NHL Rink Wrap: Winter Classic a cold, scenic way to begin 2022

NHL Rink Wrap: Winter Classic a cold, scenic way to begin 2022
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Top players from Saturday in the NHL

Jordan Kyrou, Blues

After putting together the most explosive period of any NHL outdoor game by collecting four points in the middle frame of the 2022 Winter Classic, Jordan Kyrou also brings home player of the night for Saturday. (That four-point output also marks the most any NHL player’s generated in a game, not just a period. Not bad.)

Maybe a lot of casual fans missed it, but the 2022 Winter Classic may be considered the exclamation point on the statement Kyrou’s made so far this season. The promising 23-year-old bumped his season points total to an impressive 32 in just 29 games.

Following a mild cold spell (two assists in a five-game span, with both in a single game), Kyrou is heating up. He now has seven points (3G, 4A) in a blistering pair of consecutive multi-point contests.

Highlights from NHL games on Saturday

Come for the great atmosphere and imagery of the 2022 Winter Classic. Stay for great performances from Kyrou and Kirill Kaprizov, among others.

You’ll be able to read about Nadia Popovici and Brian Hamilton later on Sunday, but this is a great gesture from the Kraken and Canucks:

The Maple Leafs scored two shorthanded goals in less than 30 seconds on their way to blowing out the Senators to begin 2022.

Charlie Coyle scored the overtime game-winner for the Bruins over the Sabres.

Hopefully hockey and pro wrestling worlds colliding here won’t end up being a lowlight.

NHL takeaways from Saturday

Behold the 2022 U.S. Olympic women’s ice hockey team roster

During the 2022 Winter Classic, USA Hockey announced all 23 members of the 2022 U.S. Olympic women’s ice hockey team. That included Hilary Knight, who joined rare company in making a fourth Olympic appearance.

Check out the full roster and some notes in this post.

Blues beat Wild in 2022 Winter Classic

Did you hear that it was cold at the 2022 Winter Classic? Read about how cold it was, but more importantly, how the Blues are heating up, while the Wild might be cooling off.

Canadiens make it through loss on Saturday, add to NHL COVID postponements

Even by the standards of the NHL possibly forcing games to happen when maybe they shouldn’t, the Canadiens eventually losing to the Panthers was a bit much on Saturday. After an early injury, the Canadiens essentially sent out 15 skaters against the Panthers. Seems a bit excessive to force a seemingly lottery-bound team to slog it out vs. a powerhouse team.

But, hey, the Habs (technically) made it through that ordeal. From there, it could be a while before the Canadiens emerge from their NHL COVID protocol pause. All activities (including for their AHL affiliate) are paused through Jan. 6, and home games were postponed through Jan. 10.

Not quite ready for 2022? Catch up on ‘last year’ with PHT

The gang over here at PHT hit the high and low notes of 2021. As much as the league wants fewer interruptions in 2022, here’s hoping that, most of all, people stay as safe as possible.

Sunday’s big story

Rangers vs. Lightning: defending champs vs. intriguing upstarts

At times during the 2021-22 season, it seemed like the Rangers were more lucky than good. “Paper tigers,” if you will.

But they’ve been hanging in there long enough — and, seemingly, getting better — that they must be taken seriously. Really, with all of the talent they’ve collected (in the draft lottery, via free agency), plenty of people likely took the Rangers seriously, anyway.

Yet, we still don’t totally know just how good they are. With the Lightning firmly looking like the Lightning once again, the Rangers face another test as they try to climb the ranks. It should be a treat to watch, but if that doesn’t draw your interest, there are plenty of other afternoon Sunday NHL games to choose from.

Saturday’s NHL scores

Bruins 4, Sabres 3 (OT)
Panthers 5, Canadiens 2
Hurricanes 7, Blue Jackets 4
Islanders 3, Oilers 2 (OT)
Predators 6, Blackhawks 1
Maple Leafs 6, Senators 0
Blues 6, Wild 4
Canucks 5, Kraken 2
Kings 6, Flyers 3

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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