The Buzzer: NHL action on Super Bowl Sunday; Odd goal review situation

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NHL Three Stars from Sunday

1. Scott Laughton, Philadelphia Flyers

When your team allows a player like Alex Ovechkin to generate four points, you usually lose. But sometimes someone like Scott Laughton comes along and wins when two teams trade haymakers.

You can quibble with Laughton nabbing the top spot over Ovechkin, but to start, Laughton’s hat trick came in a winning effort. Beyond that, Ovechkin also found himself on the wrong end of some Flyers goals.

Laughton ended up with a +2 rating on Sunday, while Ovechkin ended up -1. Plus/minus isn’t useful for making broad statements about players, but it can be a handy tiebreaker for a three stars of the day.

Overall, Laughton has four goals and five assists for nine points in 13 games. Much of that production happened lately. Over the last five games, Laughton scored six (4G, 2A) of his nine points.

In other strong Flyers performances, Sean Couturier returned to the fold with two goals and one assist. One of those goals was an empty-netter, but still.

2. Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals’ top line

OK, but seriously … what a game by Alex Ovechkin.

Again, his assist to Tom Wilson during the first period will live on with highlights from the more dynamic days of Ovechkin’s early career. It’s totally fair to say that Ovechkin deserved the top spot with his two goals and two assists.

And it’s definitely safe to say that Ovechkin is off to a hot scoring start to the season. Sunday’s game pushed Ovechkin to 12 points in eight games.

(Are we sure Alex Ovechkin is 35?)

Now, Ovechkin wasn’t alone. Tom Wilson also had a big NHL Sunday, scoring one goal and three assists for four points. Not far behind them, Nicklas Backstrom scored a pretty goal and added two assists. Wilson also appeared in the delightful video above, surprising Capitals fan Vicki White.

If only those three got more support. Lars Eller is the only other Capitals player credited with a point, as he finished the afternoon with an assist.

3. Thomas Greiss

Honestly, it’s tough to imagine the Red Wings winning — or even saving face in — too many games without brilliant goaltending. Yes, they’ve taken baby steps to seem more palatable than last season’s debacle of a team, but they’re still a long way from the days of Steve Yzerman, superstar player, not Stevie Y, promising GM.

After recently falling just short of stealing a win against the Lightning, Greiss found a way to shine for Detroit against the piping-hot Panthers. Greiss stopped 36 out of 37 shots to nab his first win of the season.

POC tests before Flyers – Capitals

Interesting note from the NHL about COVID testing. Could this be a sign of things to come?

Sunday’s top NHL highlights

Honestly, how could it not be that Alex Ovechkin assist? You know what, why not watch the entire Capitals – Flyers highlights, so you can witness the Scott Laughton hat trick, and more:

Patrik Laine also had a nice game on Sunday, even if he didn’t rank among the top three NHL stars for the day. He scored two goals, and while this only included the first one, they were very similar:

Unfortunately, his new team would be a part of a lowlight of sorts.

Goal review goofiness from Hurricanes – Blue Jackets

So, this is an odd situation. The Blue Jackets challenged the Hurricanes’ 4-3 goal, claiming Carolina was offside. Upon the initial review, the goal stood, and the Blue Jackets were penalized. However, after seeing further replays, the penalty was rescinded. However, the Hurricanes goal stood.

Here’s the league’s explanation:

Strange! For all the times than John Tortorella probably overreacts, can you blame him for boiling over from this situation? Although this might rank closer to “laughing due to a mixture of anger and shock.”

Sunday’s NHL scores

Flyers 7, Capitals 4
Red Wings 4, Panthers 1
Hurricanes 6, Blue Jackets 5
Blackhawks 2, Stars 1 (OT)
Golden Knights 4, Kings 3

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.

Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

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TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.

Maple Leafs sign defenseman Rasmus Sandin to 2-year deal

Rasmus Sandin
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TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.

The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.

“Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”

The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.

Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.