NHL Rink Wrap: Pitlick, Batherson surprise stars, Maple Leafs win again, and Kessel’s streak

NHL Scores
Christopher Mast

Top player from Saturday in the NHL

Rem Pitlick, Minnesota Wild

Minnesota Wild forward Rem Pitlick entered Saturday’s game in Seattle with zero goals in 15 career NHL games.

He left Saturday’s game with three goals, recording a natural hat trick in the Wild’s 4-2 win over the Kraken.

He was able to take advantage of sloppy Seattle play with the puck to sneak in for a couple of breakaways to beat Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer. The Wild are off to a great start this season and with Saturday’s win have now won five of their past six games and are 10-4-0 overall. It is the second best start to a season in franchise history.

The Kraken, meanwhile, are not having the start anybody in Seattle wanted for their inagurual season, now sitting with a 4-10-1 record and have lost four games in a row.

Highlights from Saturday in the NHL

The New York Rangers were big winners in Columbus on Saturday night, and it was this stretch in the second period where they scored three goals in one minute and three seconds to help push them to the win.

Morgan Rielly‘s goal with 11.8 seconds to play in regulation lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs to another win. After a slow start that saw them win just two of their first six games the Maple Leafs have now won eight of their past nine games.

The big game of the night was in Tampa Bay where the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Lightning were hosting the league’s best team so far this season, the Florida Panthers. It did not disappoint. The Lightning were 3-2 winners in overtime thanks to this Brayden Point goal. Point also had a fight in this game.

Three Takeaways from Saturday in the NHL

Batherson leads Senators to surprising win

The Ottawa Senators entered Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on a six-game losing streak and with nine regulars from their lineup sidelined. Seemed like a tough challenge. All they did was jump out to a 5-0 lead on their way to a convincing 6-3 win. Drake Batherson was the big star for the Senators in this game, scoring two goals and adding two more assists for a four-point game. After winning two of their first three games the Senators were 1-8-1 in their previous 10 games entering Saturday.

Phil Kessel‘s ironman streak continues

The Arizona Coyotes lost again on Saturday, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Nashville Predators to bring their record to just 1-13-1 through their first 15 games, collecting just three out of a possible 30 points in the standings. That is bad. The good news, though, is that Phil Kessel’s ironman streak is still going strong and on Saturday night increased to 915 consecutive games, moving him ahead of Gary Unger for sole possession of the third-longest ironman streak in NHL history. Doug Jarvis holds the NHL record at 964 games. Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle has the second-longest streak at 934 games. Both players could move ahead of Jarvis this season.

Avalanche, Golden Knights getting back on track

The Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights have been two of the best teams in the NHL over the past few years, and both entered this season with Stanley Cup goals. They both got off to slower than expected starts, with injuries playing a big role for both teams. They are starting to both turn things around and both were big winners on Saturday night. The Avalanche were 6-2 winners over the San Jose Sharks, giving them 13 goals over their past two games since Nathan MacKinnon went out of the lineup. They are now 5-2-1 over their past eight games, earning 11 out of a possible 16 points during that stretch. The Golden Knights, meanwhile, were 7-4 winners over the Vancouver Canucks and are now 8-2-0 in their past 10 games after winning just one of their first four five games. Mark Stone is back in the lineup now, and they still have Max Pacioretty, William Karlsson, and of course Jack Eichel all still waiting to return.

Sunday’s big story

It might actually be the Anaheim Ducks. They enter their game against the Vancouver Canucks on a six-game winning streak, while Troy Terry looks to extend his current point streak to 14 consecutive games. Nobody expected the Ducks to be this competitive, while Terry’s point streak might be even more surprising than the early team success. He also has five multi-point games already this season. Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid is also looking to extend his current point streak to 14 consecutive games to match Terry’s in their game against the St. Louis Blues.

Saturday’s NHL scores

Boston Bruins 5, New Jersey Devils 2
Winnipeg Jets 3, Los Angeles Kings 2
Toronto Maple Leafs 5, Buffalo Sabres 4
Ottawa Senators 6, Pittsburgh Penguins 3
Detroit Red Wings 3, Montreal Canadiens 2 (OT)
Tampa Bay Lightning 3, Florida Panthers 2 (OT)
New York Rangers 5, Columbus Blue Jackets 3
Carolina Hurricanes 3, St. Louis Blues 2
Nashville Predators 4, Arizona Coyotes 1
Dallas Stars 5, Philadelphia Flyers 2
Colorado Avalanche 6, San Jose Sharks 2
Minnesota Wild 4, Seattle Kraken 2
Vegas Golden Knights 7, Vancouver Canucks 4


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    Blue Jackets’ Patrik Laine out 2-4 weeks with triceps injury

    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine is out 2-4 weeks after straining a triceps muscle in practice, yet another blow to the last-place team in the NHL that has been hampered by injuries all season.

