NHL Three Stars from Monday
1. Calle Jarnkrok, Nashville Predators
Plenty of teams have made life tougher for the Predators lately, but the Lightning seemed to dig those knives in the deepest. In an oddly timed Monday game, the Predators gained a measure of revenge.
Two Predators led the charge most of all. Calle Jarnkrok was one of them, generating a goal and three assists for a four-point outburst, standing out as the top star of Monday in the NHL.
Jarnkrok has five of his 13 points this season over the last two games, and six in his past five. Nashville would probably prefer to spread out such production to help spell the likes of Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Matt Duchene, and Filip Forsberg. At this point, they’ll take it, though.
Other Predators chipped in, including recent trade rumor magnet Mattias Ekholm, who scored an empty-netter and also provided an assist.
Ultimately, Pekka Rinne‘s the other Predators player who could take this spot from Jarnkrok. The veteran stopped 38 out of 39 shots. If Rinne wasn’t so sharp, this could’ve been close, if not a win for the Lightning.
(Honestly, it’s a little surprising that Rinne might not be trade fodder. If he’d absolutely not want one, fair enough. Yet, if he’d have some interest in chasing a Stanley Cup, shouldn’t he get the Ray Bourque treatment, including Predators fans cheering him on in another uniform? Going to bang this drum until mid-April, even if most put me on mute.)
2. Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins
As strong a Monday performance as Rinne produced, Tristan Jarry takes the cake for goalies across the NHL. Jarry stopped 42 out of 43 shots to frustrate the Bruins in the Penguins’ latest win.
While other pieces of the Penguins draw understandable attention, Jarry’s bounce-back should receive some spotlight. He’s now on a four-game winning streak where he’s allowed three goals once, two goals twice, and one goal in this last performance.
Jarry’s on an upward trend when you zoom out, too, although his .906 save percentage this season still remains mediocre. Jarry’s won six of seven, and nine of his last 11 games.
When Jarry was struggling, it was easy to question the Penguins’ decisions. But this is a goalie who put up a strong .921 save percentage over 33 games (20-12-1) last season. There was some reason to believe in him, and he’s showing why lately.
Jarry and Rinne weren’t the only standouts among NHL goalies on Monday. Thatcher Demko (44 saves) and Carey Price (34) were also strong in winning efforts. (They either allowed more goals and stopped more shots, thus just falling short.)
3. Tyler Toffoli, Montreal Canadiens
Sheesh, remember when Tyler Toffoli was a valuable forward who couldn’t seem to finish the many chances he created? Now he’s just … finishing them. If he keeps this up, he might get some kind of “Mortal Kombat”-themed nickname.
With two goals and one assist in the Habs’ win against the Jets, Toffoli earns another spot on the three stars of the night.
The shrewd forward bumped his season totals to 17 goals and 26 points in 28 games.
To put that in perspective, Toffoli’s career-high is 31 goals, the only time he reached the 30-goal level. During that same 2015-16 season, he scored a career-high 58 points with the Kings. (His second-highest total is 49 points.)
Over an 82-game season, Toffoli would be on pace for almost 50 goals and about 76 points.
So, this is new territory for Tyler Toffoli. Still, for those of us that noticed that he was a better player than his goals and assists indicated, it’s nice to see him just kick down the door, and make it all so clear. He’s really good.
(Probably not explosive enough to flirt with a point-per-game each season good … but very good.)
- Jakub Voracek generated his own three-point night, scoring an overtime winner where he seemed to have endless time. In that same Flyers win, Artemi Panarin scored three points during the second period. If his Rangers teammates completed on another Panarin-produced-point-opportunity, Panarin might have been in the three stars for Monday in the NHL.
- Like Panarin and Voracek, Aleksander Barkov scored three points (also 1G, 2A). Barkov’s Panthers stayed hot to beat the Blackhawks 6-3.
Highlights from Monday in NHL:
Perhaps Kevin Lankinen‘s Calder Trophy buzz is cooling off. He’s still making sweet saves like these, nevertheless:
Flyers – Rangers supplied plenty of highlights, including a nice Carter Hart save. Check them out in these extended clips:
Sutter’s Flames stay hot vs. Oilers, Battle of Alberta nastiness
It’s early, but the Flames have won all three games under Darryl Sutter. This is probably not like he drew it up, though, as there were stretches of explosive scoring.
And there were also stretches of explosive violence.
Brett Ritchie won a one-sided fight with Jujhar Khaira. As you can see toward the end of that video, the Ritchie – Khaira fight followed a very bad hit by Khaira.
The Flames and Oilers face off again on Wednesday. As much as the NHL loves rivalries, and the Battle of Alberta is alive and well, they might want to keep an extra eye on that action. It’s fair to wonder if Khaira might miss that one — whether it be for supplemental discipline, or an injury.
Milestones for Ovechkin, Malkin, and Kane
- As you can see in this post, Alex Ovechkin scored the 717th goal of his career, thus tying Phil Esposito for sixth all-time in NHL history. He also contributed to dark times for the Sabres.
- Speaking of Ovechkin (and Sidney Crosby), here’s some interesting perspective on Evgeni Malkin reaching the impressive 1,100 point mark.
Evgeni Malkin became just the fifth active player to collect at least 1,100 regular-season points and required the second-fewest games to reach the milestone. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/x7cx7YANsQ
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 16, 2021
Imagine if Malkin (and Crosby, for that matter) were able to stay healthy like Ovechkin and other especially durable NHL stars? As is, still … extremely impressive.
- Patrick Kane reached 1,064 points, moving to fifth all-time among U.S.-born NHL players. Keith Tkachuk (1,065) is right around the corner, while it could take a while to catch Jeremy Roenick (1,216) for third place.
With a goal tonight, Patrick Kane (@88PKane) moves to 5th all-time for U.S.-born players‼️
How many more points will he get? pic.twitter.com/eyWfe19GGV
— NHL (@NHL) March 15, 2021
Monday’s NHL scores
Predators 4, Lightning 1
Flyers 5, Rangers 4 (OT)
Penguins 4, Bruins 1
Panthers 6, Blackhawks 3
Canucks 3, Senators 2 (OT)
Capitals 6, Sabres 0
Canadiens 4, Jets 2
Flames 4, Oilers 3
Golden Knights 2, Sharks 1
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.