Calgary remains alive in the North

The NHL schedule was supposed to end on Saturday according to the original NHL schedule, but that didn’t happen with COVID this season.

The coronavirus wreaked havoc on not just society, but took its toll on the NHL, forcing the league to add 10 days to its condensed schedule. Seven teams have completed their schedule to date, six being non-playoff teams (Anaheim, Arizona, Buffalo, Columbus, Detroit and the New York Rangers) while only Pittsburgh will have a full week off.

There were a couple of coaching moves on Sunday as John Tortorella and the Columbus Blue Jackets agreed to part ways after six seasons. Tortorella is looking for a new opportunity and he should get that chance as there are plenty of teams looking for a winner like Tortorella who is 12th all-time with 672 wins, one ahead of Mike Keenan and Washington coach Peter Laviolette.

The other change is in Arizona where the Coyotes and Rick Tocchet have mutually agreed to part ways. It’s strange that neither was fired, which is the usual outcome, but both will be allowed to have their contract run out at the end of the season.

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It was a great night for MacKenzie Entwistle who scored his first career NHL goal in only his fourth game to open the scoring in a 4-2 Chicago win over Dallas.

Mike Hardman set him up perfectly with a gorgeous pass that allowed Entwistle to tap the puck into the empty cage just 6:23 into the first period. It was Hardman’s first career assist, while Patrick Kane, who started the play, picked up his 50th helper of the season.

The Stars tied the game at 1 as Denis Gurianov potted his 12th of the campaign as his original shot went wide of the net to Jamie Benn who passed the puck across the net, back to Gurianov who scored.

But Brandon Hagel put the Blackhawks back in the lead with his ninth of the season just 51 seconds after the Gurianov goal, as he broke in alone on Anton Khudobin and had his shot go off the glove of the Dallas goalkeeper and hit the crossbar. It bounced up in the air and had enough English to trickle in the net. It was not something you see every night in the NHL.

Story continues

Alex DeBrincat completed the scoring in the first, becoming the third player this season to hit the 30-goal mark. His power play effort was set up by Kane and Hagel who each picked up their second point in the game. DeBrincat scored from the circle on a perfect feed from Kane to a wide open DeBrincat.

There was no scoring in the second period and Dallas cut the lead to one when defenseman Mark Pysyk potted his third of the season.

DeBrincat scored his second of the game and 31st of the season to move into sole possession of third place in the NHL scoring race, behind only Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid. Pius Suter’s shot caromed off Khudobin right to DeBrincat who had an easy empty net to give Chicago the win.

Kevin Lankinen made 37 saves in what should be his last start of the season. The rookie has had some difficulties of late but had a great performance Sunday and that should give him confidence heading into next season. He is 17-14-5 with a 3.01 GAA and a .910 save percentage.

Anton Khudobin stopped only 21-of-25 shots Sunday as Dallas outshot the hometown Blackhawks 39-25. Khudobin is 12-12-7 with a 2.59 GAA and a .903 save percentage.

The two teams meet Monday in the season finale for both teams.

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The Calgary Flames kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a big 6-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. It was a tough game for the Senators who travelled from Winnipeg after Saturday night’s game and had a well-rested Calgary team just waiting for them.

The Senators came into this game as the hottest team in the North, going 8-1-1 in their last 10 but the rigorous road trip finally took its toll on the young squad as Calgary was up 4-0 by the 10:05 mark of the second period.

The Flames are eight points in arrears of the Montreal Canadiens for the fourth and final playoff spot in the North with four games (all against Vancouver) left while Montreal still has a pair against Edmonton.

The Flames were led by Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk who each had a goal and two assists. The Flames need these two to get hot in the final week and change of the season, if they are to sweep the Canucks.

Defenseman Mark Giordano had a big night with a goal and an assist. His ninth of the season was on the power play and he has 25 points this season, leading all Calgary defensemen.

Dillon Dube with his 10th and defenseman Michael Stone with his second of the season, also scored for Calgary.

Josh Norris, with his 16th of the season, scored the lone Ottawa goal, ending the shutout bid of Jacob Markstrom.

Markstrom had to make only 19 saves for the win. He is 19-19-2 with a 2.66 GAA and a .905 save percentage.

Anton Forsberg picked up the loss after giving up four goals on 23 shots before he was replaced by Filip Gustavsson at the 10:05 mark of the second period. Gustavsson mopped up, giving up two goals on 13 shots.

Brady Tkachuk had six shots on goal.

Giordano was a plus-four with five shots on net, two hits and three blocked shots.

Editor’s Note: The Chicago Blackhawks host the Dallas Stars Monday on NBCSN starting at 7:30 pm ET. Livestream all the action here.



Alex DeBrincat – 2


Patrick Kane – 2

Johnny Gaudreau – 2

Matthew Tkachuk – 2

Shots on Goal

Mikael Backlund – 6

Brady Tkachuk – 6

Pius Suter – 5

Mark Giordano – 5


Mike Hardman – 6

Penalty Minutes

Matthew Tkachuk – 2

Brady Tkachuk – 2

Artem Zub – 2

Milan Lucic- 2

Brett Ritchie – 2

Nikita Nesterov – 2

Mark Pysyk – 2

Tanner Kero – 2

Published: 2021-05-10 04:00:16

Tags: #Calgary #remains #alive #North


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