Black Friday not only provided American shoppers with great deals, but it also supplied hockey fans with a day of National Hockey League action. The full slate of games gave us a couple of shutouts and a huge performance in Dallas. We also have a fun celebration form overseas.
Rinne Keeps Nashville Rolling
The Nashville Predators struggled for much of the month of November and had fallen out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Kyle Turris had been a healthy scratch for multiple games in a row and head coach Peter Laviolette’s job security was starting to be questioned of late. However, they have bounced back with points in four straight games, including a 3-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.
Veteran netminder Pekka Rinne entered the game on a personal four-game losing streak in which he allowed 18 goals. He made 31 saves to pick up his 350th win his NHL career and improved to 7-3-1 all-time versus the Hurricanes.
“Tonight, I got off to a good start, that was the key,” Rinne said after the win. “I really think the last four games we’ve really played better defensively too, just more sacrificing bodies, blocking shots, forwards collapsing.”
The shutout was the 58th of his career, all with the Predators. Since Rinne entered the league in 2005-06, Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers is the only goaltender with more shutouts, with 63.
Hellebuyck Blanks Ducks
Speaking of teams in the Central Division who got off to slow starts, the Winnipeg Jets had themselves quite the interesting offseason. The crazy summer including trading away Jacob Trouba, Dustin Byfuglien taking a leave of absence and contract drama with Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine.
All of this factored into a very rocky month of October, but the team has hit their stride in November. Connor Hellebuyck made 24 saves in a 3-0 shutout of the Anaheim Ducks on Friday to give the Jets their 10th win of the month.
Even when the Jets were struggling as a whole, Hellebuyck was keeping his head above water. He is now 13-7-1 on the season with a 2.33 goals-against average (GAA) and .933 save percentage (SV%). He has two shutouts on the season and 16 in his career. He is now just one shutout behind Ondrej Pavelec for the most in Jets/Atlanta Thrashers’ history.
Allen Putting it All Together
We will stay in the Central Division as the St. Louis Blues remain on top and are far from suffering any kind of a Stanley Cup hangover. We all know about the amazing run of Jordan Binnington, but now Jake Allen might be the feel-good story of the season.
Binnington’s run to greatness was made possible because of Allen’s struggles between the pipes. However, with Allen’s play of late, the Blues now have one of the best goaltending tandems in the league.
Allen made 31 saves in a 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars last night, who have now lost back-to-back games after seven wins in a row. The save of the night came with Allen flat out robbed Justin Dowling with this brilliant save.
“I thought our whole game was pretty sound,” Allen said of his team’s play. “Our forwards were tracking back and changing at the right times. Getting fresh bodies on at the right times was really impressive. I thought in the second period our changes were unbelievable. That makes a difference. It’s little things like that that not a lot of people notice but go a long way to win games.”
Allen’s turnaround has been a revelation for the Blues. In his first three starts for the season, he had a 3.71 GAA and .855 SV%. He has a 1.94 GAA and .938 SV% in his last four starts.
He is also chasing down some Blues franchise history. He currently sits second on the all-time wins list with 140, just 11 behind the franchise leader, Mike Liut.
Some Fun from Finland
While traveling around hockey Twitter last night, I stumbled upon this fun little clip out of the Finnish Elite League. This celebration is just fantastic without any context.
That is Ilves goaltender Lukas Dostal celebrating his 37-save effort in a 4-1 win over KooKoo on Thursday night. His teammate Matias Maccelli, who had a goal and an assist in the game, is holding his stick out for him to take a dive over, for some reason.
Dostal has had a lot to celebrate this season as he is 13-1-4 with a 1.85 GAA and .925 SV%. The 19-year-old netminder was drafted by the Ducks in the third round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
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