Along with being named the NHL’s first star of the week, he is also being added to the Atlantic Division All-Star team where he will replace Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask.
This will be the third consecutive season that Vasilevskiy will appear in the NHL All-Star Game.
In 33 appearances this season he has a 22-9-2 record to go with a .915 save percentage.
While his overall numbers are down a bit for the season, he has started to get on a roll in recent weeks and has been nearly unbeatable since the start of December. He has been one of the players driving Tampa Bay’s climb back up the standings — including their recent 10-game winning streak — as they once again start to look like a Stanley Cup contender and one of the league’s elite teams.
By removing himself from the game, Rask will have to sit out one Bruins game immediately before or after the All-Star break.
Kris Letang named captain of Metropolitan Division team
The other piece of All-Star Game news on Monday is that Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang has been named captain of the Metropolitan Division team.
Letang was added to the game as a replacement for Pittsburgh teammate Jake Guentzel who is currently sidelined with a shoulder injury. This is Letang’s sixth All-Star game appearance. In 37 games so far this season he has 10 goals and 28 total points.
The NHL All-Star weekend will take place on January 24-25 in St. Louis.
The struggling Sharks beating the surging Stars would have been noteworthy in its own right. After all, the Stars entered Saturday on a six-game winning streak.
Stories revolving around the Sharks’ 2-1 win ended up being a bigger deal.
Joe Pavelski returning to San Jose was very big out of any context, and the Sharks let him know how much his time was valued. They shared a tremendous ode to his long run with the team, and did so before the game, not during it:
Saturday provided slim pickings when it came to gargantuan offensive performances. Goalies enjoyed some of the better nights, and Reimer stood as likely the best.
The Kings remain a quietly pesky team in controlling shot volume, in a strange way flipping the script on Carolina. Either way, Reimer was game to the task, pitching a 41-save shutout. He now has 10 wins and three shutouts on the season, with an improved .917 save percentage. Maybe all of those goals allowed in Florida weren’t all Reimer’s fault?
Ilya Kovalchuk stole the show by scoring his first Habs goal in overtime. Montreal needed Price to get there, though, as the veteran goalie stopped 41 of the 42 shots he faced. Price’s 17-16-4 record looks more impressive when you realize that Kovalchuk’s OTGWG snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Habs.
Saturday provided quite the logjam at two goals, and even larger traffic nightmare for two-point nights. So, feel free to replace Lindholm with another player who enjoyed a strong Saturday, such as Brock Boeser and his two goals via eight shots on goal.
Lindholm works pretty well. For one thing, his second of two goals ended up being a game-winner. Not only that, but the game-winner connects to the controversy of Saturday, as Lindholm scored during a power play drawn thanks to Matthew Tkachuk making Zack Kassianlose his mind. If you even mildly enjoy trash talk, head to this post.
Oh, and Lindholm also went 13-7 on faceoffs, which is pretty strong considering that he has only been back at center on something of a temporary basis.
Highlight of the Night
Yes, this got lost in the shuffle. Still, don’t totally allow Connor McDavid being shot out of a cannon — or as many jokes, hit the turbo button in a video game — for a conclusively absurd goal. In typical McDavid on Oilers fashion, it wasn’t enough to win, but it did manage to amaze.
Chaos between Tkachuk and Kassian
To save you a click (but you should go here and here anyway, because you’d otherwise miss a lot), here is the moment of eruptive violence:
Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins generated his first career shutout in … well, where would you guess? At least, knowing that Memphis doesn’t have a team, and that the Predators would count as cheating? Of course he generated his first shutout against the Vegas Golden Knights, silly.
The Lightning tied their franchise record with their 10th consecutive win on Saturday. The Bolts became the fourth team to author at least two 10+ win streaks in consecutive seasons. The most recent team to join them stings, recent (2016-17 and 2017-18) renditions of the Columbus Blue Jackets. (Via NHL PR) Andrei Vasilevskiy pitched two shutouts in a row, pushing a shutout streak to 145:55.
NHL PR notes Marleau hitting 1,700 games, and points out Gordie Howe’s record of 1,767, as if to mutter “just saying …” Sportsnet Stats notes that Marleau is the only one of those five players to score a goal in said 1,700th game, which means he’s also the only one to manage a GWG.
Kovalchuk scored his 16th regular-season overtime goal. That total ties Kovalchuk with Patrik Elias and Daniel Sedin for third all-time, according to NHL PR.
VAN 6 – BUF 3
MTL 2 – OTT 1 OT
BOS 3 – NYI 2 OT
TBL 1 – PHI 0
NJD 5 – WSH 1
CAR 2 – LAK 0
STL 5 – NYR 2
CHI 4 – ANA 2
CGY 4 – EDM 3
CBJ 3 – VGK 0
SJS 2 – DAL 1
The Tampa Bay Lightning keep making it clear: they’re back. During much of what is now a 10-game winning streak, the Lightning blared that message with lopsided beatdowns. In Saturday’s case, it was more of a suffocating affair, as the Lightning clogged things up to shut out the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0.
Lightning show versatility in pushing winning streak to 10 games
Remember whenAndrei Vasilevskiy wasn’t exactly looking like a goalie worthy of an eight-year, $76 million extension? Well, Vasi is looking like 9.5 million bucks (per year) lately, as he’s now authored consecutive shutouts for a streak of 145:55. The Bolts are showing that they can win in different ways, with recent victories revolving around strong goaltending and stingy defense.
The Lightning also tied their franchise record with this 10-game winning streak.
And, hey, when you win this many games, you probably get a few bounces here or there. Patrick Maroon took advantage of such a bounce for Saturday’s only goal:
Unfortunately, Maroon’s other big bounce involved a scary bump into the boards:
The Flyers deserve credit for carving out such a close game against the Lightning, particularly with injury losses mounting. After all, Tampa Bay trounced its last three opponents by an intimidating combined score of 16-3.
Upcoming threats to Lightning streak
So, what are the most likely end points for the Lightning’s run?
“Any night” ranks as the fairest response in the parity-packed NHL, but let’s put that aside for a moment. Looking at the Lightning’s schedule, they play seven of their next eight games on the road. That stretch includes Sunday’s game in New Jersey where both the Bolts and the Devils close off back-to-back sets. Pondering it on-paper, some of the toughest matchups include a Jan. 16 date at the Wild, and a Jan. 27 road game against the almost-as-hot Stars.
(Again, though, the Devils could easily end it on Sunday … because hockey.)
Lindblom receives a warm welcome
Flyers fans gave Oskar Lindblom a standing ovation in one of the best moments of the night:
Lindblom brought some “sunshine” to a recent Flyers practice, too. Alain Vigneault beamed about the visit, which you can learn more about at NBC Sports Philadelphia.
1. William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs. Following a restricted free agent contract dispute and a down 2018-19 performance, Nylander became a popular target for criticism in Toronto. Not anymore. He continued what is turning out to be a massive breakout season on Thursday night by scoring two more goals and adding an assist in the Maple Leafs’ 6-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets. The Maple Leafs are now 14-4-1 under new coach Sheldon Keefe and 8-0-1 in their past nine games. Nylander has 19 goals and 38 total points in 41 games this season. That puts him on a pace for 38 goals and 76 points over 82 games. That level of production makes his $6 million cap hit a bargain.
2. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche. MacKinnon got the Avalanche rolling with a late first period goal and never slowed down as the cruised to a huge 7-3 win over the St. Louis Blues. He recorded his fourth four-point game of the season, most in the NHL. It is his ninth since the start of the 2017-18 season, tied for second-most in the league (behind only Nikita Kucherov) during that stretch. Read more about the Avalanche’s big win here.
3. J.T. Miller, Vancouver Canucks. Miller continues to be a massive addition to the Canucks’ lineup and helped them win their sixth game in a row with his second four-point game of the season. He opened the scoring with an early first period goal, then added three assists, including the lone assist on Adam Gaudette‘s game winning goal in a wild 7-5 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. He has at least one point in five of the Canucks’ six games during this streak and continues to help push them toward a playoff spot. They paid a steep price to get him, but he has been worth it so far.
Other notable performances from Thursday
Pierre-Luc Dubois‘ overtime goal against the Boston Bruins helped the Columbus Blue Jackets improved to 8-0-4 in their past 12 games.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 38 shots to help the Tampa Bay Lightning pick up a huge 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
Jonathan Huberdeau remained hot and Evgeni Dadonov had three points as the Florida Panthers used a four-goal second period to storm by the Ottawa Senators.
Brent Burns scored an overtime goal and Aaron Dell made 36 saves to help the San Jose Sharks get a much-needed 3-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
All 12 Arizona Coyotes forwards recorded a point in their 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks.
Max Pacioretty continued to be a dominant force for the Vegas Golden Knights as he scored two more goals in their 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
Johnny Gadreau had a goal and an assist for the Calgary Flames as they beat the New York Rangers.
Highlights of the Night
It did not result in a win, but Patrik Laine finished with 13 shots on goal for the Winnipeg Jets and scored this beauty of a goal after turning Morgan Rielly inside out.
This is only a blooper in the sense that it should NEVER HAPPEN if you are the New York Rangers. They allowed Calgary’s Mikael Backlund to score a shorthanded goal in a 3-on-5 situation. That was the difference in a 4-3 Flames win.
David Pastrnak is the first Bruins player since Cam Neely during the 1993-94 season to score his 30th goal in 42 or fewer games. [NHL PR]
With his assist on Brent Burns’ overtime goal, Joe Thornton collected the 1,080th assist of his career to move him into sole possession of seventh place on the NHL’s all-time list. [NHL PR]
Columbus Blue Jackets 2, Boston Bruins 1 (OT)
Buffalo Sabres 3, Edmonton Oilers 2 (OT)
Tampa Bay Lightning 2, Montreal Canadiens 1
New Jersey Devils 2, New York Islanders 1
San Jose Sharks 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 2 (OT)
Florida Panthers 6, Ottawa Senators 3
Toronto Maple Leafs 6, Winnipeg Jets 3
Calgary Flames 4, New York Rangers 3
Arizona Coyotes 4, Anaheim Ducks 2
Colorado Avalanche 7, St. Louis Blues 3
Vancouver Canucks 7, Chicago Blackhawks 5
Vegas Golden Knights 5, Philadelphia Flyers 4