NHL roundup: Eichel nets first Vegas goal, Shesterkin hits milestone win, Canes top Pens, and more

Jack Eichel Nicolas Hague
Feb 20, 2022; San Jose, California, USA; Vegas Golden Knights center Jack Eichel (9) celebrates with defenseman Nicolas Hague (14) after scoring a goal during the first period against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL’s Sunday action served up 8 exciting games from top Division battles to key Conference matchups.

A feel good story took place on Long Island with Andrew “Hamburglar” Hammond beating the Islanders after being out of the NHL for four years. Staying with New York, the Rangers went to Ottawa and goalie Igor Shesterkin picked up his 50th career win in just 79 starts.

The marquee matchup of the day featured the Carolina Hurricanes topping the Pittsburgh Penguins to reclaim first place in the Metro. But we start our recap in San Jose where Jack Eichel scored his first goal in over year.

Golden Knights 4, Sharks 1

Jack Eichel had a goal and an assist and Logan Thompson made 35 saves to pick up his first NHL win, leading the visiting Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night.

Eichel, obtained in a Nov. 4 trade with Buffalo and playing his third game since undergoing neck surgery on Nov. 12, scored his first goal since Jan. 28, 2021. With Vegas leading 1-0 in the first period, Eichel drove toward the left side of the net, took a behind-the-goal pass from Chandler Stephenson and then slid a shot past the left pad of James Reimer.

“It’s obviously been a long time since I scored a goal, so it’s a good feeling,” Eichel said. “It’s just part of my game. Obviously, I want to try and chip in offensively, so it’s good to help contribute tonight.” 

Max Pacioretty had a goal and an assist and Keegan Kolesar and Stephenson also scored goals for the Golden Knights, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Shea Theodore added a pair of assists for Vegas, which also improved to 17-1-3 all-time in regular-season games against the Sharks and has won the last 10 in a row.

Nick Bonino scored a goal and Reimer finished with 31 saves for San Jose, which lost its sixth consecutive game and 10th in its last 12.

Panthers 5, Blackhawks 2

Three different defensemen scored goals for Florida and Sergei Bobrovsky made 22 saves in a win over host Chicago.

Defensemen Aaron Ekblad, Brandon Montour and MacKenzie Weegar scored for the Panthers. Aleksander Barkov and Anton Lundell added empty-net goals in the final two minutes, and Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau each had two assists. Florida finished its road trip with a 4-1-0 record.

Patrick Kane had one goal and one assist for the Blackhawks, who also got 20 saves from Marc-Andre Fleury. Caleb Jones scored Chicago’s other goal.

Coyotes 3, Stars 1

Nick Schmaltz had a goal with two assists and Scott Wedgewood made 17 of his 32 saves in the third period as Arizona pulled out a rare win over visiting Dallas, coming out on top at Glendale, Ariz.

Schmaltz assisted on Lawson Crouse’s goal just after the midway point of the second period, recorded a tie-breaking score later in the middle frame and assisted on Clayton Keller’s empty-netter in the final minute as the Coyotes snapped a five-game home losing streak. Arizona beat Dallas for just the second time in the last 15 meetings going back to 2016.

Roope Hintz scored his team-leading 22nd goal for the Stars and Jake Oettinger made 24 saves. Dallas entered with four victories in its last five games while seeing a season-high six-game road winning streak come to an end.

Rangers 2, Senators 1

igor shesterkin
Feb 20, 2022; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin (31) shoots the puck in the third period against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Igor Shesterkin made 15 of his 29 saves in the third period to earn his 50th career victory Sunday night as the visiting New York Rangers recorded a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

Shesterkin won for the 11th time in his past 13 starts and picked up his 24th win of the season. He also allowed two goals or less for the 15th time in 20 games and picked up his milestone win in his 79th career game, becoming the 14th goalie in NHL history to get at least 50 wins within his first 79 appearances.

