Grubauer saves Colorado the next victory
Philipp Grubauer remains the Colorado Avalanche’s life insurance agent as they catch up in the Western Conference: the German goalkeeper also excelled in the important 3-1 away win at Minnesota Wild. The Boston Bruins’ 5-0 victory over the New York Islanders in the defensive bastions was surprisingly clear. The Nashville Predators, meanwhile, celebrated their second shutout in their second meeting with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
With the Minnesota Wild and the Colorado Avalanche the two best pursuers met for a wildcard rank in the Western Conference in St. Paul. In this important comparison, the Avs prevailed 3-1, reducing the gap to the Wild to one point and the gap to a play-off spot to two points. Colorado defender Tyson Barrie scored his third goal in two games, scoring 1-0 (11th) with a torch directly removed from the blue line. Minnesota levelled out at the beginning of the second period when Zach Parise successfully deflected a shot from Ryan Suter (22nd). But soon the Avalanche were back in the driver’s seat: Tyson Jost was quick as lightning and transformed his solo run with the backhand (34th). Shortly before the end, an “Empty Net” goal from Ian Cole made everything clear – the defender hit from his own baseline into the now empty goal (59th).
The German goalkeeper Philipp Grubauer once again became the player of the match. The 27-year-old Rosenheimer stopped 36 shots and had a catch quota of 97.3 percent. The Avs goalie presents itself in play-off form: In his last six starts he managed three shutouts. In the month of March “Grubi” was used in six of nine possible games (five starts) and has outstanding statistics with a goal average of 0.99 and a catch quota of 96.3.
With the New York Islanders and the Boston Bruins, the best and third best defensive of the entire league met – with a surprisingly clear end result: The Boston visitors took the Islanders case under continuous fire (39 shots on goal), limited New York’s offensive to 13 shots (season low!) and prevailed in the end with 5:0. The Bruins punished the Isles’ partly hair-raising defensive mistakes in an ice-cold manner. Double packer Sean Kuraly (2., 37.), Noel Acciari (23.), Patrice Bergeron (47.) and Jake DeBrusk (51.) scored goals.
“13 shots and I’m not sure if they had five chances at all. I’m impressed,” Boston’s goalie Tuukka Rask marveled at the clinical performance of his front runners and celebrated his fourth season and 45th career shutout. His opponent Robin Lehner (34 saves, 87.2 percent catch quota), who returned after an injury break and was given preference over Thomas Greiss from Germany, was not very enthusiastic: “That wasn’t good enough of all of us. We have to forget the game quickly”. Bruins striker David Pastrnak also made his comeback after a five-and-a-half week injury break (thumb), but remained without a scorer point.
In Music City, the Nashville Predators received the Toronto Maple Leafs and, as in the first leg (4-0), celebrated a shutout: Brian Boyle (5th), Wayne Simmonds (50th) and Filip Forsberg (58th, Empty Net) scored for Smashville in the 3-0 win. Preds-Goalie Pekka Rinne stopped the fourth-best NHL offensive with 22 parades for the second time in the current season and had his fourth season and 55th career shutout. Nashville is back on track after a tough week, celebrating his third victory in a row and is now only one point behind Central Division leader Winnipeg Jets. Toronto, on the other hand, weakened and only managed one victory from the last five laps (1-4-0). But third place in the Atlantic Division is not endangered for the Maple Leafs.
The play-off race in the Eastern Conference is also close and exciting. The Carolina Hurricanes celebrated an important 3-2 win over Metropolitan Division rivals Pittsburgh Penguins. Canes defender Dougie Hamilton sunk the only penalty shot in the shootout and made the next creative victory cheer of his team possible. Pittsburgh (89 points) and Carolina (87) are still above the line, as are the Columbus Blue Jackets (84), who were beaten by the Calgary Flames 2-4 away. For the jackets, the air is getting thinner and thinner as the strongest rival, the Montreal Canadiens, increased their score to 83 with a 3-1 away win at the Philadelphia Flyers. In the West, the Edmonton Oilers will have to bury their play-off hopes after a 2-7 clap at the St. Louis Blues. Jaden Schwartz did a hat trick, while the two Germans Leon Draisaitl and Tobias Rieder did not score any points. Furthermore, the San Jose Sharks also played without and, despite three defeats in a row, reached the play-offs mathematically.
NHL results from Tuesday, March 19, 2019:
New Jersey Devils – Washington Capitals 1:4
New York Islanders – Boston Bruins 0:5
New York Rangers – Detroit Red Wings 2:3
Philadelphia Flyers – Montreal Canadiens 1:3
St. Louis Blues – Edmonton Oilers 7:2
Carolina Hurricanes – Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 APS
Nashville Predators – Toronto Maple Leafs 3:0
Minnesota Wild – Colorado Avalanche 1-3
Dallas Stars – Florida Panthers 4-2
Calgary Flames – Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2