Whims on fire
The first star of the NHL game day was Kirill Kaprizov, who almost single-handedly pulled out the Minnesota match with Columbus.
In the first two game segments of the meeting, the attacks of the "savages" over and over again crashed against the reinforced concrete defense of the opponent, or were stopped by the goalkeeper Alvin Merzlikin.
But the Blue Jackets, on the contrary, twice brought the attacking actions to their logical conclusion.
But absolutely everything turned upside down in the third period, when the 25-year-old Russian took over the game.
Less than a minute and a half from the starting face-off, as Kaprizov soaked the same score.
The goal turned out to be laborious: in the fight against the defender at the gate, the 97th Wild number managed to send the puck into the net after the transfer of Jared Spurgeon.
And after a few more minutes, he flawlessly converted most of the "5 on 3".
Having received the puck after the throw-in, Kirill, recklessly thrown by the defenders, aimed it exactly between Merzlikin's pads.
The game spilled over into overtime, and it went to shootouts, but Kaprizov did not agree with this.
Just 20 seconds before the final siren, the Russian created a new miracle with the support of Matts Zuccarello and Kalen Addison.
Partners in several passes dragged the puck to the Columbus goal, where Kirill was already hiding at the far post.
Sending a projectile into the gate in such a situation was a matter of technique for the Russian.
“This guy does everything.
Crazy... Of all the superstars in history, he probably works the hardest.
In the corners he plays like no one else, and he never loses in a fight.
He does everything for us,” Addison said after the meeting.
Following the match, Kaprizov updated one of the club records.
Now he has 16 powerplay goals to his credit this season, and no one else has scored in the history of the team.
The previous achievement belonged to Brian Rolston, who scored 15 goals in the 2005/2006 season with a numerical advantage.
In addition, Kirill scored in overtime for the sixth time this season and repeated the Wild's record for this indicator, equaling Matt Dumba.
However, the hockey player himself, with his characteristic modesty, noted that he did not consider this particular game one of the main ones in his career.
“There were many matches where the chances were better or worse, sometimes they succeed, sometimes they don’t.
I would not call this game out of the ordinary.
She, of course, turned out to be cool, interesting, but I would not assign any special place to her, ”the official NHL website quotes Cyril as saying.
He also noted the contribution of other players to the final result.
“Honestly, everyone is working hard.
Everyone is making an effort and I don't want to be singled out.
I work diligently.
The rest of the team, too.
In the end, we all go out on the ice, play 60 minutes and give it our all.
I don't like being singled out, compared with someone.
I'm just doing my thing.
Sometimes everything works out, sometimes I manage to score a couple of goals, but in the end I just play, ”concluded the Russian.
In 60 matches of this regular season, Kaprizov scored 71 (37 + 34) points.
This is his seventh three-point game of the season and his first hat-trick.
Malkin vs. Kucherov
Evgeni Malkin was recognized as the first star of the match between Pittsburgh and Tampa.
The Russian striker chalked up two points, scoring the puck and giving an assist.
Lightning striker Nikita Kucherov can boast of the same, but his efforts did not help the team: John Cooper's wards suffered a painful defeat 3:7.
Malkin's goal turned out to be the most spectacular.
The Penguins trailed after the first period 1-2, when Josh Archibald, after stalking the puck after an opponent's mistake, sent the Russian to a rendezvous with Brian Elliott with a chic pass.
Eugene, who barely jumped off the bench, confidently outplayed the goalkeeper.
After that, Pittsburgh broke through, and before the end of the second twenty-minute period, they sent five more unanswered pucks to the Tampa goal.
Malkin also participated in one of the goals, passing the ball to Jason Zucker.
The Russian veteran of Pittsburgh, who was widely discounted at the beginning of the season, continues to prove that it is too early for him to hang up his skates.
In 59 games of the current regular season, Evgeny already has 62 (23 + 49) points.
The only bright spot of this match for Tampa, according to the head coach, was the landmark achievement of Nikita Kucherov.
The Russian, having hit the gates of Pittsburgh in the first period, scored the 700th point in his NHL career, and he did it faster than anyone in the history of the club: he needed only 621 games.
