Saturday, February 24, 2024
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NHL Rewind: Islanders hire Patrick Roy as next head coach, Jonathan Quick returns to Los Angeles

Another week of NHL action is in the books, and there was so much hockey, it was a little tough to keep track of it all. Luckily, we have you covered with the weekly NHL Rewind.

In the biggest news of the week, the New York Islanders decided they had seen enough of Lane Lambert, and general manager Lou Lamoriello fired him on Sunday. Not only that, but the team immediately replaced him with Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy. Now we’ll see whether Roy can lead them to a playoff push.

Elsewhere, Jonathan Quick made his emotional return to the Los Angeles Kings after 16 seasons and a pair of Stanley Cup wins with the franchise. Also, Philadelphia Flyers forward Owen Tippett scored one of the more impressive goals we’ve seen this season.

Let’s take a look at the biggest stories and best highlights from the week that was in the NHL.

Goal of the week: Owen Tippett spins like a top for goal of the year candidate

The Philadelphia Flyers are quite possibly the biggest surprise in the NHL this season. One of the reasons for their unexpected success is the rapid development of young players like Owen Tippett.

Tippett has really started to look like a former first-round pick in his second year under head coach John Tortorella, and his confidence is through the roof. That was clear in the Flyers’ 5-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.

In the third period, Tippett entered the zone and went right at Stars defenseman Thomas Harley. Tippett broke out a spin-o-rama move that put Harley in a blender, and he finished the play by roofing a backhand shot over the left shoulder of Dallas netminder Jake Oettinger.

Even Tortorella had to tip his cap to that goal after the game. The Flyers coach said he hasn’t seen a goal that good “in quite a while.”

Tippett has been phenomenal for Philly this season, and he scored his 17th and 18th goals of the season against the Stars. The 24-year-old forward is now on pace for roughly 33 goals this season, which would top the 27 he scored last year.

Robbery of the week: Skinner flashes the leather against the Leafs

The Edmonton Oilers have won thirteen straight games, and Stuart Skinner has played a large role in that winning streak. That was no different in the Oilers’ 4-2 comeback win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.

In the first period, with the Maple Leafs already up 1-0, Auston Matthews forced a turnover in the Edmonton zone. He immediately circled back and went on the attack, sliding a pass across the slot to Pontus Holmberg.

Holmberg let a one-timer fly, and Skinner came flying through the crease and stole a goal by getting his glove on the shot.

Over the last month, Skinner has saved 12.4 goals above, according to Natural Stat Trick. That is second in the NHL over that span, and he has helped the Oilers re-assert themselves as very serious Stanley Cup contenders.

Islanders fire Lane Lambert, hire Patrick Roy

NHL teams are wasting no time when it comes to coaching changes this season, and the New York Islanders became the latest club to make a change over the weekend. After an overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks extended their losing streak to four, the Islanders made headlines on Saturday by firing Lane Lambert and hiring Hall of Famer Patrick Roy as his replacement.

The Islanders have been in the playoff mix for the entire season, but their record has been buoyed by overtime losses. Then, during an 0-3-1 stretch in mid-January, general manager Lou Lamoriello chose to relieve Lambert of his duties.

Lambert was just in his second season with the Islanders, and he did take the team to the postseason in 2022-23, but they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round. He finished his brief stint as a head coach with a 61-46-20 record.

Roy, on the other hand, will get his second shot as a head coach in the NHL. Roy coached his former team, the Colorado Avalanche, from 2013-2016 and had mixed results in the process. The Avs were excellent in his first season behind the bench, totaling 52 wins and 112 points. That was Colorado’s only playoff appearance under Roy, and the team fell to the Minnesota Wild in the first round.

Roy coached the Avs to underwhelming results in each of the next two seasons, and he was fired after a 39-39-4 season in 2015-16.

In his second go around as a head coach, Roy takes over a team in a desperate position. The Islanders have struggled to assert themselves in a crowded Eastern Conference playoff picture, and they are two points out of the second wild card spot.

Roy coached his first game for the Isles on Sunday, and it was a good start to his tenure. The Islanders entered the third period trailing the Dallas Stars, 2-1, and they came back to win in overtime.

