Penguins cruise to 10th straight win

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It’s been over a month since the Pittsburgh Penguins last lost a hockey game. On Thursday the Philadelphia Flyers could do nothing to stop that run. Bryan Rust, who returned from a lower-body injury on Jan. 2, had his third straight multi-goal game, Jake Guentzel, who returned from an upper-body injury on Jan. 2, contributed two goals of his own, and Kris Letang registered three assists to lead the Penguins to a 6-2 win against Philadelphia.

Pittsburgh has now won 10 straight games, which is quite an accomplishment under any circumstances, but it’s particularly impressive to find that kind of consistency between all the injuries they’ve endured coupled with the weirdness of the 2021-22 campaign. Keep in mind they had five straight games postponed between Dec. 21-31, but that did nothing to disrupt the Penguins.

Guentzel in particular has been a model of consistency. His point streak isn’t official because he missed more than a month during it, but he’s contributed at least a point in each of the last 16 games he has been in. At this point he’s up to 18 goals and 33 points in 27 contests.

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He’s far from the only Penguins forward who has clicked this season though. Evan Rodrigues has already set new career-highs with 15 goals and 30 points in 33 games. Bryan Rust has missed a significant chunk of the season, but he’s been great when healthy with nine goals and 20 points in 15 contests. Sidney Crosby has also missed a significant portion of the season, but he’s chipped in five goals and 24 points in 21 games.

And keep in mind, all this has happened without Evgeni Malkin, who hasn’t made his season debut yet due to a knee injury. Imagine what the Penguins might be like once he joins their ranks again.

Pittsburgh was maybe written off a bit going into this season. They were seen as a good team, but one that was on its way out after quick playoff exits in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Clearly they still have plenty of bite left in them.

MINNESOTA 3 BOSTON 2

Matt Boldy had an ideal NHL debut. He found the back of the net at 12:26 of the second period and that goal ended up being the game winner.

Kirill Kaprizov also scored a goal for the Wild. Unfortunately, Boston’s Trent Frederic hit Kaprizov from behind into the boards while Kaprizov was stumbling, and the result was that Kaprizov left the game with an upper-body injury. It definitely was a questionable hit, especially given that Frederic skated past the puck without making an attempt to play it in order to smash into Kaprizov. We’ll see if the league dishes out any supplemental punishment to Frederic, but for the Wild the bigger concern is that their best player is now hurt.

Kaapo Kahkonen stopped 36 of 38 shots last night. He’s allowed just two goals in each of his last four starts.

Brad Marchand netted a power-play goal for Boston. He’s up to 12 goals and 31 points in 25 games.

Jeremy Swayman saved 27 of 30 Wild shots. He dropped to 8-6-2 with a 2.26 GAA and .918 save percentage in 16 starts.

SAN JOSE 3 BUFFALO 2

Tomas Hertl scored the game-winning goal and registered an assist. That gives him 17 goals and 28 points in 35 games.

Matt Nieto also found the back of the net for the Sharks. It was his third goal and seventh point in 28 contests.

One of Buffalo’s two goals was scored by Jeff Skinner. He has 11 goals and 19 points in 32 games.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 18 of 21 Sharks shots. He faced 11 shots in the first period and then just 10 more the rest of the way.

In contrast, Adin Hill had a busy night and saved 37 of 39 shots. A lot of his work came in the third period where he faced a staggering 22 shots. In spite of the Sabres’ barrage, he limited the competition to one goal over the final 20 minutes to hold onto the lead.

TAMPA BAY 4 CALGARY 1

Nikita Kucherov made his presence known in his return from a lower-body injury. He registered two assists, giving him six points in four games.

Tampa Bay’s goals were scored by Corey Perry, Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat, and Brayden Point. Point’s goal, which was his 12th of the season, proved to be the game winner.

Dillon Dube accounted for the Flames’ lone marker. He has four goals and 11 points in 32 contests.

Dan Vladar saved 29 of 33 Lightning shots. A lot of the damage came in the third period where he allowed three goals on just six shots.

Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside 26 of 27 shots on Thursday. He’s 19-5-3 with a 2.16 GAA and .926 save percentage in 27 starts.

NEW JERSEY 3 COLUMBUS 1

Jack Hughes came up big for the Devils with a goal and two assists. He’s up to nine goals and 20 points in 18 contests.

Jesper Bratt scored the game-winning goal and registered an assist. That gives him 10 goals and 32 points in 34 games.

Mackenzie Blackwood saved 31 of 32 Blue Jackets shots. That ended his stretch of seven straight starts where he allowed three or more goals.

