NHL Review January 19, 2021

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NHL Review January 19, 2021

VARLAMOV RETURNS TO ISLANDERS CREASE, POSTS SECOND STRAIGHT SHUTOUT

Semyon Varlamov made 27 saves en route to a 1-0 victory over the Bruins to become the first goaltender in Islanders history to record a shutout in each of his first two appearances of a season and the 14th goaltender in NHL history to do so. During the 2020 postseason, Varlamov became the first goaltender in Islanders history to post consecutive shutouts in the playoffs and set a franchise benchmark for longest playoff shutout streak (138:17).

* Varlamov is the first goaltender since 2014-15 (Darcy Kuemper w/ MIN) to record a shutout in each of his first two appearances of a season. He can become the first goaltender in the NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) – and second in League history after Lorne Chabot (1930-31 w/ TOR) – to extend that run to three games.

* Varlamov’s shutout streak of 120:00 is the longest by an Islanders goaltender from the start of his season, besting the previous mark of 115:35 set by Rick DiPietro in 2003-04. Kuemper (164:02 in 2014-15) was the last NHL goaltender before Varlamov to post a shutout streak of at least 120:00 from the start of his season.

* The Islanders (2-1-0) are the sixth team in NHL history to be involved in three straight shutouts to begin the season. The only other instance in the League’s modern era (since 1943-44) came in 1999-00 when the Ducks lost 2-0 to the Stars and 4-0 to the Coyotes before avenging their defeat against the Stars with a 3-0 victory.

HALL AND EICHEL SHINE AS SABRES END SKID IN PHILADELPHIA

Taylor Hall and Jack Eichel each assisted on three of Buffalo’s six goals to propel the Sabres to their first win of the season and their first victory in Philadelphia since Oct. 27, 2015 (BUF: 0-6-1).

* Hall, who became the fifth Sabres player in the last 20 years to register a point streak of three-plus games to begin his tenure with the franchise, has collected 1-5—6 over that span. The former Hart Trophy winner also became the fourth player to record at least six points through his first three regular-season games with Buffalo, joining Bob Sweeney (3-5—8 in 3 GP), Steve Heinze (4-2—6 in 3 GP) and Doug Gilmour (2-4—6 in 3 GP).

* Meanwhile, the Sabres captain boosted his 2020-21 totals to 0-6—6 through three contests. Eichel joined Thomas Vanek (2-6—8 in 2012-13) as just the second Sabres player to register six assists through the team’s first three games of a season.

SVECHNIKOV, FORSBERG AND PACIORETTY EACH EXTEND GOAL STREAKS

Carolina’s Andrei Svechnikov (1-1—2), Nashville’s Filip Forsberg and Vegas’ Max Pacioretty each continued their goal-scoring ways Monday, extending their season-opening streaks to three games.

* Svechnikov recorded his second straight multi-point game to help the Hurricanes hand the Predators their first loss of the season. Only two players in Hurricanes/Whalers history have posted a longer such run than the 20-year-old forward.

* Forsberg, who tallied 46 seconds after Svechnikov’s marker, has collected goals in at least three straight contests to start a season for the second time in as many seasons. His four-game stretch to start 2019-20 stands as the longest such run in Predators history.

* Pacioretty scored the first of four straight Golden Knights goals as Vegas rallied to defeat Arizona and remain undefeated in 2020-21. His three-game goal streak to start a season is the second-longest by a Golden Knights player, behind James Neal’s four-game stretch during the club’s inaugural season in 2017-18.

AROUND THE RINKS

* After the Blues overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits, Jordan Kyrou (1-1—2) broke a third-period tie to give St. Louis its second win of the season. Kyrou, who also scored the game-winning goal in his team’s season opener, became the seventh player in Blues history to tally each of the team’s first two game-winning goals of the season and first since Jim Campbell in 1996-97 (Oct. 4 & Oct. 9, 1996). No player in franchise history extended his streak to three contests.

