NHL Rink Wrap: Fleury heats up, home not yet sweet for Islanders

NHL Rink Wrap: Fleury heats up, home not yet sweet for Islanders
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Top player from Sunday in the NHL

Marc-Andre Fleury, Blackhawks

For the 68th time in his career, Marc-Andre Fleury earned a shutout. That breaks a tie with Roy Worters, leaving Marc-Andre Fleury alone at 14th all-time in NHL shutouts.

(Next up: Lorne Chabot and Harry Lumley, both tied at 12th with 71 shutouts. If you haven’t heard of Worters, Chabot, or Lumley, that’s understandable. Lumley was born in 1926, while Chabot and Worters were both born in 1900. So much for Marc-Andre Fleury being old at 36, eh?)

It’s also Fleury’s first shutout of the season, and first with the Blackhawks. It ranked as one of the best of Fleury’s 68 shutouts, too, as he needed to make 40 saves.

Granted, he also needed some help from his posts.

Highlights from NHL on Sunday

Quite the wild one between the Rangers and the Sabres. For one thing, the Rangers and Sabres traded four goals in the span of 1:22.

If that wasn’t enough, Ryan Lindgren scored the game-winner for the Rangers with less than a second left in regulation (poor Sabres):

Jake Muzzin sent just a splendid pass to set up Mitch Marner‘s shorthanded goal. It ended up being the game-winner, as the Maple Leafs contributed to a Sunday brimming with shutouts. (More on that in the takeaways.)

There were enough worthwhile moments (Adam Larsson‘s breakaway [!] goal, that Evgeny Kuznetsov pass) from Capitals – Kraken just to throw the full highlights in here:

Funky overtime game-winner in Kings – Coyotes. Coyotes defenseman Kyle Capobianco thought he scored the OTGWG, only to see play go the other way. It turns out, he did score it:

Sunday’s NHL takeaways

Fleury’s standout just part of a Sunday of NHL shutouts (including another for Flames)

Fleury’s shutout was just part of a Sunday fairly heavy on donuts.

  • Dan Vladar continued his hot start to the season (and his Flames career) by pitching a 27-save shutout. It’s Vladar’s second shutout of the season, pushing his record to 4-0-1, with a fantastic .945 save percentage.
  • Joseph Woll earned his first career shutout by stopping all 20 shots by the Islanders.

Considering that Vladar pulled that off after the Bruins, who drafted him in the fifth round in 2015 (75th overall), that must have been sweet. While Vladar had some ups and downs during a cup of coffee with the Bruins, his stats at other levels have been promising. Could be a goalie to watch, especially behind that stout Darryl Sutter system.

Speaking of the Flames, they’re now on a three-game winning streak, and have won four of their last five.

A different form of frustration for the Canucks

Before Friday’s desperately-needed win, the Canucks dropped five in a row, gaining a single standings point. People kept their jobs, surprising outsiders more than Canucks fans who’ve seen this movie before.

For the most part, the crumbling Canucks have often looked totally outmatched during their stumbles. Most of the losses felt “earned.”

On Sunday, the Canucks outshot 30-13 through the first 40 minutes, and 40-24 overall. Marc-Andre Fleury (and his posts) pulled the shutout, though, leaving the Canucks muttering to themselves (and maybe MAF’s posts?).

While you could argue there was quantity over quality (the Blackhawks won the high-danger chance battle 6-4 at even-strength), that’s still a better formula for success than Vancouver’s typical “shrug.”

Unfortunately, there’s more bad news for the Canucks. After this loss, they head out for a five-game road trip. Those games don’t look killer on paper, but maybe it would actually hurt more to lose “winnable” contests?

New home still not sweet for ailing Islanders

Finally, that grueling, historic 13-game road trip ended. And, hey, there was a nice little break. That said, the Islanders opened their new home arena with a back-to-back set. Worse yet, they had to host two of the hotter teams in the NHL: the Flames on Saturday, and the Maple Leafs on Sunday.

The Islanders ended up losing their first two home games by three goals each. They’ve now lost six in a row — all in regulation.

They even have to endure the indignity of more than a couple John Tavares barbs.

At least, uh, the guy from “Entourage” showed up?

Monday’s big story

Interesting “prove it” opportunity for Ducks, Predators?

With two straight losses and a modest 9-7-1 record, maybe the Predators aren’t that much better-than-advertised. That said, the Predators still look more spry than many expected, and they’re about to get a chance to beef up.

Starting with Monday’s game against the Ducks, the Predators play their next three games in Nashville, and six of their next seven overall at home.

At 10-5-3 (but most importantly, 8-1-1 in their last 10 games), the Ducks have made their argument more assertively. During an 82-game season, you have to make a lot of statements, though. We’ll see if the Ducks pass another test. Frankly, even in losing to the Hurricanes, they looked quite viable.

