NHL Roundup: Rangers pound Penguins, Ovechkin leads Caps, Ehlers lifts Jets, and more
NHL Roundup for Friday, March 25, 2022 covers all five games on the docket.
The Winnipeg Jets spoiled the return of two former players in Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic thanks to a Nikolaj Ehlers OT winner to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets. Alex Ovechkin scored career goal 771 to continue his climb up the NHL record books, then added the deciding shootout goal to lift the Washington Capitals over the Buffalo Sabres.
We start our recaps in New York City where the Rangers jumped on the Pittsburgh Penguins early and often en route to a big 5-1 victory.
NHL Roundup: Rangers 5, Penguins 1
Chris Kreider logged two goals and an assist as host New York started fast and rolled to within one point of second-place Pittsburgh in the Metropolitan Division.
Kreider’s 43rd and 44th goals moved him into a tie for second in the NHL. Alexis Lafreniere, Frank Vatrano and Andrew Copp also scored for New York, and Mika Zibanejad collected three assists. Goalie Igor Shesterkin made 20 saves as the Penguins rarely had any prime scoring chances.
“We were happy with the first period against Jersey too,” Kreider said via NHL.com. “That was the challenge for us tonight after our first period was to continue to play the same way and not get away from the things that allowed us to have success. We were able to do that.”
Jeff Carter scored for Pittsburgh, which dropped its second straight but is still 8-3-2 in its past 13 games. The Penguins played without Evgeni Malkin (non-COVID illness). Tristan Jarry saw his five-game winning streak end as he allowed five goals on 30 shots.
“We got outplayed in every facet of the game,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “We got outcoached in every facet of the game. There’s no excuses for it. They were just way better than us in every area.”NHL.com
Avalanche 6, Flyers 3
Cale Makar had two goals, Nazem Kadri had a goal and two assists, and Colorado beat Philadelphia in Denver.
Mikko Rantanen and J.T. Compher each had a goal and an assist, Kurtis MacDermid also scored, Erik Johnson had two assists and Pavel Francouz stopped 28 shots for Colorado.
James van Riemsdyk, Zack MacEwen and Max Willman scored goals and Carter Hart had 45 saves for the Flyers.
Capitals 4, Sabres 3 (SO)
Alex Ovechkin scored his 41st goal of the season in regulation and added the shootout winner for the visiting Washington Capitals in a 4-3 victory against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
Ovechkin ended the shootout with a backhander in the third round. Tage Thompson gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead in the first round and Evgeny Kuznetsov tied it in the second round.
Jeff Skinner scored twice for the Sabres, who had won three straight and five of six. Dustin Tokarski made 37 saves.
Ilya Samsonov made 20 saves for the Capitals, who had lost two straight but have now won four consecutive road games. Kuznetsov had an assist in regulation for Washington to extend his career-best point streak to 11 games (14 points; seven goals, seven assists).
“I think we battled the entire game,” Buffalo coach Don Granato said. “We just weren’t sharp. We didn’t have our A-game tonight and we battled that, but we battled it the right way.”
Flames 4, Coyotes 2
Johnny Gaudreau finished with a goal and two assists, and Matthew Tkachuk added one of each to lead host Calgary to a victory over Arizona.
Elias Lindholm and Rasmus Andersson also scored for the Flames. Goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 16 saves.
Michael Carcone and Vladislav Kolyachonok both netted their first career NHL goals for the Coyotes. Goalie Karel Vejmelka stopped 29 shots.
Jets 4, Blue Jackets 3 (OT)
Nikolaj Ehlers’ breakaway goal 21 seconds into overtime sent host Winnipeg past Columbus for its seventh win in its last 10 games.
“I like the five-hole,” Ehlers said. “I did a couple shoulder checks there. I just didn’t want to come in with too much speed, and that’s why I kind of let up there a little bit.
A big save from Jets goalie Eric Comrie (33 saves) set up a breakaway for Ehlers, who scored his 20th goal of the season. Six of those have come in his past seven games. Kyle Connor and Dominic Toninato each had a goal and an assist, and Josh Morrissey also scored for the Jets.
Oliver Bjorkstrand, Adam Boqvist and Brendan Gaunce tallied for the Blue Jackets, who are 1-2-1 in their past four games. Elvis Merzlikins stopped 29 of 33 shots.
The win spoiled the return of Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic to Winnipeg.
“It was obviously a special night to come back and obviously two points would’ve been more fun, but we’ll take one this time,” Laine said. “Overall, I think it was a pretty tight game, but we just couldn’t finish at the end.”
–Field Level Media contributed to this report