There were 11 games on the National Hockey League ice Saturday night and it was a strange and historic day. First off, it was the 40-year anniversary of the Miracle on Ice team, and the 1980 United States Olympians were honored before the Panthers-Golden Knights game in Las Vegas. We also saw future Hall of Famer Alex Ovechkin finally reach the 700-goal plateau, albeit in a loss. Perhaps the strangest situation happened in Toronto, as the Carolina Hurricanes suffered several injuries. We saw the emergency goaltender get called upon by the Hurricanes and a legend was born. Let's get started!
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New Jersey Devils 3, Washington Capitals 2
The big news from this game was Ovechkin becoming the eighth player in NHL history to reach the 700-goal plateau. The 34-year-old joins Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Jaromir Jagr, Brett Hull, Marcel Dionne, Phil Esposito and Mike Gartner in the vaunted club. He also scored the 700th in his 1,144th NHL game, second quickest to The Great One.
Philadelphia Flyers 4, Winnipeg Jets 2
The Flyers fired out of the box thanks to Scott Laughton, who lit the lamp not once, but twice. After 20 minutes it was Laughton 2, Jets 0.
Sean Couturier joined the scoring club in the second period with his 19th goal of the season before Josh Morrissey finally broke through for the visitors. Patrik Laine made it interesting with a power-play goal, his 26th, as Neal Pionk and Blake Wheeler helped out at 3:00 in the third.
Carter Hart settled down, however, finishing with 27 saves, and Tyler Pitlick tacked on insurance midway through the third with help from Robert Hagg and Justin Braun, as the Fly Guys doubled up the Jets.
Buffalo Sabres 5, Pittsburgh Penguins 2
The Sabres picked up a huge road upset, quieting down the Penguins. Zemgus Girgensons set the tone early with his 11th goal of the season at just 14 seconds into the game. Sam Reinhart added his 22nd at 6:48, and Jack Eichel struck on the power play to make it 3-0 against All-Star Tristan Jarry.
Jarry settled down with a scoreless second period, and Evgeni Malkin notched an unassisted goal to slice the lead to 3-1. That's as close as the Pens would get against Carter Hutton and the Sabres, however. He ended up with 41 saves.
Jeff Skinner struck for his 12th goal of the season and Eichel was back with another power-play goal, his 35th goal of the season, as Buffalo rolled. Malkin later notched his second in a losing effort.
Carolina Hurricanes 6, Toronto Maple Leafs 3
The Hurricanes showed a lot of fortitude in an amazing and memorable game on Saturday night. The team lost starter James Reimer to a lower-body injury early in the first period, and after the game head coach Rod Brind'Amour said he expects Reimer to be "out a while." The same diagnosis was given the Brett Pesce, who also was banged up early. Petr Mrazek entered the game, but he also left early, leaving the Hurricanes in a tough spot.
Enter 42-year-old Zamboni driver Dave Ayres, the emergency goalie, who got the chance of a lifetime. Wearing blue hockey pants, a Toronto Marlies helmet and a Hurricanes sweater, the emergency goalie stood on his head against a team he has practiced against in the past. He allowed just two goals on 10 shots to pick up the victory. It's likely his sweater is headed a few miles away to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
Sebastian Aho made history with an assist, giving him points in 12 straight games. He is the third player in Hartford Whalers/Hurricanes franchise history to record multiple point streak of 12 or more games joining Blaine Stoughton (four times) and Mike Rogers (two times).
Montreal Canadiens 3, Ottawa Senators 0
Carey Price posted his 48th career shutout in Ottawa, making 30 saves to move to 26-22-5. He now has three shutouts in the past 16 games, too. Could he be moved at the NHL trade deadline on Monday? General manager Marc Bergevin has been in Denver scouting the Avalanche in person, and Avalanche GM Joe Sakic might be interested in making a move with Philipp Grubauer on the shelf. It's speculation, but these organizations might make some sort of move.
