NHL Recaps: Kris Letang returns with OT tally, Rick Tocchet wins Canucks debut, and more

NHL Recaps:  January 24, 2023

It was a big Tuesday night for the league with 11 games on the schedule.

In Vancouver, Rick Tocchet got behind the bench for his first game as a Canucks coach. Things didn’t start off great with a fan throwing their jersey on the ice in protest for how the organization has handled and performed this season. However, Tocchet’s charges beat the Chicago Blackhawks earning cheers when the final buzzer sounded.

Also, defenseman Kris Letang returned from injury to the tune of a four-point night helping the Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Florida Panthers in a wild contest.

Let’s dive into all the action.

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NHL Recaps: Kris Letang returns with OT winner

Penguins 7 vs Panthers 6 (OT)

Kris Letang, back from an 11-game injury absence, scored a power-play goal on a blast from the left circle with 53.1 seconds left in overtime Tuesday to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a wild 7-6 win over the visiting Florida Panthers.

Letang, who was activated from long-term injured reserve earlier in the day, finished with two goals and two assists.

“It was kind of surreal, you know?” Letang said. “I didn’t know what to think or how it was going to go. These guys supported me for the last month. … It’s just great to be back.”


Sidney Crosby, Evgen Malkin and Danton Heinen each added a goal and two assists. Drew O’Connor posted a goal and an assist, and Rickard Rakell also scored for the Penguins. Casey DeSmith, starting after starting goaltender Tristan Jarry surprisingly turned up injured, made 33 saves.

Carter Verhaeghe had two goals for the Panthers. Aaron Ekblad had a goal and two assists, Sam Reinhart and Matthew Tkachuk a goal and an assist apiece and Colin White one goal. Alex Lyon made 42 saves.

Bruins 4 vs Canadiens 2

Patrice Bergeron scored the deciding goal with 2:55 remaining and David Pastrnak finished with four points as the Boston Bruins came from behind to win at Montreal.

With the victory, the Bruins became the fastest team to reach 80 points in a season

Pastrnak assisted on Boston’s first three goals before scoring an empty-netter. Taylor Hall and David Krejci also scored and Jeremy Swayman made 20 saves for the Bruins, who have won six straight games became the fastest team to 80 points in NHL history.

In his 200th NHL game, Kirby Dach scored both Montreal goals to reach the 10-goal and 30-point marks in a season for the first time in his NHL career. Sam Montembeault made 25 saves.

Devils 3 vs Golden Knights 2 (OT)

Dougie Hamilton scored the tying goal with 1:10 left in regulation before netting a power-play goal in overtime for the second straight game as New Jersey beat Vegas in Newark, N.J.

Ondrej Palat scored in the first period for the Devils, who improved to 7-0-1 in their past eight games, a span in which they won in overtime or in a shootout four times. Vitek Vanecek made 28 saves.

Ben Hutton and William Karlsson scored less than three minutes apart in the back half of the second period for the Golden Knights, who have lost six of eight (2-5-1). Logan Thompson recorded 33 saves.

Lightning 4 vs Wild 2

Steven Stamkos broke a third-period tie with the winning goal on the night the Lightning celebrated him, leading host Tampa Bay past Minnesota for its 10th straight home win.

With the game tied at 2 after two periods, Stamkos swept in the 505th goal of his career and his 24th of the season at 14:22. He has six goals in a four-game goal-scoring streak. Nikita Kucherov, who assisted on Stamkos’ goal, later wound up with the puck after a scrum around Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and sent a half-ice empty-netter for the final margin with 17 seconds to play.

Before puck drop, Tampa Bay honored Stamkos, who netted career goal No. 500 at the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 18. With his family on the ice with him, the two-time Maurice Richard Trophy winner was showered with gifts and the club displayed video messages from the NHL’s other active 500-goal scorers, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby.

Vasilevskiy recorded his 250th career win.

Kings 4 vs Flyers 3 (OT)

Kevin Fiala scored at 1:09 of overtime to lift Los Angeles over host Philadelphia.

Fiala also had an assist, while Anze Kopitar scored two goals and Samuel Fagemo contributed one goal for the Kings. Pheonix Copley made 28 saves.

James van Riemsdyk had one goal and one assist for the Flyers, who dropped their third home game in a row.

NHL Recaps: Rick Tocchet wins Canucks debut

NHL Recaps Rick Tocchet wins Canucks debut
Jan 24, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Dakota Joshua (81) celebrates his goal with forward Bo Horvat (53) against Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Petr Mrazek (34) during the third period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Canucks 5 vs Blackhawks 2

Andrei Kuzmenko scored twice and host Vancouver beat Chicago to give new coach Rick Tocchet a win in his first game.

“The players kind of bought in,” Tocchet said. “There’s been some tough circumstances the last few days. There was a lot of emotions and heads spinning. I threw some stuff at them today; we had longer meetings than I like to. For them to take it in and play good, I commend the players.”


Tocchet took the coaching reins after Bruce Boudreau was fired on Sunday. Dakota Joshua, Sheldon Dries and Bo Horvat also scored for the Canucks, while Elias Pettersson and Luke Schenn both collected two assists. Collin Delia made 12 saves for Vancouver, which snapped a three-game losing skid.

Patrick Kane and Sam Lafferty replied with goals for the Blackhawks, who received a 43-save effort from Petr Mrazek.

Predators 2 vs Jets 1

Tanner Jeannot scored the decisive goal early in the third period to lift host Nashville past Winnipeg. Cody Glass also scored for the Predators, who won for the fourth time in five games. Nashville’s Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg and Tommy Novak each recorded an assist.

Pierre-Luc Dubois scored off assists from Cole Perfetti and Dylan DeMelo in the first period for the Jets’ lone goal. Winnipeg completed a 2-3-0 road trip.

Nashville outshot Winnipeg 41-33. Connor Hellebuyck finished with 39 saves for the Jets, while Predators goalie Juuse Saros stopped 32 shots.

Sabres 5 vs Blues 3

Tage Thompson had a goal and two assists as visiting Buffalo defeated St. Louis for its fourth straight victory.

Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch had a goal and an assist for the Sabres, who improved to 11-2-1 in their last 14 road games. Owen Power and Dylan Cozens also scored, and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 25 saves.

Ivan Barbashev, Brayden Schenn and Jordan Kyrou scored for the Blues, who finished their seven-game homestand with a 3-4-0 mark. Justin Faulk and Torey Krug had two assists apiece, and Jordan Binnington made 26 saves.

Avalanche 3 vs Capitals 2

Artturi Lehkonen, Alex Newhook and Andrew Cogliano scored goals, Alexandar Georgiev had 37 saves and Colorado beat Washington in Denver.

Logan O’Connor had two assists for Colorado, which has won six straight despite Cale Makar missing his fourth straight game with an upper-body injury. The victory gave Avalanche coach Jared Bednar 266 regular-season wins, the most in franchise history. Nathan MacKinnon also reached the 700 point mark for his career with an assist.

Alex Ovechkin and Conor Sheary scored for Washington, and Darcy Kuemper turned away 23 shots against his former team. The Capitals played without T.J. Oshie, who was back in Washington D.C. to be with his wife for the birth of their fourth child.

Red Wings 3 vs Sharks 2 (OT)

Andrew Copp scored 25 seconds into overtime to give Detroit a home win over San Jose.

Adam Erne and Michael Rasmussen also scored, and Ville Husso made 28 saves for Detroit, which earned its second win in three games. Timo Meier and Logan Couture scored, Erik Karlsson had two assists and James Reimer stopped 32 shots for the Sharks, who have lost three in a row (0-2-1) and six of their past seven (1-4-2).

In overtime, following a faceoff win in the San Jose zone, Rasmussen went toward the net and fired a point-blank shot that was saved by Reimer. However, the chance created a loose puck in the San Jose crease, and Copp took advantage, putting the puck into an open goal to end the game.

Ducks 5 vs Coyotes 2

Cam Fowler had two goals and an assist for Anaheim in a win at Tempe, Ariz.

Troy Terry had a goal and two assists, Frank Vatrano had a goal and an assist and Anthony Stolarz made 37 saves for the Ducks, who are 2-2-1 on their current six-game road trip.

Barrett Hayton had a goal and an assist, Nick Schmaltz also scored and Connor Ingram made 38 saves for the Coyotes, who were trying to win two in a row for the first time this month.

–Field Level Media

–The Daily Goal Horn contributed to this article