The Wild have responded under new head coach John Torchetti, a pair of brutal hits led to ejections, Kessel and Crosby connect, Jagr inches closer to Hull and more in six things we learned in the NHL.
It appears a coaching change has provided the spark the Minnesota Wild were looking for, at least north of the border.
The Wild replaced Mike Yeo with interim head coach John Torchetti on Saturday following a 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins. Since Torchetti took over behind the bench the Wild have won three straight games, finding that missing offence in the process.
Minnesota topped the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 to beat a Canadian team for the third consecutive contest.
The Wild bested the Vancouver Canucks Monday (5-2), Calgary Flames Wednesday (5-3), and the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night.
Minnesota trail the Colorado Avalanche and Nashville Predators by two points for a Western Conference wild-card playoff berth. A coaching change well timed, apparently. Now let’s see how they fare versus some teams outside of the listless Pacific Division.
Questionable hits and ejections
Komarov skated across the ice and blatantly laid an elbow into McDonagh’s head. The all-star was given a match penalty on the play, so it’s possible he could be hearing from the NHL’s department of player safety.
McDonagh sat on the bench for the remainder of the period but did not return following the first intermission.
Elsewhere in brutal collisions, Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Anton Stralman caught Winnipeg Jets forward Bryan Little stumbling with his head down and absolutely crushed him with what appeared to be shoulder-to-head contact.
Jets’ Blake Wheeler took issue with Stralman, although the latter was only given a two-minute minor for roughing for his role in the fracas. Jets head coach Paul Maurice was incensed, which led to a bench minor. Little left the game and did not return.
Maurice continued to lay into the officials at the start of the third period before earning himself an ejection.
Kessel and Crosby cook up some chemistry
Phil Kessel and Sidney Crosby failed to find much chemistry together early in the season, but they looked pretty good together on this night. Kessel scored twice, while Crosby picked up an assist on one of those markers before adding a goal of his own.
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan experimented with his lines and it worked after his team had scored just two goals in its last three games. Look for Kessel and Crosby to get some work together when Pittsburgh hosts the Lightning on Saturday.
Karlsson continues to dominate offensively
It doesn’t matter that Erik Karlsson doesn’t kill penalties for the Ottawa Senators. He’s the best at what he does when he’s on the ice, and he was on the ice for over 30 minutes in a 4-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday.
The two-time Norris Trophy winner added two more assists to his league-leading season total.
Karlsson leads all NHL defencemen in assists (54), points (65), and average time-on-ice (29:05).
Kuznetsov continues to make ridiculous passes
The Capitals downed the New York Islanders 3-2 in overtime.
Jagr closes in on milestone in loss
Jagr scored the 740th goal of his career (18th of the season) to move within one of Brett Hull for third all-time.
Gordie Howe is second on the NHL’s all-time goals leader list with 801.