    The Blue Jackets announced Laine’s absence before their home game against the New York Islanders.

    They already have 454 man-games lost to injury, one of the highest numbers in the league, and have a record of 22-41-7.

    Laine missed two separate stints with elbow and ankle injuries in the fall. The 24-year-old Finn is the team’s second-leading scorer with 52 points in 55 games.

    Columbus has been top defenseman Zach Werenski since November because of a torn labrum and separated shoulder. Forward Sean Kuraly recently went on injured reserve with a strained left oblique muscle but is set to return Friday.

    Tortorella earns 700th career win, Flyers top Wild 5-4

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    PHILADELPHIA — John Tortorella needed one word to sum up if 700 career wins meant anything to the Flyers coach.


    OK, then. Good thing the brusque Stanley Cup winner isn’t paid by the word.

    James van Riemsdyk scored the only goal in a shootout, and Philadelphia beat the Minnesota Wild 5-4 on Thursday night for Tortorella’s 700th victory.

    Tortorella is 700-573-181 in 1,454 games as an NHL head coach. His 700 wins rank 12th in NHL history and his career games rank ninth in NHL history. He led Tampa Bay to the Stanley Cup in 2004. In his first season coaching the Flyers, Tortorella joined Peter Laviolette as the second American-born coach to win 700 games.

    “I think the culture’s kind of changed around here,” Flyers forward Joel Farabee said. “I think he’s done a really good job of keeping the group together.”

    Farabee, Scott Laughton, Rasmus Ristolainen and Tyson Foerster scored for Philadelphia. The Flyers have two straight games for the first time since Jan. 9-14 when they won three straight. Yeah, it’s been that kind of season.

    “Farabee’s starting to pop, he’s looking real good. Tyson is looking real good,” Flyers defenseman Tony DeAngelo said. “This is all about laying the foundation for next year but we get a lot of money to do this job. It’s something we love, so we’re gonna go out and give it our best every night.”

    Matt Boldy had two goals for the Wild, and Oskar Sundqvist and Marcus Foligno also scored.

    “We weren’t very good. They were good,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “We knew they were playing well, they played well tonight. We were loose. We were not firm, turnovers, it didn’t look like our hockey club.”

    The Flyers and Wild were tied 1-all at the end of the first period, 3-3 at the end of the second and 4-4 headed into OT.

    The rebuilding Flyers have been plucky of late. They had won two of three coming into the game, with the lone loss in overtime. They showed some of that grit in the final two periods, scoring late tying goals.

    “It’s a credit to their group, to their coaching staff, that they’ve got them playing the right way,” Evason said.

    Boldy poked a backhander past Carter Hart with 6:28 left for a 4-3 lead. The Flyers, playing more for the No. 1 pick and for pride, tied the game on Foerster’s second goal of the season.

    Farabee tipped in Cam York’s shot early in the second for a 2-1 lead.

    The Wild got going when Boldy ripped one top shelf past Hart for his 24th goal of the season that tied the game 2-all. Foligno scored his seventh goal for the 3-2 lead.

    Ristolainen buried a hard slapper from the blue line on the power play for the tying goal with 23 seconds left in the second.

    “I think it’s good to try to lay this foundation, kind of get ready for next year. You see guys getting confidence,” DeAngelo said.

    The Flyers only played ahead in the first period.

    Laughton scored off the rush for his 17th goal of the season and a 1-0 lead. Sundqvist celebrated his birthday with a deflection for the tying goal with 3:24 left in the period.

    The Flyers had been one of the lowest-scoring teams in the NHL until the start of this seven-game homestand (3-2 so far). They have scored at least three goals in every game and at least four in the last four.

    “We have definitely gotten to the net better,” Tortorella said. “We have spent a lot of time on the ice and with tape as far as getting to that area.”


    Wild: Host Chicago on Saturday.

    Flyers: Host Detroit on Saturday.

    Crosby reaches 30-goal mark, Penguins knock off Avalanche 5-2

    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    DENVER – Sidney Crosby wasn’t even aware of reaching yet another milestone. He’s simply locked in on helping the Pittsburgh Penguins make a 17th straight postseason appearance.

    Jeff Carter had a pair of goals, Crosby scored on a nifty backhand shot in the second period to reach the 30-goal mark for an 11th season and the Penguins beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2.

