3 Stars for Sunday in the NHL1. Boston Bruins top line
Honestly, you could probably pick Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak for each of the three stars for Sunday in the NHL and call it a night. Even if, uh, they played during the afternoon.
Either way, it isnt easy to distinguish the top star from the Bruins 6-3 win against the Capitals.
From a volume perspective, Brad Marchand led the way. He generated two goals and two assists for four points. Interestingly, its been feast-or-famine for Marchand lately. Over the last five games, Marchands been held pointless on three occasions, yet two outbursts put him at six points (4G, 2A) in his past five contests.
With Taylor Hall bolstering what now looks like a strong Bruins second line, Bostons in a better position to handle the occasional pointless night from one or more members of The Perfection Line.
Speaking of the others, Bergeron didnt get involved in a late empty-net goal, but ended up with three points (2G, 1A) and matched Marchands +4 rating. Pastrnak grabbed one of his assists on that ENG, yet was still prolific with three helpers and a +3 rating.
While 1,000 Games Club Member Nicklas Backstrom enjoyed a strong showing with two assists of his own, it wasnt enough as the Capitals fell to the Bruins and that Perfection Line.
For a significant chunk of Sundays OT loss to the Islanders, the Flyers likely believed they deserved better.
Through the first 40 minutes, the Flyers generated 23-15 shots on goal advantage, firing 15 on Sorokin during the second period alone. The Flyers couldnt beat Sorokin once, though, as the young goalie put together a 30-save shutout.
Going forward, the Islanders shouldnt hesitate to give Sorokin reps. Hes now won four of five games, allowing two goals or fewer in each of those appearances. A lot of the Islanders success comes down to their defensive system, but Sorokins looking solid in his own right.
No doubt about it, the Canucks came into Sundays return from a lengthy COVID-related absence with some self-doubt. They also faced a Maple Leafs team that would be a challenge under even the most optimal circumstances.
Now, the Canucks fighting through that COVID disruption isnt about one game. If anything, they might actually feel it more and more as the grind of their schedule truly sets in. But on Sunday night, Braden Holtby was absolutely brilliant in helping the Canucks squeeze out an OT win vs. the Maple Leafs.
Its not as if the Maple Leafs laid an egg in the Canucks COVID return. Toronto fired 39 shots on goal, testing Holtby often. The veteran goalie made 37 saves, including the highlight of the night for Sunday in the NHL.
If allowing two goals disqualifies Holtby in your mind, you could instead roll with Bo Horvat. The Canucks captain helped his team rally from a 2-0 deficit, scoring two goals (including the overtime game-winner) and an assist.
Braden Holtby left Wayne Simmonds (and the rest of us) stunned with a beautiful windmill save. Shades of Dominik Hasek here:
This is a quirky one from the NHL. That said, if the Rangers defy the odds and make the playoffs, theyll do so in part based on dominating the Devils:
Bruins 6, Capitals 3Rangers 5, Devils 3Sabres 4, Penguins 2Golden Knights 5, Ducks 2Islanders 1, Flyers 0 (OT)Canucks 3, Maple Leafs 2 (OT)
James OBrienis a writer forPro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line firstname.lastname@example.org follow him on Twitter@cyclelikesedins.
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