NHL Rink Wrap: Strong Giroux Panthers debut; Dadonov scores; Howden stretchered off

NHL Rink Wrap: Strong Giroux Panthers debut; Pastrnak hat trick
Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

Thursday’s top NHL players

David Pastrnak, Bruins

While the Bruins made a big move at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline, Hampus Lindholm‘s not expected to be a major help when it comes to scoring goals. Ultimately, a lot of the pressure falls on the shoulders of David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Taylor Hall, and a select few others.

Maybe they can pull off enough to make it work?

On Thursday, Pastrnak collected a hat trick, scoring all three of the Bruins’ goals. Feels almost emblematic, doesn’t it?

With that hat trick, Pastrnak returned to a point-per-game for the season (64 in 64), with 36 goals. There’s a strong chance Pastrnak could reach 40 goals for the second time in his career. In 2019-20, Pastrnak set career-highs of 48 goals and 95 points.

By the way, Erik Haula collected three assists, while Lindholm nabbed a helper of his own.

The Bruins are now on a three-game winning streak, and are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. That Atlantic Division, everyone.

Evgenii Dadonov, Golden Knights

In his first game since the negated trade to the Ducks, Dadonov scored and assisted on two other goals during a 6-1 rout of the Predators. The forward now has six goals in eight games.

Dadonov received a loud ovation when his named was announced and he appreciated hearing that from the Vegas fans.

“I felt that support from the stands,” said Dadonov afterward. “Probably pumped me up even more. I always loved playing here, even when I was coming (from) Florida (to) here. Great experience playing here in front of this crowd. Still think it’s the best fans in the league.”

Thursday NHL highlights

Howden stretchered off after collision with Forsberg

Brett Howden and Filip Forsberg had an awkward collision near the side boards that resulted in the Golden Knights forward having to be stretched off late in the first period.

“I thought liberty was taken. He was in a vulnerable position and I thought he got driven into the boards from behind in a dangerous spot,” said Peter DeBoer, who was coaching his 1,000th NHL game. “My initial concern was obviously about our player. It was a really dangerous hit, and anytime you see someone get stretchered off your concern is there.”

After a long delay, Howden was taken to a local hospital. The most recent update was that he’s in stable condition and has full movement.

Watch Pastrnak collect the 14th hat trick of his career (12 in the regular season):

Considering all he went through lately, it’s nice of Golden Knights fans to give Evgenii Dadonov such a warm ovation:

Read up on Claude Giroux‘s Panthers debut in this post. Spencer Knight provided the highlight of Panthers – Canadiens with this beautiful save, though.

Brock Nelson and the Islanders are serious upset threats. They’re 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.

Thursday NHL Takeaways

Panthers win, Claude Giroux gets two assists in debut

Again, you can catch up on Giroux’s first game with the Panthers here. Here’s an extra tidbit from the league:

A playoff salary cap sounds like classic overthinking

Truly, it’s fascinating which aspects of “fairness” resonate with NHL GMs and other executives. Some complaints that actually matter get met with an eternal shrug. Mario Lemieux protested about obstruction to no avail. Connor McDavid couldn’t buy a single whistle despite being hooked and held relentlessly during a playoff series. Good luck getting any complaints about officiating to move the needle in all but the most trivial ways.

But complaints with some novelty might make waves. Even if they really don’t have much bearing on the game.

[NHL Trade Deadline Winners and Losers]

A dry scrape lasts about a nanosecond. Sean Avery antics demand the equivalent of emergency meetings. And now whining about teams being over the salary cap are at least being discussed.

The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun emphasized in his report (sub required) that this might not be a big deal. Yet, the notion that even some NHL GMs would overreact to Nikita Kucherov‘s T-shirt and other moments by extending the salary cap into the playoffs is … well, typical.

Scan your memories and think of how often two truly great teams have met in Stanley Cup Final series in recent years. How often do fans even get to see dream series?

The NHL should want teams to go for broke, yet a contender with injuries would theoretically face a whole new set of headaches with some overreaction of a move. We already might see some GMs go shy after seeing the Golden Knights possibly missing the playoffs. Why would we want to give the NHL another push away from leagues like the NBA, where trades and big moves create a ton of buzz?

For the sake of potential entertainment, let’s hope that idea doesn’t get any traction.

Friday’s big story

Potential playoff preview with Rangers vs. Penguins?

Right now, the Penguins would hold home-ice advantage in a potential playoff series against the Rangers.

Naturally, a lot can change between now and then. Yet, there’s a decent chance that the Penguins and Rangers could clash, and maybe Friday’s game would help determine who would maintain that home-ice advantage.

Outside of a possible playoff preview, Penguins – Rangers can be fun by sheer merit of the two teams’ trade deadline improvements.

Through two games, Rickard Rakell hasn’t yet generated a point for the Penguins. On the other hand, Andrew Copp generated two assists in his Rangers debut.

It should be intriguing to see how Rakell, Copp, and other trade deadline additions continue to settle in with the Penguins and Rangers respectively. Combine that with playoff implications, and how talented both teams are, and it should be a fun one.

Thursday NHL scores

Bruins 3, Lightning 2
Panthers 4, Canadiens 3
Stars 4, Hurricanes 3 (SO)
Islanders 5, Red Wings 2
Flyers 5, Blues 2
Wild 3, Canucks 2
Senators 5, Jets 2
Oilers 5, Sharks 2
Golden Knights 6, Predators 1
Blackhawks 4, Kings 3 (SO)

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:

    Ovechkin, and Ovi Jr., take the ice at All-Star skills night

    ovechkin all star
    Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports
    1 Comment

    SUNRISE, Fla. — When you’ve got the second-most goals in NHL history, you’re evidently permitted to bring a guest onto the ice for the All-Star Skills competition.

    That’s why there were two No. 8 Washington jerseys out there.

    Capitals star Alex Ovechkin took the ice with his Metropolitan Division teammates – and his oldest child, 4-year-old Sergei.

    Sergei, named for Ovechkin’s late brother, was wearing an Ovi Jr. jersey. The kid has built a bit of a following in recent weeks, after scoring a goal at a Caps practice in December and playing a role in helping the Washington crowd celebrate his dad’s 800th goal.

    It was Ovi Jr.’s first chance at being part of an All-Star weekend. His father hasn’t participated at All-Star since 2018, either because of COVID-19 or injuries. The last time his dad played in an All-Star event, Sergei hadn’t been born.

    Alex Ovechkin has 812 goals. He only trails Wayne Gretzky’s 894 in NHL history.

    And later in the night, Ovi Jr. got to center a line alongside his dad and Pittsburgh great Sidney Crosby. They each got an assist on a goal that Sergei scored – beating Roberto Luongo, the Florida great who came out of retirement for All-Star weekend.

    Said Ovechkin after his son scored: “I think he’s really enjoying it.”


    Luongo got to be part of one more All-Star competition.

    In a building where a banner bearing his No. 1 jersey hangs – he’s the only former Panthers player to have that distinction – Luongo was a celebrity goaltender during the Breakaway Challenge during the Skills Competition on Friday night.

    He stopped his lone shot in the breakaway, off the stick of Toronto’s Mitch Marner. On one hand, Marner is the Maple Leafs’ leading scorer this season. On the other hand, he was also wearing a white suit, sunglasses and a light blue T-shirt to keep with a “Miami Vice” theme.

    Luongo, who was regaled by “Luuuuu” chants from the Florida fans all night, was up to the challenge. Marner tried to beat him to the glove side, but Luongo got enough of it to make the save – then flopped forward to cover up the rebound, the smile clearly seen through his mask.

    “You got too close,” Luongo told Marner.

    Later, Luongo told ESPN during the telecast of the event that “this is my house. This is my home right here. The crease is my home.”

    Luongo’s pads paid tribute to his career – the design depicted his time both as a member of the Panthers and the Vancouver Canucks. They were a gift from CCM for his making the Hockey Hall of Fame.

    “I’d never put the pads on since I retired,” Luongo said. “First time I put them on was this week. Felt pretty good.”

    He also took part, and scored a goal, in a Florida alumni game on Wednesday night. But if there’s more alumni games, Luongo suggested he might jump back into the net.

    “It back some good memories tonight to be in the blue paint, hearing the chants,” Luongo said. “Maybe one day we’ll hear them again.”


    Sergei Ovechkin – who knocked a shot into an open net during a stoppage of the skills events – wasn’t the only child who got a great view of the night.

    Philadelphia forward Kevin Hayes has his 3-year-old nephew Beau with him for All-Star weekend. Beau’s father was Jimmy Hayes, Kevin Hayes’ brother.

    Jimmy Hayes was 31 when he died in 2021 with fentanyl and cocaine in his system. He played for four NHL teams, including Florida.

    Kevin Hayes is part of an All-Star weekend for the first time.


    “The Star-Spangled Banner” was performed by the South Florida Gay Men’s Chorus, and group crushed it – never minding that the crowd, representing several different fan bases, was going to shout some term specific to their team at various points in the lyrics.

    Florida fans shout along with “red” and “Knight,” one a nod to one of the team’s primary colors, the other for goaltender Spencer Knight. There also were some shouts from other fan bases; some St. Louis fans, for example, could be heard singing “home of the Blues” instead of “home of the brave” to close the song.

