May 6 — Third String Goalies & Playoff Hat Tricks

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

QUOTE THE GREAT ONE: Wayne Gretzky attempted to break the internet during the NHL on TNT broadcast. Using a prop from the hit sitcom The Office, Gretzky posed next to the dry erase board that the character Michael Scott used to attribute the “Great One’s” famous quote as his own.

TRADER TOM?: New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald admits that he’s open to making the team’s first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft available in the right trade. Despite adding Dougie Hamilton last summer, the Devils still finished just two points clear of the Metropolitan Division basement, so Fitzgerald is looking to be aggressive in improving his club.

THE B’S ARE SWAYING: Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said yesterday that rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman will get his first playoff start this evening against the Carolina Hurricanes. Swayman played in 41 games (39 starts) while posting a 23-14-3 record, a 2.41 goals-against average, a .914 save percentage, and three shutouts on the season. 

EVENING THE SERIES: Two nights after being upset on home ice, the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers evened their respective series with victories last night. Florida got revenge on the Washington Capitals, winning convincingly 5-1 with Aleksander Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe leading the way with a goal and two assists. Meanwhile, the Rangers finally solved Louis Domingue, scoring five times, while Igor Shisterkin made 37 saves to lead New York to a 5-2 win. 

RETURNING THE FAVOR: You have to go back to the first period of Game 1 to find a goal scored on Jake Oettinger and the Dallas Stars. Oettinger followed up the 20 saves made after giving up that goal with 26 more in last night’s Game 2 2-0 victory over the Calgary Flames. Jacob Markstrom made 21 saves for Calgary, as both goaltenders have given up one goal in two games. 

CALE SMOOTHIE: Cale Makar ended the game on the 50th shot for the Colorado Avalanche, defeating the Nashville Predators 2-1 in overtime in Game 2. Third-string goalie Connor Ingram made 48 saves in his NHL playoff start, looking calm and collected in the crease for the Predators after David Rittich gave up five goals in the first period on Tuesday.

Friday Favorites

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

The Louis Domingue Special

I don’t think anyone had on their bingo card that Louis Domingue would be the postseason player of the hour, but here we are. The New York Rangers hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins for Game 1, and fans got their money’s worth as it took triple overtime to determine a winner. During the second overtime period, Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith left the game with a lower-body injury, setting the stage for Domingue, who had sat for 89:07. He was perfect in goal, making 17 saves and securing the victory for the visiting team. However, the highlight came after the game when Domingue revealed he had just eaten spicy pork and broccoli between the first and second overtime. What a king! 

You Get a Hat Trick, You Get a Hat Trick

The hats have been flying at Xcel Energy Center these past two games. During Game 1, David Perron of the visiting St. Louis Blues scored three against Marc-André Fleury and the Minnesota Wild. Then in Game 2, the home team celebrated not one but two hat tricks, even if the first didn’t count after the hats hit the ice. Joel Eriksson Ek appeared to score a hat trick, but the Blues challenged the play for offside, reversing the call after a video review. Less than a minute later, Kirill Kaprizov scored his third goal on an empty net, which allowed fans to celebrate one final time before the game ended in a 6-2 victory for the home team. 

Toronto’s Stars Shine Bright

Toronto Maple Leafs fans were able to take a sigh of relief after Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The duo of Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews combined for six points in the first game of Round 1, while goaltender Jack Campbell was perfect, stopping all 24 shots he faced. They dropped Game 2 by a final score of 5-3, but Matthews and Marner were still on the scoreboard combining for one goal and three assists. It’s a positive sign for a team and fanbase that are desperate to reach the second round for the first time since 2004. 

The Third Line of Defense

Early in this NHL postseason, goalies seem to be going down on a nightly basis, with some teams forced to dip deep into their netminding reserves. Although this seems like a relatively new or unique phenomenon, it isn’t. Ken Dryden, Cam Ward, Matt Murray, and Jordan Binnington carried their respective clubs to Stanley Cup glory despite hardly going in as the first option between the pipes. And those are just the success stories!

Among the 16 teams vying for the Cup, three are already turning to No. 3 on their depth chart in goal. Less than ideal circumstances? Certainly! But as we’ve seen with unlikely goaltending heroes in the past, their emergence could spark the beginning of a magical playoff run. Let’s take a closer look at these three puck stoppers thrust into the spotlight:

Pyotr Kochetkov – Carolina Hurricanes

Pyotr Kochetkov, Carolina Hurricanes (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Frederik Andersen was already out with a lower-body injury when backup Antti Raanta got waylaid by Boston Bruins star David Pastrňák. Enter Pyotr Kochetkov, a 22-year-old veteran of only three NHL games before the playoffs. The 2019 second rounder eased fears in Carolina on Wednesday night, looking poised and even feisty while stopping 30 of 32 Bruins’ shots to give the Hurricanes a substantial 2-0 series advantage.

