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?
The @NHL has issued the following statement regarding the @NHLFlyers.https://t.co/L9uSxijv1x pic.twitter.com/QuPlwbK4E7
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 7, 2021
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.
re this 🧵—
per @shelleyhawk45 it’s believed on the reverse angle that Trochek was in fact, offside, the penalty has been taken off the board. The goal remains. #CBJ #Canes https://t.co/436M41MaTo pic.twitter.com/o2L6Po99bW
— Alison (@AlisonL) February 7, 2021
Here’s the league’s explanation:
From the #NHL situation room, an explanation … pic.twitter.com/CEnpsJiOIF
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) February 7, 2021
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.