* John Gibson turned aside all 34 shots he faced to earn his 20th career shutout as Anaheim improved to 5-0-0 in its last five home openers dating to Oct. 23, 2016 – tied with Toronto for the NHL‘s second-longest active run behind Tampa Bay (9-0-0). The Ducks also extended their point streak in home openers to eight games dating to Oct. 10, 2013 (7-0-1), which also trails the Lightning (9-0-0) for the League’s longest active stretch. Both the Canucks (6-0-1) and Capitals (5-0-2) can keep pace with the Ducks in 2020-21.

* Shea Weber’s 35th career game-winning goal helped Montreal defeat Edmonton for the second time in as many games after holding the Oilers’ high-scoring duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to a combined one point over that span. Weber’s tally moved the Canadiens captain into a tie with Zdeno Chara, Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Gonchar for 15th place on the NHL’s all-time list among defensemen.

* The Flames earned their second win in as many games over the Canucks, outscoring Vancouver 8-2 over that span. Mark Giordano found the back of the net Monday and was one of eight different goal scorers in Calgary’s two-game set with Vancouver. Giordano, who signed with Calgary as a free agent in 2004, scored the 135th goal of his career and ranks in the top 10 in goals among undrafted defensemen.

KAPRIZOV SHARES ‘FIRST STAR’ HONORS WITH MINNESOTA HEALTHCARE HERO

Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov and Fairview Hospital RN Brittany Hutchinson were named the NHL’s “First Stars” for the week ending Jan. 17 as the League unveiled its new-look “Stars of the Week” for the 2020-21 season. The NHL will celebrate the remarkable efforts of the off-ice stars who make it possible for us to play our games amid a pandemic by honoring frontline healthcare heroes from the regions represented by the League’s weekly and monthly “Stars.”

Rounding out the group are forwards Travis Konecny of the Flyers (Second Star) and Steven Stamkos of the Lightning (Third Star).

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR ON TUESDAY

Up to 11 No. 1 picks could be on the ice tonight, including a pair of matchups between back-to-back top picks: Jack Hughes of the Devils (2019) vs. Alexis Lafrenière of the Rangers (2020) and Alex Ovechkin (2004) of the Capitals vs. Sidney Crosby of the Penguins (2005).

* For the second time in three days, Ovechkin and the Capitals will visit Crosby and the Penguins in a game broadcast nationally in the U.S. on NBCSN and in Canada on Sportsnet. On Sunday, Pittsburgh outlasted Washington in a shootout to earn its first win of the season.

* Ovechkin has started the season with multiple points in two of Washington’s three contests and enters Tuesday one goal shy of tying Mike Gartner (708) for seventh place on the NHL’s all-time goals list.

* The two most recent No. 1 overall picks, both 19 years of age, are expected to face off in the NHL for the first time when Jack Hughes (No. 1 in 2019) and the Devils visit Alexis Lafreniere (No. 1 in 2020) and the Rangers. This would mark the fifth time in seven seasons that the two most recent No. 1 overall picks would face each other as teenagers. The others: Hughes and Rasmus Dahlin in 2019-20, Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid in 2016-17, Aaron Ekblad and McDavid in 2015-16 and Nathan MacKinnon and Ekblad in 2014-15.

* Bobby Ryan has scored three goals through his first two games played with Detroit. No Red Wings player has scored four or more goals within their first three appearances with the franchise.

* A showdown between star defensemen who wear the No. 8 will pit youth against experience when Calder Trophy winner Cale Makar and the Avalanche visit former Norris Trophy winner and two-time Stanley Cup champion Drew Doughty and the Kings. Despite the fact Colorado finished second overall in the Western Conference standings in 2019-20 (.657 P%) and Los Angeles 14th (.457 P%), the Kings held a 2-0-1 series edge in head-to-head meetings between the clubs last season (COL: 1-2-0) including a 3-1 victory outdoors at the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series.

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