers keep overcoming mostly hit-or-miss (and sometimes hit by injuries) goaltending by scoring, a lot. Tuesday’s 4-3 win against the Blackhawks marks Florida’s sixth win in a row. They’ve scored at least four goals in every game during that streak.
- The Panthers’ strong play extends beyond this streak. Florida carried a strong 13-4-0 run in its last 17 games.
- They closed off a three-game road trip, all with wins. They return with another three-game road trip (so technically, it’s six in a row on the road). If they stand strong after this stretch, it would be quite a testament to what Coach Q & Co. are building.
Vatrano caught fire during this six-game winning streak. Tuesday represents the peak of that run, as the winger generated his second NHL hat trick. Vatrano also extended his point streak to five games (five goals, four assists for nine points).
He showed flashes of brilliance in Boston, and has largely converted that into a solid niche with Florida. Vatrano quietly scored 24 goals and 39 points last season. Tuesday’s outburst places Vatrano at 14 goals and 27 points for 2019-20.
Florida needed all three of Vatrano’s goals, as his third ended up being the game-winner. The Panthers were up as much as 3-0 and 4-1, so Chicago fought back, but not enough.
Count Mike Hoffman as one of the other Panthers who are scoring up a storm.
2. Josh Bailey/Thomas Greiss, New York Islanders
The Rangers generated a massive 42-18 shots on goal advantage on Tuesday, but the Islanders held on for a 4-2 win. Getting outchanced like that remains a cause for concern, but Griess bailed the Isles out with 40 saves.
(Quick thought: is it possible Barry Trotz needs to loosen up when the Islanders hold leads? They lost after coughing up a big one against Washington, and almost invited the Rangers to creep back in on Tuesday.)
Bailey generated three points (1G, 2A), so maybe you’d call him the bigger star over Greiss?
3. Teuvo Teravainen, Carolina Hurricanes
Justin WIlliams continues to make an early impact for Carolina. After producing the shootout-deciding goal in his return, Williams fired in two goals on Tuesday. Not bad, considering his modest 11:45 time on ice.
Teravainen gets the overall edge, though. Like Bailey, Teravainen scored a goal and two assists for three points. The shifty Finn is backing up last season’s almost point-per-game play (76 points in 82 GP), with similar results (48 points in 50 GP).
Andrei Svechnikov demands a mention of his own. The splendid sophomore collected two assists, placing Svechnikov close behind Teravainen with 45 points in 50 GP.
Kreider replaces Panarin at All-Star Game
The Rangers played without Artemi Panarin thanks to an injury. It appears that they’ll have a different All-Star Game representative, as Chris Kreider will replace him.
#NHLAllStar Update: @NYRangers forward Chris Kreider will replace teammate Artemi Panarin at the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game. pic.twitter.com/XbWIeIuhJb
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 22, 2020
Another fun Storm Surge
If you can block a shot, you can dodge a ball?
The Jets are struggling, and thus Mark Scheifele is taking no guff.
- Vatrano generated one other hat trick: as a member of the Bruins on Dec. 18, 2015.
- NHL PR shares a comically specific stat: Vatrano ranks among eight Franks to record hat tricks.
- The Panthers’ .769 points percentage since Christmas ties the Blue Jackets as the league’s second-best mark, according to Sportsnet. The Lightning rank first at .846 since Dec. 25.
- Patrick Kane decided not to rest after hitting 1,000 points. He extended his point streak to 11 games (5G, 11A) on Tuesday. Kane joined David Pastrnak as the only two players with two 11+ game point streaks in 2019-20, via NHL PR.
- Williams generated the game-winning goal for the Hurricanes. NHL PR shared some old guy stats on Williams.
- Flyers goalie Brian Elliott needed only 19 saves to blank the Penguins.
BOS 3 – VGK 2
NYI 4 – NYR 2
CAR 4 – WPG 1
PHI 3 – PIT 0
FLA 4 – CHI 3
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.