Nick Cousins picked up 12 minutes of penalties, while Brady Tkachuk was assessed 19 minutes. Midway through the second Tkachuk picked up a roughing call as he was in a dust-up after getting smacked by Price with a stick in the crease. The goaltender was also assessed two minutes for roughing. Lately, Tkachuk and Cousins picked up two and 10 in the closing moments of the third.
New York Rangers 3, San Jose Sharks 2
Another long-time organizational talent, Joe Thornton, scored a pair of goals in the road loss. They could be his last goals, as he might be open to moving to a contender as he heads into the final act of his illustrious career.
Igor Shesterkin couldn't keep Thornton from scoring, but he shut everyone else down. He is now 9-1-0 with a 2.23 GAA and .940 save percentage, posting wins in seven straight outings. The team has been rolling with three goaltenders, and Shesterkin might be the future, with Henrik Lundqvist also unlikely to be moved. That might mean Alexandar Georgiev is the trade chip who is moved.
Jesper Fast scored a pair of goals with a plus-2 rating, his first two-goal game since Dec. 29, 2018. Ryan Strome had two assists to give him four goals and 15 points during his current eight-game point streak. Artemi Panarin posted two helpers, too, and he now has four goals and 12 points with a plus-11 rating during his current nine-game points run.
Nashville Predators 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 3 (SO)
Elvis Merzlikins made 33 saves in regulation, but he allowed goals on all three shots he faced in the shootout. Boone Jenner scored a goal for the visitors, taking a team-best seven shots. His three goals in February ties a best for a single month.
Arizona Coyotes 7, Tampa Bay Lightning 3
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed seven goals on 41 shots to lose his second straight start, slipping to 32-11-3 with a 2.58 GAA and .916 save percentage. It's his first time with two straight losses in regulation since Nov. 16-19.
Antti Raanta had no such problems, allowing three goals on 30 shots to square his record at 14-14-3 with a 2.65 GAA and .921 save percentage across 32 appearances.
Conor Garland and Clayton Keller were the offensive heroes, each picking up two goals and three points. It was Garland's first multi-point game since Jan. 18. Meanwhile, Keller has 15 goals and 40 points, emerging as a solid fantasy option in most pools.
Erik Cernak left the game due to a lower-body injury and was unable to return.
Vancouver Canucks 9, Boston Bruins 3
The Canucks and Bruins were tied 1-1 midway through the first period after Troy Stecher and David Pastrnak exchanged goals against Tuukka Rask and Jacob Markstrom. Then, the floodgates opened for the Canucks.
Bo Horvat scored a power-play goal, kicking off a string of five unanswered goals by the home side. Adam Gaudette, Tanner Pearson, Loui Eriksson and Elias Pettersson also got into the act before Pasta was back for a power-play goal, and Chris Wagner added another to draw within three.
J.T. Miller ended up with three assists, Stecher had the goal and three points and Toffoli also was in the three-point club. In total, 14 players on the Canucks had at least one point. Fantasy owners of Brandon Sutter were likely the only ones disappointed, as he was scoreless with a minus-1 rating.
Vegas Golden Knights 5, Florida Panthers 3
Aleksi Saarela notched his second of the season with helpers from Hoffman and Dadonov to draw it to 4-3, but that's as close as the Panthers would get. Smith notched his 25th into the empty net to make it 5-3 in favor of the suddenly red-hot Golden Knights.
Colorado Avalanche 2, Los Angeles Kings 1 (SO)
The Kings opened the scoring with Austin Wagner tallying the unassisted marker to make it 1-0before Ryan Graves answered in the second period on helpers to Gabriel Landeskog and Ian Cole. That was all that Pavel Francouz and Jonathan Quick would allow, as they decided their differences in the shootout.
Speaking of Francouz, did you know his name is pronounced Fran-sose, not Fran-kooz? Anyway, he made 20 saves, while stopping all of the shots he faced in the shootout, outdueling Quick. He was beaten by Joonas Donskoi in the shootout to make the difference.