Sunday’s NHL scores

Blackhawks 1, Canucks 0
Maple Leafs 3, Islanders 0
Flames 4, Bruins 0
Rangers 5, Sabres 4
Coyotes 2, Kings 1 (OT)
Lightning 5, Wild 4 (SO)
Kraken 5, Capitals 2

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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    Barkov sets Panthers’ points mark in 5-2 win over Red Wings

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    DETROIT – Aleksander Barkov set the Florida franchise record for most career points, Carter Verhaeghe scored two goals, and the streaking Panthers beat the Detroit Red Wings for the ninth consecutive time, 5-2.

    Barkov recorded a second-period assist, giving him 614 points, breaking a tie with Jonathan Huberdeau for the team record.

    Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and two assists, giving him 14 points over the last five games. Eric Staal and Gustav Forsling also scored for the Panthers, who are 6-0-1 over their last seven games, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 20 shots.

    Pius Suter and Dylan Larkin scored for the Red Wings, who have lost 10 of their last 12 games. Ville Husso had 20 saves.

    The Panthers led 2-1 after the first period.

    The first Florida goal came after Lucas Raymond‘s turnover in his own zone. Sam Bennett made the steal and passed it to Tkachuk for his 33rd goal.

    Verhaeghe made it 2-0 with a slap shot that got past a screened Husso. The Red Wings challenged for goalie interference, but the goal was upheld after a video review.

    Just after killing off the subsequent penalty, Detroit got on the board when Suter jammed in a rebound of David Perron‘s shot.

    Forsling scored on shot from the point midway through the second period to restore Florida’s two-goal advantage. Barkov had the second assist, allowing him to break the franchise points record.

    Larkin scored on a delayed penalty off a pass from Raymond at 7:53 of the third to cut the Panthers’ lead to 3-2.

    Staal scored on a breakaway off a pass from Anthony Duclair with under four minutes left, and Verhaeghe added a power-play goal.


    Panthers F Eetu Luostarinen had an assist in the 200th game of his career. … Florida is 29-2-3 when leading after two periods. … The last time the Red Wings beat the Panthers was Feb. 20, 2021. … Barkov has 42 points in 38 career games against Detroit. … Andrew Copp notched his 150th career assist on Larkin’s goal.


    Panthers: At Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

    Red Wings: At St. Louis on Tuesday night to open a home-and-home set.

    Ferguson stops 47 shots, Senators top reeling Penguins 2-1

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    PITTSBURGH – Drake Batherson‘s power-play goal from in front with 2:09 left in regulation lifted the Ottawa Senators to a 2-1 win over the reeling Pittsburgh Penguins.

    The Penguins finally beat Ottawa goaltender Dylan Ferguson on a Rickard Rakell goal with 5:21 to play, but a hooking penalty by Penguins defenseman Chad Ruhwedel gave the Senators the man advantage and Batherson responded with his 21st goal of the season.

    Ferguson, making his first NHL start and first appearance in the league in more than five years, made 47 saves to send Pittsburgh to its fourth straight loss. Thomas Chabot scored his 10th goal of the season for Ottawa as the Senators snapped a five-game slide.

    The Penguins fell behind Florida in the race for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. Tristan Jarry played well but couldn’t get in the way of Batherson’s jam shot from just outside the crease.

    Ferguson began the night having played nine minutes at the NHL level as a teenager for Vegas early in the Golden Knights’ debut season in 2017-18. He has bounced around various levels of the minors ever since and was in the process of being sent down to the ECHL by the AHL’s Toronto Marlies earlier this month when the Senators signed him to a two-way deal.

    Something clicked. He played well enough in six games for Ottawa’s AHL affiliate in Belleville to receive a call-up on Sunday. Just over 24 hours later, the Senators made the now 24-year-old Ferguson the sixth goaltender they’ve used this season when they gave him the nod against the struggling Penguins.

    Ferguson looked like he belonged from the opening faceoff. He made a series of sharp saves early, including a couple of stops from in close against Jake Guentzel and a flashy glove save on a slap shot by Malkin.

    Jarry, a two-time All-Star who has struggled to find any sort of consistency since returning from an extended stay on the injured list, took a step forward, turning aside multiple odd-man rushes and a breakaway by Brady Tkachuk in the second period.

    The lone goal Jarry allowed came 16:46 into the first when Chabot took a feed from Claude Giroux and rather than fire a shot from high in the slot skated down to the right circle and beat Jarry to the far post.

    Jarry was solid the rest of the way, though he spent most of the game watching Ferguson dazzle at the other end before Rakell broke through with just over 5 minutes to go.


    Senators: Travel to Boston on Tuesday to face the NHL-leading Bruins.

    Penguins: Start a difficult back-to-back on the road on Wednesday when they visit the Avalanche in Denver.

    Sharks goalie James Reimer declines to wear Pride jersey

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    San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer didn’t take part in pregame warmups, 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.”

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

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    NEW YORK — 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.