    And “O Canada” performer Hannah Walpole had some shouting as she sang as well, particularly when she reached the “true North” portion of those lyrics – something typically heard at Winnipeg games.


    Cale Makar, the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner from the Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche, was the first participant in the Fastest Skater event – the opening competition of the night. He fell coming around the second turn. … Tampa Bay’s Pat Maroon, one of the broadcasters on the event, reported that he was “freezing” by working at ice level. “I’m used to the gear,” said Maroon, who was in a blazer and open shirt Friday night. … A big hit for those used to the regular colors of FLA Live Arena – and basically all other hockey arenas – was the ocean-water-shade of blue used for the blue lines and the creases. The faceoff dots at the circles on either end of the ice aren’t the standard solid red this weekend, but depict an image of the sun instead.

    Capitals sign Dylan Strome to five-year, $25 million extension

    Chase Agnello-Dean/Getty Images

    FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Washington Capitals signed forward Dylan Strome to a five-year extension worth $25 million.

    The team announced the contract during NHL All-Star Weekend, which is taking place in South Florida – the place Strome was drafted third in 2015.

    Strome will count $5 million against the salary cap through the 2027-28 season. He was set to be a restricted free agent this summer.

    “Dylan is an intelligent and skilled center and has been a great addition to our organization,” general manager Brian MacLellan said. “We are pleased to sign him to a long-term contract. We feel his skill set is a great fit for our team as he enters the prime years of his career at an important position.”

    Strome is getting a raise from the $3.5 million deal he signed with the Capitals after the Chicago Blackhawks opted not to tender him a qualifying offer and made him a free agent. Strome has 11 goals and 25 assists in 36 games this season and ranks third on Washington’s roster with 14 power-play points.

    The Mississauga, Ontario, native who played his junior hockey alongside Connor McDavid with the Erie Otters has 206 points in 325 regular-season NHL games with the Arizona Coyotes, Blackhawks and Capitals.

    Golden Knights captain Mark Stone undergoes back surgery

    mark stone surgery
    Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports

    LAS VEGAS — Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone is out indefinitely after undergoing back surgery in Denver, the club announced.

    The Knights termed the procedure as successful and that Stone “is expected to make a full recovery.”

    This is the second time in less than a year that Stone has had back surgery. He also had a procedure May 19, 2022, and Stone said in December this was the best he had felt in some time.

    But he was injured Jan. 12 against the Florida Panthers, and his absence has had a noticeable effect on the Knights. They have gone 1-5-2 without Stone, dropping out of first place in the Pacific Division into third.

    Stone is second on the team in goals with 17 and in points with 38.

    Devils associate coach Andrew Brunette charged with DUI

    brunette dui
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
    1 Comment

    DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. — New Jersey Devils associate coach and former Florida Panthers head coach Andrew Brunette was arrested in South Florida while driving home from a bar in his golf cart, authorities said.

    Brunette, 49, was pulled over just blocks from the ocean in the Deerfield Beach area, north of Fort Lauderdale, according to a Broward Sheriff’s Office arrest report. He was charged with one count of driving under the influence and two counts of disobeying a stop or yield sign. Brunette was released on $500 bond.

    The Devils said in a statement that the team was aware of Brunette’s arrest and gathering additional information.

    According to the arrest report, a deputy was in the process of giving Brunette’s illegally parked golf cart a ticket around midnight when Brunette walked out of a nearby bar and told the deputy he was about to leave. The deputy said Brunette seemed unsteady on his feet and slurred his speech, and when he was joined by his wife, the deputy said he overheard the wife tell Brunette not to drive while the deputy was there.

    The deputy remained in the area and reported watching the couple drive away about 17 minutes later, according to the report. The deputy said he watched the golf cart run two stop signs before pulling Brunette over on a residential street about a mile away from his home. According to the report, Brunette had difficulty following instructions during a field sobriety test before eventually quitting and asking for an attorney. He also declined to take a breathe test to measure his blood-alcohol level, officials said.

    Online jail and court records didn’t list an attorney for Brunette.

    Brunette is in his first season as associate coach of the Devils. He was interim coach of the Florida Panthers last season after taking over when Joel Quenneville resigned for his connection to a 2010 Chicago Blackhawks sexual abuse scandal.

    The Panthers fired Brunette after they lost in the second round of the playoffs last spring despite him leading them to the Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s top team during the regular season.

    The Sudbury, Ontario, native played 1,159 NHL games for Washington, Nashville, Atlanta, Minnesota, Colorado and Chicago from 1995-2012. He was a Wild assistant in 2015-16 and worked on Florida’s staff from 2019-2022.