October 31, 2015, 12:41 AM
October 31, 2015, 12:41 AM
It was a busy Friday night of hockey.
The Minnesota Wild got some revenge on the Chicago Blackhawks, the Buffalo Sabres had one of their most complete performances of the season and Zdeno Chara contributed his first goal of the 2015-16 campaign.
Here’s five things we learned:
Goalie interference rulings gone wild: It’s honourable that the NHL is using their replay system to provide more accuracy on rulings on the ice, but it’s hard to understand one of the decisions from Friday night.
During the game between the Toronto and New York Rangers, the Maple Leafs appeared to score a clean goal on Henrik Lundqvist 12 seconds into the third period. As soon as the puck crossed the line, the Rangers netminder was insistent that he was interfered with by Joffrey Lupul.
The refs reversed the call and despite a challenge from Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock, the goal stood.
On second look, it remains debatable that Lupul could be ruled for goalie interference. He appeared to make slight contact with Lundqvist’s skate while battling for position inside the crease, but didn’t affect the play too much.
We’re not sure what the refs or the league saw, so it’s unfair to pass too much judgment, but this sure looked like a clean goal. Goalie interference has become a league-wide conversation and the NHL needs to get this right.
Gorges could be facing a suspension: Buffalo Sabres defenceman Josh Gorges should be expecting a call from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.
Gorges was ejected from Friday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers after an ugly looking hit from the behind on forward Matt Read behind the Sabres’ net.
It does look like an bang-bang play while the two players are skating towards a loose puck, but as Gorges tries to hold his ground, he sends Read’s body flying into the boards at a scary speed. It looked dangerous on replay.
Gorges received a game misconduct for boarding and a suspension could be coming along with it.
Zucker likes fast starts: There were plenty of goals (nine in total) in the highly entertaining match-up between the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks and Jason Zucker got the game started off the bang.
The Minnesota Wild forward scored 18 seconds into the game — just days after he set a franchise record by scoring 10 seconds into a game — to become the first player in Wild history to score a goal in the opening 20 seconds of a game multiple times in a season, according to NHL PR.
As well, he is now the first player to score in the first 20 seconds of a game twice in a calendar month since Joe Sakic accomplished the feat in 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche.
Hats for Mats: Coming into this game, Mats Zuccarello had scored 49 career goals. But the New York Rangers forward had never recorded a hat trick at the NHL level. That changed Friday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The 28-year-old winger opened the scoring the first period, added an insurance marker in the third, and sealed the game with an empty-netter for his first career NHL hat trick. He became just the second Norwegian in NHL history to achieve the milestone.
According to the Sportsnet Stats department, his countryman Espen Knutsen did so in 2002 with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Night of firsts: Just one night after making his NHL debut, Brendan Gaunce achieved a special moment in his hockey journey.
The 21-year-old forward was standing in front of the net and a point shot deflected off his body for his first NHL goal.
The club’s first-round pick in 2012 wasn’t the only NHLer to achieve a notable first as Buffalo Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark recorded his first-career NHL win.
Linus Ullmark celebrates his first win pic.twitter.com/dGb11zYMFr
— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 31, 2015
Linus Ullmark just recorded his 1st career @NHL win.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) October 31, 2015
Ullmark, 22, stopped 27 of 28 shots against the Philadelphia Flyers to become the youngest Sabres goalie since Mika Noronen in 2002 to record a victory.
It was badly needed outing for Buffalo, whose goalies have struggled since Robin Lehner went on injured reserve with an early-season injury.