Saturday was a very busy and eventful day across the National
Hockey League with 20 teams in action. The hottest team and goalie in the
league continued their streaks in Philadelphia. There was an emotional
retirement ceremony in Florida. Plus, some new life in Nashville after back-to-back
Hart, Flyers Continue to Roll
The Philadelphia Flyers remain the hottest team in the NHL
with goaltender Carter Hart leading the way. Captain Claude Giroux scored twice
and Hart made 38 saves in a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres Saturday.
“We didn’t deserve to win tonight,” Flyers forward Jakub Voracek said. “We were really flat throughout the 60 minutes. Hart made some huge stops when we needed it, and we got lucky that we won.”
The victory was their ninth in a row, keeping them tied with the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division. This is Flyers’ longest winning streak since they won 10 games in a row during the 2016-17 season. They are two wins shy of tying the Tampa Bay Lightning for the longest winning streak of this season.
Hart is 7-0-0 since Feb. 18. With his eight-game winning
streak last season, he became the first
goaltender in NHL history to record multiple winning streaks of at least
seven games at 21-years-old or younger.
He also picked up his eight-straight win at the Wells Fargo
Center and his 20th home win of the season in just 24 appearances. He
tied both Wayne Stephenson and Bernie Parent as the fastest goalies in team
history to win 20 home games in a season. Stephenson (1975-76) and Parent (1976-77)
accomplished the feat in back-to-back seasons.
Panthers Retire Luongo’s Number
Before the Florida Panthers picked up a huge win over the
Montreal Canadiens, the team honored former goaltender Roberto Luongo by
retiring his jersey number and raising it to the rafters of the BB&T
Luongo stepped away from the game last June after 20 seasons in the NHL, including 11 in two separate stints with the Panthers. He retired second in NHL history in games played by a goalie (1,044), third in wins (489) and ninth in shutouts (77). He holds the franchise record for wins for both the Panthers (230) and Vancouver Canucks (252).
The pregame ceremony, which was attended by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, featured video tributes from former teammates including Alex Burrows, Joe Thornton and fellow goaltending great Martin Brodeur. The entire Panthers team watched from the bench wearing the now-retired number 1 jersey of Luongo.
During an emotional speech, Luongo shared this touching story about how his grandmother used to take a break from “cranking out lasagnas” to play hockey in the basement with him.
Luongo remains a part of the Panthers organization as he
currently serves as a special adviser to general manager Dale Tallon.
“It’s been a great ride,” he said to end his 20-minute speech. “It’s been amazing. It’s still amazing.”
Saros Sweeps Stars with Another Shutout
The Nashville Predators completed a huge sweep of a
home-and-home series versus the Dallas Stars on Saturday afternoon. Juuse Saros
made 37 saves in a 2-0 win, picking up his second straight shutout and fourth
on the season.
“He’s been playing amazing,” Predators defenseman Ryan
Ellis said about Saros’ recent play. “[Juuse] has been unbelievable.
He looks so calm even on high-danger chances. He’s just swallowing them up,
eating them every time, and very limited rebounds. To be honest, he looks
phenomenal right now.”
Saros is now 6-0-1 versus Dallas in his career. The Stars
have now been shutout six times this season, including both games against the
Predators this week after Saros stopped all 33 shots he faced on Thursday. They
are still seeking their first even-strength goal of the month of March, going
211:02 since their last one.
Meanwhile, the Predators are now tied with the Winnipeg Jets and Canucks for the first playoff wild card in the Western Conference. They have gone 10-7-1 since Feb. 1 to get back into the playoff race.
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