Top player in the NHL on Wednesday
Jaroslav Halak, Vancouver Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks have almost no margin for error right now in their quest for a playoff spot and they got a huge win on Wednesday night against the NHL leading Colorado Avalanche. Jaroslav Halak stopped 32 out of 33 shots to help slow down the Avalanche offense, backstopping the Canucks to a 3-1 win. Vancouver received goals from Brock Boeser, J.T. Miller, and Bo Horvat, all in the third period, to get the win. The playoffs are still a long shot at this point but every point helps right now. They are still three points out of a Wild Card spot in the Western Conference with a few teams ahead of them, while the Dallas Stars, the current second Wild Card team, still have three games in hand.
Highlights from around the NHL on Wednesday
The Toronto Maple Leafs scored two shorthanded goals in their 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday, and this Pierre Engvall goal with just under five minutes to play in regulation is the difference in the game.
Patrick Kane hits the 20-goal mark again for the Chicago Blackhawks in their 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks.
Boeser gets the Canucks on the board thanks to a slick pass from Elias Petterrsson.
Three takeaways from the NHL on Wednesday
Nobody looks good in Dadonov trade situation
The Evgenii Dadonov trade situation is a bad look for pretty much everybody involved (except for Dadonov, who did nothing wrong) as the Ottawa Senators, Vegas Golden Knights, and NHL all have to share in some of the blame for his no-trade clause being completely overlooked. Now he is stuck in a situation playing for a team that does not want him while also being at risk to be traded to another team, which would prematurely end his season. The NHL should have better records for no-trade clauses, the Senators should have known that his no-trade clause was filed properly and the Golden Knights should have known what is in the contract of their own player.
Tage Thompson remains Buffalo’s bright spot
The Buffalo Sabres are playing their best hockey of the season right now and have won seven of their past 10 games, including Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout win against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tage Thompson continued his breakout season for the Sabres, scoring two goals to give him 27 goals on the season. He seems like a lock to reach the 30-goal mark barring injury, which would be a great year for him and a great development for the Sabres’ rebuild. Along with his two goals in regulation on Wednesday he also scored the game-winning goal in the shootout.
Jonathan Toews hints at future
Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said he always envisioned himself as a member of the team, but the state of the current rebuild following the Marc-Andre Fleury and Brandon Hagel trades at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline has him picturing himself what it would be like to play for another team in the future. Toews still has one year left on his current contract that carries a $10.5 million salary cap hit. It is a contract that would be nearly impossible to move given how much his production has dropped without the Blackhawks retaining major salary in the trade. Toews’ actual salary is just $6.5 million next season, but that salary cap number is almost unmovable.
Thursday’s big story
Great matchup in Boston on Thursday as the Bruins host the Tampa Bay Lightning in a battle of Eastern Conference playoff teams, and even a potential First Round matchup. You also have the Western Conference playoff race with the Vegas Golden Knights, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Dallas Stars, and Nashville Predators all in action. The Golden Knights especially need a win after being shut out in back-to-back games and seeing their playoff chances drop significantly. It will also be interesting to see if Dadonov plays for them and what he does in the game.
Wednesday’s NHL Scores
Toronto Maple Leafs 3, New Jersey Devils 2
Buffalo Sabres 4, Pittsburgh Penguins 3 (SO)
Vancouver Canucks 3, Colorado Avalanche 1
Chicago Blackhawks 4, Anaheim Ducks 2
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.