    Crosby moved into a tie with Hall-of-Fame center Mario Lemieux for the most 30-goal seasons in Penguins history. Another milestone reached – it came as news to him.

    “I think the most important thing for me is just try to be consistent and if that reflects that great,” said Crosby, who turns 36 in August.

    Even more, Crosby’s the first player in league history to post a 30-goal campaign at 18 years old and again when he was 35-plus, according to NHL Stats.

    “It means I’ve been in the league for a while,” Crosby cracked. “That’s been the thing that’s driven me since since I got into the league – in your first year, you want to prove that you belong. Even at 35, I still think you want to prove you belong, because it is a younger league.”

    Jake Guentzel also scored and Bryan Rust added an empty-net goal for the Penguins, who snapped a four-game slide and moved back into a wild-card spot in the East.

    “It’s definitely a big one for us, for sure,” Guentzel said. “Defending champs, coming to their building, you know how good they are. Top to bottom, we defended hard and that’s what we have to do at this time of the year.”

    Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry stopped 28 shots in improving to 11-4 this season against teams from the Western Conference.

    J.T. Compher and Devon Toews had goals for the Avalanche, whose six-game winning streak was halted. Nathan MacKinnon had an assist to extend his home points streak to 18 games.

    It was a missed opportunity for Colorado, which could’ve pulled into a three-way tie with Dallas and Minnesota in the Central Division with a victory.

    “We knew they were going to play with urgency,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “But I didn’t feel like there was any reason why we couldn’t, either. … We didn’t get it done. Hopefully we get another one.”

    Alexandar Georgiev made 40 saves, including several critical ones in a second period controlled by the Penguins, who outshot the Avalanche by a 21-9 margin. It could’ve been more than a 3-1 deficit heading into the third period.

    Toews’ power-play goal made it 3-2 with 9:32 remaining. But Carter wrapped up the win with his first multigoal game in the regular season since Jan. 11, 2022.

    “I’m thrilled for him. We’re all thrilled,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said of Carter. “He cares about the Penguins. He wants to win, and he wants to contribute in helping us win so we couldn’t be happier for him.”


    Bednar was appreciative of the three-year extension he signed Tuesday that goes through the 2026-27 season. In his seventh season, he’s the third-longest tenured coach in the NHL behind Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper (March 2013) and Sullivan (December 2015).

    “It’s not a forgiving league or sport, for the most part, but obviously that’s part of the reason why I’m so grateful and thankful,” Bednar said. “Because there were times over my tenure that got a little hairy and management could have made another decision. But obviously they didn’t.”


    Avalanche D Cale Makar missed a second straight game with a lower body injury. “I still have him as day-to-day,” Bednar said. … F Darren Helm returned after missing 64 of 69 games this season with a lower-body injury. … Penguins D Jeff Petry (upper body) skated in the morning but sat out his third straight game. … The Penguins are 11-1 against the Central Division this season. … Penguins standout Evgeni Malkin assisted on Guentzel’s goal to reach the 50-assist mark for a seventh time in his career.


    Penguins: At Dallas on Thursday night.

    Avalanche: Host Arizona on Friday night.

    Report: Blackhawks will not wear Pride-themed jerseys

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    CHICAGO – The Chicago Blackhawks will not wear Pride-themed warmup jerseys before Sunday’s Pride Night game against Vancouver because of security concerns involving a Russian law that expands restrictions on activities seen as promoting LGBTQ rights in the country.

    The decision was made by the NHL organization following discussions with security officials within and outside the franchise, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke to the AP on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the move.

    The Blackhawks have worn Pride warmup jerseys previously and donned special warmup jerseys on some other themed nights this season. There had been ongoing conversations about a Pride jersey with the players, according to the person who talked to the AP, but the organization made the decision to hold Pride Night without the jerseys this year.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law in December that significantly expands restrictions on activities seen as promoting LGBTQ rights in the country. Chicago defenseman Nikita Zaitsev is a Moscow native, and there are other players with family in Russia or other connections to the country.

    The decision by the Blackhawks comes after San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer and Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov refused to take part in warmups with Pride-themed jerseys. 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.

    Russians Nikolai Knyzhov and Alexander Barabanov wore the Pride-themed jerseys for the Sharks on Saturday.

    While Chicago will go without Pride warmup jerseys this year, the team has planned a variety of activities in conjunction with Sunday’s game. DJs from the LGBTQ community will play before the game and during an intermission, and the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus also is slated to perform. There also are plans to highlight a couple of area businesses with ties to the LGBTQ community.