NHL Rink Wrap: Ovechkin ties Jagr; Tons of goals, big upsets

NHL Rink Wrap: Ovechkin ties Jagr; Tons of goals, big upsets
Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Tuesday’s top NHL players

Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome, Blackhawks

There were some eye-popping performances (and upsets) around the NHL on Tuesday. Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome factored into one of the more significant ones.

Kane stood out the most with a whopping six points (1G, 5A), while Strome managed a hat trick and an assist. The Blackhawks scored five goals during the first period alone to downgrade the Ducks’ playoff chances 8-3.

That six-point outburst leaves Kane with 64 points in 54 points this season, lining up closely to last year’s 66 points in 56 games. Strome now has 30 points in 45 contests, with a strong chance to set a new career-high for goals (at 15 now, his peak was 17 in 2018-19).

There were plenty of honorable mentions for NHL player of the night on Tuesday. Nick Schmaltz remains red-hot with four points after his historic seven-point explosion. Carter Hart made 47 saves to help the Flyers narrowly upset the Golden Knights. Mark Scheifele scored four points (1G, 3A) as the Jets generated a medium-sized upset against the Lightning.

Oh, right. And Auston Matthews produced a hat trick, giving him 43 goals on the season (and helping the Maple Leafs avoid being part of that upset trend).

Tuesday NHL highlights

Watch that Auston Matthews hat trick:

Soak in those performances from Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome in what could serve as a painful loss for the Ducks. Could that shove them more fully into selling at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline?

Might as well soak in the absurdity of the Coyotes’ output, too.

Roman Josi winning this for the Predators over the Stars in regulation could end up being important:

Usually, an empty-netter only warrants a highlight mention if a goalie is involved. Alex Ovechkin tying Jaromir Jagr for third all-time with 766 goals does the trick, though:

Tuesday NHL Takeaways

Ovechkin ties Jagr at 766 career goals, good for third all-time in NHL history.

Read more about Ovechkin tying Jagr at 766 goals here. Note that this game was interesting because it also represented the 1,000th game Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom played together.

Plenty of NHL upsets on Tuesday; Coyotes pumping up that trade deadline value?

Let’s run down some surprising results.

  • Tough way for the Ducks to start a five-game road trip. They’ve lost four of their last six games, and are 4-7-1 in their last 12. Thursday’s game against the Predators in Nashville figures to be a real test for the Ducks.
  • Break up the Arizona Coyotes. They’ve now won three in a row (beginning with an upset of the Avalanche), and scored an absurd 17 goals in their last two games. Nick Schmaltz now has 11 points in his last two games, and 21 points in his past 10 contests.

[Look back at Nick Schmaltz’s seven-point night]

For NHL trade deadline purposes, it may be most notable that Jakob Chychrun had a strong game, too. Chychrun scored two goals and one assist, hammering eight shots on goal. This gives the coveted defenseman eight points in his last five games.

  • Whenever it seems like the Golden Knights may build more of a buffer for their playoff hopes, they seem to stumble. In this case, Carter Hart snuck out his leg, making 47 saves. Jack Eichel generated an assist and nine SOG, while Max Pacioretty fired seven. Ouch.
  • When Cale Makar put the Avalanche up 3-0 early in the second, the question seemed to be if the Devils could save face. Instead, they rallied, scoring five unanswered goals to stun the Avs. Jesper Bratt generated three assists in that comeback-upset.
  • Uh oh, is it time to worry about the Blues now? They fell to the Senators pretty decisively, and now St. Louis has dropped four straight losses.
  • Finally, the Jets may seem a bit listless, but they burned the Lightning 7-4. Two Winnipeg empty-netters exaggerate the difference, yet that’s still unexpected.

Kraken extend Jared McCann: five years, $5M cap hit

Between a timid expansion draft and some borderline-reckless free agent signings, the Seattle Kraken left a lot to be desired when putting together some of their early building blocks. At least the first contract extension in franchise history makes plenty of sense.

The Kraken handed Jared McCann a five-year contract that carries a reasonable $5M cap hit on Tuesday.

Between the expansion draft (Jordan Eberle, 31) and free agency, the Kraken took on quite a bit of older talent before they played their first game. Most of those players are good-to-very-good now, but it seemed a bit hasty.

Such concerns don’t really apply to the Kraken’s extension with Jared McCann. He’s merely 25, so the aging curve isn’t much of a worry.

Now, there’s still a feeling that the Kraken are a fairly pricey team without overwhelming confidence that they’ll be worth the money next season. Cap Friendly projects the Kraken to allot $59M in salary cap space to just 13 players.

At least McCann stands a nice chance of being worth his contract, and possibly a healthy bit more.

Wednesday’s big story

Can Alex Ovechkin break his tie with Jaromir Jagr, and stand alone at third all-time in goals?

Again, Alex Ovechkin ended the night tied with Jaromir Jagr at 766 goals. The Capitals close a back-to-back set by facing the Oilers on Wednesday.

Considering the state of the Oilers’ goaltending, this could be a prime opportunity for Ovechkin to score goal 767. That said, the Oilers badly need to make up ground in the West, so they’ll be keyed-in on grabbing this win.

Not that wanting to stop Alex Ovechkin’s really helped teams actually slow him down.

Tuesday NHL scores

Devils 5, Avalanche 3
Flyers 2, Golden Knights 1
Panthers 4, Penguins 3
Maple Leafs 6, Kraken 4
Coyotes 9, Red Wings 2
Senators 4, Blues 1
Predators 2, Stars 1
Wild 5, Rangers 2
Jets 7, Lightning 4
Blackhawks 8, Ducks 3
Capitals 5, Flames 4

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:

    Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

    Ilya Mikheyev
    Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

    Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

    Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

    Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

    Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

    Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports

    Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

    The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

    Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

    After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

    Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

    Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

    caufield surgery
    David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports

    MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

    But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

    “I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

    Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

    “I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

    Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

    Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

    Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

    All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

    matty beniers
    Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports

    SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

    Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

    The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

    Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

    Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.