Top players from Tuesday in the NHL
Joe Pavelski, Stars
Look, we get it. Alex Ovechkin is the reigning champion of “How is he (36) years old?” comments. But Joe Pavelski should inspire similar fountain of youth suspicions related to what he’s accomplishing at age 37.
Frankly, he already wowed me again and again last season. Pavelski even earned my vote for the 2021 Selke Trophy.
Yet … Pavelski’s even more important to the Stars as they grasp desperately at a playoff spot this year? With two goals and two assists, Pavelski boosted his 2021-22 season total to 48(!) points in just 40 games. That’s three points shy of last season’s 51 points (in 56 games), and to reiterate, Pavelski was tremendous last season. He’s found incredible chemistry with much younger forwards Roope Hintz (1G, 1A on Tuesday) and Jason Robertson (1A) the past two seasons.
Taking a look at Pavelski’s career xGAR chart from Evolving Hockey, at least two things are clear: we haven’t truly appreciated Pavelski as much as we should have over the years, and also: he might be aging Benjamin Button/Brad Marchand–style.
NHL highlights from Tuesday
Sebastian Aho made the difference in OT for the Hurricanes over the Golden Knights:
The Sensational Sebastian Aho pic.twitter.com/pvRx8YLm5N
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) January 26, 2022
Keith Yandle being honored for playing 965 consecutive games, setting a new NHL ironman record for games played in a row.
It must have felt a little extra special for Tyler Ennis to collect a hat trick against his former team, the Sabres.
To avoid being too dirty, I’ll let you guess the theme of these next three Tuesday NHL highlights. Winner gets … a sense of satisfaction (oh no, that almost sounds dirty too).
First, Brian Boyle:
BRIAN. BOYLE. 😱
— NHL (@NHL) January 26, 2022
Finally, Adam Gaudette:
Oh my Gaudette. 😍 pic.twitter.com/cHwCQPT3qb
— NHL (@NHL) January 26, 2022
Tuesday NHL Takeaways
Canucks reportedly set to hire Patrik Allvin as new GM
The Canucks haven’t confirmed this news yet, but all indications are they’ve found their new general manager. Multiple reporters back up word that the Canucks plucked Patrik Allvin from the Penguins organization to become their 12th GM in franchise history.
If all of that becomes official, it makes for a truly transformative week for the Canucks. Expect more on Allvin and the Canucks in its own post.
But to review just the past couple days …
On Monday, the Canucks announced the addition of Emilie Castonguay as their first woman assistant GM in franchise history, and just the second in NHL history. Castonguay also continues a small trend of former player agents taking on prominent NHL front office roles.
Flyers set franchise record with 13-game losing streak; Yandle sets new NHL record ‘ironman’ streak at 965 games
Speaking of continuing stories, how about a mix of the bad and the very good?
- The good is that Keith Yandle broke his brief tie with Doug Jarvis to become the NHL’s all-time ironman record holder. Yandle received 965 consecutive games played on Monday, breaking a tie for that NHL record. Do note that Phil Kessel isn’t far behind Yandle at 941 games in a row, so there could be twists and turns to this story. (Side note: if Keith Yandle is “Iron Man,” does this make Phil Kessel “War Machine?”)
- Now, firmly from the not fun file: the Flyers lost their 13th game in a row by falling 4-3 to the Islanders. That 13th consecutive loss sets a new Flyers franchise record for their longest-ever losing streak. The fumbling Flyers already became the first team in more than a decade to post two 10+ game losing streaks in the same season. (And they did it basically just halfway through the season! And they’re not even the worst team in the NHL amid all this. What’s happening?)
There’s a tragicomic layer to this Mike Yeo quote:
Yeo: “If you would have told me we would have scored three goals tonight, I would have thought we would at least get a point.” #Flyers
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) January 26, 2022
*Cough* Kinda get the feeling the Flyers might be making some uncomfortable (but maybe necessary) changes of their own soon, eh?
Penguins remain red-hot
Even during what’s now a six-game winning streak, it hasn’t always been pretty for the Penguins. Falling behind more than once to the cratering Coyotes? Kinda ugly.
But it’s a long season, and strong teams need to show that they can shake off setbacks, and sometimes simply win ugly. Whatever way you slice it, the Penguins are just flat-out winning lately.
Could there have been some sort of fortune swap after the Oilers (then 16-5-0) beat the Penguins (then 10-8-5) on Dec. 1? From then on, the Oilers have been crumbling, while the Penguins powered through with a 17-2-0 record.
That leaves the Penguins at 27-10-5 which … well, gives them a chance at a round of home-ice advantage in the Metro. The top of the East is for real, folks. The Penguins might be, too.
Wednesday’s big story
A rising superpower (Avalanche) vs. a fading power hoping to hang on (Bruins)
Here’s the thing about the East’s playoff teams, and really a good chunk of the near-sure things in both conferences: they’re all somewhere between very good and extremely good.
If everything came together for the Bruins, and they made a big run, would it be that surprising? They still have some of the high-end talent that’s made them a contender for years, and there’s plenty of time for Tuukka Rask to shake the rust off.
Still, it’s fair to say that the Bruins aren’t the same powerhouse they once were. It’s also reasonable to wonder how often any recent Bruins team looked as foreboding as the Avalanche when they’re clicking on all (heck, just some) cylinders.
Theoretically, if the Bruins (somewhat surprisingly) took on the Avalanche (not surprisingly) in the 2022 Stanley Cup Final, the story would probably be about Boston trying to slow down Colorado. Is that possible? Or would the B’s just embrace the situation and hope they can hang?
Fun hypothetical questions, and maybe we gather some data for early hypotheses with this one.
NHL scores from Tuesday
Hurricanes 4, Golden Knights 3 (OT)
Stars 5, Devils 1
Senators 5, Sabres 0
Penguins 6, Coyotes 3
Islanders 4, Flyers 3
Panthers 5, Jets 3
Oilers 3, Canucks 2
Predators 4, Kraken 2