December 30 — The Highs & Lows of 2022

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

PRESS BOX DUTY: Yesterday, New York Rangers forward Alexis Lafrenière was a healthy scratch for their tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Selected No. 1 overall in the 2020 Draft, Lafrenière has five goals and 17 points in 36 games this season and recently was playing on the Rangers’ fourth line.

1,000 FOR GAGNER: Winnipeg Jets forward Sam Gagner skated in his 1,000th NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks, which also happens to be a former team of his. While enjoying a successful 16-year career, the 33-year-old posted 190 goals, 326 assists, and 516 points across those 1,000 matches. Furthermore, he has 11 points in 33 games this season. Congratulations, Gagner!

OFFICER CROSBY: Sidney Crosby was one of 99 appointees as an officer to the Order of Canada on Thursday, one of the country’s highest honors for citizens. Recognizing people across Canadian society who have made extraordinary and sustained contributions to the nation, Crosby was honored for his hockey achievements with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Canadian national teams.

SMELLS LIKE “TEAM” SPIRIT: Seattle Kraken goaltender Chris Driedger debuted his new mask on social media, paying tribute to bands that shaped the area. Featuring Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, two bands that popularized the grunge scene in Seattle during the late 1990s, Driedger’s mask includes the city skyline and the neck of a guitar across the top. A meditating Buddha, a traffic light, Baby Yoda, Rafiki, and the words “Hakuna Matata” and “Pressure Is A Privilege” adorn the backplate.

CONNOR CANADA: A night after posting seven points against Germany, Conor Bedard followed up with two goals and four assists to lead Canada past Austria, 11-0. His two tallies were his 13th and 14th career U20 goals, tying the Canadian record set by Jordan Eberle (14 goals in 12 games), as Bedard leads the 2023 World Junior Championship in all scoring categories (six goals, eight assists, 14 points).

AMERICAN BOUNCE BACK: Logan Cooley and Jimmy Snuggerud got Team USA back on track at the WJC with two points each in a 5-1 victory over Switzerland. Cooley, named Player of the Game, had the game-winning goal and an assist, while Snuggerud scored twice for the Americans.

Friday Favorites

Let’s look back at our favorite moments of the week.

A Day With the Ducks

Earlier this week, the Anaheim Ducks partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to host youth hockey player Jackson Lewis-Rodriguez. The young fan signed a two-way contract with the club and participated in multiple events starting with the team’s practice. Afterward, he took a boat ride with Cam Fowler to Balboa Island, where they reunited with Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale. On Dec. 28, he was honored ahead of the team’s matchup against the Vegas Golden Knights and even led the Ducks on the ice for pregame warmups. 

Welcome Back, Barky!

Aleksander Barkov made his triumphant return to the ice on Dec. 29 after suffering an injury against the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 17. Florida hosted the Montreal Canadiens, and the Panthers captain wasted no time making an impact. He scored a hat trick in the first period of the game in front of the home crowd. Florida won the game by a final score of 7-2. Welcome back, captain! 

Ovechkin’s Special Message

After Alex Ovechkin scored his 802nd goal, he received a special message from Mark Howe, the son of “Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe. With that milestone goal, Ovechkin passed Howe and is now second on the career goals list. Mark said, “I’ve had the opportunity to watch you play so many games as a scout, and you’ve been a pleasure to watch. You’re one of very few people in this game to me that they bring a wow factor. You embrace the fans. You’re everything that my mother and father would be very proud of, and I know if they were here today, they would be at this hockey game. They’d be the first ones to congratulate you.”

By the Numbers: A Look Back at 2022

2022 was a busy year for the NHL, and with only two days left before heading into 2023, we thought we would share some numbers to keep in mind as we turn our calendars to the New Year. Let’s look at 2022 by the numbers!

4,118:07 – Regular season time on ice (TOI) for Winnipeg Jets netminder Connor Hellebuyck, the most in 2022. Juuse Saros was the next goaltender to come close to 4,000 minutes (3,998:15 TOI), as the two shared near identical stats: Hellebuyck – .915 SV% & 2.83 GAA, Saros – .915 SV% & 2.84 GAA. 

