Minnesota Wild forward Eric Staal had to leave Tuesday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks after he was involved in a scary collision with a linesman along the boards in the first period.
As Staal and Anaheim forward Derek Grant raced for a puck, Staal went head first into linesman David Brisebois and immediately fell to the ice. He remained down for several minutes before finally being able to get to his feet and skate to the bench with assistance. He did not return to the game, while the Wild have yet to offer an update on his status.
You can see the play in the video above.
It could be a significant injury for the Wild as they are already playing without veterans Mikko Koivu and Jared Spurgeon due to injuries at the moment. Staal entered Tuesday’s game tied with Jason Zucker for the team lead in scoring with 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in his first 30 games this season for a Wild team that has rapidly been turning its season around after a brutal start.
The Ducks ended up winning Tuesday’s game, 3-2, in a shootout. The Wild are still 8-1-4 in their past 13 games.
1. Mats Zuccarello, Minnesota Wild. After a pretty miserable start to the season the Wild are starting to get back on track and picked up their fifth win in a row on Thursday by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-4. Zuccarello was the big star for the Wild with three points (his first three-point game of the season) including the game-winner in the third period. His goal came just eight seconds after Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn had tied the game. Things looked bleak for the Wild’s playoff chances in the first month of the season, but their win on Thursday moved them — at least temporarily — into the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.
2. Phil Kessel, Arizona Coyotes. And which team sits on top of the Pacific Division after Thursday’s action? It is none other than the Arizona Coyotes thanks to their 3-1 win in Philadelphia. They have been road warriors this season and now own a 10-3-3 record over their first 16 away games. They used a two-goal effort from Kessel — as well as another great goaltending performance — on Thursday to get their latest win. Kessel has yet to make the big offensive impact the Coyotes were hoping for this season, but he tends to score goals in bunches and maybe this is the start of one of those runs. Arizona is back in action on Friday when Kessel makes his first return to Pittsburgh since the Penguins traded him over the summer.
3. Alexandar Georgiev, New York Rangers. Artemi Panarin scored the game-winning goal in his return to Columbus, but the biggest difference maker for the Rangers in their 3-2 win was their goalie. Georgiev was sensational, stopping 45 out of 47 shots in helping to steal one for the blue shirts. Read all about that game here.
Other notable performances from Thursday
Petr Mrazek had an eventful night for the Carolina Hurricanes in their 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. He stopped a lot of shots, picked up a shootout win, and got punched in the face. Read all about it here.
Joe Pavelski scored the overtime winner for the Dallas Stars in their 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
The Chicago Blackhawks let a 3-0 third period lead slip away in Boston against the Bruins, but Jonathan Toews bailed them out in overtime with the game-winning goal.
Milan Lucic was finally able to get his first goal of the season for the Calgary Flames. It turned out to be the game-winning goal in a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Matt Calvert had a goal and an assist for the Colorado Avalanche in their 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
Highlights of the Night
The Wild looked like the Harlem Globetrotters and the Lightning looked like the Washington Generals on this Jason Zucker goal.
The Colorado Avalanche have their top line back together, and Gabriel Landeskog wasted no time in making an impact in his return to the lineup.
Maybe this is the shot that gets Johnny Gaudreau rolling for the Calgary Flames.
