NHL Game Day: Leafs look for answers, Rangers try to douse Flames, Ovechkin goal chase, and more previews
The NHL has 7 games on the docket for Monday, October 25, 2021. At the top of the list are the undefeated Hurricanes with former Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen in tow facing Toronto. That’s followed by the red-hot Rangers looking to put out the Flames.
Let’s dive into all the matchups.
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NHL Game Day: Hurricanes vs Maple Leafs (7 PM ET)
The Hurricanes are off to a historically good start and much of it is due to goalie Frederik Andersen.
There’s a good chance that Andersen will play his fifth consecutive game when the Maple Leafs, his former team, visit for Monday night’s game in Raleigh, N.C.
“(He seems) calm, cool, collected, looks good in the net and has made big saves look easy,” Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal said of Andersen.
The Hurricanes are 4-0-0 for the second time in franchise history. Andersen has been in the net for each of those games.
Toronto has played six games, with eight players registering one or more goals. They’ve also used three goalies.
The Maple Leafs are winless in two road outings, falling by a combined score of 10-3 in games against Ottawa and Pittsburgh. That includes Saturday’s 7-1 setback to the Penguins.
“It’s still early in the season. Obviously, it’s not what we wanted,” Maple Leafs right winger Mitch Marner said, looking ahead the next assignment. “Fresh page. … We just got to make sure we get ready for Carolina.”
Lightning vs Sabres (7 PM ET)
The Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Buffalo Sabres on Monday with both teams looking to take care of business over the full 60 minutes of play.
Both are coming off productive but disappointing showings on Saturday — forced to go to extra time and getting a point but failing to come out on top.
In their home contest with the Colorado Avalanche, the Lightning tied the match 3-3 for the third time late when Brayden Point scored, but in a rare occurrence, the visitors found a way to get the best of elite goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy in the shootout.
“We’re going to be in games like this, a lot,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “We just need to find a way to turn the tables. We did it the other night in Washington (in overtime), but we didn’t do it tonight.”
Despite losing to the New Jersey Devils 2-1 in overtime Saturday, the Sabres are off to a strong start with three wins and seven points in their first five games.
However, the loss in Newark was their second consecutive after dropping a 4-1 decision at home to the Boston Bruins.
First-year coach Don Granato said his group was an angry bunch after tasting defeat for the first time.
“The vibe feels good — they feel angry,” Granato said. “I don’t mind an angry team. It wasn’t quiet, guys didn’t have their heads down. They wanted better and didn’t perform to their standard.”
Rangers vs Flames (7 PM ET)
A perfect four-game road trip has the New York Rangers riding high as they return home to face the Calgary Flames on Monday.
To cap their ideal trip — the first of at least four games in which they won all of them since February 2015 — the Rangers claimed a thrilling 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. They trailed 2-0 with fewer than six minutes remaining before scoring three times in a span of 3:20.
“We’re starting to show we have that never-give-up mentality,” said forward Barclay Goodrow, who netted the game-winner in Ottawa. “Obviously, we would like to put ourselves in a better position heading into the third, but the resiliency that we did show in kind of forgetting about the first two (periods) and starting the third like it was a fresh game, it’s pretty good to see. Nice to know that we have a lot of character in the room.”
The Flames hit the Big Apple riding a two-game winning streak — their first victories of the season after dropping their first couple of clashes. Thanks to Elias Lindholm’s third goal of the game, Calgary regrouped after blowing a three-goal lead to beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 on Saturday.
After struggling through much of last season, Gaudreau has six assists so far this season, including his 500th career point on the winner.
“It’s been a really long time for everyone. No one takes it for granted,” Gaudreau said. “It was a long year and a half there, and to play in front of the people that support you the most is pretty special and you want to play well for them. You want to get a win and hopefully give them a good time.”
Capitals vs Senators (7 PM ET)
The Washington Capitals look to extend their season-opening point streak to six games when they visit the Ottawa Senators on Monday night.
The Capitals continue to ride the hot hands of linemates Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Ovechkin has five goals and five assists, while Kuznetsov has four goals and five assists.
“I think he’s in really good shape. His mindset is in the right direction,” Ovechkin said of Kuznetsov, who struggled the past two seasons. “It’s kind of fun to play with him. It’s fun to see his smile, fun to see what he can do on the ice.”
The Senators, who have lost two straight as they close a four-game homestand, appeared on the verge of defeating the visiting Rangers on Saturday before things went awry, beginning with losing goaltender Matt Murray.
Leading 2-0, Murray was hit in the head by New York’s Chris Kreider as the Rangers scored their first goal with 5:23 left to play. Murray was replaced by Anton Forsberg and the Rangers scored two late goals to win it.
“Really tough,” Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said. “(Forsberg) sat there all day and then six minutes to go, you’re going in there freezing cold. … You’ve got to be more desperate at the end of the game and then certainly with a goalie that hasn’t seen a shot all night.”
Panthers vs Coyotes (7 PM ET)
The Arizona Coyotes, winless in five games this season, are hitting the road to take on the Florida Panthers, who are off to the best start in franchise history at 5-0-0.
Sunrise, Fla., is the site for Monday night’s game, which is an issue for the Coyotes, who will make the trip south after losing 3-0 to the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
The Coyotes, who own just one point this season (by virtue of a shootout loss), have combined to score just one goal in their past two games.
“We have a lot of different looks and options,” Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said. “They can all score goals and make plays.”
Blue Jackets vs Stars (7 PM ET)
While a little more breathing room in games would be preferable, the Dallas Stars wouldn’t mind another cliffhanger as long as it means another victory when the Stars visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday.
Four of the Stars’ five games this season have been decided by a single goal, with Dallas coming out on the winning end three times. All three of those Stars victories have come beyond regulation time, including Friday’s 3-2 overtime result over the Los Angeles Kings on a Denis Gurianov winner.
The Blue Jackets also couldn’t get much offense going in Saturday’s 5-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, as Columbus spent a good chunk of the game killing penalties. Though the Jackets were 11-for-12 on the penalty kill in their first four games, the Hurricanes scored three goals on six power-play chances.
Blues vs Kings (8 PM ET)
The Los Angeles Kings will try to clean up their special teams play when they visit the St. Louis Blues again Monday.
The Kings allowed four power-play goals and a short-handed tally while falling 7-3 Saturday in the first of their consecutive games against the Blues in St. Louis.
On the heels of their 3-2 overtime loss Friday night in Dallas, the Kings were a step behind the well-rested Blues.
“When you’re minus five in special teams situations, it’s not going anywhere for you,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “That’s the worst I’ve seen us penalty kill, maybe in the NHL, since I’ve been here, so that was very disappointing, and our power play was just as bad. Obviously your 5-on-5 game isn’t going to be very good when that’s as bad as it is.”
–Field Level Media