Jonathan Quick makes emotional return to Los Angeles

Jonathan Quick spent 16 years with the Los Angeles Kings, winning the Stanley Cup twice and establishing himself as the best goaltender in franchise history. For the first time since he was traded last season, Quick returned to Los Angeles for an emotional night in Crypto.com Arena.

Prior to puck drop against the New York Rangers on Saturday night, the Kings played a tribute video for Quick that featured a number of his former teammates. Highlights of Quick’s two Stanley Cup runs with the organization flashed up on the screen, and fans inside the arena rose to their feet to give him a roaring ovation.

Things may not have ended well between Quick and the Kings, with the team dealing him to the Columbus Blue Jackets last spring. Columbus dealt him to the Vegas Golden Knights before he ever played a game with the organization, but it was still a bitter split.

That all seemed to melt away on Saturday. Quick was clearly moved as he reflected upon his time with Los Angeles, and he is atop the franchise record books in numerous categories. Quick is the Kings all-time leader in games by a goalie (743), wins (370), save percentage (.911), and shutouts (57). Quick also won a Conn Smythe Trophy and two Jennings trophies in his time with the Kings.

Quick didn’t get the win in his return, but he did play very well in a 2-1 loss for the Rangers. He stopped 24 of 26 shots against, showing he still has some gas left in the tank.

Tyler Toffoli’s hat trick lifts Devils past Golden Knights in overtime

Devils winger Tyler Toffoli pulled off a hat trick in dramatic fashion in Monday’s 6-5 win against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Toffoli ended up scoring the game-winning goal at the 2:35 mark of overtime and finished off his hat trick in the process. In doing so, Toffoli became the third different player in team history to register a hat trick with an overtime game-winning goal as he joined the likes of Patrik Elias and Stephane Richer.

To make the goal possible, Devils defenseman Luke Hughes intercepted an attempted outlet pass from the Golden Knights. Hughes brought the pack back into the offensive zone on a two-on-one opportunity and slid the puck over to a wide-open Toffoli for the slam dunk goal.

It was quite the end for a game that went back and forth throughout regulation.

Toffoli’s early second-period goal, his first of the contest, gave the Devils a 3-1 lead at the time, However, the Golden Knights rallied to score the next four goals, including a pair from star forward Jonathan Marchessault in a span of 2:21.

Devils center Curtis Lazar ended up tying the game at 5-5 at the 9:14 mark of the third period, and the teams ended up staying that way to force an overtime session.

Toffoli’s goal gave the Devils a much-needed win after suffering a 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Dallas Stars on Saturday. Toffoli continues to pay huge dividends for New Jersey, and is currently on pace for a career-best 36 goals.

Appointment viewing this week

Stars at Red Wings | Tuesday, Jan. 23: The Red Wings have been one of the NHL’s hottest teams in 2024, and the Stars have been stuck in neutral. The question in this matchup is whether Dallas can pick itself up off the mat and cool down a Detroit team that has been cooking lately.

Jets at Maple Leafs | Wednesday, Jan. 24: Winnipeg has done enough to prove that it is very much a contender this season, so this clash of Canadian teams is more about seeing what the Maple Leafs can do. Toronto has been pretty underwhelming for most of the season, but this would be an impressive win if the Leafs can get it.

Panthers at Penguins | Friday, Jan. 26: Hopefully, Aleksander Barkov can return to the lineup for this game against the Penguins. If he does, that will provide a showdown between two of the best two-way forwards in the NHL in Barkov and Sidney Crosby. Those two are wizards in all three zones.

Bruins at Flyers | Saturday, Jan. 27: It’s Boston. It’s Philadelphia. It’s a matchup of two teams near the top of the Eastern Conference standings. This should be a hard-fought hockey game between two teams that have been excellent through the first half of the season.

Devils at Lightning | Saturday, Jan. 27: There is no guarantee both of these teams make the postseason, and right now the Devils are on the outside looking in. They will be in a heated playoff race for the rest of the 2023-24 season, and the winner of this game will have tallied a mammoth two points in the standings.

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