Nikita Kucherov strengthened his leadership in the ranking of the best scorers of the season, but his “Tampa” lost to “Pittsburgh” and missed a historic goal from the team’s goalkeeper Evgeni Malkin, Kirill Kaprizov and Klim Kostin demonstrated their fighting qualities, and Alexander Ovechkin lifted the curse from “Washington”. About the extremely busy game day of the National Hockey League – in the review Sports.
The Pittsburgh goalkeeper scored against Tampa and eclipsed Kucherov's record. In Russia, it has become fashionable to criticize the Continental Hockey League (KHL) for its calendar, in which about a dozen matches can be played on one day, and essentially none on another. But the NHL also makes similar mistakes, and today there were already 14 games on schedule. And many of them – at the same time. However, the most eventful of all the meetings in the Eastern Conference was the battle between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins – perhaps the most successful teams in the league in the 21st century.
It seemed that the Lightning would exterminate the Penguins: in the first period, Mike Sullivan's team incredibly avoided defeat and went into the break with only two goals conceded. And there could have been five or seven of them, if the “lightning” had not been let down by the implementation. One after another, the best player of Tampa and the leading scorer of the entire league this season, Nikita Kucherov, created the chances.
The Russian forward has firmly established himself in first place in the ratings according to the goal+pass system and today almost reached the 40-point mark. If his partners had been more accurate, then Nikita’s statistics would have been much more impressive. But even so, the Russian scored two assists, extending his scoring streak to eight matches in a row. In all eight of his last matches, Kucherov also provided at least one assist. Thus, Nikita repeated his personal best in his career in the NHL championships for the duration of the streak with assists.
“If you don’t score, they score on you.” This principle worked 100 percent in the match. Already in the second period, the Penguins came back from a 0:2 score thanks to the efforts of Sidney Crosby, who scored his 564th career goal in the NHL championships, and Evgeni Malkin, who scored an assist. And in the third 20 minutes, “Pittsburgh” even brought the matter to victory. The pinnacle of the triumphant comeback was the goal of Penguins goalkeeper Tristan Jarry: the goalkeeper accurately shot into an empty goal and entered the history of the club as the first sniper goalkeeper. The reaction of Pittsburgh's second goalkeeper Alex Nedeljkovic, who also scored against opponents in his career, was funny.
Kostin and Kaprizov don’t abandon their team in trouble. Hockey is not only about playing with the puck, but also about demonstrating fighting qualities. They were demonstrated by Russian strikers Klim Kostin and Kirill Kaprizov.
In the match between the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks, which ended in a confident victory for the former (5:1), Kostin stood up for his teammate Andrew Copp, who came under the force of Connor Murphy. The Russian also hit Murphy in response, and then got into a fight with the American defender of Chicago. As such, the fight did not work out: Kostin immediately knocked his opponent onto the ice with a wrestling technique, but already on the ground he continued to strike the body, despite the attempts of the referees to separate the hockey players. For excessive persistence, Klim received another “ten” in addition to the two minutes of the penalty. It is noteworthy that just a day ago, in a game with the Rangers, Kostin also stood up for the injured teammate and killed his opponent with almost one blow.
As for Kaprizov, the Russian took part in a brawl that almost turned into a full-fledged mass brawl during the match between the Minnesota Wild and the Nashville Predators. It all started when the “savages” player Mats Zuccarello continued the attack and touched the “predators” goalkeeper. Nashville's field players stood up for the goalkeeper and provoked a brawl. Kaprizov began to defend his teammates and was attacked by two Predators hockey players. While the hosts' Canadian defender Jeremy Lauzon held the Russian with a choke hold, another Canadian Nashville defender Dante Fabbro dealt Kaprizov several blows to the head.
But Kaprizov still emerged victorious: his Minnesota team eventually defeated Nashville (6:1), and the Russian himself scored a goal and an assist. Thanks to this, Kirill moved up to sixth place in club history in the number of games with two or more points scored per match (68), equaling Jared Spurgeon and Andrew Brunette.
