NHL Three Stars from Friday
1. Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins
There’s an old adage that some teams who don’t fight often — maybe the peak Red Wings of the Fedorov days, for example? — tend to get revenge by scoring on the power play.
After Tom Wilson delivered a questionable hit that ended up hospitalizing Brandon Carlo, the Bruins didn’t exactly turn the other cheek. For one thing, Jarred Tinordi fought with Tom Wilson in the second period. Then Tom Wilson dropped the gloves during the third period, that second time vs. Trent Frederic.
So it wasn’t a pacifist run for the Bruins.
But top Bruins players did end up get the last (and early, and middle, really) laugh. Following the first period, the Bruins held a modest 1-0 goal by Brad Marchand. That hit really lit a second-period fire under the Bruins, as it happened late in the first.
While Trent Frederic ranks as an unlikely scorer during that span, Marchand and Patrice Bergeron really led the way — both in the larger part of that surge, and overall. Marchand scored two goals and one assist, while Bergeron managed two points (1G, 1A). The trio of Marchand, Bergeron, and David Pastrnak (1A) all ended up with +3 ratings in a one-sided affair.
(Jaroslav Halak almost pitched a shutout, stopping 31 out of 32 shots.)
2. Max Pacioretty, Vegas Golden Knights
Let’s begin this rundown with a bit of a horror story. And a familiar one.
Three minutes into Friday’s game against the Sharks, the Golden Knights built a 3-0 lead. Max Pacioretty played a significant role in building that lead. But it wouldn’t last.
The Sharks ended up chipping away at that 3-0 deficit, eventually pushing the game to overtime when Oscar Dansk allowed a blooper of a 4-4 goal. (Honestly, it felt like one of Marc-Andre Fleury‘s lesser moments.)
That goal dinged Dansk’s dignity, and earned the Sharks a point. Pacioretty kept it from being a Dansk disaster, though, as he scored the overtime-winner to give him two goals and one assist on the night. Remarkably, Pacioretty now has three overtime goals in just 20 games this season.
(Pacioretty also angered Logan Couture with a hit, by the way.)
3. Ryan O'Reilly, St. Louis Blues
Let’s close this out this trio of three-point nights.
Much like Pacioretty and the Golden Knights, the Blues really needed Ryan O’Reilly’s three points. ROR collected assists on all three Blues goals in an overtime win vs. the Kings, with two of his helpers being of the primary variety. As usual, O’Reilly was also dynamic from a two-way standpoint. He finished with those three assists, two shots on goal, a +2 rating, and went 16-7 on faceoffs.
That three-point night pushed Ryan O’Reilly juuuust short of a point-per-game (23 in 24 GP) this season.
Some might argue that David Perron was the Blues player more worthy of a three star nod. He scored two goals. Perron’s going from being under-the-radar as a scorer, to being under-the-radar as maybe the Blues most dangerous offensive weapon (25 points).
Highlights of the night: Blackhawks and Lightning in OT; Nichushkin power move
Ultimately, Blackhawks – Lightning would be decided by a shootout. Even so, the flurry of 3-on-3 OT chances ended up being the highlight of that game:
Being that Nichushkin scored two goals, with one in OT, he had an argument for three star status in his own right.
Finally, Kirill Kaprizov did Kirill Kaprizov things.
Incredible pass from Kaprizov, look at Bjugstad's reaction pic.twitter.com/dG4sT67rzF
— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) March 6, 2021
Heavyweight fight: Ryan Reaves vs. Kurtis Gabriel
Goodness, this fight between Ryan Reaves and Kurtis Gabriel was downright frightening:
The smack talk between Reaves and Gabriel apparently was something else, too. The jawing happened for several minutes, and even happened before the game.
Honestly better than the game, it's been 5 minutes and running pic.twitter.com/MVQ2npHmlv
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) March 6, 2021
(Reaves later left the game after Gabriel’s skate caught him while Reaves was delivering a hit.)
Friday’s NHL scores
Bruins 5, Capitals 1
Blackhawks 4, Lightning 3 (SO)
Avalanche 3, Ducks 2 (OT)
Wild 5, Coyotes 1
Blues 3, Kings 2 (OT)
Golden Knights 5, Sharks 4 (OT)