The Bruins get a little healthier, Stamkos strikes again, the Senators’ struggles continue and more. Here are five things we learned in the NHL on Wednesday night.
Bruins (finally) getting healthy
The Boston Bruins got a pretty big boost ahead of their Wednesday night matchup against the Tampa Bay Lighting, with David Backes, Brad Marchard, and Ryan Spooner back in the lineup.
Marchand hadn’t played since Nov. 11 due to an undisclosed injury, Spooner had been dealing with a groin injury, and Backes proved he’s tougher than us all by returning to action less than a month after undergoing a surgical procedure to treat diverticulitis—an infection in the intestines that was originally expected to keep him sidelined through the month of December.
Marchand tallied two assists in the Bruins’ 3-2 win while Spooner assisted on Torey Krug’s game-winner, and did we mention how tough Backes is?
The Bruins aren’t back to full health just yet as they’re still missing forwards David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk, but they’re certainly getting closer.
Stamkos & Kucherov strike again
Steven Stamkos has been the league’s best set-up man so far this season, leading the NHL in assists (26) and points (37) while Nikita Kucherov’s 17 goals and 36 points rank the winger second in both categories. But it was Kucherov’s turn to set up Stamkos on Wednesday against the Bruins.
The goal was Stamkos’s 11th of the season and eighth on the power play, which leads the NHL this season. He’s a huge reason why Tampa Bay has the league’s top power-play percentage (27.4).
Here are all the highlights from the game:
Senators’ skid stretches to seven
Luck can change pretty quickly in the NHL, and Wednesday’s all-Canadian matchup was a prime example of two teams who have witnessed that first-hand.
The Ottawa Senators’ losing streak stretched to seven games with their 2-1 loss to the Canadiens, marking their worst skid since 2012.
Their last win came across the pond during the club’s two-game Global Series against Colorado in Stockholm on Nov. 11. The Senators’ losing streak coincides with a pointless streak for captain Erik Karlsson.
Karlsson and the Senators will try to stop their run of futility Friday against the New York Islanders.
From bad luck to good, let’s turn our attention to the Canadiens.
Price stays sharp
We don’t need to remind you how dismal the Canadiens’ early-season woes were. They’re certainly not in the clear yet, but the Canadiens look like they’re starting to climb back with Carey Price back in the crease.
Price, who made 27 saves against Ottawa Wednesday night, has put together three impressive wins since returning from injury last week and looks like the version of himself we’re used to seeing in Montreal.
The highlight of the night, however, goes to his teammate. Jonathan Drouin got the Canadiens on the board with a perfectly executed penalty shot—the first of his NHL career, and the Canadiens’ first goal scored on a penalty shot since Dale Weise buried one back in November 2014.
“It was actually kind of nerve-wracking,” Drouin told reporters after the game. “I had two moves in my head and decided to shoot at the last second. … It was a cool moment.”
MacKinnon scores double in OT
Nathan MacKinnon loves overtime goals so much, he got two of ’em Wednesday night against the Winnipeg Jets. And both were helped in by Jets defenceman Josh Morrissey, poor guy.
The first goal, which deflected off Morrissey’s stick and into Winnipeg’s net, was called back due to an offside. It didn’t take long for MacKinnon to get another—which also appeared to bounce off Morrissey to seal the 3-2 victory for the Avalanche.