Top player in the NHL on Sunday
Alexandar Georgiev, New York Rangers
Goaltending has been the story for the New York Rangers this season. They have flaws defensively and give up a ton of shots and chances compared to other playoff teams, they do not have much in the way of secondary scoring, and they have more than area they need to address before Monday’s NHL trade deadline. The one thing they do have is goaltending. Typically this season it has been Igor Shesterkin stealing games for them and making a strong argument for both the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goalie and the Hart Trophy as the league MVP. On Sunday evening it was backup Alexandar Georgiev stealing a game. Georgiev was sensational, perhaps playing the best game of his career, by stopping all 44 shots he faced in a 2-0 win over the Hurricanes. The Rangers were outshot 44-18 on the day and completely dominated in every way except for the goaltending. The win completes an impressive weekend that saw the Rangers beat Tampa Bay and Carolina in back-to-back while only allowing a single goal combined. Both goalies were sensational. That is the main reason the Rangers are going to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and have one of the league’s best records so far this season.
Highlights from around the NHL on Sunday
Braden Holtby received a nice ovation in Washington on Sunday in his first visit as an opposing player. He did not play and was not in uniform, but was still able to get a nice reception from Capitals fans.
The Capitals did not beat the Dallas Stars, losing a 3-2 decision, but Alex Ovechkin did score his 40th goal of the season.
The Chicago Blackhawks opted to not sit Marc-Andre Fleury on Sunday evening even though he could be traded on Monday. It did not go well as he allowed five goals in a 6-4 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. That includes this Kyle Connor goal scored after Fleury lost his glove and attempted to play his position with his bare hand.
Three takeaways from the NHL on Sunday
Lightning keep adding
The Tampa Bay Lightning keep finding ways to make new additions. On Sunday they acquired pending unrestricted free agent forward Nick Paul from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Mathieu Joseph and a fourth-round pick. While Paul and Joseph are similar players, the Lightning were probably not going to be able to tender Joseph, a pending restricted free agent, a contract this offseason due to salary cap constraints, meaning they would have lost him for nothing anyway. Paul offers a bit more versatility and the ability to play center or wing as the Lightning try to round out their depth. Paul joins Brandon Hagel as acquisitions prior to the trade deadline on Monday.
More trades get made on Sunday, including the Kraken starting to sell
Sunday was a somewhat busy day on the trade front. Along with the Paul trade, we also had Seattle start its sell-off with the most significant of their moves being the Mark Giordano and Colin Blackwell trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs. They also traded Jeremy Lauzon (to Nashville Predators for a second-round pick) and Mason Appleton (to Winnipeg Jets for a fourth-round pick). Elsewhere, the Dallas Stars acquired goalie Scott Wedgewood from the Arizona Coyotes, indicating that Braden Holtby’s injury is not a short-term thing. The Florida Panthers also added Robert Hagg from the Buffalo Sabres for a sixth-round pick.
Potential discipline for Jamie Benn?
There was a dangerous play at the end of Dallas’ win against the Washington Capitals when Stars forward Jamie Benn sent John Carlson crashing into the boards with a sneaky cross-check to the back at full speed. Carlson was briefly shaken up but seemed to be okay. Benn was penalized, but it is the type of play that could have had a really bad outcome and should get some kind of attention from the NHL’s Department Of Player Safety.
Monday’s big story
It is the trade deadline. Even though there have been some significant trades over the past few days there are still a lot of Stanley Cup contenders and potential playoff teams that could use some new additions and some sellers looking to take advantage of a seller’s market. Rickard Rakell, Phil Kessel, Jakob Chychrun, and all of the Vancouver Canucks forwards are among some of the names that could be on the move, while Marc-Andre Fleury and the Chicago Blackhawks also should be watched for potential deals.
Sunday’s NHL Scores
Philadelphia Flyers 2, New York Islanders 1
Dallas Stars 3, Washington Capitals 2
New York Rangers 2, Carolina Hurricanes 0
Winnipeg Jets 6, Chicago Blackhawks 4
San Jose Sharks 4, Arizona Coyotes 2
Vancouver Canucks 3, Buffalo Sabres 2 (OT)