The NHL seems to be finally getting its game back in order as players are starting to return from their COVID-19 isolation. Colorado returned on Sunday while Vegas came back on February 5 after missing three games.
This week, the Sabres are expected to return on Monday versus the Islanders, Minnesota and New Jersey are hoping to be back on Tuesday while Philadelphia is expected to return to action Thursday after Tuesday’s game has already been postponed.
There were two games Sunday in the NHL as the Rangers-Flyers game was postponed due to the outbreak of COVID-19 on Philadelphia.
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PITTSBURGH 6 WASHINGTON 3
Bryan Rust scored twice and added an assist to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 6-3 win over Washington. The game was a lot closer than the final score as the Penguins scored twice into the empty net to seal the victory.
Rust has five goals and 13 points in 12 games this season and took over the Penguins scoring lead, one point better than Sidney Crosby who had a goal and an assist Sunday.
Jake Guentzel had a goal and two assists as it was a big afternoon for the Penguins top line.
Brandon Tanev and Zach Aston-Reese also scored for Pittsburgh. It was Aston-Reese’s second goal in two games since his return from off-season shoulder surgery.
Tristan Jarry picked up the win as he stopped 28 shots to go to 3-4-1 with a 3.82 GAA and a .864 save percentage.
The Capitals got a couple of players back Sunday as Evgeny Kuznetsov and Jakub Vrana each found the back of the net in their return from COVID-19. Kuznetsov had not played since January 19th while Vrana’s last game was February 4.
Vitek Vanecek gave up four goals on 36 shots to take the loss. It was the ninth time in the last 10 games that Vanecek has given up three or more goals. Help could be on the way as Ilya Samsonov was sent to the minors to get in some playing time Sunday. It wasn’t a great night for Samsonov either as he gave up five goals on 29 shots including David Kase’s overtime goal as Lehigh Valley beat Hershey 5-4. It was Samsonov’s first appearance in four weeks, so we will give him a little slack.
Cody Ceci and Kris Letang each had two assists.
Ceci and Mike Matheson were each a plus-three.
Letang had a pair of minors.
VEGAS 1 COLORADO 0
The Colorado Avalanche finally played a game on Sunday, their first since February 2 as they had five games canceled due to COVID. While it allowed some injured players like Nathan MacKinnon and Devon Toews to return, the Avs ran into one of the hottest goaltenders in the NHL, Marc-Andre Fleury.
Fleury was considered a persona non-grata by most when the Golden Knights signed Robin Lehner in the off-season as it was assumed that Lehner would be the starter, just like he was in the Golden Knights playoff run. But it has been Fleury this season as he has started eight games to Lehner’s five.
And what an eight games it has been, with Sunday’s performance the crowning act as he stopped all 30 shots to lead the Golden Knights to a 1-0 win;
Fleury’s stats are the best of his career as he is 7-1-0 this season with a 1.38 GAA and a .944 save percentage. In comparison, Lehner is 3-1-1 with a 2.96 GAA and a .890 save percentage.
It was Max Pacioretty in the second period with the lone goal of the night at the 1:38 mark. Zach Whitecloud spun in his own zone and found Pacioretty at the Colorado blueline. He then wristed a shot from the top of the faceoff circle and beat Philipp Grubauer on the short side.
Grubauer made 23 saves in the Colorado net but it wasn’t enough as his record dropped to 7-3-0 and his four-game winning streak came to an end. He has a 1.61 GAA which is outstanding and his .937 save percentage is second in the NHL behind Fleury for goalies who have played at least six games.
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Bryan Rust – 2
Cody Ceci – 2
Kris Letang – 2
Jake Guentzel – 2
Shots on Goal
T.J. Oshie – 5
Alex Ovechkin – 6
Bowen Byram – 5
Nicolas Hague – 5
Kris Letang – 4
Conor Timmins – 4
Published: 2021-02-15 05:00:22
Tags: #Bryan #Rust #leads #Pens #win #Capitals