Max Domi scored Columbus’ only goal. He has eight goals and 16 points in 22 games.

Joonas Korpisalo stopped 25 of 27 shots last night. It’s a loss, but at least he bounced back after allowing seven goals against Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

PITTSBURGH 6 PHILADELPHIA 2

Bryan Rust scored two goals and registered an assist. The Penguins forward now has nine goals and 20 points in 15 contests.

Jake Guentzel netted a pair of goals, including the game winner. He’s up to 18 goals and 33 points in 27 games.

Three of Pittsburgh’s six goals were assisted on by Kris Letang. He has a goal and 27 points in 29 contests.

Oskar Lindblom netted a goal for the Flyers. He has four goals and nine points in 33 games.

Carter Hart stopped 26 of 32 shots last night. He allowed three goals in each of the first and third periods.

Tristan Jarry had a comparatively light workload and only had to save 18 of 20 shots to get the win. He’s 17-5-4 with a 1.90 GAA and .933 save percentage in 26 games.

DALLAS 6 FLORIDA 5 (SO)

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 31 of 36 shots in regulation time. He missed out on the extra point because he was beaten twice in two shootout rounds.

Braden Holtby saved 37 of 42 shots prior to the shootout. He was then perfect in the skills competition to secure the win.

Jamie Benn contributed a goal and an assist for Dallas. That gives him nine goals and 17 points in 30 contests.

Denis Gurianov found the back of the net and registered two assists. The Stars forward has five goals and 13 points in 29 games.

Aleksander Barkov was the Panthers’ top forward last night with two goals and an assist. He’s up to 14 goals and 24 points in 21 contests.

COLORADO 7 WINNIPEG 1

Gabriel Landeskog led the charge for the Avalanche with a hat trick and an assist. He’s up to 13 goals and 33 points in 25 games.

Nathan MacKinnon also had a huge night with a goal and four assists for Colorado. That gives him four goals and 33 points in 20 contests.

Darcy Kuemper actually gave up the first goal of the game at 2:56 of the first period, but he was perfect the rest of the way to do his part in the Avalanche’s blowout win. He saved 34 of 35 Jets shots.

Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 35 of 42 shots on Thursday. He dropped to 13-10-4 with a 2.83 GAA and .913 save percentage in 27 starts.

ARIZONA 6 CHICAGO 4

Johan Larsson hadn’t scored a single goal in his first 19 games this season, but he stepped up against Chicago. He scored a hat trick, giving him 11 points in 20 contests.

Travis Boyd contributed a goal and two assists for Arizona. He has eight goals and 16 points in 24 games.

Karel Vejmelka saved 32 of 36 Blackhawks shots. He’s 3-12-1 with a 3.24 GAA and .906 save percentage in 18 contests.

Jonathan Toews scored a goal and registered an assist for the Blackhawks. That gives him five goals and 16 points in 34 games.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 20 of 25 shots last night. He’s surrendered at least three goals in each of his last four starts.

VEGAS 5 NY RANGERS 1

Chris Kreider was the only Rangers player to find the back of the net on Thursday. It was his 21st goal and 32nd point in 35 games.

Alexandar Georgiev turned aside 30 of 35 Golden Knights shots. He dropped to 6-4-2 with a 2.89 GAA and .904 save percentage in 15 games.

Jonathan Marchessault scored a pair of goals for Vegas. He’s up to 18 goals and 26 points in 32 contests.

Mark Stone contributed the game-winning goal. That gives him seven goals and 24 points in 20 games.

Robin Lehner saved 18 of 19 Rangers shots. He didn’t have to face more than eight shots in a single period and the Rangers only managed four shots on him in the third period.

NASHVILLE 4 LOS ANGELES 2

The standout player in this game was Juuse Saros, who saved 46 of 48 shots. The Kings outshot Nashville a staggering 21-6 in the third period, but Los Angeles only managed a single power-play goal on Saros over that span, which wasn’t enough for the Kings to overcome the deficit.

Filip Forsberg scored a shorthanded goal and later contributed a power-play assist. He has 18 goals and 29 points in 26 contests.

Matt Luff netted the game-winning goal. It was his first goal and second point in five games.

Dustin Brown got the Kings on the board at 9:37 of the second period. However, by that point it only reduced Nashville’s lead to 3-1 and the Kings were unable to complete their comeback attempt.

Jonathan Quick stopped 16 of 19 shots last night. He has a 10-8-4 record, 2.40 GAA, and .921 save percentage in 22 starts.