NHL Rink Wrap: Goals, assists milestones for Ovechkin; Kings heat up

NHL Rink Wrap: Goals, assists milestones for Ovechkin; Kings heat up
John McCreary/NHLI via Getty Images

Top players from Monday in the NHL

Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

Later on in this post, we’ll focus on even more of the history. But we have to start with the headline-grabber. By scoring his 11th goal of the season, Alex Ovechkin reached 741 career goals. At 741, Ovechkin tied Brett Hull for fourth all-time in goals.

(Click here for more on that, including Ovechkin being 153 goals behind Wayne Gretzky’s 894 goals, the all-time record. Oh, and read this for even more on Ovechkin’s pursuit of Gretzky’s record.)

Let’s circle back to Ovechkin earning NHL player of the night honors for Monday, and his shockingly strong season so far. On Monday, Ovechkin scored a goal and two assists.

Heading into Monday, Ovechkin was already comfortably ranked third in NHL scoring behind Leon Draisaitl (23 points) and Connor McDavid (22). He’s now one of three players at 20+ points, as the goal and two assists put Ovechkin at 11 goals and 10 assists (21 points) in just 12 games.

Few bat an eye at Ovechkin scoring goals, even at age 36 — although 11 goals in 12 games is still really something. But playmaking to a level where he’s a stride behind McDavid and Draisaitl? Ridiculous.

Then again, with Ovechkin, maybe we should just expect this?

Highlights from Monday in the NHL

Watch as Ovechkin scores goal 741 and reaches 600 assists in the Capitals’ win over the Sabres:

The real highlight of this Phillip Danault goal was his reaction to said goal:


There were some exciting moments in Panthers – Rangers, but this K'Andre Miller goal stole the show:

Granted, this was fantastic stuff from (Mr.) Adam Fox, too.

Monday’s NHL takeaways

Ovechkin makes history, even beyond tying Hull for fourth all-time in goals

So, again, Ovechkin tied Brett Hull for fourth all-time with 741 goals.

While Ovechkin didn’t break his tie with Hull, he did add those two assists. With that, Ovechkin’s 598 assists shoots to an even, milestone-friendly 600. The Capitals churned out some interesting facts alongside Ovechkin reaching 600 assists:

Personally, it’s especially amusing that a) his 741 goals received a mention alongside those 600 assists and b) Sidney Crosby‘s name came up. That has to get your Ovechkin B-I-N-G-O board close to full. Maybe they just needed to include Ovechkin’s office?

Hey, look, the Kings are now on a roll

After an aggressive offseason, the Kings disappointed. They limped off to a troubling 1-5-1 start to the season. People understandably wondered if The Kings jumped the gun on accelerating their rebuild.

It was too early to tell then, and it’s too early to do a 180 now. After Monday’s win over the Maple Leafs, don’t blame people if the Kings renewed people’s belief in their chances of earning an NHL playoff spot. (Yes, the Oilers and Flames are hot atop the Pacific. However, when it comes to the third seed, the Kings have a shot.)

With that win against Toronto, the Kings are now on a five-game winning streak. Their record is now 6-5-1, putting them in the thick of things in trying to get ahead of the Ducks, Sharks, and Golden Knights. The Central Division’s not a lock to send five teams playoff-bound, either.

Interestingly, the Kings are heating up with Drew Doughty on the shelf. They lost their first two games with Doughty injured, but now are on this five-game winning streak. The Kings’ win also ended a five-game winning streak for the Maple Leafs.

Also: Phillip Danault just keeps tormenting the Maple Leafs. He’s worthy of Monday’s NHL player of the night consideration himself with a two-goal, one-assist game.

Shesterkin, counter-attack explain why Rangers gave Panthers their first regulation loss

When you see a 4-3 score, you don’t necessarily believe that the winning goalie put on a clinic. There’s a reason that fans at Madison Square Garden were chanting “I-gor” in honor of Igor Shesterkin, though. (And not just because it works pretty well as a classic two syllable chant.)

Considering that the Rangers went up 4-0 through the first 40 minutes, it might have seemed like New York dominated. And, sure, they counter-punched and created some great goals. K’Andre Miller’s goal was the best of the bunch, but Adam Fox authored a beauty of his own.

