Goal Ovechkin and the return of Kuznetsov
“Washington” could not interrupt the unsuccessful series and suffered a fifth defeat in the last six games. This time, Todd Rirden’s wards in overtime lost to Montreal, which is at the bottom of the NHL East Conference standings. Nevertheless, there were positive aspects for the Capitals. Firstly, Evgeni Kuznetsov returned to the ice after an injury and scored an assist, and secondly, Alexander Ovechkin interrupted his dry series of five meetings and approached the mark of 700 goals in the overseas career.
The captain of Washington went to the match with the Canadiens charged, which was already evident in the opening of the meeting. It took him only seven and a half minutes to upset the star Carey Price and throw his 699th puck. Nicklas Backstrom won the throw-in in the opponent's zone, and Ovechkin scored a goal with a hand throw. Thus, he not only took a step towards conquering the cherished bar, but also approached the rank of the seventh sniper in the history of the league. At the moment, he is owned by another former striker of the “capital” Mike Gartner. The Canadian asset has 708 exact hits.
However, the success of Ovechkin has ended so far. “Montreal” seized the initiative and kept the score until the last minute. Shi Weber, Brendan Gallagher and Ben Shirou scored among the guests, to which the hosts responded with a goal from Lars Eller. To escape from the defeat in regular time, “Washington” helped Kuznetsov. He missed the last three matches of the team, but in this took part in a successful attack. It was Eugene who rolled the puck on the penny to Tom Wilson, who for the third time left Price out of work. True, the success of the Capitals failed. Already at the 58th second of overtime, the same Shirou scored twice and helped the Canadiens interrupt a series of five failures in a row.
As for Washington, the next defeat threw him into fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Like Pittsburgh, the team has 80 points, but the Penguins are higher due to the smaller number of meetings played. Boston leads with 88 points.
Gusev's assistant double
Unlike Washington, New Jersey is not only not fighting for the Presidential Cup, but has virtually no chance of getting into the playoffs. Wards Alain Nasreddin weave in the tail of the Eastern Conference, and from the saving eighth place they are separated by more than 15 points. On the game day of the Devils, the home took precedence over San Jose, which has the same unenviable position in the West, and Nikita Gusev became one of the creators of the triumph.
The Russian showed his skills as a handler and organized both assists of the Devils. The first of them took place near the end of the second period. At this point, the hosts were already inferior in the long run after Tim Hyde's exact throw. Gusev was quicker than others in his zone and organized a sharp counterattack. He quickly redirected the puck to Pavel Zaha, who made a magnificent long pass to Esper Bratt. The Swede went out on a rendezvous with Martin Jones and in an elegant manner dealt with the goalkeeper.
In the final period, Gusev participated in the numerical advantage. The right-handed striker found Pye Sub-Ban Paz, who, with a fine brush throw, pierced the net of the San Jose goal. As it turned out, this goal was victorious and helped “New Jersey” win a fourth victory in seven meetings. It is worth noting that Nikita could light up his name on the scoreboard, but Jones made a bright save.
At the moment, Gusev’s asset has 35 (10 + 25) points in 57 matches, in this indicator he is second only to one Devils hockey player. The asset of Kyle Palmieri is six (22 + 19) points higher, which can hardly be called a serious margin. Thus, the Russian seriously claims to become the team's top scorer in his very first season in the league. Given certain difficulties at the start, this will be an excellent achievement for Nikita, even despite not the most impressive indicator of usefulness ("-16").
Transfer Kucherov and Gavrikov
However, in general, the game day was not the most successful for the Russians. “Pittsburgh” with Evgeni Malkin in the squad suffered a major defeat from “Toronto” (0: 4), and “Ottawa” by Nikita Zaitsev and Artyom Anisimov was defeated by “Winnipeg” with Dmitry Kulikov (1: 5). True, the defender himself was not distinguished by effective actions.
Nikita Kucherov replenished his scorer account. Tampa Bay striker not only helped his captain Stephen Stamkos to take a double, but also scored in the 15th game in a row. During this period, he scored 25 points, thanks to which he burst into the top ten league scorers. At the moment, he has 29 goals and 45 assists, and only one point separates him from the sixth line. She is now shared by Brad Marchand of Boston, Patrick Kane of Chicago and Jack Ickel of Buffalo.
True, Kucherov’s program did not save Lightning from losing the Golden Knights (3: 5), which was the first for Tampa in the last 12 meetings. In addition, the record-breaking 21-match series for Andrei Vasilevsky without defeats in regular time was interrupted.
Vladislav Gavrikov was noted for an assist in the confrontation with Philadelphia, but his Columbus still lost in overtime (3: 4). Nevertheless, the Russian reached the mark of 14 (5 + 9) points and rose to fourth place in the rating of domestic defenders-scorers. It is noteworthy that the leader in it is Ivan Provorov from the Flyers, who have 30 (11 + 19) points in their assets, Mikhail Sergachev (9 + 21) from Tampa Bay has the same score.
In another match of the game day, “Florida” away could not cope with “Los Angeles” and gain a third victory in a row. Neither the transfer of Evgeny Dadonov nor the 35 saves of Sergei Bobrovsky helped the Panthers. It is worth noting that the Russian goalkeeper conceded five goals and repelled only 87.5% of shots. Over the past 12 matches, he capitulated a total of 39 times, which can hardly be considered a worthy indicator for one of the highest-paid goalkeepers of the league (this season he will receive $ 10 million).