• Vigneault reaches 600 wins
• A pair of goalies get burned in their return
• Eddie Lack crushed by ‘OviZoid’
The Capitals have impossible depth, the Blues are back, and Crosby was kept from reaching 1000 points.
Here are five things we learned in the NHL Tuesday.
Vigneault hits 600
New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault must have had his eyes trained on his own team’s end more than he’d like but he got the milestone nonetheless.
With a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks Tuesday, Vigneault won his 600th career game in the NHL. The Rangers made it tough on him, giving up 44 shots in the effort, but Henrik Lundqvist made a season-high 43 saves to give his coach the W.
The Quebec City native needed 1105 games to reach 600 wins after tallying 109 with Montreal, 313 with Vancouver, and now 178 with New York.
He won the Jack Adams with the Canucks in 2006-07. Vigneault is the 15th coach all-time to reach 600 wins.
And while Lundqvist seemed the standout performer in this one, it was the Ducks’ John Gibson who starred with this breakaway save on Michael Grabner:
Grabner continues to outrace his output of recent years, and with two goals in this one, he’s now up to 25 goals and 34 points on the season. Both of those totals are his best since his first full season in the NHL back in 2010-11 with the Islanders when he scored 34 goals and 52 points.
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Capital “D” Depth
Ok, so the NHL’s top team having scoring depth is no shock. Just look at some of these numbers.
The Washington Capitals crushed the Carolina Hurricanes 5-0 Tuesday, exemplifying what they’ve been doing a ton of lately: scoring and not getting scored on.
Their third line has been incredible of late:
Really, every line has been busy:
The Caps have scored five or more goals in nine straight home games and have won 10 straight at Verizon Center. According to Tom Gulitti of NHL.com, Washington has outscored teams 50-12 over that span with five of those goals against coming in one game.
Just sheer domination. The Capitals and…wait, the Islanders?
Fans in Washington are getting a little overconfident *cough* perhaps *coughcough*
Lack downed by OviZoid
And the victim of Washington’s torrential offence Tuesday: poor Eddie Lack.
The Hurricanes goalie was back in the lineup for the first time since Nov. 6, having been on the shelf with a concussion. Allowing five goals on 28 shots is a rude awakening.
But on the first goal against, Lack was taken down by…The OviZoid: Alex Ovechkin.
Back in early January, Lack tweeted out an innovative idea about how to limit the NHL’s best goal scorer of this generation. Whereas the trapezoid was largely seen as a rule to stop great puck-movers like Martin Brodeur, the OviZoid, Lack said, is an area at the top of the right circle that should be off-limits to Ovechkin.
And that’s exactly where The Great Eight scored from Tuesday. Be careful what you wish for.
Blues back to defensive ways
They call it the dead cat bounce.
St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock was fired on Feb. 1 and since then, the Blues have allowed just five goals over four games.
Tuesday saw them extend their shutout streak to two games with a 6-0 blowout of the Ottawa Senators.
Under coach Mike Yeo, the Blues have kept the Leafs, Flyers, and Senators to a total of one goal, losing 4-1 to the Penguins last Saturday. Tuesday’s shutout was Jake Allen‘s first of 2016-17.
St. Louis has been a defensive stalwart for much of its time under Hitchcock but found itself in dead last in team save percentage this year. Allen and Hitchcock have had their troubles before but the goalie coaching duties also changed with the former coach’s firing. Martin Brodeur and Ty Conklin took over the practice whistle and time will tell if the change is a positive for the struggling Blues netminder.
Hammond does Anderson no favours
Stop me if you start having deja vu.
A second goalie returned to action Tuesday only to get blown out in an unfortunate fashion. That’s where the similarities between Eddie Lack and Andrew Hammond end, however.
Hammond got his first start for the Senators since Dec. 18 on this night and made just 24 saves on 30 shots. It was one of Ottawa’s worst ever home losses.
Hammond’s start was timely in part that it gave Mike Condon a much-needed rest (he made 27 straight appearances!!!) but also because Craig Anderson may soon return to the lineup.
Ottawa’s starter has been on a leave of absence to be with his wife Nicholle who is suffering from nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a cancer that starts in the upper part of the throat. Her treatments took place in New York and she and her husband recently returned to Ottawa.
Anderson won’t be immediately brought back into the crease and may even take a spin in the AHL before coming back the Senators full-time. Hammond coming in Tuesday and providing some stability in goal might have gone a long way in allowing this transition to go smoothly. He did not.
The Senators sit second in the Atlantic, tied with the Maple Leafs and two points up on the Bruins.