NHL Roundup: Rangers power up; Ovechkin closing in on Hull; Panthers out Quenneville behind them; and more

The NHL action was hot last night with six high paced games. Starting off with the New York Rangers who had three days to stew over their turnover-fest loss to the Flames, they responded to their coach’s challenge to play better.

Alex Ovechkin continues his march up the goal list with his 739th, just two behind Brett Hull for fourth all time. And the Panthers put the shame of Joel Quenneville behind to stay unbeaten.

Let’s recap all the contests.

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Rangers 4, Blue Jackets 0

Chris Kreider scored two power-play goals in the third period and Igor Shesterkin stopped all 31 shots he faced as host New York cruised to a win over Columbus.

Ryan Strome and Alexis Lafreniere scored in the first period while Adam Fox and Artemi Panarin had three assists apiece for the Rangers, who have won five of six (5-1-0) since opening with a loss and a tie. The shutout was Shesterkin’s first of the season and the third of his career.

Goalie Elvis Merzlikins recorded 33 saves for the Blue Jackets, who have alternated losses with wins over the last five games.

For the Rangers, it was a much needed 60 minute effort to try and erase a turnover filled loss to the Flames on Monday.

“I thought we managed the puck real well,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. “I didn’t think we turned it over near as much in the neutral zone as we did the prior game. Our forecheck was a lot better. I just thought we had 20 guys ready to play tonight.”

Panthers 3, Red Wings 2 (OT)

Aleksander Barkov scored 3:29 into overtime as the visiting Florida Panthers remained unbeaten and handed interim coach Andrew Brunette his first win as a head coach with a 3-2 triumph over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.

Barkov scored on a backhander off a feed from Jonathan Huberdeau as Florida extended its season-opening streak to eight games.

Brunette replaced Joel Quenneville, who resigned on Thursday night in the aftermath of the Chicago Blackhawks’ sexual abuse scandal involving a former video coach in 2010. Quenneville was the Blackhawks’ head coach that season.

“To be honest, I’m happier for these guys than I am for myself,” said Brunette. “I’m so proud of how well they played after a really tough few days.”

Barkov also scored a regulation goal and Eetu Luostarinen added the other goal for the Panthers. Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves.

Sam Gagner and Pius Suter scored for the Red Wings. Alex Nedeljkovic made 30 saves and the Red Wings also blocked 23 shots.

Hurricanes 6, Blackhawks 3

Carolina scored four first-period goals to shake off a bit of a rough beginning, beating winless Chicago to extend its franchise-best start to a season in Raleigh, N.C.

Even with Antti Raanta making his Carolina debut, the goalie switch didn’t matter as the Hurricanes improved to 7-0-0. Tony DeAngelo, Jordan Staal, Derek Stepan, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov scored for the Hurricanes. DeAngelo posted two assists, as did Vincent Trocheck, and Aho added a helper.

Brandon Hagel and Adam Gaudette scored first-period goals and Alex DeBrincat notched a third-period goal for Chicago. Erik Gustafsson registered two assists for the Blackhawks, who matched their largest margin of defeat this season.

Capitals 2, Coyotes 0

alex ovechkin goals
Oct 29, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) scores an empty net goal in front of Arizona Coyotes left wing Johan Larsson (22) during the third period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

John Carlson scored a power-play goal in the third period and Alex Ovechkin added an empty-netter as host Washington blanked Arizona to extend its season-opening point streak to eight games (5-0-3).

Ovechkin clinched the victory at 19:39, shooting the puck from just inside his own blue line into the gaping net after Kuznetsov stole the puck near the left faceoff circle in Washington’s end. It was Ovechkin’s league-leading ninth goal of the season and the 739th of his career, pulling him within two of Brett Hull for fourth place on the NHL’s all-time list.

Goaltender Ilya Samsonov stopped all 16 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season and the fourth of his 49-game NHL career. The Capitals’ streak is one game shy of the franchise record of nine set last season when they opened 6-0-3.

Despite rookie goalie Karel Vejmelka stopping 30 of 31 shots, the Coyotes (0-7-1) remained one of only two winless teams in the league — the Chicago Blackhawks are the other.

Golden Knights 5, Ducks 4 (SO)

Evgenii Dadonov scored in the fourth round of a shootout and Vegas, despite blowing a three-goal lead in the third period, pulled out a win over struggling Anaheim in Las Vegas.

Trevor Zegras had scored in the first round of the shootout for Anaheim, but Nicolas Roy tied it with a backhander in the third round. Chandler Stephenson and Nicolas Hague each had a goal and an assist, and Reilly Smith and William Carrier also scored goals for Vegas. Robin Lehner made 34 saves.

Adam Henrique and Zegras each had a goal and assist, and Troy Terry and Isac Lundestrom also scored goals for Anaheim. Ryan Getzlaf picked up his sixth assist of the season for his 988th career point, moving into a tie with Teemu Selanne for the most points in franchise history. John Gibson finished with 38 saves as Anaheim lost its sixth game in a row (0-3-3).

“This was a huge week for us,” Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer said. “We were staring at an absolutely disastrous start. I thought guys dug deep all week to get us back to .500 here.”

Things could get even bigger in Vegas as rumors late yesterday indicate they could be closing in on a trade for Jack Eichel.

Senators 4, Stars 1

Josh Norris scored twice and Filip Gustavsson made a career-high 38 saves as Ottawa snapped a three-game losing streak with a win at Dallas.

Brady Tkachuk recorded his first goal of the season and Connor Brown also scored for the Senators, who were playing their first game in the United States since March 2020.

Joe Pavelski had the lone score for Dallas on a power play. The Stars goalie Braden Holtby stopped 20 shots.

–Field Level Media