But Igor Shesterkin made the real difference. The Panthers fired 45 shots on goal to just 18 for the Rangers. During the final two periods, the advantage was 34-9. With three goals in the third, the Panthers were finally able to get to Shesterkin a bit. Yet not enough.

More than once, players made contact with Shesterkin. He was asked to make some difficult saves, and came up more often than not. This 42-save performance pushes Shesterkin’s save percentage to .931 in 10 games.

Tuesday’s big story

Lightning present latest test for Hurricanes

The Hurricanes lost for the first time on Saturday, and the Panthers really made no mistake about it. In an 82-game season, you’re going to have nights like those. Chances are, Carolina isn’t too shaken up. (They probably just got that negative energy out by getting some salty tweets and troll-ish web domains ready.)

On Tuesday, the Lightning present a different kind of challenge for the Hurricanes. Where the Panthers are healthy and rising, the Lightning are those cagey veterans. Sometimes those old dogs have a limp, but they can still be dangerous.

Will the high-flying Hurricanes pass this test against the Lightning, or will this be Carolina’s first losing streak? It’s one of the biggest stories to watch around the NHL on Tuesday.

Monday’s NHL scores

Capitals 5, Sabres 3
Rangers 4, Panthers 3
Kings 5, Maple Leafs 1

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.

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    Sharks goalie James Reimer declines to wear Pride jersey

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    San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer won’t take part in pregame warmups Saturday night, saying the team’s decision to wear Pride-themed jerseys in support of the LGBTQ community runs counter to his religious beliefs.

    Reimer said in a statement Saturday that he made the decision based on his Christian beliefs, adding that he “always strived to treat everyone with respect” and that members of the LGBTQ community should be welcome in hockey.

    “In this specific instance, I am choosing not to endorse something that is counter to my personal convictions, which are based on the Bible, the highest authority in life,” Reimer said.

    Reimer is the second NHL player this season to refuse to take part in warmups with Pride-themed jerseys, with Philadelphia’s Ivan Provorov declining to in January. Reimer was not slated to start in Saturday night’s home game against the New York Islanders, which is Pride night.

    Additionally, the New York Rangers opted not to wear Pride jerseys or use Pride stick tape as part of their night in January despite previously advertising that plan.

    The Sharks said in a statement that they are proud to host Pride Night, saying the event reinforces the team’s commitment to inclusiveness.

    “As we promote these standards, we also acknowledge and accept the rights of individuals to express themselves, including how or whether they choose to express their beliefs, regardless of the cause or topic,” the team said in a statement. “As an organization, we will not waver in our support of the LGBTQIA+ community and continue to encourage others to engage in active allyship.”

    The You Can Play Project, which works to promote inclusiveness in sports, said the organization was disappointed in Reimer’s actions.

    “Religion and respect are not in conflict with each other, and we are certainly disappointed when religion is used as a reason to not support our community,” the organization said. “Wearing pride jerseys, like any celebration jersey worn, is not about the personal feelings of an athlete; rather the communication from the team that a community is welcome in the arena and the sport.”

    AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

    Panarin, Shesterkin lead Rangers to 6-0 rout of Penguins

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    NEW YORK (AP) Mika Zibanejad had a goal and two assists, Artemi Panarin scored twice and Igor Shesterkin made 33 saves as the New York Rangers routed Pittsburgh 6-0 on Saturday night for their second win over the Penguins in three days.

    Vladimir Tarasenko, Chris Kreider and Jacob Trouba also scored for the surging Rangers, who have won nine of their last 11 home games and are 12-4-0 in their past 16 at Madison Square Garden.

    Shesterkin won his fifth straight and posted his second shutout this season. He nimbly denied Pittsburgh forward Mikael Granland with a sprawling save five minutes into the third period to preserve the shutout, the 10th of his career. His other one this season was a 1-0 home win over Philadelphia on Nov. 1.

    “When you put in hard and honest work, miracles happen,” Shesterkin said through a translator. ”We played wonderfully today – scored many, many goals. Honestly, I hope the fans loved it. We’re playing for them.”

    The Penguins lost their third straight and trail the Rangers by 12 points for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Pittsburgh, still in wild-card position, is trying to reach the playoffs for the 17th straight time.

    “Tonight was a humbling experience for all of us,” coach Mike Sullivan said. ”At this time of year, you have to have a short memory. We still have control of our destiny.”