Louis Domingue – Pittsburgh Penguins

Former Vancouver Canucks goalie Louis Domingue (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Louis Domingue turned 30 on March 6, but he already has more playoff wins in his 30s (one) than in his 20s (zero). So this is the incredible story of a journeyman who has now suited up for six different NHL teams over eight seasons, with another eight spent in the AHL. On Tuesday night, Domingue recorded the win over Vezina Trophy favorite Igor Shesterkin after coming in during the second of a triple-overtime thriller between the Penguins and New York Rangers.

Connor Ingram – Nashville Predators

Connor Ingram (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

If the NHL postseason had its own Masterton Trophy to award, Connor Ingram would already be the runaway favorite. With Juuse Saros (leg injury) out, Ingram stopped 30 of 32 shots in place of backup David Rittich, who had already allowed five Colorado Avalanche goals in a lopsided first period of Game 1, and got the Game 2 nod. Ingram’s playoff appearance comes nine months after being diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder and entering the league’s player assistance program.

Plenty of Playoff Hats

The Minnesota Wild beat the St. Louis Blues 6-2 on Wednesday night, evening the series at one game apiece. The leading catalyst behind the four-goal victory was star winger Kirill Kaprizov, who recorded his first postseason hat trick. The 25-year-old, who had 108 points (47 goals, 61 assists) in 81 games this season (his second in the NHL), is the 226th player to score at least three goals in one playoff game. More could be in the young phenom’s future, though, it will take quite a few more for him to join these guys atop the list of NHL players with the most career playoff hat tricks.

Wayne Gretzky, 10

Unsurprisingly, the “Great One” tops this list, as most lists with goal-scoring. Gretzky played in 208 playoff games during his 20-year NHL career, scoring exactly three goals in eight of them and four in two. His first postseason hat trick was on April 11, 1981, for the Edmonton Oilers against the Montreal Canadiens. He had another three-goal game eight days later against the New York Islanders.

It might come as a shocker, but Wayne Gretzky is the NHL’s all-time leader in playoff hat tricks (Photo by B Bennett/Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

During the 1984 Postseason, Gretzky had two four-goal games. He had two more playoff hat tricks two years later and another the year after that. It was during that span that he and the Oilers won the Stanley Cup four times (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988). Gretzky’s next playoff hat trick came in 1993 with the Los Angeles Kings. He had two more with the New York Rangers during the final postseason of his career in 1997.

Jari Kurri, 7

Gretzky wasn’t the only player recording hat tricks during the 1980s and ’90s postseasons. Kurri, who played in 200 playoff games across his 17 seasons, had seven of them, many as a teammate of Gretzky’s. The two played together in Edmonton from 1980 to 88 and Los Angeles from 1991 to 93. Kurri has one more Stanley Cup title than Gretzky, winning it with the Oilers in 1990 after Gretzky had already left for L.A.

Jari Kurri, a long-time teammate of Gretzky’s, was almost as prolific as the greatest of all time when it came to playoff hat tricks (photo courtesy Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame)

Kurri’s first three-goal playoff game occurred on April 4, 1984, against the Winnipeg Jets. The following year was his best postseason, as he recorded four hat tricks, including a four-goal performance. Kurri had another four-goal game two seasons later during the 1987 Playoffs, while his final postseason hat trick came in 1990. The Oilers won the Stanley Cup in all those years.

Maurice Richard, 7

Richard, who appeared in 132 playoff games in his career (which lasted from 1942 to 60, all with the Canadiens), is one of five players in NHL history to score five goals in a single postseason game. He also had two four-goal performances and four games with exactly three goals. Richard’s first career playoff hat trick was his best, as he scored five goals on March 23, 1944, against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was just his second career postseason game.

Maurice Richard was a key part of the Montreal Canadiens teams that dominated during the mid-1900s (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Richard had another hat trick two weeks after his first. In the next postseason, he scored four goals in a game against Toronto. Plenty of time passed until his next playoff hat trick, which didn’t occur until 1953. He also recorded a three-goal game in 1956, a four-goal game in 1957, and a three-goal game in 1958. Richard beats the other guys on this list in terms of Stanley Cup championships, as he and the Canadiens won eight.

Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket

Stanley Cup Playoffs Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule