NHL Rink Wrap: Yandle sets ironman record; Flyers’ streak also a record

NHL Rink Wrap: Yandle sets ironman record; Flyers' streak also a record
Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Top players from Tuesday in the NHL

Joe Pavelski, Stars

Look, we get it. Alex Ovechkin is the reigning champion of “How is he (36) years old?” comments. But Joe Pavelski should inspire similar fountain of youth suspicions related to what he’s accomplishing at age 37.

Frankly, he already wowed me again and again last season. Pavelski even earned my vote for the 2021 Selke Trophy.

Yet … Pavelski’s even more important to the Stars as they grasp desperately at a playoff spot this year? With two goals and two assists, Pavelski boosted his 2021-22 season total to 48(!) points in just 40 games. That’s three points shy of last season’s 51 points (in 56 games), and to reiterate, Pavelski was tremendous last season. He’s found incredible chemistry with much younger forwards Roope Hintz (1G, 1A on Tuesday) and Jason Robertson (1A) the past two seasons.

Taking a look at Pavelski’s career xGAR chart from Evolving Hockey, at least two things are clear: we haven’t truly appreciated Pavelski as much as we should have over the years, and also: he might be aging Benjamin Button/Brad Marchandstyle.

Simple version: Pavelski rocks. (via Evolving Hockey)

NHL highlights from Tuesday

Sebastian Aho made the difference in OT for the Hurricanes over the Golden Knights:

Keith Yandle being honored for playing 965 consecutive games, setting a new NHL ironman record for games played in a row.

It must have felt a little extra special for Tyler Ennis to collect a hat trick against his former team, the Sabres.

To avoid being too dirty, I’ll let you guess the theme of these next three Tuesday NHL highlights. Winner gets … a sense of satisfaction (oh no, that almost sounds dirty too).

First, Brian Boyle:

Next, Bryan Rust to Sidney Crosby from a contest that extended the Penguins’ winning streak to six games:

Finally, Adam Gaudette:

Tuesday NHL Takeaways

Canucks reportedly set to hire Patrik Allvin as new GM

The Canucks haven’t confirmed this news yet, but all indications are they’ve found their new general manager. Multiple reporters back up word that the Canucks plucked Patrik Allvin from the Penguins organization to become their 12th GM in franchise history.

If all of that becomes official, it makes for a truly transformative week for the Canucks. Expect more on Allvin and the Canucks in its own post.

But to review just the past couple days …

On Monday, the Canucks announced the addition of Emilie Castonguay as their first woman assistant GM in franchise history, and just the second in NHL history. Castonguay also continues a small trend of former player agents taking on prominent NHL front office roles.

Flyers set franchise record with 13-game losing streak; Yandle sets new NHL record ‘ironman’ streak at 965 games

Speaking of continuing stories, how about a mix of the bad and the very good?

  • The good is that Keith Yandle broke his brief tie with Doug Jarvis to become the NHL’s all-time ironman record holder. Yandle received 965 consecutive games played on Monday, breaking a tie for that NHL record. Do note that Phil Kessel isn’t far behind Yandle at 941 games in a row, so there could be twists and turns to this story. (Side note: if Keith Yandle is “Iron Man,” does this make Phil Kessel “War Machine?”)
Birmingham Comic Con Day 2
Not pictured: Yandle on the left and Kessel on the right. As far as we know *spooky music plays* (Photo by Ollie Millington/Getty Images)
  • Now, firmly from the not fun file: the Flyers lost their 13th game in a row by falling 4-3 to the Islanders. That 13th consecutive loss sets a new Flyers franchise record for their longest-ever losing streak. The fumbling Flyers already became the first team in more than a decade to post two 10+ game losing streaks in the same season. (And they did it basically just halfway through the season! And they’re not even the worst team in the NHL amid all this. What’s happening?)

There’s a tragicomic layer to this Mike Yeo quote:

*Cough* Kinda get the feeling the Flyers might be making some uncomfortable (but maybe necessary) changes of their own soon, eh?

Penguins remain red-hot

Even during what’s now a six-game winning streak, it hasn’t always been pretty for the Penguins. Falling behind more than once to the cratering Coyotes? Kinda ugly.

But it’s a long season, and strong teams need to show that they can shake off setbacks, and sometimes simply win ugly. Whatever way you slice it, the Penguins are just flat-out winning lately.

Could there have been some sort of fortune swap after the Oilers (then 16-5-0) beat the Penguins (then 10-8-5) on Dec. 1? From then on, the Oilers have been crumbling, while the Penguins powered through with a 17-2-0 record.

That leaves the Penguins at 27-10-5 which … well, gives them a chance at a round of home-ice advantage in the Metro. The top of the East is for real, folks. The Penguins might be, too.

Wednesday’s big story

A rising superpower (Avalanche) vs. a fading power hoping to hang on (Bruins)

Here’s the thing about the East’s playoff teams, and really a good chunk of the near-sure things in both conferences: they’re all somewhere between very good and extremely good.