Artemi Panarin scored a power-play goal and collected an assist for his 17th multi-point game this season as the Rangers improved to 4-0-1 in their past five games. Ryan Strome also scored and had the secondary assist on Panarin’s tiebreaking goal 9:14 in the second period as the Rangers picked up their 13th win when allowing the first goal.

Shesterkin also missed an empty-net goal with 1:15 remaining when the puck sailed slightly to the left and inches from the net, then made a glove save on Connor Brown’s shot with 58.5 seconds remaining.

“We trust him, he’s won a lot of games for us,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said of Shesterkin’s attempt that led to an icing. “If they would’ve knocked it down and scored on us we’ll move on from that. I enjoyed it, I wish it would’ve went in the net.”

Tim Stutzle scored for the Senators, who dropped their fifth straight home game and lost for the fifth time in seven games (2-4-1).

Ottawa goalie Filip Gustavsson made 31 saves in his first start since a 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Dec. 7.

Canadiens 3, Islanders 2 (SO)

Andrew Hammond made 30 saves and two more in the shootout to earn his first win in nearly six years as visiting Montreal defeated New York at Elmont, N.Y.

Hammond was mobbed by his teammates after he made a point-blank stop on Brock Nelson in the third round of the shootout. It was Hammond’s first NHL regular-season appearance since March 28, 2018 for the Colorado Avalanche, and his first NHL win since beating the Boston Bruins for the Ottawa Senators on April 9, 2016.

“If I wouldn’t have been preparing for this moment over the last four years, and then I get it, I’d be living with a lot of regret,” Hammond said. “That’s the only way I know how to approach it. If it had never happened, it’d be what it is, but obviously I’m very happy it did.

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Defenseman Jeff Petry and Josh Anderson scored in the first two periods for the Canadiens. Kyle Palmieri scored in the second period for the Islanders and Brock Nelson tied it with 2:57 remaining in regulation.

“We don’t have one line that can carry us, so we need at least three lines every night,” Isles coach Barry Trotz lamented.

Blue Jackets 7, Sabres 3

Dean Kukan had two goals and an assist as Columbus earned a victory over visiting Buffalo.

Brendan Gaunce had a goal and two assists, while Patrik Laine had two assists to extend his point streak to nine games for the Blue Jackets, who won for the fifth time in their past six games. Jean-Francois Berube made 33 saves in his first NHL start since April 6, 2018.

Mark Pysyk, Tage Thompson and Kyle Okposo scored for the Sabres, who lost their third straight. Craig Anderson made 32 saves for Buffalo.

Hurricanes 4, Penguins 3

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Feb 20, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry (35) makes a save Carolina Hurricanes right wing Andrei Svechnikov (37) on a breakaway as Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) defends during the third period at PPG Paints Arena. Carolina won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Jesper Fast and Sebastian Aho scored third-period goals as visiting Carolina hung on to top Pittsburgh in a showdown for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Jordan Staal also scored for the Hurricanes, who won their second straight and are 7-2-2 in their past 11. Carolina goaltender Antti Raanta made 31 saves.

“We play a fair amount against each other the next few weeks, in the division,” Staal said. “It’s a lot of fun. Two good teams going at it. First one is always good.”

Bryan Rust had a goal and an assist, Sidney Crosby and Evan Rodrigues also scored, and Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang each had two assists for the Penguins, who lost their second straight. Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry made 26 saves.

Wild 7, Oilers 3

Kevin Fiala had two goals and an assist, Mats Zuccarello and Matt Boldy each added a goal and an assist and Minnesota stormed past host Edmonton.

Joel Eriksson Ek, Brandon Duhaime and Connor Dewar also scored for the Wild, which snapped a two-game skid. Twelve players registered at least one point for Minnesota.

Evander Kane, Tyler Benson and Zach Hyman each scored in a losing effort for the Oilers. Connor McDavid was held off the scoresheet for the first time in seven games.

–Field Level Media contributed to this report.