NHL Rink Wrap: Laine lighting it up; Crosby now at 499 goals

laine goal
John McCreary/NHLI via Getty Images

Top players from Tuesday in the NHL

Patrik Laine, Blue Jackets

Around the NHL, there were some upsets on Tuesday. It seemed like the Capitals might just scrap a standings point or even a win against the Blue Jackets, but Patrik Laine assisted on a Boone Jenner game-winner with just 45 seconds remaining.

That ended up being the third point of the night for Laine, who also produced two goals on the power play.

All of a sudden, Laine is zeroing in on a point-per-game, as he’s now at 24 (12G and 12A) in 25 contests.

Laine’s not quite as hot as, say, Mitch Marner right now, but he’s definitely heating up. Laine extended his multi-point game streak to four games (6G, 3A). It’s almost as if the fellow has his financial future hanging in the balance, or something.

(Greed can be good in hockey, but maybe Columbus wants to trade Laine so, uh, they can keep losing? Just saying.)

Tuesday NHL highlights

Sidney Crosby is so close to 500 career goals after scoring number 499 in a Penguins win over the Bruins from Tuesday:

Speaking of that Penguins – Bruins game …

Strange series of exchanges between Brad Marchand and Tristan Jarry. In the strange but mostly harmless moment, there was this strange bit of trolling from Marchand when Jarry tried to give a puck to a fan:

And then there’s this, which resulted in a match penalty for what Marchand did to Jarry:

Marchand’s in that zone (name it after Tom Wilson, or someone more diplomatic since they’re no longer playing, like Raffi Torres?) where the run-ins are so frequent, it’s exhausting to talk about him. Will there be a fine or suspension? Who knows, but Marchand will remain Marchand.

(Maybe stick to the amusing tweets?)

Speaking of violence, two fights broke out between the Wild and Jets after a hit:

Few expected the Senators to be able to “pour it on” against the Hurricanes, even with a rest advantage. Carolina almost came back, but still, the Sens will take it.

Your highlight of the night goes to Bobby Orr… err J.T. Miller for this coast-to-coast goal:

Tuesday NHL Takeaways

Flyers announce Daniel Briere as assistant GM

If any NHL franchise can switch gears with little notice, it’s the Philadelphia Flyers. At least when they’re in fun-but-reckless mode. (One of their main modes.)

So, apply all of the “for now” caveats. During the offseason, maybe someone will have a weird dream and decide to dump Chuck Fletcher as Flyers GM. Still, at the moment, it seems like the Flyers will stick with Fletcher as GM. For better or worse.

With that in mind, we’ll see how important it is that the Flyers announced Daniel Briere as assistant GM (“special assistant to the general manager”).

First, let’s giggle at “special assistant to the general manager” having some real Dwight Schrute vibes. OK, next, the big question. Is Briere being groomed as a possible future full-fledged Flyers GM, or will this be a feel-good hire for a franchise more interested in an “aggressive retool” than something with

… Oh, I don’t know, an actual vision? Will Briere have much input, or will this be a nostalgia move where Flyers fans can point at their TVs like the Leo meme? We’ll see.

Either way, Briere and the Flyers really have their work cut out for them. Yikes.

Sidney Crosby one away from 500 goals after number 499

As mentioned above, Sidney Crosby is one goal away from 500 after scoring number 499 during the NHL action on Tuesday.

Crosby reached 499 goals in career regular-season game 1,074, so he’s a hair short of a goal-every-other-game pace overall. Of course, Crosby’s also collected an impressive 867 assists, giving him 1,366 points in those 1,074 games.

Quite astounding. Arguably inspiring, too, considering how scary concussion issues seemed for Crosby earlier in his career. As much as you can play the “what if?” game with injuries for Crosby and this era of the Penguins, it’s a small miracle he’s managed such longevity.

(His pal Patrice Bergeron inspires similar thoughts.)

Expect more insight from PHT between goals 499 and 500 for Crosby.

Report: Rask may end Bruins comeback bid, possibly retire?

Two anonymous sources told The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa that Tuukka Rask may not continue his Bruins comeback (sub required), and that retirement is a possibility.

Over four bumpy appearances with the Bruins this season, Rask allowed 14 goals and made 76 saves (2-2-0 record, .844 save percentage). At times, Rask faced setbacks stemming from hip surgery that ate up much of this regular season.

Greedily, I’d love to see more from Rask, who’s largely been underrated (or at least blamed for too many Bruins problems over the years). He’s 34, so this feels too soon. With Henrik Lundqvist’s number retired and Carey Price‘s future in doubt, the NHL’s losing some of its biggest names in net in short succession.

Wednesday’s big story

Wild-card implications for Stars, maybe Predators?

With the Wild in position to take the Central Division’s second seed, the third might come down to the Blues or Predators. So, theoretically, the Predators could find themselves closer to what the Stars are hoping to gain: a wild-card spot in the playoffs.

Of course, a wild-card push is the best-case scenario (at least short-term) for the Stars. It’s just as possible that the Stars slip out of the playoff race entirely, and end up focusing almost solely on being NHL trade deadline sellers.

Frankly, the Stars may want to trade John Klingberg in just about every scenario.

One game only means so much. Nonetheless, if this one ends in regulation, Stars – Predators could clarify various Central/wild-card races a bit.

NHL scores from Tuesday

Blue Jackets 5, Capitals 4
Penguins 4, Bruins 2
Senators 4, Hurricanes 3
Devils 7, Canadiens 1
Jets 2, Wild 0
Golden Knights 4, Oilers 0
Canucks 5, Coyotes 1

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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