If everything came together for the Bruins, and they made a big run, would it be that surprising? They still have some of the high-end talent that’s made them a contender for years, and there’s plenty of time for Tuukka Rask to shake the rust off.

Still, it’s fair to say that the Bruins aren’t the same powerhouse they once were. It’s also reasonable to wonder how often any recent Bruins team looked as foreboding as the Avalanche when they’re clicking on all (heck, just some) cylinders.

Theoretically, if the Bruins (somewhat surprisingly) took on the Avalanche (not surprisingly) in the 2022 Stanley Cup Final, the story would probably be about Boston trying to slow down Colorado. Is that possible? Or would the B’s just embrace the situation and hope they can hang?

Fun hypothetical questions, and maybe we gather some data for early hypotheses with this one.

NHL scores from Tuesday

Hurricanes 4, Golden Knights 3 (OT)
Stars 5, Devils 1
Senators 5, Sabres 0
Penguins 6, Coyotes 3
Islanders 4, Flyers 3
Panthers 5, Jets 3
Oilers 3, Canucks 2
Predators 4, Kraken 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.

Scroll Down For:

    LA Kings put goaltender Cal Petersen on waivers

    Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings put goaltender Cal Petersen on waivers, a surprising move for a player once considered the successor in net to two-time Stanley Cup winner Jonathan Quick.

    Petersen, 28, went on waivers the day after allowing four goals on 16 shots in relief of Quick during a 9-8 overtime loss to the Seattle Kraken. Quick was pulled after giving up five goals on 14 shots.

    Only one NHL goalie has a save percentage lower than Petersen’s .868 this season, Elvis Merzlikins of the Columbus Blue Jackets with .864. Petersen is 5-3-2 in 10 games with a 3.75 goals-against average in his third full season with the Kings and fifth overall.

    L.A. signed Petersen to a three-year, $15 million contract in September 2021, and he figured to take the starting job from Quick, who turns 37 in January and is set to be a free agent after the season. Petersen has two years left on that deal after this one at an annual salary cap hit of $5 million.

    Penguins’ Kris Letang out indefinitely after 2nd stroke

    Kris Letang Penguins
    Getty Images
    0 Comments

    PITTSBURGH — Kris Letang plays hockey with a grace and inexhaustible fluidity seemingly impervious to the rigors of spending nearly half his life in the NHL.

    For the second time in less than a decade, however, a major health scare has brought Letang’s career to a halt.

    The 35-year-old Letang is out indefinitely after suffering a stroke for a second time. Letang reported feeling ill and was taken to the hospital, where tests confirmed the stroke.

    While general manager Ron Hextall said Wednesday this stroke doesn’t appear to be as serious as the one Letang sustained in 2014, the Penguins will have to find a way forward at least in the short term without one of their franchise pillars.

    “I am fortunate to know my body well enough to recognize when something isn’t right,” Letang said in a release. “While it is difficult to navigate this issue publicly, I am hopeful it can raise awareness. … I am optimistic that I will be back on the ice soon.”

    The three-time Stanley Cup champion missed more than two months in 2014 after a stroke, which doctors determined was caused by a small hole in the wall of his heart. He spent Monday feeling off and told team trainers he was dealing with what Hextall described as a migraine headache.

    Penguins team physician Dr. Dhamesh Vyas recommended Letang go to the hospital, where tests confirmed the stroke.

    “He didn’t know (he had a stroke),” Hextall said. “He just knew something wasn’t right.”

    Letang is continuing to undergo tests but felt well enough on Tuesday to be at the arena for Pittsburgh’s 3-2 overtime loss to Carolina. He spent the second period chatting with Hextall then addressed his teammates in the locker room afterward in an effort to help allay their concerns.

    “I think it was important for Kris to be there because his teammates got to see him in good spirits and that he’s doing well,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.

    Sullivan added initial test results on Letang have been “very encouraging.” Letang will continue to undergo testing throughout the week, though he felt good enough in the aftermath to ask Sullivan and Hextall if he could skate, an activity that is off the table for now.

    Hextall said he “couldn’t even guess” how long the Penguins may be without the married father of two, adding hockey is low on the team’s list of concerns about a player who, along with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, has helped the franchise to three Stanley Cups during his 17-year career.

    “First and foremost this is about the person and I told Tanger about that last night,” Hextall said. “This is Kris Letang, the father and family guy, the Pittsburgh Penguins, that’s second.”

    Letang, a six-time All-Star, has been one of the most durable players in the NHL. His 662 career points (145 goals, 517 assists) are a franchise record for a defenseman. He’s averaged well over 24 minutes of playing time over the course of his career, a number that’s ticked above 25 minutes per game seven times in eight-plus seasons since he returned from the initial stroke.

    The Penguins felt so confident in Letang’s durability that they signed him to a six-year contract over the summer rather than let him test free agency for the first time.

    “The level of hockey he’s played for as long as he’s played is absolutely incredible,” Hextall said. “The level he’s continued to play at at his age, the type of shape he’s in … he’s a warrior.”

    Letang has one goal and 11 assists in 21 games so far this season for Pittsburgh, which hosts Vegas on Thursday night. The Penguins are pretty deep along the blue line, but Sullivan knows he can’t try to replace Letang with any one player.

    “It’s not anything we haven’t been faced with in the past and the reality is we have what we have, and we’ll figure it out,” Sullivan said, adding “it’ll be by committee, as it usually is when you replace a player of that stature.”

    Ovechkin tops Gretzky for most road goals, Capitals beat Canucks

    Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Alex Ovechkin scored twice, passing Wayne Gretzky for the most road goals in NHL history, and the Washington Capitals beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 on Tuesday night.

    Ovechkin has scored 403 of his 793 career goals away from home. Gretzky holds the overall record with 894.

    “It’s always nice when you beat the Great One,” Ovechkin said. “It doesn’t matter what kind of milestone it is. It’s history.”

    Anthony Mantha added a goal and an assist for the Capitals (10-11-3). John Carlson and Martin Fehervary also scored, and Darcy Kuemper stopped 31 shots.

    Nils Hoglander scored for the Canucks (9-11-3), who had won three in a row. Spencer Martin made 23 saves.

    “Spencer’s been great for us. He’s probably a bit like the other players tonight. They weren’t ready to play and it showed on the scoreboard,” Vancouver coach Bruce Boudreau said.

    The 37-year-old Ovechkin nearly netted a hat trick when Vancouver pulled Martin for an extra skater with just over six minutes left, but his rocket of a shot skimmed the outside of the post.

    “I think he has 13 goals this year and I want to say like eight or nine have been like a new record. So it’s been cool,” Washington center Dylan Strome said. “Any time you pass Wayne Gretzky in anything, it deserves a standing ovation, which he got.”

    Fehervary was the one who sealed it, flipping the puck high into the Canucks zone and into the empty net at 15:57 of the third period.

    Ovechkin topped Gretzky 11:52 into the first, firing a one-timer from the left circle past Martin to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead with his 13th goal of the season.

    “On his second goal, it looks like, `Oh, maybe (Martin) should have had it.’ But I’ve seen (Ovechkin) score 100 goals like that,” said Boudreau, who coached the Capitals from 2007-11. “He’s got a shot that finds its way in.”

    The star forward from Russia got his first of the night 5:35 in, taking the puck off the stick of Vancouver defenseman Quinn Hughes near the net and batting in a quick shot.

    “It could have been 6-1 after the first period, quite frankly, with the amount of chances (Washington) had,” Boudreau said.

    It was Ovechkin’s 135th game-opening goal, tying Jaromir Jagr for the most in NHL history.

    “(Ovechkin) was really good in the first and I thought we were really good in the first so it was nice to get out and get a jump like that,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “He certainly led. We knew we needed to have a good first period, have a good game, and you need your best players to do that.”

    Carlson scored the lone goal of the second, chipping in a loose puck from the low hash marks at 18:47 to give Washington a 4-1 cushion.

    “It’s frustrating. Because when you lose games, it should never be about your compete level and battle level,” Canucks center J.T. Miller said. “It’s frustrating because they didn’t out-skill us today, they didn’t out-system us. They literally just outbattled us and created their own chances.”

    NOTES: Washington’s Lars Eller got his 200th career assist. … Miller had an assist, extending his point streak to nine games (four goals, seven assists). … The Capitals swept the two-game season series. … Vancouver assigned winger Vasily Podkolzin and defenseman Jack Rathbone to the Abbotsford Canucks on Monday, then recalled forward Phillip Di Giuseppe from the American Hockey League club on Tuesday.

    UP NEXT

    Washington: At Seattle on Thursday in the second of a five-game trip.

    Vancouver: Host Florida on Thursday in the second of a four-game homestand.

    Deal for Coyotes’ proposed arena approved by Tempe council

    David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
    1 Comment

    TEMPE, Ariz. — The Tempe City Council has unanimously approved a proposal for a new Arizona Coyotes arena and entertainment district, clearing the way for a public vote on the project next year.

    The City Council approved the proposal 7-0 after a lengthy meeting that included NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

    The $2.1 billion project would include a 16,000-seat arena, practice rink, 1,600 apartments, two hotels and a theater. Approval of the project was the final step before it goes to referendum on May 16.

    The team is currently playing at Arizona State’s 5,000-seat Mullett Arena, by far the NHL’s smallest arena.

    The Coyotes have been searching for a permanent home since the city of Glendale pulled out of a multimillion-dollar lease at Gila River Arena. Arizona had been playing on an annual lease until Glendale said it would not be renewed for the 2022-23 season.