39 – Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark got his 39th win in his 50th start during the 2022 calendar year when Boston defeated the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 28. He carries a 20-1-1 in 24 games this season, which is the best among NHL goaltenders. Jake Oettinger (Dallas Stars) and Igor Shesterkin (New York Rangers) also had 39 wins in 2022 but started 63 and 61 games, respectively.

30 – Connor McDavid became the first player of the season to hit the 30-goal mark on Dec. 23. He now stands alone at 31 goals, and the closest players are Tage Thompson and Bo Horvat, who each have 26.

138 – Although McDavid’s 56 goals and 82 assists for 138 points in 85 games throughout 2022 are behind last year’s production (52 goals, 105 assists for 157 points in 87 games in 2021), it is still an impressive mark. Not since 1999 has a player scored more than McDavid in 2021 or 2022 (Jaromír Jágr – 63 goals, 89 assists for 152 points in 84 games). 

7 & 14 – Projected first-overall pick, Connor Bedard, had a seven-point night (three goals, four assists) during Team Canada’s 11-2 victory over Germany on Dec. 28. His seven points tied the team’s single-game record at the World Juniors. Moreover, he also tied Jordan Eberle’s goal record for Canada on Dec. 29 by getting his 14th goal in 12 U20 games. During the current tournament, he has 14 points through three games.

29 – This is the third time Bedard has worn the maple leaf this year, competing for Canada in the 2022 U18 World Championship in April, the 2022 World Juniors in August, and the current 2023 WJC. Across those three tournaments, Bedard has racked up 16 goals and 13 assists for 29 points in 14 contests.

74.7% – Three out of every four games for the Bruins was a victory in 2022, as Boston won 65 of its 91 contests—50 coming in regulation. Carolina was second with a 70.7% win rate (55 wins in 87 games), while Toronto (56 wins in 88 games, 69.9%) and Colorado (58 wins in 89 games, 69.7%) were close to the 70% mark. 

341 – Florida led the offensive output across the league, scoring 341 goals this past calendar year. Aleksander Barkov (37 goals), Sam Reinhart (36), and Carter Verhaeghe (34) were the only players to eclipse 30 tallies in 2022, as 34 skaters found the scoresheet for the Panthers in the past 12 months. 

In Memoriam

As we reach the end of 2022, there was no shortage of highlights to reflect on—the NHL got back to post-pandemic business as usual, with the Colorado Avalanche dethroning the Tampa Bay Lightning for Stanley Cup supremacy. Sadly, the year has also seen the passing of some true titans of the sport. While we usually like to keep things light and fun here, we’d be remiss if we didn’t offer one last stick tap to the hockey greats who left us over the past 12 months.

With honorable mentions to Clark Gillies, Eric Nesterenko, Bryan Marchment, Peter McNab, Jim Pappin, and Don McKenney, here are some of hockey’s larger-than-life figures that we said goodbye to this year.

Guy Lafleur

THW Archives

After losing his battle with lung cancer in late April, Montreal Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur got a funeral befitting a national icon. A five-time Stanley Cup champion and two-time Hart Trophy winner, Lafleur laid in state at the Bell Centre for two days to allow fans to pay tribute. After which, a funeral featuring Habs greats, hockey luminaries, and prominent Canadians like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau celebrated his life. 

Mike Bossy

Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

As Alex Ovechkin continues his climb up the record books this year, we sadly lost one of hockey’s greatest goal-scorers. A week before Lafleur passed away, the sports world mourned the death of Mike Bossy, also to lung cancer. The Hall of Famer played just 10 seasons in the league but still managed five of 60-plus goals, serving as the driving force behind the New York Islanders dynasty of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Börje Salming

Börje Salming (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

In a farewell pulled from the pages of a Hollywood script, Börje Salming passed away in November, days after being honored by the Toronto Maple Leafs in an emotional ceremony following the announcement of his ALS diagnosis. Though the ceremony for the legendary Swedish defenseman felt like something of a goodbye, no one could have guessed how soon that goodbye would come. To this day, Salming has scored over 200 points more than any other Toronto defenseman in franchise history.

NHL Standings

NHL’s Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule