Big night for Sharks, Pavelski, Marleau
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:
San Jose still loves you, Pavs. 💙 pic.twitter.com/jMmipK2wbl
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) January 12, 2020
If that didn’t jampack people with feelings, consider that Patrick Marleau became just the fifth player in NHL history to reach 1,700 regular-season games played. (I specify regular season because the dude also has 191 playoff games under his belt.)
So, does Marleau just loaf around? Nope, he scored the game-winner, folks.
Sharks fans cannot be blamed for feeling nostalgic. Especially since, unfortunately, the present isn’t looking quite as bright as the past at this moment.
1. James Reimer, Carolina Hurricanes
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?
*Looks at Sergei Bobrovsky‘s 2019-20 stats and cringes.*
2. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
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.
3. Elias Lindholm, Calgary Flames
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 Kassian lose 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
- 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