NHL Roundup: Aaron Ekblad helped off ice, Capitals heating up, Bruins big win, and more

aaron ekblad injury
Mar 17, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) celebrates after scoring an assist against the Vegas Golden Knights during the third period at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Roundup for Friday, March 18, 2022 covers all six games on the docket.

The Washington Capitals have now won four straight and are heating things up in the Metro Division. With the victory they are just 1 points the New York Rangers for third place. Plus the Boston Bruins came up big in Winnipeg to maintain their playoff positioning.

However, big news in Anaheim as the Florida Panthers may have dodged a big injury bullet.

Panthers 3, Ducks 0

Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice and Spencer Knight made 17 saves for his first NHL shutout as Florida sent host Anaheim to its sixth straight loss (0-4-2).

Joe Thornton also tallied for Florida, which rebounded after having a seven-game point streak snapped a night earlier in a 5-3 defeat at Vegas. It might have been a costly win, however, as Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad sustained a lower-body injury early in the first period and didn’t return.

Knight, a 20-year-old Connecticut native, was appearing in his 27th career NHL game and making his 23rd start. John Gibson stopped 39 of the 42 shots he faced for the Ducks.

The victory was overshadowed by the injury to defenseman Aaron Ekblad. Just 1:05 into the game, he collided with his own teammate in the offensive zone and crawled off the ice. He was unable to return.

“We’re very hopeful. It’s better than we thought it was going to be,” Panthers coach Andrew Brunette said. “Nothing structural. We’ll know more tomorrow. We’ll get a clearer picture tomorrow of what it is.”

Sabres 1, Flames 0 (OT)

Dustin Tokarski made 24 saves for his first shutout in eight years and Tage Thompson scored at 3:07 of overtime to lift the visiting Buffalo Sabres to a 1-0 win over the Calgary Flames on Friday.

Tokarski’s only previous shutout came on March 16, 2014, when he made 29 saves for the Montreal Canadiens at Buffalo.

Tage scored when Calgary goalie Jacob Markstrom came out of his net and whiffed on a clearing attempt, giving Thompson an empty net. Buffalo improved to 5-3-0 in its past eight games.

Markstrom made 33 saves for the Flames, who lost for just the third time in their past 18 home games (15-1-2).

Capitals 4, Hurricanes 3 (SO)

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Mar 18, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) reacts after scoring the game winning goal in the shootout against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Ovechkin notched a shootout goal as Washington pushed its point streak to eight games by defeating Carolina in Raleigh, N.C.

“He wants it on his stick,” Washington coach Peter Laviolette said. “He doesn’t want to be on the bench, he wants to be out there making the difference. His release is something. He’s a big-time player.”

Evgeny Kuznetsov, John Carlson and Ovechkin scored in regulation for the Capitals, and Ilya Samsonov stopped 17 shots plus all three Carolina attempts in the shootout.

Seth Jarvis scored two goals and Vincent Trocheck had the other goal for the Hurricanes in regulation. Carolina’s Antti Raanta made 37 saves.

“It’s probably the longest I went without a goal in my career,” Jarvis said after breaking an 18 game drought. “To get that one felt really nice, and it allowed me to stop thinking about it a bit.”

Avalanche 5, Sharks 3

Valeri Nichushkin scored two goals and Cale Makar had a goal and two assists to lead visiting Colorado past San Jose.

Nazem Kadri and Darren Helm also scored goals, Nathan MacKinnon dished out three assists and Paval Francouz made 25 saves for Colorado, which won its third straight game. Mikko Rantanen also had two assists.

Erik Karlsson, Jeffrey Viel and Rudolfs Balcers each scored for San Jose, which lost its third consecutive game (0-2-1). Zach Sawchenko finished with 24 saves.

Senators 3, Flyers 1

Josh Norris scored the go-ahead goal with 10:44 remaining and host Ottawa snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over Philadelphia. The Flyers’ season-worst road winless streak reached 12 games.

Tim Stutzle scored his 14th goal of the season, Alex Formenton recorded a goal with an assist and Anton Forsberg stopped 28 shots for the Senators, who won for just the third time in their last 11 games.

Cam Atkinson notched his 23rd goal for Philadelphia. Martin Jones made 33 saves in the loss.

Bruins 4, Jets 2

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Mar 18, 2022; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Boston Bruins celebrate their win over the Winnipeg Jets at Canada Life Centre. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

Taylor Hall scored a power-play goal with 4:47 remaining in the third period to lift Boston to a victory at Winnipeg.

Charlie McAvoy scored and set up a goal, Brad Marchand and Trent Frederic also tallied and Charlie Coyle notched three assists as the Bruins improved to 11-2-1 in their past 14 games. Linus Ullmark made 27 saves and denied Nikolaj Ehlers on a penalty shot in the first period for Boston.

“They came out hot, and you know there’s going to be a pushback from every team,” UllmarkĀ said. “I really liked our response after that. We got our stuff together and we went forward, and our power play came up huge.”

Adam Lowry and Ehlers scored and Connor Hellebuyck made 41 saves for the Jets, who had won four of their previous five games.

–Field Level Media contributed to this report.