    Patrick Kane and defenseman K’Andre Miller also had two assists apiece as New York improved to 7-1-1 in its last nine home games against Pittsburgh. The Rangers are five points behind the second-place New Jersey Devils, who lost at Florida on Saturday.

    “This was a big game for our goalie and our team,” Panarin said. “If you work at playing the right way, you have opportunities for goals.”

    Since Dec. 5, when they turned around their season with a 6-4 comeback win at home over St. Louis, the Rangers are 29-9-5.

    As he did on Thursday when the Rangers beat the Penguins 4-2, Zibanejad opened the scoring. He got his team-leading 36th goal at 5:10 of the first, beating Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry. Trouba and Miller assisted.

    Panarin made it 2-0 at 19:49 on the power play, whipping the puck past Jarry from the left circle off a pass from Adam Fox.

    Tarasenko increased the lead at 3:54 of the second with his fifth goal since joining the Rangers in a trade with St. Louis on Feb. 9. Tarasenko has points in 10 of his first 18 games with the Rangers.

    Kreider made it 4-0 at 6:43 with his 31st goal and third in two games against the Penguins. Kane and Vincent Trocheck assisted on Kreider’s 260th career goal, which moved the Rangers forward within two of Vic Hadfield for fifth place on the franchise list.

    New York won Thursday when Kreider scored the go-ahead goal in the third and added an empty-netter.

    After Casey DeSmith replaced Jarry in net following Kreider’s goal, Trouba beat the replacement with a sharp-angle shot at 8:39 for his eighth to increase the margin to 5-0. Trouba has points in six of his last eight games.

    Panarin scored again at 16:38 of the second – his 22nd goal of the season – to make it 6-0, with assists to Kane and Filip Chytil.

    “We’re building chemistry, building every day and every game,” Kane said.

    Panarin has points in eight of his last 10 games and leads the Rangers with 77 points overall, while Kane has seven points in his last six games.

    “It’s nice to see that many great players on your team,” added Panarin, whose first two NHL seasons were played alongside Kane with the Chicago Blackhawks. “We’re happy tonight.”

    Zibanejad assisted on goals by Tarasenko and Trouba and has 25 points – including 14 goals – over his last 20 games.

    “It was just one of those nights when the puck goes in for us,” Zibanejad said. “And obviously Igor gives us a boost making all those saves.”

    NOTES: The Penguins were missing defenseman Jeff Petry after he was hit with an unpenalized elbow from Rangers forward Tyler Motte on Thursday. … Pittsburgh also scratched defenseman Jan Rutta and forward Dalton Heinen and played defenseman Mark Friedman for the first time since Feb. 11. … The Rangers were without injured defenseman Ryan Lindgren for the 10th straight game.


    Penguins: Host the Ottawa Senators on Monday.

    Rangers: Host the Nashville Predators on Sunday night.

    AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

    Coyotes sign Shane Doan’s son to entry-level contract

    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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    TEMPE, Ariz. — Josh Doan is following his father’s footsteps into professional hockey.

    The Arizona Coyotes signed the 21-year-old forward to a three-year entry-level contract, beginning with the 2023-24 NHL season. He will report to the Tucson Roadrunners of the AHL and play his first game against the Calgary Wranglers.

    Doan’s father, Shane, played 21 seasons with the franchise, many of those as captain, and followed it from Winnipeg to the desert in 1996. Shane Doan now serves as Arizona’s chief hockey development officer.

    The Coyotes drafted Josh Doan in the second round of the 2021, but he opted to play for the hometown Arizona State Sun Devils.

    Josh Doan set school records for goals (12) and assists (25) as a freshman last season. He had 16 goals and 22 assists in 39 games with Arizona State this season.

    The 6-foot-1, 183-pounder also played two seasons for the Chicago Steel of the USHL.

    Blackhawks forward Cole Guttman has shoulder surgery

    Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

    CHICAGO — Chicago Blackhawks forward Cole Guttman had surgery on his right shoulder.

    The team said the operation was performed in Los Angeles. Team physician Michael Terry said the 23-year-old Guttman is expected “to be out of hockey activities for approximately four months.”

    Guttman had been a pleasant surprise for rebuilding Chicago. He made his NHL debut last month and finished the season with four goals and two assists in 14 games.

    Guttman was selected by Tampa Bay in the 2017 draft. He agreed to a two-year contract with Chicago in August 2022 that had a $950,000 salary cap hit.