NHL Rink Wrap: Huberdeau, Panthers dominate again; Price returns

NHL Scores Jonathan Huberdeau Panthers
Joel Auerbach, Getty Images

Top player in the NHL on Friday

Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers

Another night, another dominant showing for Jonathan Huberdeau and the Florida Panthers offense. Huberdeau scored two goals and added an assist in the Panthers’ 6-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets, increasing their lead in the Atlantic Division. Huberdeau is now up to 108 points for the season (second highest in the league, just two points behind Connor McDavid) while the Panthers continue to average more than four goals per game. This win on Friday is the 16th time they have scored at least six goals in a game this season. Just an unbelievable offense.

Highlights from around the NHL on Friday

Carey Price has his return spoiled by the New York Islanders.

Gustav Forsling also scored a pair of goals for the Panthers on Friday night.

Zach Parise with the game winning goal for the New York Islanders.

Three takeaways from the NHL on Friday

Carey Price returns

A welcome sight for Montreal Canadiens fans on Friday night as Carey Price was finally back on the ice to make his 2021-22 season debut. The Islanders spoiled his return with a 3-0 win, but Canadiens fans were still thrilled to see Price back on the ice for the first time since he helped lead the team to the Stanley Cup Final. The Canadiens mostly insulated him on Friday and pretty much outplayed the Islanders, but they were unable to solve Ilya Sorokin while the Islanders struck for two quick goals in the third period.

Ilya Sorokin the bright spot for the Islanders this season

The New York Islanders have not had the season they wanted or expected, but you can not fault Ilya Sorokin for that. He has been one of the best goalies in the league this season and was sensational on Friday night, stopping all 44 shots he faced for his seventh shutout of the season. He now has a .928 save percentage for the season and is quickly establishing himself as an elite, upper-tier goalie. He is a big reason why the Islanders should be a factor in the playoff discussion next season.

Tristan Jarry injury is worth watching

Tristan Jarry has had a great bounce back season for the Pittsburgh Penguins and been a big part of their 16th consecutive trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He is also probably their biggest X-factor in the playoffs given the way his postseason appearance went a year ago. That is why the news that he is dealing with a lower-body injury that he suffered in Thursday’s playoff clinching victory over the New York Islanders is such a significant deal. He is not making the trip with the team to Boston for Saturday’s game, while Casey DeSmith will get the start for the third time in the past four games. The Penguins do not play again until Thursday after Saturday’s game (also against Boston) so he does have a few days, and there are still a a couple of weeks before the playoffs begin to give him some time. It is still something to monitor given how good he has been this season and how unproven DeSmith is as a starter. In the short-term the Penguins are very low on salary cap space to even make a recall if Jarry has to miss any additional time.

Saturday’s big story

The Pacific Division playoff race has a huge day as the Vegas Golden Knights take on the Edmonton Oilers while the Los Angeles Kings host the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Golden Knights and Kings enter the day separated by just  a single point while the Golden Knights still have an important game in hand remaining on the Kings. That puts them just barely ahead of the Kings based on points percentage. Los Angeles is fading fast in that race while the Golden Knights are on a roll and finally getting healthy. That Golden Knights-Oilers game is a potential First Round matchup if Vegas makes the playoffs. That would not be fun for Edmonton.

Friday’s NHL Scores

New York Islanders 3, Montreal Canadiens 0
Florida Panthers 6, Winnipeg Jets 1

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