Previously, this achievement belonged to Stephen Stamkos, who overcame the bar in 696 matches.
And besides them, the epochal milestone was submitted only to two more Lightning players - Martin St. Louis (953) and Vincent Lequalier (874).
In addition, Kucherov was second behind Pavel Bure in the fastest time to reach 700 points among players drafted after the first round.
The legendary compatriot reached this mark in 619 games.
At the moment, 29-year-old Kucherov is just five points away from being in the top 250 highest scoring players in history.
“To score 700 points in this league is generally an achievement.
And to do it in 600-something games - or how many games he had - and on such a gloomy night, is a highlight in its own way.
We will focus on this, ”Cooper said after the match.
Ovechkin's 813th goal
Alexander Ovechkin, returning to the Capitals after a week-long absence due to the death of his father, is doing everything possible to shake up the team and return it to the race for the playoffs.
In the previous match with the Rangers, which the capital confidently won with a score of 6: 3, it seemed that things were going well for them.
A series of six defeats was interrupted, Ovechkin himself chalked up two assists and showed that he was gaining form from game to game.
However, the away game with Buffalo greatly reduced the amount of optimism about the prospects of the Capitals.
By the middle of the second period, Ovechkin's team was losing 2:6, and four goals flew into their gates in just seven minutes.
After the fifth conceded goal, goalkeeper Darcy Kemper lost control of his emotions and broke his stick in half, hitting it against the goal.
Then he angrily threw another helmet, hitting the bench, and was replaced by Charlie Lindgren.
Of course, the captain managed to breathe some confidence into the team in such a difficult situation.
A little over four minutes before the break, Ovechkin retook one goal, throwing the puck in a manner unusual for himself - not from the usual "office", but from a patch.
Sonny Milano, after a couple of minutes, reduced the backlog to two goals, but the Capitals could not squeeze more out of themselves.
In the third period, the guests conceded another goal and again left the site without scoring points.
Nevertheless, Ovechkin managed to set another achievement for himself in this match.
The abandoned puck was already the 40th goal for the 37-year-old Russian against Buffalo in his career.
In total, Alexander played 61 matches against the Sabers, and this is the ninth team in the NHL, which he scored 40 or more times.
According to this indicator, Ovechkin came out on a clean second place in the history of the league, ahead of Marcel Dionne (8 teams).
The best indicator is only for Phil Esposito (10 teams).
In addition, this goal was the 813th goal for the Washington captain in his NHL career, and now he is 81 goals away from Wayne Gretzky's eternal record.
However, this race has now faded into the background due to the catastrophic situation in which the team found itself.
Ovi even celebrated this goal rather restrainedly, hastily embracing with partners, and then raised his eyes to the sky, apparently remembering his father.
38th "cracker" Varlamov
Semyon Varlamov made a significant contribution to the Islanders' victory over Winnipeg (4: 0).
The Russian goalkeeper saved all 23 shots on goal, chalking up the 38th clean sheet in his NHL career.
“Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s very, very difficult.
Depends on mental readiness.
Today I really wanted to play, so it was easy for me to stay in good shape, ”the player shared after the meeting.
According to him, the team was ready for the active attacking actions of the opponent, who played the match at his home stadium.
It was important to survive on the starting segment, which they successfully managed to do.
“We expected them to press immediately.
Playing against the Jets in their home arena is difficult.
They always start very aggressively and win back the first period perfectly.
We knew that this would happen, so we prepared well ... Probably, this was the key to the game, ”Semyon emphasized.
For Varlamov, this shutout was the 13th in four seasons with the Islanders, and he was ahead of Yaroslav Galak in the list of the club's best goalkeepers in this indicator.
Now the Russian takes a clean 6th place.
The absolute leader of the franchise is Glenn Resh with 25 shutouts.
Among domestic goalkeepers, Varlamov took third place, equaling Sergei Bobrovsky.
In second place is Nikolai Khabibulin with 46 shutouts, and the record holder among Russians is Evgeny Nabokov (59).