David Rittich

The Buzzer: Golden Knights win DeBoer’s debut; Hats off to Ovechkin

Leave a comment

Three Stars

1. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals. Another milestone for the greatest goal scorer to ever play in the NHL. He recorded his 25th career hat trick on Thursday night and reached the 30-goal mark for the 15th consecutive season to start his career, a feat accomplished only by him and Mike Gartner. Read more about it here.

2. David Rittich, Calgary Flames. Huge night for the All-Star goalie as he stopped 35 shots during regulation and overtime and all three shots he faced in a shootout to help lift the Flames to a 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Flames have now won six of their past seven games. Thanks to the Arizona Coyotes’ loss to the Vancouver Canucks, the Flames are now tied for first place in the Pacific Division.

3. Mark Stone, Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights won Peter DeBoer’s coaching debut on Thursday night, 4-2, over the Ottawa Senators thanks to a big game from Stone. He scored a goal and recorded an assist in his first game back in Ottawa as a visiting player. Stone played the first six-and-a-half years of his career with the Senators and was one of the team’s best players during his time there. He was a key part of their 2016-17 run to the Eastern Conference Final and became one of the league’s best two-way players. The Senators traded him to Vegas at the trade deadline a year ago. He received a lengthy ovation from the Ottawa crowd on Thursday.

Other notable performances from Thursday

  • Jaroslav Halak gave up a goal to Sidney Crosby just 24 seconds into the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, then slammed the door shut the right of the night to help the Boston Bruins to a 4-1 win.
  • John Tortorella recorded his 200th win as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets in their 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. It is a huge win for the Blue Jackets and a costly game for the Hurricanes as defenseman Dougie Hamilton exited the game with a nasty looking leg injury. Read about it here.
  • The Minnesota Wild snapped their four-game losing streak with an impressive win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Read about it here.
  • Sam Montembeault replaced an injured Chris Driedger in the Florida Panthers’ net and helped them get a big win over the Los Angeles Kings.
  • Ilya Kovalchuk continued his great play with the Montreal Canadiens by scoring two goals in a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. He now has three goals and seven total points in seven games since joining the Canadiens.
  • Rasmus Dahlin scored his third goal of the season to help the Buffalo Sabres beat the Dallas Stars.
  • John Gibson stopped 33 shots for the Anaheim Ducks as they hand the Nashville Predators their seventh defeat in their past 10 games.
  • Philipp Grubauer stops all 27 shots he faces in a shutout win for the Colorado Avalanche over the San Jose Sharks.
  • Jake Virtanen avoids a suspension earlier in the day and then scores the game-winning goal for the Vancouver Canucks in a big win over the Arizona Coyotes.

Highlights of the Night

This might have been Rittich’s biggest and best save of the night.

Cam Atkinson wasted no time making an impact in his return to the Blue Jackets’ lineup with this assist early in the first period.

Chris Kreider scores a game-winning power play with 30 seconds to play in regulation to help give the New York Rangers a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders.

Blooper of the Night

After whiffing on a shootout attempt earlier this week, Brad Marchand had some more problems on a breakaway.

Auston Matthews tried the lacrosse move and it did not work.

Factoids

  • Cale Makar scored his 10th goal of the season for the Colorado Avalanche, tying him for the most in franchise history for a rookie defenseman. [NHL PR]
  • Patrice Bergeron reached the 20-goal mark for the 11th time in his career, the second most in Bruins franchise history behind only John Buyck. [NHL PR]
  • Capitals goalie Ilya Samsonov is the 10th rookie goalie to ever win nine consecutive decisions during the regular season. [NHL PR]

Scores

Boston Bruins 4, Pittsburgh Penguins 1
Calgary Flames 2, Toronto Maple Leafs 1 (SO)
Florida Panthers 4, Los Angeles Kings 3
New York Rangers 3, New York Islanders 2
Montreal Canadiens 4, Philadelphia Flyers 1
Washington Capitals 5, New Jersey Devils 2
Columbus Blue Jackets 3, Carolina Hurricanes 2
Vegas Golden Knights 4, Ottawa Senators 2
Anaheim Ducks 4, Nashville Predators 2
Minnesota Wild 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 2
Buffalo Sabres 4, Dallas Stars 1
Colorado Avalanche 4, San Jose Sharks 0
Vancouver Canucks 3, Arizona Coyotes 1

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Flames’ David Rittich replaces Darcy Kuemper at 2020 NHL All-Star Game

NHL All-Star Game
Getty

Calgary Flames goalie David Rittich is going to his first ever NHL All-Star Game.

The league announced on Wednesday that Rittich will serve as the replacement for injured Arizona Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper on the Pacific Division team. Kuemper is currently sidelined on a week-to-week basis with a lower-body injury.

Rittich has posted .913 save percentage to go with an 18-11-5 record for the Flames this season. He will join teammates Matthew Tkachuk and Mark Giordano on the Pacific Division roster.

Originally undrafted, the Flames signed Rittich in May, 2016, after he spent two years playing professionally in the Czech league. He eventually worked his way up the Flames’ depth chart and played a role in their 2018-19 turnaround that saw them finish as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

After splitting time with Mike Smith a year ago, this is his first year as the Flames’ No. 1 goalie.

The NHL All-Star weekend takes place January 24-25 in St. Louis.

MORE NHL ALL-STAR GAME COVERAGE:
• All-Star Game rosters
• NHL All-Star Game captains
• All-Star Game coaches
• Pass or Fail: 2020 All-Star Game jerseys
• Alex Ovechkin will not play in 2020 All-Star Game

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Svechnikov scores another lacrosse-style goal for Hurricanes (Video)

Andrei Svechnikov Lacrosse Goal
NHL
1 Comment

Andrei Svechnikov is perfecting the lacrosse-style goal at the NHL level.

For the second time this season the Hurricanes’ emerging superstar used the move to find the back of the net, this time pulling it off against Connor Hellebuyck and the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night.

This one broke a 2-2 tie late in the second period and is his 14th goal of the season.

Have a look!

After scoring 20 goals as a rookie, Svechnikov has come back even better this season and is now on pace for more than 30 goals in year two of his career. He has been one of the best players on an increasingly exciting Hurricanes team and is one of the best young players in the league. Keep in mind he is still only 19 years old.

We have seen this move quite a bit over the years in college and junior hockey, but no one has ever really attempted at the NHL level until Svechnikov came along.

He has now successfully pulled it off twice in two months.

His first lacrosse goal came against David Rittich and the Calgary Flames back in October. And with that, every NHL goalie and defense is on notice that he is not only willing to try it, he can absolutely score with it. So be ready.

More: Svechnikov’s lacrosse-style goal is must-see

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Flames haven’t solved their problems, but losing streak is over

1 Comment

Winning a single game doesn’t solve many problems (at least during an 82-game regular season), but it can at least ease some tensions.

After Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving called himself horse-blank and absorbed most of the blame for the team’s six-game losing streak, his team didn’t really play all that well against the Philadelphia Flyers during a Saturday afternoon — but they got the win, by way of a 3-2 shootout decision.

While Treliving painted himself as the main man to take the blame, one person made the difference most of all: goalie David Rittich. The Flyers generated a 38-27 shots on goal advantage, and the edge was starker in other regards. For instance: the Flyers more than doubled the Flames in scoring chances (29-13) and high-danger opportunities (13-6) at even-strength, according to Natural Stat Trick.

Again, getting the win only masks a shaky effort so much.

… Although maybe the Flames will take it for a little bit more than it’s worth, and it’s hard to totally blame them for that.

Beyond the more direct issue of losing out on points and thus falling behind your competition, going through a prolonged losing streak can create other negative ripple effects. You can get discouraged from doing what’s most likely to work, just because it hasn’t worked lately.

There are some worrisome signs in that regard. Long-term, you probably don’t want to lean on Zac Rinaldo for too many NHL shifts in 2019-20. There’s an argument for putting Milan Lucic on a power play unit as a screening presence, but that might be a better plan for your secondary group than your top five. And so on.

Beyond the subjective, we have bottom-line truths: the Flames’ six-game losing streak is over, and they’re now at 11-12-3.

By no means are they out of the woods yet, but maybe they’ll see a little light shining through now that they broke that slump.

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.

Kuemper slams Tkachuk to ice, nearly sparks goalie fight (Video)

4 Comments

You can add Arizona Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper to the lengthy list of players around the NHL that has snapped in the presence of Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk.

Late in the second period of the Coyotes’ 3-0 win on Saturday afternoon, Kuemper came to the defense of his teammate, defenseman Jason Demers, and slammed Tkachuk to the ice setting off a chaotic line brawl that nearly ended with a goalie fight.

It all started when Demers knocked Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau to the ice away from the play.

Gaudreau responded by skating up behind Demers and cross-checking him in the back, knocking him to the ice. While Demers was down on the ice, Gaudreau and Tkachuk each got in a little extra shot and it was at that point that Kuemper decided to enter the situation.

Once that happened, Flames goalie David Rittich stormed the length of the ice and tried to come to the defense of his teammate. The two goalies never actually fought, but they did both receive their share of penalties. Kuemper was assessed two roughing minors, while Rittich was given a two-minute penalty for leaving the crease to join an altercation.

Kuemper now has 20 penalty minutes since the start of the 2017-18 season which is by far the highest total of any goalie in the league. Rittich (now with 10) is the only other goalie with more than eight.

Tkachuk was also given four minutes for roughing, while Gaudreau received two minutes for cross-checking and Demers was assessed two for roughing.

You can see the entire sequence in the video above.

As for the actual game itself, it was a huge day for Kuemper as he stopped 38 shots to record the shutout and help the Coyotes improve to 12-7-2 on the season.

It is his second shutout of the season and improved his save percentage to an outstanding .937 in 14 appearances.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.