NHL Rewind: Kraken sets new franchise winning streak mark, Bruins still haven’t lost back-to-back games

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Another weekend of action has come and gone in the NHL. The Boston Bruins recorded a big win over their rivals in the Atlantic Division in the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Seattle Kraken made history with another win. We also saw Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin put his name in the history books…again.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest stories from around the NHL from this past weekend.

Goal of the weekend: Artturi Lehkonen completes the spinning score

Arthur Lehkonen had a knack for scoring big goals during the Colorado Avalanche’s Stanley Cup run last season. It looks like nothing has changed during the 2022-23 campaign.

In the third period of Saturday’s 7-0 win against the Ottawa Senators, Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon was able to dig the puck off the boards and flip it to Lehkonen, who was cutting toward the Senators’ net. Lehkonen quickly got the puck on his stick, made a beautiful spin move, and put a shot back past Senate goalie Anton Forsberg for the power play goal.

This was one of two goals for Lehkonen on the night in a game where the Avalanche flexed their offensive muscles.

Steal of the weekend: Linus Ullmark splashes over to deny Mark Giordano

It’s no secret that Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark has been the best thing the NHL has to offer during the first half of the season. After a rare loss to the Seattle Kraken earlier in the week, Ullmark rose to the occasion in a big way against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano attempted to deliver a pass to a teammate across the goal area, but it was blocked. However, the puck ended up right on Giordano’s stick with a wide open net to shoot at. Giordano tried to quickly turn a backhand shot into the net, but Ullmark was able to flash over and knock the puck away with his blocking hand.

Ullmark’s save was huge as the Bruins earned a 4-3 victory.

Kraken set a franchise record with eight consecutive wins

The Seattle Kraken may only be in their second season, but they are showing they can hang with the best in the league. After a 2-0 win over the Boston Bruins, the Kraken had an offensive explosion in an 8-5 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

In doing so, the Kraken recorded their eighth consecutive victory.

Seattle dominated the contest out of the gate with six exciting goals in the final 20 minutes against the Blackhawks. The two teams traded goals in the first 4:40 of the game before the Kraken scored five unanswered goals over four minutes to take a decisive 6-1 lead.

Forward Jared McCann, who recorded his first career hat trick on Saturday, scored twice in the offensive end.

To the Blackhawks’ credit, they didn’t lay down. In fact, Chicago scored four of the last six goals of the game and made the Kraken sweat a bit. It marked just the second time in the month of January that Kraken goalkeeper Martin Jones surrendered more than two goals in a game.

The Kraken’s record winning streak came to an end on Monday when they fell 4-1 at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, the Kraken have shown in recent weeks that they are more than capable of mixing it up with NHL heavyweights. As the season progresses, it certainly won’t be a surprise to see the Kraken in the playoff race this spring.

Matt Grzelcyk’s late third period goal lifts Bruins past Maple Leafs

The Boston Bruins have not dropped back-to-back games at any point during the 2022-23 season. They made sure that didn’t happen when they faced their Atlantic Division rivals in the Toronto Maple Leafs.

On Saturday, defenseman Matt Grzelcyk scored the go-ahead goal with just 1:16 left to lift the Bruins past the Maple Leafs 4-3.

Grzelcyk ended up being in the right place at the right time to shoot home from the blue line. Forward Taylor Hall had tried to force the puck in front of the Maple Leafs net, but it made its way off the boards and around to Grzelcyk, who didn’t miss his chance to light the lamp.

It was just Grzelcyk’s second goal of the season and his first since Oct. 28 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Saturday’s game was highly controversial as Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews returned to the ice. Matthews had missed the last two games due to an undisclosed injury. He scored 3:17 into the third period to tie the game up 3-3.

The Bruins followed up Saturday’s impressive performance with a solid 6-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.

Alex Ovechkin ties another record

Washington Capitals star, Alex Ovechkin, continues to make history. In Saturday’s 3-1 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers, Ovechkin scored his 30th goal of the 2022-23 season and, in doing so, tied Mike Gartner for the most 30-goal seasons in NHL history with 17.

At the 17:56 mark of the opening period, Ovechkin was able to grab the rebound with his own shot and record the layup to tie the game at 1-1.

Ovechkin has now scored at least 30 goals in 17 of his 18 NHL seasons. The only campaign in which he fell short was the 2020-21 season, which was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gartner and Ovechkin are the only players in NHL history to score at least 30 goals in each of their first 15 seasons. Ovechkin has been on fire lately with 10 goals over his last 10 games. The Capitals star is currently scoring 54 goals this season.

Capitals erase three-goal deficit to beat Islanders

Speaking of Ovechkin, his Capitals have been one of the strongest teams in the NHL. They proved that again on Monday by pulling back three goals against their Metro Division opponent, the New York Islanders.

The Islanders dominated most of the first period and took a 2-0 lead into the locker room. Early in the second period, Islanders’ Hudson Fasching caught Washington goaltender Darcy Kuemper on a soft goal, and it looked like it wasn’t just the Capitals’ day.

However, a resilient Capitals team got to work and started down the comeback trail. Garnet Hathaway scored in the second period, and Tom Wilson pulled Washington within a goal when Nicklas Backstrom found him wide open in front of the net with a pass from Gretzky’s office.

Early in the third period, TJ Oshie made the game happen with the kind of hand-eye coordination usually reserved for triple crown winners and hard-nosed players. Oshie was blowing through the slot when he made a great shot from the point to beat Ilya Sorokin.

That comeback was impressive enough, but Dmitry Orlov finished the job in overtime when he and Oshie executed the best thing you’ll ever see. They made the Islanders sleep long enough for Orlov to slip behind them and hit Sorokin with a dirty deck.

This week’s meeting scene

Kraken at Oilers | Tuesday, January 17: The Kraken recently completed a perfect seven-game road trip, and the Oilers are coming to town on Tuesday. Edmonton is just doing its best to keep up with Seattle, and that makes this a big Pacific Division game.

Avalanche at Flames | Wednesday, January 18: The Flames are barely hanging on to a playoff spot with the Avalanche hot on their trail, which is a little ironic. Neither of these teams are where they expected to be at this point, and both will be fighting for a playoff spot the rest of the way.

Bruins at Rangers | Thursday, January 19: Would it surprise anyone if this was the Eastern Conference Finals? I wouldn’t. Both of these teams are loaded with top-level talent, and they both score well. This should be a great match between the two Original Six franchises.

Demons at Kraken | Thursday, January 19: Coming into the season, who would have thought that the Kraken would need to be seen on TV twice in the same week? Submit your Paul Rudd on “Hot Ones” meme here. The Devils have gotten back on track, and the Kraken are arguably the hottest team in the league.

Sharks at Blue Jackets | Saturday, January 21: Like the cinematic classic Batman and Robin teach us, some things can be so bad they are good. That is the case with this game. Bad hockey can be fun hockey when the goaltending and defense go away, and that could happen in this game between two teams gunning for the No. 1 overall pick.

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