NHL Rewind: Evgeni Malkin joins elite company, Devils win 13th straight game
It’s time to put a bow on another weekend in the NHL. We saw the New Jersey Devils extend their insane winning streak while a Pittsburgh Penguins star celebrated a milestone.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the league’s top plays from the weekend as well the top storylines.
Goal of the weekend: Connor McDavid produces unreal overtime winner
Connor McDavid is enough of a mismatch when it’s five-on-five. When it’s three-on-three in overtime, the Edmonton Oilers star is nearly a human cheat code.
In Saturday’s 4-3 overtime win over the Vegas Golden Knights, McDavid received the puck from teammate Darnell Nurse, blew by Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and lifted the puck past goaltender Adin Hill to win the game in dramatic fashion. The play was made possible by a terrific read from Nurse, who hit a cutting McDavid after he elected to bring the puck back out of the offensive zone.
At the drop of a hat, McDavid got the puck on his stick and immediately made a beeline for the net. Hill had no chance on the play and almost shook his head in complete disbelief over what McDavid just did.
It also was a huge victory for an Oilers team that has been inconsistent throughout the month of November.
Robbery of the weekend: Cam Talbot flashes the leather
It was the weekend for the leather around the NHL as several goalies made terrific gloves saves. If you haven’t seen it, make sure you check out San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer committing a robbery on New York Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey with a terrific glove save.
While Reimer’s save was ridiculous in its own right, the save of the weekend has to go to Ottawa Senators netminder Cam Talbot. After the Senators couldn’t clear the zone against the New Jersey Devils, winger Nathan Bastian had the puck on his stick right in front of the net and Talbot was completely out of position. Still, Talbot somehow managed to whip his glove into the air and snag Bastian’s shot at point-blank range.
As you can see on the play, Bastian started to look up to the sky as he believed that he was going to score. Who could blame him in that close and the goalie leaving the entire net wide-open. Talbot’s save has to be an early nominee for “save of the year” without question, considering what he had to do to stop the puck.
Devils make it a baker’s dozen
Will the New Jersey Devils ever lose again? They defeated the Edmonton Oilers, 5-2, on Monday night to extend their winning streak to 13 games.
The Oilers managed to give the Devils a pretty good fight for much of the game, and it was even a one-goal game in the third period. That’s when Tomas Tatar swatted his own rebound out of the air and knocked it into the back of the net. You know a team is hot when its making plays like this.
New Jersey is now just four wins behind the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins’ record of 17 straight wins in a single season. The Devils could break that record on Dec. 1 with a home game against the Nashville Predators, and their schedule sets up well. New Jersey does have to play the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, but that’s at home, and then it gets the Buffalo Sabres and Washington Capitals on back-to-back days.
If they win all those games, the Devils would be able to tie the 92-93 Penguins with a road game against the rival New York Rangers next Monday.
Evgeni Malkin plays in 1,000th career game
Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin reached a historic milestone on Sunday when he suited up for the 1,000th game of his NHL career. In doing so, Malkin joined some pretty elite company. Malkin entered the game with 1,165 career points (451 goals & 714 assists) during his time with the Penguins.
Only 16 players in NHL history have recorded more points than Malkin through the first 1,000 games of their respective career.
In addition, Malkin has the second-most points among active NHL players that have appeared in 1,000 games. Only teammate Sidney Crosby registered more points with 1,278 to his credit.
“I appreciate every player who played with me. It’s like, unbelievable. It’s an emotional night for me, for sure. I say thank you to the team, they give me two points, Sid scored in last like three minutes and score empty net,” Malkin said. “Amazing night, it’s a great memory for me, for sure.”
On the historic night, Malkin scored a second period goal to help the Penguins defeat the Chicago Blackhawks.
Daniil Tarasov records second-most saves in Blue Jackets history
Prior to Sunday’s game against the Florida Panthers, the Columbus Blue Jackets placed starting goaltender Elvis Merzlikins on injured reserve due to a hip injury. Merzlikins is slated to be out of the lineup for a week or two.
In their first game following the move, Blue Jackets goalie Daniil Tarasov recorded 47 saves on 50 shots in a 5-3 Blue Jackets’ win over the Panthers. Tarasov came up huge down the stretch as he turned away 17 of the 18 shots he faced in the final period.
Tarasov’s 47 saves were the most by a rookie goaltender in the NHL this season. It marked the second-most saves by a Blue Jackets rookie goalie as only Pascal Leclaire had more with 48 on Jan. 14, 2006. In addition, only four NHL goaltenders have tallied more saves throughout the 2022-23 season so far: Anton Forsberg (53 on Oct. 29), Andrei Vasilevskiy (52 on Nov. 3), Anthony Stolarz (48 on Nov. 5) and Carter Hart (48 on Oct. 27).
It was Tarasov’s first start since Oct. 25 after being recalled from the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League.
“You need someone to hold fort for you,” Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen said. “You look at all the good teams — their goalies do that for them. And (Tarasov) did it pretty much all night tonight.”
Blackhawks retire Marian Hossa’s No. 81
Prior to Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Chicago Blackhawks retired Marian Hossa’s No. 81 in a pregame ceremony. Hossa’s jersey got raised to the rafters where it joined a host of Blackhawk greats atop the United Center.
“It is such an honor to be here tonight and to share this with all of you,” Hossa said during his 20-minute speech. “It is incredibly humbling to have my No. 81 forever hung here.”
Several of Hossa’s former Chicago teammates were in attendance for the special ceremony. Current Blackhawk forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews took part in addition to Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Niklas Hjalmarsson. Hossa also joined the six players for a photo alongside the Stanley Cup, which the group won together in 2010, 2013, and 2015.
Appointment viewing this week
Rangers at Kings | Tuesday, Nov. 22: This is an interesting game because these are two good teams that have gotten off to a somewhat inconsistent start to the 2022-23 season. It feels like the Kings and Rangers have another gear, and we’ll see if either side gets there on Tuesday night.
Bruins at Panthers | Wednesday, Nov. 23: Aside from the Devils, the Bruins are the hottest team in the NHL, but they will be challenged with a road game against the Panthers on Thanksgiving Eve. Florida has had its share of issues to this point, but it is still a very talented team.
Maple Leafs at Devils | Wednesday, Nov. 23: As we mentioned above, the Devils will be going for 14 straight wins against the Maple Leafs, and this is one of their toughest games on their road to breaking the NHL record for consecutive wins. Toronto took New Jersey to overtime last week. Hopefully we get another thriller this week.
Blues at Lightning | Friday, Nov. 23: After losing eight games in a row, the Blues have now won seven straight games. They instantly went from being one of the coldest teams in the league to being one of the hottest. They’ll get a heat check when they play the Bolts in Tampa this Friday.
Stars at Avalanche | Saturday, Nov. 24: This is a battle of the top two teams in the Central Division, and the Avs aren’t No. 1. The Stars have found new life under Peter DeBoer, but they will have to hang onto their place atop the division with Colorado breathing down their neck.