Blooper of the Night
Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk accidentally hip-checked a referee in their 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
It was a highly competitive night around the league with eight of the nine games being decided by a single goal, including four overtime games. The only game decided by more than one goal was Arizona’s 3-1 win over Philadelphia, and even that was a one-goal game until a late empty-net goal from Kessel. [NHL PR]
Thanks to Ryan Pulock‘s overtime goal the New York Islanders extended their point streak on home ice to 12 games. [NHL PR]
Jonathan Toews’ overtime goal in Boston was the 14th of his career in the regular season, moving him into a tie for 10th place on the NHL’s all-time list. [NHL PR]
Chicago Blackhawks 4, Boston Bruins 3 (OT)
Colorado Avalanche 3, Montreal Canadiens 2
Minnesota Wild 5, Tampa Bay Lightning 4
New York Islanders 3, Vegas Golden Knights 2 (OT)
Arizona Coyotes 3, Philadelphia Flyers 1
Carolina Hurricanes 3, San Jose Sharks 2 (SO)
New York Rangers 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 2
Dallas Stars 3, Winnipeg Jets 2 (OT)
Calgary Flames 4, Buffalo Sabres 3
It’s felt like the Golden Knights haven’t had the greatest luck at times so far this season, and Marchessault fits into that argument, carrying what would be a career-high 5.3 shooting percentage into Wednesday’s game. It’s now at 7.7 percent after Tuesday.
While Marchessault crept into Tuesday a little cold, Carlson has been ghost pepper-hot for basically all of 2019-20. Carlson scored one goal and two assists during Washington’s win against San Jose, pushing the defenseman to a whopping 40 points in just 29 games. No other defenseman has reached 30 points yet (Dougie Hamilton is second with 28).
Carlson isn’t quite hanging with the absolute top scorers in the NHL any longer, but he’s still holding up pretty well, standing at sixth right now.
For more context on just how special Carlson’s start has been, check the factoids. To help his cause for a strong Tuesday, both of Carlson’s assists were primary assists, and his goal was the game-winner.
NHL PR has some impressive John Carlson stats. Carlson is the first defenseman to reach 40 points in 29 games or less since Al MacInnis did so in 1990-91. Also, only three other defensemen beyond Carlson and MacInnis managed to generate at least 40 points in 29 games or less: Bobby Orr (who absurdly did so six times), Denis Potvin (twice), and Paul Coffey once. Yeah, pretty solid, Carlson.
The Montreal Canadiens beat the New York Islanders on Tuesday, ending an eight-game winless streak. The Boston Bruins were the last team to beat the Habs, and after blanking the Hurricanes, the Bruins are now on an eight-game winning streak. The Flyers are on a smaller-but-still-impressive five-game winning streak, which is notable also because of how sore the Maple Leafs were about it.
One could picture Boudreau saying “Just make it up to me on the ice,” and Zucker did just that on Sunday. The strong two-way player scored the game’s opening goal on the power play, and sent a fantastic pass to Zach Parise for the game-winner.
He also had another attempt that could have easily counted as a second goal, but Keith Kinkaid made the save that will be featured later in this post …
Sunday was a night of rest for NHL offenses, as few players really lit up the scoreboard.
You can boil some of that down to strong netminding. Above, you have Hellebuyck, who was nearly met by Smith in that game. Braden Holtby made 41 saves for a win, and Cam Talbot had a nice night for Calgary, stopping 29 of 30 shots.
Markstrom gets the slight edge over those goalies – plus his opponent Henrik Lundqvist, who made 40 saves, but allowed three goals – by generating 38 saves while allowing two goals in Vancouver’s tight win against the Rangers. Read this for more about the start for Markstrom and Thatcher Demko.
Highlight of the Night
Here’s that Kinkaid stop on Zucker:
Every game was either decided by one goal, or one goal plus an empty-netter. NHL PR notes that about 53 percent (68 of 128) games this season have been that close.
John Carlson really slacked on Sunday, only getting an assist. He’s at 18 points, becoming one of only three defensemen to manage that many through 10 games, joining Paul Coffey (20[!] in 1988-89) and Bobby Orr (who did it twice), according to NHL PR. Carlson’s 18 points stands alone as the top mark in the NHL so far, as Connor McDavid remained parked at 17.
NHL PR points out that the Wild are 7-0-0 in their last seven home games against the Canadiens, and Montreal hasn’t even earned a pity point during that stretch, going 0-7-0.
VAN 3 – NYR 2
MIN 4 – MTL 3
WSH 5 – CHI 3
WPG 1 – EDM 0 (SO)
CGY 2 – ANA 1