NHL Rink Wrap: Tarasenko keeps rolling; Predators win seventh in a row

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Top player from Friday in the NHL

Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues

Vladimir Tarasenko is back to being the Vladimir Tarasenko Blues fans have come to expect. He scored two more goals on Friday night in the Blues’ 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars to continue his great bounce back season. Injuries really limited him the past two seasons and resulted in him requesting a trade this past offseason and the Blues leaving him unprotected in the expansion draft for the Seattle Kraken. Through it all he remained in St. Louis and the Blues continue to benefit from that. He now has 11 goals, 17 assists, and 28 total points in his 30 games this season, putting him on a 30-goal, 78-point pace over 82 games. That is right in line with his production from a couple of years ago before the injuries started to mount for him.

Highlights from Friday in the NHL

This is the play of the night in the NHL and one of the best saves of the season so far from Malcolm Subban of the Buffalo Sabres.

The Nashville Predators win their seventh game in a row (more on that in a minute) thanks to this Tanner Jeannot overtime goal.

The game of the night was in Anaheim where the Arizona Coyotes pulled off a stunning and impressive comeback to beat the Ducks in a 6-5 overtime game thanks to this Clayton Keller goal, his second goal of the game.

Three Takeaways from Friday in the NHL

Predators keep winning

It was a little less than a year ago that the Nashville Predators looked like a team that was not only on the verge of a major rebuilding project, but also desperately in need of starting it. Now they are one of the hottest teams in the NHL and one of the biggest surprises in the league this season. They extended their current winning streak to seven games on Friday night with a 3-2 overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks. The past two wins (on back-to-back nights) have been especially impressive given the number of players they are playing without at the moment due to COVID protocols, as well as the fact none of their coaches are available at the moment. On the other side, that is a tough loss for a Chicago team that has still not been able to generate much offense this season. They have been much improved defensively since the coaching change, but the offense has been non-existent.

The Penguins PK unit is on a roll

The Pittsburgh Penguins extended their winning streak to six games on Friday night with a 3-2 overtime win against the Buffalo Sabres. Jeff Carter scored the game-winning goal in overtime after serving a penalty for the first two minutes of overtime that the Penguins were able to successfully kill off. That has been a trend for them all season as their PK unit remains the best in the NHL and has been especially dominant over the past month. After their perfect 3-for-3 night on Friday, the Penguins have now successfully killed off 35 consecutive penalties, a stretch of 15 games that brings their season success rate to a league-best 93 percent for the season. This unit was one of the worst units in the league a year ago. Now it is the absolute best so far this season.

Alex Ovechkin keeps adding goals and points

The Washington Capitals were without several key players on Friday night and still managed to beat the Winnipeg Jets, 5-2, after Jets head coach Paul Maurice resigned earlier in the day. Alex Ovechkin had two more points for the Capitals on Friday, including his 22nd goal of the season, to move back into a tie with Connor McDavid for the league lead in points with 47 and to move to within one goal of Leon Draisaitl (23) for the league lead there. It also gets him one goal closer to Jaromir Jagr (only 14 behind right now) for third on the NHL’s all-time list.

Saturday’s big story

The Vancouver Canucks look to make it seven wins in a row under new coach Bruce Boudreau when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs have several players in COVID protocol after Wayne Simmonds and Jason Spezza were entered into it on Friday night. The Canucks have looked like a completely different team since Boudreau took over as they try to inch their way back into playoff contention. They still have a lot of work to do, but they had to start somewhere.

Friday’s NHL Scores

Vegas Golden Knights 3, New York Rangers 2 (SO)
Pittsburgh Penguins 3, Buffalo Sabres 2 (OT)
St. Louis Blues 4, Dallas Stars 1
Washington Capitals 5, Winnipeg Jets 2
Nashville Predators 3, Chicago Blackhawks 2 (OT)
Arizona Coyotes 6, Anaheim Ducks 5 (OT)

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