1) Chris Kreider, New York Rangers
The power forward tallied a goal and an assist in the Rangers’ 5-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He won a faceoff shortly before Mika Zibanejad wired a wrist shot past Michael Hutchinson late in the first period. Then, just six seconds later, Kreider held off Leafs defenseman Justin Holl and converted on a breakaway. The winger is one of the top players available at the NHL trade deadline and performances like this are only driving up the cost. For Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton, it was a sign of relief to see Kreider rebound in a strong way after missing the previous game with an upper-body injury.
2) Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins
It’s a little late to get your first goal of the season but McAvoy was rewarded Wednesday. The steady defenseman charged up ice and raced to the net during the overtime session before tapping in a perfectly-placed pass from Jake DeBrusk to propel the Bruins to a 2-1 overtime victory against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Long Island native beat Jonathan Toews in a foot race to the left of Jaroslav Halak, then skated the length of the ice to complete the play. Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy got caught in a traffic jam at the blueline and was unable to keep pace with McAvoy.
3) Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
It is hard to imagine that David Pastrnak has fallen to third on the NHL goals list this season, but Matthews’ consistent play has helped him climb into second place, for the time being. Matthews scored twice in the Leafs’ loss but is one tally short of reaching the 40-goal mark for the second time in his NHL career. The alternate captain netted a neat backhand and hammered a one-timer when John Tavares delivered a precise cross-ice pass. Toronto has been better since Sheldon Keefe took over behind the bench, but the Eastern Conference playoff race is tightening up real quick and the Maple Leafs cannot afford to miss out on points against below average teams.
Highlights of the Night
Mika Zibanejad and Kreider scored within six seconds of each other to give the Rangers a two-goal advantage near the end of the first period.
— NHL (@NHL) February 6, 2020
👏 de 👏 nied 👏 #WNH
— NHL (@NHL) February 6, 2020
Stat of the Night
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 6, 2020
Per NHL Stats and Information, Igor Shesterkin is the second goaltender in Rangers history who has earned a win in four of his first five career NHL appearances (Cam Talbot), and he is the first rookie goaltender in franchise history who has accomplished the feat. #NYR
— NYR Stats & Info (@NYRStatsInfo) February 6, 2020
- Adam Boqvist went to the locker room midway through the second period after Krejci delivered a nasty check from behind. Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton mentioned he doesn’t think the injury is “anything super serious.”
New York Rangers 5, Toronto Maple Leafs 3
Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.