NHL Rink Wrap: Kings keep winning; Relief for Jones, Blackhawks

NHL Rink Wrap: Kings keep winning; Relief for Jones, Blackhawks
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Top players from Tuesday in the NHL

Reilly Smith, Golden Knights

Vegas doubled up the Kraken 4-2 thanks to Smith’s way to open the third period. He scored twice in the opening 76 second to take the game from a 2-2 score to 4-2 in favor of the Golden Knights.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t show some love to four goalies from Tuesday night. Jordan Binnington, Marc-Andre Fleury, Adin Hill, and John Gibson were all fantastic in helping their teams to wins.

Binnington made 39 saves in regulation and overtime and then four more in the shootout as the Blues edged the Jets 3-2. The Blackhawks blew a 2-0 lead to the Penguins, but managed a 3-2 win after a shootout. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 42 shots plus two more in the shootout. Adin Hill kept the Flames at bay making 37 saves during a 4-1 win for the Sharks. Troy Terry extended his points streak to 12 games with an overtime winner and an assist, while John Gibson stopped 41 of 43 Canucks shots during the 3-2 victory for Anaheim.

Highlights from Tuesday in the NHL

Adrian Kempe scored a brilliant goal to extend the Kings’ winning streak to six games.

Jake Evans. My goodness.

Vladislav Namestnikov scored a beauty of his own for the Red Wings as they upset the Oilers.

Neal Pionk remains a great surprise for the Jets all these years after seemingly being an afterthought in the Jacob Trouba trade.

Jake DeBrusk used part of warmups to win some Oreos from a fan:

Tuesday’s NHL takeaways

Plenty to like for Kings on their six-game winning streak

For a team trying to rise from a rebuild, a six-game winning streak’s always going to be a big deal. The Kings can find positives to stack on that simple streak, too.

Between Monday and Tuesday, they won back-to-back games against NHL teams in very different situations. While the Maple Leafs were on a winning streak of their own on Monday, the Canadiens have been sputtering. Still, these aren’t just consecutive road games, it’s also a back-to-back set. The Kings hope to extend their winning streak with two more games on this all-Canadian trip.

After that, the Kings could aim to convert the energy of this surge into a lengthy homestand. Starting on Nov. 17, the Kings play seven straight games at home. Overall, they’ll play nine of 11 games at home from Nov. 17 – Dec. 11.

If the Kings can stay hot, they might not just put themselves in a strong playoff position. They might even open up a chance to at least contend for a Pacific Division title.

Not bad for a team that’s rattled off this winning streak with Drew Doughty injured.

Relief for Jones and the Blackhawks

Well, look at that. Seth Jones scored his first goal of the 2021-22 season, and the Blackhawks have their first winning streak.

Sure, the Blackhawks might prefer a “statement win” instead of a win apiece in overtime (vs. Predators) and via a shootout (vs. Penguins). Of course, the Blackhawks will take any wins right now. (Here’s hoping they win a few off the ice by, you know, making good decisions.)

You can definitely argue Seth Jones was “due” for this goal. Through his first 13 games, Jones hammered 40 shots on goal. That almost certainly helped him collect 11 assists, but before Tuesday’s NHL action, Jones failed to score a goal. Now he’s on the board, and maybe due for more (just that one goal on 45 SOG).

Truly, it wasn’t ever really fair to lay much blame at Jones’ feet. Even the biggest knock on him — that contract extension — is a decision virtually anyone would make in his situation.

But that big deal only raised expectations higher, and so far, it hadn’t been so good. Both Jones and the Blackhawks have to hope for better things (whether they’re still called the Blackhawks much longer, or not).

Holding people accountable is worth it, even if it’s a headache for the NHL

Tuesday’s biggest off-ice NHL news was that Ducks GM Bob Murray was put on leave following accusations of “improper professional conduct.”

Weeks into the fallout of the Blackhawks’ sexual assault allegations, some might be exhausted by the awful NHL news. Maybe people hoped the Penguins lawsuit being settled would serve as a break.

As overwhelming as this can all be, it’s absolutely necessary. And don’t forget that, when it came to how the Blackhawks handled allegations against Brad Aldrich, the refrain was to avoid distractions. To put that off and “win at all costs.” So a terrible turn of events beginning in 2010 really only started to gain attention in 2021.

Should people wait another 11 years to change hockey culture? How many lives would be damaged?

It often doesn’t feel like enough, and it absolutely feels far too late. But this is a time when people are clamoring for change in the NHL, and there have been actual, real consequences. If this process covers every team in the NHL, and requires years of hard work and tough questions, then so be it.

It’s OK to feel overwhelmed, but not to be complacent. Not any longer.

Wednesday’s big story

Early test for Flyers vs. Maple Leafs

Generally speaking, the 6-2-2 Flyers show promise, but they’ve simply been watching more than others. They’ve played 10 games vs. 13 for their upcoming opponent, the Maple Leafs.

Being that the Maple Leafs’ winning streak just ended against the Kings, the Flyers seem likely to face an energized version of Toronto. The Flyers should literally be pretty fresh themselves, having last played on Saturday.

So, not a lot of excuses if the Flyers lay an egg against a good (but not yet great?) Maple Leafs team. It should give us another look at what, exactly, this puzzling Philly squad is actually capable of.

Tuesday’s NHL scores

Blues 3, Jets 2 (SO)
Red Wings 4, Oilers 2
Devils 7, Panthers 3
Hurricanes 2, Lightning 1 (OT)
Kings 3, Canadiens 2 (OT)
Blackhawks 3, Penguins 2 (SO)
Bruins 3, Senators 2
Golden Knights 4, Kraken 2
Sharks 4, Flames 1
Ducks 3, Canucks 2 (OT)

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.