NHL roundup: Caps atop the NHL, Pens win six straight, Knights edge Rangers, and more

As the NHL is hoping to avoid a league wide pause due to COVID cases, last night the schedule had six games for fans to enjoy.

Coming off the heels of Paul Maurice’s resignation, the Jets fell to the Capitals. Washington now sits alone atop the NHL standings with 43 points. Meanwhile, the Penguins are making their push up the Metro Division with their 6th straight win and the Golden Knights stay hot in NY.

Let’s recap.

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Capitals 5, Jets 2

Conor Sheary scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period for the visiting Washington Capitals on Friday in a 5-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets, who lost their head coach and a game all in a 12-hour span.

Friday started with Jets head coach Paul Maurice resigning his position in his ninth season. Dave Lowry was named interim head coach for the remainder of the season but could not help Winnipeg avoid its third consecutive defeat and its fourth loss in the last five games.

Brett Leason, Daniel Sprong, Michael Sgarbossa and Alex Ovechkin also scored goals for the Capitals. Vitek Vanecek made 40 saves as Washington improved to 7-2-2 since Nov. 24 and rebounded from an overtime defeat at Chicago on Wednesday.

Brenden Dillon and Josh Morrissey scored and Connor Hellebuyck had 34 saves for the Jets, who were 13-10-5 to start the season under Maurice and were in fifth place in the Central Division.

“It was obviously a pretty emotional day, just for everybody,” Dillon said via NHL.com. “A lot of guys here, guys like [Mark Scheifele] and [Blake Wheeler] have spent eight years with Paul. For a lot of us, even myself just getting here this year, when you think about Winnipeg Jets hockey, you think of Paul Maurice leading the way.”

Blues 4, Stars 1

Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice to power St. Louis past visiting Dallas and give coach Craig Berube a nice 56th birthday present.

Ivan Barbashev had a goal and an assist and Logan Brown also scored for the Blues, who extended their unbeaten streak at home to nine games (8-0-1). Pavel Buchnevich had two assists for the Blues, who swept their home-and-home series with the Stars this week. Goaltender Charlie Lindgren made 26 saves to earn the victory.

Jason Robertson scored and goaltender Braden Holtby made 30 saves for the Stars, who suffered their fifth straight loss.

Golden Knights 3, Rangers 2 (SO)

nhl roundup
Dec 17, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Vegas Golden Knights center Brett Howden (21) celebrates his goal against New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) with left wing William Carrier (28) during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Marchessault scored the only goal of the shootout and visiting Vegas rallied late for a victory over New York.

Vegas won its fourth straight and its seventh in eight games thanks to Marchessault’s game-winner in the third round of the shootout. After Nicolas Roy and Evgenii Dadonov were stopped by New York goalie Alexandar Georgiev, Marchessault won it when he made a wide move down the right wing and lifted a wrist shot from near the right faceoff circle over Georgiev’s stick side.

Vegas netminder Laurent Brossoit stopped Mika Zibanejad and Ryan Strome in the shootout and made 27 saves, including seven in a free-flowing 3-on-3 overtime that saw the teams combine for 11 shots.

While there was a lot made of the Rangers’ coach Gerard Gallant and forward Ryan Reaves facing their old team, it was member of the Knights that stole the show. Brett Howden, who played three seasons in New York picked up two points to get the better of his old squad.

“It was a pretty fun night,” Howden said. “Obviously I was really happy we got the win. I think I think I’m playing probably some of my better hockey right now. I just want to keep building on that and keep trying to do the right things.”

Predators 3, Blackhawks 2 (OT)

Undermanned Nashville stayed hot and won its seventh straight game, defeating host Chicago.

The Predators played without eight players and their entire NHL coaching staff, all of whom are in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.Tanner Jeannot scored 58 seconds into overtime, tapping in a Roman Josi feed that went through Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat’s legs to Jeannot on the left side.

Thomas Novak and Colton Sissons scored and Juuse Saros stopped 17 shots for the Predators. Kirby Dach and Jonathan Toews scored for the Blackhawks. Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves.

Coyotes 6, Ducks 5 (OT)

Clayton Keller scored two goals, including the game-winner 2:09 into overtime, as visiting Arizona rallied for a victory over Anaheim to end its six-game losing streak.

Andrew Ladd and Phil Kessel added goals 1:06 apart in the third period, while Travis Boyd and Christian Fischer also scored as the Coyotes won for the first time since Nov. 29. Scott Wedgewood had 32 saves for Arizona while Boyd and Nick Schmaltz added two assists. Keller now has a team-leading nine goals.

Hampus Lindholm scored two goals for the Ducks, while Kevin Shattenkirk, Derek Grant and Trevor Zegras also scored. John Gibson had 21 saves.

Penguins 3, Sabres 2 (OT)

Jeff Carter’s goal at 2:53 of overtime gave Pittsburgh its season-high sixth straight win, beating visiting Buffalo.

After the Sabres erased a two-goal deficit, Carter banged in a setup from Kris Letang on a two-on-one for the winner. Evan Rodrigues and Brock McGinn also scored for the Penguins. Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry made 19 saves to improve to 9-1-1 with 14 goals allowed in his past 11 starts.

Zemgus Girgensons and Rasmus Dahlin scored for the Sabres, who had won two straight. Buffalo goaltender Malcolm Subban, playing in his first game since Dec. 4 when he got hurt in his Sabres’ debut, made 45 saves.

Despite the loss, Subban entered his name in the hat for save of the year with a wild behind-the-back glove save.

“I honestly didn’t even know it happened,” Subban said. “I thought someone hit my glove or something. I didn’t know it was the puck. I had no idea.

–Field Level Media