A 26-year-old scored his first goal, at least one Finnish hockey player has something to be proud of, and a Swede is surging.
Here are three things we learned in the NHL Friday.
This one had a hint of redemption to it.
With their perennial salary cap crunch, the signing of Michal Kempny by the Chicago Blackhawks last spring was seen by some as a crafty way of acquiring blue-line depth without spending too much dough. The undrafted Czech joined the Blackhawks this season after scoring 21 points in 59 games with Avangard Omsk of the KHL last year.
It’s been an uneven transition to the NHL for the 26-year-old, who’s been a healthy scratch for several stretches this season, a symptom of Chicago’s aforementioned depth on the back end and of his wavering play.
And so it was timely that Kempny scored his first NHL goal Friday to get the monkey off his back for the time being.
Way to go, kid.
Meanwhile, attending this game was Bryan Bickell, the former Blackhawk and current Hurricane who was diagnosed this year with multiple sclerosis. The 30-year-old played just seven games this season before remaining on the sidelines to see how his body deals with medication.
Al the best, Bryan.
The Nashville Predators are a bit of a conundrum in 2016-17.
A team that many picked to either win the Stanley Cup or come out of the West has struggled to remain a playoff team and sat three points out of a wild card spot heading into Friday’s game against the St. Louis Blues.
Filip Forsberg has similarly furrowed brows with his middling offensive output after posting back-to-back 60+ point seasons. But with a goal Friday, Forsberg now has five goals in his past six games after scoring just three in the first 30.
Elsewhere at this game: I suppose this is A Thing but I know we’re all worse off for having seen it.
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The backup goaltender and fourth round draft choice from 2013 has been stellar when he’s played this season, seeing action in six games. He boasts a 3-2-1 record after Friday, with a 1.40 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage.
Friday’s win was perfection as he recorded his first NHL shutout, blanking the Blues with 25 saves.
What did we learn? That Saros is also perfect with the glove this year. Like, actually perfect. He hasn’t allowed a goal to the glove-high side. Seriously.
From the Fox Sports Midwest broadcast:
…Though that five-hole doesn’t look very good.
The Finnish tandem of Rinne and Saros were told about Team Finland’s shocking decision to fire its coaching staff after being relegated at the world junior championship before the tournament is even over.
You may have heard that Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba were invited to perform with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet for their rendition of The Nutcracker. Here are a few images we found of their theatrical debut, via Trevor Hagan: