• Auston Matthews hits a major milestone
• Jonathan Quick makes strong return for Kings
• Penguins beat Flyers in the great outdoors
It was rivalry night in the NHL on Saturday, adding new chapters to some of the league’s best battles.
In Toronto, Auston Matthews scored his 30th goal of the season, but Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens still came away with the win. Down in California, the Los Angeles Kings saw Jonathan Quick return from injury to win the Freeway Frenzy against the Anaheim Ducks. And at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, the Penguins took down their cross-state rivals from Philadelphia out in the cold.
Here are three things we learned.
Matthews hits 30
The Montreal Canadiens have had the Toronto Maple Leafs’ number for years, but if the tides ever turn, Matthews will be the one leading the way. It’s fitting then that he scored both of Toronto’s goals, including his 30th of the season, against the Canadiens in an eventual 3-2 overtime loss.
Just like his rival Patrik Laine, who scored two goals in a game against the Maple Leafs to reach 30 earlier in the week. The two now are tied for the rookie lead in goals and points (54).
Despite the performance, Matthews and the Maple Leafs still could only get one point against the Canadiens, giving Carey Price a milestone of his own. Price’s 259th win passes Ken Dryden for third on the team’s all time list.
The Maple Leafs may be on the rise, but they still haven’t toppled their biggest rival.
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Penguins battle Flyers outdoors
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers renewed their heated rivalry outdoors on Saturday, facing off at Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Flyers and Penguins are no strangers to outdoor games. With Pittsburgh winning this one 4-2, the Penguins are now 2-2 outside, while the Flyers are 0-3.
It certainly felt like a rivalry game, with the teams spending a lot of time getting to know each other after whistles.
The roughness accumulated in this questionable hit from the Flyers’ Brandon Manning on the Penguins’ Jake Guentzel. It’s probably safe to assume Manning will be hearing from the Department for Player Safety after that one.
It’s also safe to assume Sidney Crosby enjoyed his second game at Heinz Field a lot more than his first. Back at the Winter Classic in 2011, Crosby was hit by Washington’s David Steckel, kicking off more than a year of concussion problems.
On Saturday, Crosby scored his league-leading 34th goal, continuing to show that those dark days are behind him.
Jonathan Quick looks like old self in return
The Los Angeles Kings got a massive scare in their season opener when Jonathan Quick injured his groin. After surgery and missing 59 games, he finally returned to the net on Saturday and didn’t look out of place at all. Making 32 saves, Quick led the Kings to a 4-1 win in the latest Freeway Frenzy game against the Anaheim Ducks.
Peter Budaj was masterful while filling in for Quick, going 27-20-3 with a 2.12 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and seven shutouts. But this is Quick’s net and getting him back will be a big boost for the Kings, who currently sit three points behind the Nashville Predators for the final wild card spot in the West.
In an interesting side story to this, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reported on Hockey Night in Canada’s Headlines segment that the Kings are looking to add a goalie before Wednesday’s trade deadline. Kypreos said the Kings have asked about both Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop and Vancouver’s Ryan Miller, but “this would strictly be a rental situation.”
Add that to the long list of rumours leading up to what could be a very busy trade deadline.