NHL Three Stars from Tuesday
1. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks over Patrik Laine, Columbus Blue Jackets
As the headline indicates, Patrick Kane and his Blackhawks did enough to be Patrik Laine and his still-new team, the Blue Jackets, on Tuesday night.
Kane ended up with four points (one goal, three assists), while Laine finished with three points (two goals and one assist).
For all of the attention Kevin Lankinen (understandably) generates as a catalyst for a surprisingly competitive Blackhawks team, you cannot forget Kane’s contributions. Kane now has nine goals and 21 assists for 30 points in 20 games this season. If you prorated Patrick Kane’s 30 points in 20 games over an 82-game campaign, that would translate to a 123-point season. His career-high is 110 from 2018-19.
Changing gears to Laine … well, it hasn’t been all good so far in Columbus. As you likely remember, we barely had time to get used to Laine in a Blue Jackets jersey before John Tortorella benched him. That’s not the last setback, either.
#CBJ coach John Tortorella on the performance of the first line (Patrik Laine, Jack Roslovic, Cam Atkinson) vs. Nashville on Saturday:
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) February 22, 2021
After Tuesday, Laine’s a point-per-game player as a Blue Jacket (10 points in as many games). The production is there, even if the all-around play isn’t.
(For what it’s worth, Kane brings his own double-edged sword game to the table, people just linger on it less. Probably because he scores even more than Laine, points-wise.)
Even if Laine fails to ever be anything but a sieve defensively, he’ll earn big money if he can replicate nights like Tuesday. Laine scoring goals (not a goal, goals) on the power play, shooting from Alex Ovechkin‘s “office?” The Blue Jackets probably can work with that. Eventually?
2. Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers
For Canucks fans, there might have been at least a slight sense of relief to start Tuesday. Just 1:06, Bo Horvat gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead. Elias Pettersson assisted on that goal, and provided one of his own. Even Tyler Myers (and his albatross contract) scored a goal. A 3-0 lead? That’s nice.
*Jaws soundtrack kicks in*
Of course, the headline sort of gave things away that this wouldn’t be a stroll in the park for Vancouver.
Instead, the Oilers waged an impressive comeback to win 4-3 — in regulation, too.
While Connor McDavid loomed large (and fast) with a game-tying 3-3 goal, it was Leon Draisaitl who starred in this rally. Draisaitl sent a beautiful pass to McDavid for that goal, one of three assists by the reigning Art and Hart winner.
Could this be that rare season where the Oilers’ overall … um, struggles … can’t subvert the brilliance of McDavid and Draisaitl? You get that feeling, at least.
3. Linus Ullmark, Buffalo Sabres
Throughout the Buffalo Sabres’ Forever Rebuild, there have been some goalies who sprouted up and put together hot streaks.
For some, those runs ended up being closer to last gasps than signs of thing to come. Michal Neuvirth falls in that category. Others, like Robin Lehner, ended up going on to bigger and better things.
Quietly, Linus Ullmark’s shown promise for the Sabres. Last season, Ullmark generated a .915 save percentage that was more impressive when you consider the Sabres’ sometimes shabby defense. He’s been hit-or-miss this season, but Ullmark was great on Tuesday, making 41 saves.
For all we know, a strong Ullmark season might mean more for his trade value than anything else. The Sabres need all of the happy developments they can get, though, so we’ll see if a 27-year-old can heat up.
Brady Tkachuk fight, Brady Tkachuk silliness
It’s not a marathon bout by any stretch, but Brady Tkachuk vs. Ben Chiarot was bloody and fairly entertaining:
I’m not sure Brady Tkachuk can outright claim victory in the fight. But he can definitely use the “You should see the other guy” line with Chiarot.
Also, there was this …
— SensChirp (@SensChirp) February 24, 2021
Rarely a dull moment with Keith’s kids. (Brady Tkachuk scored two goals, by the way.)
Controversy of the night: Goalie interference or not?
Tkachuk’s Senators squeaked out a shootout win against the Canadiens. Should that game have even gotten to overtime, though? Brendan Gallagher and the Habs think not:
Highlight of Tuesday night in the NHL
After being benched, Kasperi Kapanen bounced back with an assist, and this overtime game-winner:
Tuesday’s NHL scores
Penguins 3, Capitals 2 (OT)
Blackhawks 6, Blue Jackets 5 (SO)
Senators 5, Canadiens 4 (SO)
Sabres 4, Devils 1
Predators 2, Red Wings 0
Oilers 4, Canucks 3