Six things we learned in the NHL: King of the crease

Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman spoke to the media about acquiring Andrew Ladd from the Jets, getting a defenceman that has won a Stanley Cup with the team in the past.

A stunning save, a King crowned, roster shake-ups and more. Here’s what we learned in the NHL on a busy Thursday night.

Neuvirth saves the day
Philadelphia Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth made the save of the season Thursday night against the Minnesota Wild.

OK, let’s set it up. It’s 3-2 Flyers, with three seconds to go in the game. Charlie Coyle‘s got the game-tying goal on his stick, and a wide open net.


The Wild thought they’d tied it up, but a review determined that Neuvirth got to it with a desperate diving effort just in time.

(You should probably watch it again, just for good measure.)

“Especially with the timing, it’s gotta be one of the best saves I’ve ever made for sure,” Neuvirth said after the game.

Foligno nets a hat trick
The Columbus Blue Jackets dominated the New Jersey Devils 6-1 Thursday night for their fifth straight win against the club, thanks mostly to captain Nick Foligno. The 28-year-old winger scored twice in the first period, then added another in the second to complete his second career hat trick.

He also added an assist for a four-point night.

Devils goaltender Cory Schneider was chased from the net after letting in three goals on 11 shots in the first period. Keith Kinkaid came in to start the second frame, but didn’t fare much better, allowing three goals on 13 shots.

Brandon Saad scored the game’s third goal to seal Schneider’s fate and officially take over as the Blue Jackets’ goals leader. His 23 goals on the season matches his career high from last year.

That’s a lot of cannons in Columbus.

Kadri worth watching
The depleted Toronto Maple Leafs are still showing signs of life, and at the forefront of that is Nazem Kadri. Nearing the final stretch of his one-year show-me contract, Kadri has been doing just that. That much was obvious Thursday as he helped the Maple Leafs play spoiler to the surging Carolina Hurricanes with his fifth point in the last three contests.

Kadri’s role on the team has expanded under general manager Lou Lamoriello and head coach Mike Babcock, and he was a force throughout the Leafs’ 3-1 win over the Hurricanes. He was a heavy presence right to the final seconds of the game — even taking a roughing penalty in the final minute — but no one felt his presence more than Andrej Nestrasil.

Kadri knocked the centreman out of the game with a huge hit in the second period. Nestrasil did not return, due to a lower-body injury, and could be out for a little while.

It’s hard to say whether Kadri — whose name has been circulated in trade rumours — could be one of the many Leafs on the move come Monday’s trade deadline, but there have certainly been plenty of scouts in the building of late.

Another Leaf worth watching right now? P.A. Parenteau. Read Damien Cox’s assessment of the forward’s revived play here.

Also worth noting: Josh Leivo, a recent call-up from the Toronto Marlies, scored the tie breaker in the second period, extending a nice little goal streak to four straight games.

King of the crease
The King has been crowned.

Henrik Lundqvist backstopped the New York Rangers to a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues Thursday night, and made some pretty significant history in the process.

The 33-year-old Swedish goalie went into the game with 17,369 career NHL saves to his name. Eleven stops later, and he officially surpassed Mike Richter’s record for most all-time saves by a Rangers goalie.

In addition to taking his rightful place atop the goaltending throne, Lundqvist also earned his 30th win of the season. That makes him the third NHL goalie to reach 30 wins in 10 different seasons, and the first to do so in his first 11 seasons.

To put that into perspective…

Captain-less Jets make a statement
When you lose your captain pretty much minutes before puck drop, you’d be excused if you were a little off your game. No excuses were necessary for the Winnipeg Jets, however, earning themselves a statement 6-3 win over the powerful Dallas Stars Thursday night after Andrew Ladd was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks. (Get full trade details here.)

Ladd will surely be missed — just ask the Jets faithful, many of whom tweeted thanks to their longtime captain. But Mark Scheifele, who stepped up in a big way with a four-point night, credits many of his teammates with stepping up in Ladd’s absence — no doubt, not an easy task.

Rookie Joel Armia was one of the team’s biggest contributors, helping to chase Antti Niemi from the net and later undressing Dallas’ defenders for a highlight-reel goal.

While the Jets said farewell to their longtime teammate, Ladd’s new teammates in Chicago are ready to welcome him with open arms.

As for Ladd?

“Chicago was at the top of my list and I’m excited to have the opportunity to…win the Stanley Cup again.”

Oilers’ scratches stir trade rumours
After Ladd’s late scratching from the Jets’ game led to a nearly immediate trade to Chicago, the hockey world was on high alert when the Edmonton Oilers’ lineups were released prior to their game against the Los Angeles Kings.

No Justin Schultz or Teddy Purcell — two names on the team’s trading block.

With head coach Todd McLellan’s comments calling out his team’s character and play following a flat loss to the Ottawa Senators Tuesday, a trade wouldn’t come as a surprise.

In the end, the two under-performing players watched the Oilers’ 2-1 loss in its entirety from the press box. But as McLellan alluded to, changes are coming. It may just be a matter of when.

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