Victory series and worries about Müller
In the night from Wednesday to Thursday three teams extended their winning series: The Tampa Bay Lightning (ten wins in a row) prevailed at the New York Rangers, the Calgary Flames (seven) won at the New Jersey Devils and the Toronto Maple Leafs (three) swept the Edmonton Oilers off the ice. In New Jersey, ice hockey briefly receded into the background: Devils defender Mirco Müller was seriously injured.
The Toronto Maple Leafs swept the Edmonton Oilers 6-2 off the ice. The evening had started promising for Edmonton: An irresistible solo by Leon Draisaitl brought the 1:0. The 23-year-old from Cologne started on his own blue line and left all his opponents standing like slalom poles on his way to the goal, only to dust off on his own shot (12th, in powerplay). It was already season goal number 39 for the center forward, who has set his own record from last year and is ranked third on the league-wide scorer list. Only Alex Ovechkin (44 goals, Washington Capitals) and Patrick Kane (40 goals, Chicago Blackhawks) scored more often. Even Oilers superstar Connor McDavid, who made his comeback after two suspension games, scored just 32 goals.
But Draisaitl had nothing to cheer about at the end of the day: Toronto started his feared offensive machine and scored six unanswered goals through Patrick Marleau (19th), Mitchell Marner (22nd), Andreas Johansson (23rd, 29th), William Nylander (25th) and John Tavares (41st). The 2:6 by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was then only result cosmetics (57.). “We had a really good first third, but if you make too many small mistakes against this team, they take advantage – and that’s exactly what they did,” Draisaitl said. The Maple Leafs are the second most dangerous offensive in the NHL with an average of 3.6 goals per game. The double packer Johansson is particularly hot, scoring five goals in his last six games.
Calgary is unstoppable: In their 2-1 win in New Jersey, the Flames celebrated their seventh victory in a row. The game was dominated by the two goalies Mackenzie Blackwood (33 saves, 94.3 percent quota) and David Rittich (19 saves, 95 percent). Goals were only scored in the middle third: Elias Lindholm (22nd) and Mark Giordano (34th) shot Calgary into the lead. The Devils were only able to score the following goal by Kevin Rooney (57th).
Ice hockey then receded into the background at the beginning of the third period: in a duel with Flames striker Michael Frolik, New Jersey defender Mirco Müller slammed headfirst into the rail and remained motionless. The 23-year-old Swiss had to be treated on the ice for several minutes and was taken away with a stretcher. He is fully conscious and can move his arms and legs completely, there are no problems,” said Devils trainer John Hynes. “He is also mentally well. He was even able to sit up before he left the arena for the hospital and saw everything that was going on around him.” Frolik, the opponent, was also shocked: “At first I thought it was really bad. I talked to the doctors and they said it was better than they expected. Hopefully he’ll get better soon.”
The Tampa Bay Lightning are lonely at the top of the NHL table: The Bolts (49-11-4) increased their points to 102 points by winning 4-3 away in Madison Square Garden at the New York Rangers. The tenth win in a row also set a new franchise record. The leading Sunshine State player scored in each of his last 14 games (12-0-2). In the MSG, however, Tampa had a hard time for a long time: The Lightning team regained a 2:0 and 3:1 lead. It was only in overtime that defender Victor Hedman scored the winning goal (64th). NHL-top-scorer Nikita Kucherov contributed three assists and with 104 season-points he is the next club record of Vincent Lecavalier (108 season-points 2006/07). Team mate Brayden Point celebrated his 100th NHL assistant with a goal.
Kane scores last minute: Kahun wins German duel with Holzer
The Chicago Blackhaws literally won in the last minute at the Anaheim Ducks 4:3. Until five minutes before the end, the Hawks were 2:3 behind. Then Alex DeBrincat equalled (56th), and 16 seconds before the siren Patrick Kane scored his 40th goal of the season (60th). Since 24 November 2018, Kane has scored at least one point in every away match. The 30-year-old American has also scored a series of seven games (four goals, six assists). The German Dominik Kahun played for the guests from “Windy City” in the second row next to DeBrincat and Dylan Strome, remained without a scorer point and came to 17:54 minutes of ice time (of which 3:23 in power play). The Californians, who suffered their fourth defeat in a row, were once again defended by Korbinian Holzer. He formed the third defensive pair with Jaycob Megna and reeled off 14:52 minutes of ice time (of which 4:32 outnumbered).
Avalanche wins Shootout thriller
The Colorado Avalanche have moved back to a wildcard spot in the Western Conference with a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Nathan MacKinnon (9th) and Mikko Rantanen (19th) took the Avs to the front – Antoine Roussel (10th) and Josh Leivo (57th) balanced for the Nucks. The penalty shootout then became a thriller: Brock Boeser made the Canadians dream of victory with his goal, but Mikko Rantanen saved his colours as the sixth and last shooter just into the jump-off. There it was penalty shot number twelve that earned the extra point: Carl Soderberg sunk the hard rubber disc into the net for the Denver hosts. The German goalie Philipp Grubauer was not used – starter Semyon Varlamov stopped 30 shots (93.8 percent catch quota).
NHL results of 27 February 2019:
Toronto Maple Leafs – Edmonton Oilers 6:2
New Jersey Devils – Calgary Flames 1:2
New York Rangers – Tampa Bay Lightning 3:4 n.V.
Colorado Avalanche – Vancouver Canucks 3:2 n.a.
Anaheim Ducks – Chicago Blackhawks 3-4