Ovechkin broke the silence. But again he didn’t score. The performances of the Washington Capitals are always under great attention and are widely discussed in the media. This season, the Capitals managed to go through three stages. At the beginning of the championship, the Caps stalled badly, which is why critics immediately buried the chances of Spencer Carbery's team to get into the playoffs, then Washington put out an impressive winning streak and broke into the ranks of the best teams in the Metropolitan Division, and then lost to the worst clubs in the league – Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks. But if such waves do not surprise anyone in the NHL, then the performance of specific players is still a reason for discussion.
Regarding Washington, in this regard we are talking about Alexander Ovechkin, who is not pleased with his statistics yet. In the first 19 matches, he scored only 12 points, of which only 5 were goals. Moreover, over the last four games in a row, Ovi has not been effective at all. But visiting the Anaheim Ducks, the Russian broke this unsuccessful streak.
Alexander scored an assist double, participating in Tom Wilson's historic hat-trick – the American played his 700th career game in the NHL championships and scored three goals in one match for the first time. Moreover, two of them are in the power play, which is noticeably weak for the Caps this season. Before today's match, the capital's capital had been unable to realize their numerical advantage for 12 games in a row! Ovechkin's assistant broke this curse. Alexander also came as close as possible to the symbolic mark of 1,500 career points in the NHL championships. In the entire history of the league, only 15 hockey players have achieved this barrier, and Ovi is about to join this list.
The heroism of Varlamov, the return of Kuzmenko and the reincarnation of Buchnevich. The meeting between the New York Islanders and the Carolina Hurricanes promised to be rich in events and goals, and in this regard it did not disappoint. The teams scored nine goals between them and decided the outcome of the confrontation in overtime. Despite the presence of Russians at the goal of both the “Islanders” and the “Hurricanes” – Semyon Varlamov and Pyotr Kochetkov, respectively – there was no duel between them. Kochetkov had almost no work to do, but he missed 5 goals out of 16 shots. But Varlamov was spectacular, repelling 39 shots out of 43! For such a reliable game, even taking into account the four missed goals, Semyon was recognized as the first star of the meeting. Without his saves, the Isles would not have taken the victory away from Raleigh.
Vancouver Canucks forward Andrei Kuzmenko is overcoming a classic second-season crisis. After a strong performance in the last season, the Russian forward has been ineffective so far this year. Kuzya suffered a series of ten matches without scoring goals in a row, and the Russian missed two more games due to the decisions of the coaching staff. The killer whales' mentor, Rick Tocquet, was very dissatisfied with Andrei and, for the purpose of education, sent him to the reserve for a short time. Today, in a game with the Vegas Golden Knights, Kuzmenko broke the ill-fated streak and scored his fourth goal of the season. True, he did not help Vancouver – before that, the Canucks lost four times to the reigning champions, for whom Ivan Barbashev also scored, and suffered a painful defeat.
The St. Louis Blues also have matches in waves. Today, the “musicians” defeated the unpleasant Buffalo Sabers with some difficulty. But we will pay attention to Pavel Buchnevich. Back in early November, the Russian spoke harshly about his game and was extremely dissatisfied with his own statistics. In the first nine matches of the season he scored 3 points (1+2). But after those very statements that spread throughout the media, Buchnevich noticeably transformed and scored 15 points (7+8) in 11 matches! Moreover, the Russian also played 5 games with two scoring points or more. This is work on yourself!
All results of the NHL game day:
- ” Boston Bruins – San Jose Sharks – 3:0
- Detroit Red Wings – Chicago Blackhawks – 5:1
- Montreal Canadiens – Florida Panthers – 1:5
- “Tampa Bay Lightning” – “Pittsburgh Penguins” – 2:4
- “Toronto Maple Leafs” – “Seattle Kraken” – 4:3 PB< /li>
- Philadelphia Flyers – New Jersey Devils – 3:4 OT
- Carolina Hurricanes – New York Islanders – 4:5 OT
- Winnipeg Jets – Edmonton Oilers – 1:3
- “Nashville Predators” – “Minnesota Wild” – 1:6
- “St. Louis Blues” – “Buffalo Sabers” – 6:4
- “Arizona Coyotes” – “Colorado Avalanche” – 4:3 OT
- “Calgary Flames” – “Dallas Stars” – 4:3 OT
- “Anaheim Ducks” – “Washington Capitals” – 4:5
- “Vancouver Canucks” – “Vegas Golden Knights” – 1:4