Some Monday morning musings from the NHL and rest of the hockey world to get you started for the week that features: rookie Nathan MacKinnon and his Colorado Avalanche going up against his hero, Sidney Crosby, and the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first time on Monday; Detroit Red Wings newcomer Daniel Alfredsson playing against his old team, the Ottawa Senators, on Wednesday; a return trip to Montreal for Anaheim Ducks forward Saku Koivu on Thursday; and another possible Roberto Luongo versus Cory Schneider matchup in New Jersey, also on Thursday.
Prior to this season, undrafted Nashville Predators goalie Carter Hutton had been called up several times in stints in the Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks organizations.
He finally got in a game in the Blackhawks regular-season finale last April and he also was with the Blackhawks as a black ace in their skate to the Stanley Cup championship. But the last few weeks have been unforgettable for 27-year-old from Thunder Bay, Ont.
First, he snatched the Predators backup role out of training camp. Then, two weeks ago, Blackhawks vice-president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac travelled to Nashville to present Hutton with his Stanley Cup ring. Finally, on Sunday evening in Winnipeg, the closest NHL city to his hometown, Hutton notched his first NHL victory with his parents and friends in the stands of the MTS Centre.
It was Hutton's second career start and third NHL appearance. He stopped 38 of 39 shots in the Predators' 3-1 win over the Jets.
"I think the guys really respect someone who has put in the time and worked as hard as he has," Predators head coach Barry Trotz said. "It's really special for our group getting him a win.
"He was ready for the start and I was hoping that we could rally around him, in terms of getting him a win with friends and family [at the game]."
Hutton wasn't the only goalie to record his first NHL win on Sunday. Fredrik Andersen, 24, made his first appearance for the Anaheim Ducks, when Jonas Hiller was yanked after the first period. Andersen, from Denmark, stopped all 24 shots for a 6-3 win over the visiting Dallas Stars to extend the Ducks victory streak to seven games, one shy of the club record.
His teammates knew how much the victory meant. So, as the final seconds ticked down in the Columbus Blue Jackets' 3-1 win at home against the Vancouver Canucks, defenceman Dalton Prout scooped up the puck for his game-winning goalie.
Curtis McElhinney was 659 days between NHL appearances. But he picked up where he left off on Dec. 31, 2011, when he made 28 saves for the Phoenix Coyotes in a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild.
On Sunday, the 30-year-old McElhinney made 37 saves to backstop the Blue Jackets to an impressive win and end his club's four-game losing streak.
"I was pretty nervous before the game, having not played at this level for a while," said McElhinney of London, Ont.
McElhinney played four years at Colorado College and then bounced around the organizations of the Calgary Flames, Ducks, Senators and Coyotes. Last year with the Blue Jackets' AHL affiliate in Springfield, Mass., McEhlinney was outstanding. He recorded a franchise record nine shutouts and was named the team's most valuable player.
Biron says goodbye
There will be a television network that will benefit from Martin Biron's insights, sense of humour and engaging personality. The 36-year-old New York Rangers goalie announced his retirement on Sunday after 15 NHL seasons and he, no doubt, has a future as a broadcaster.
Biron departs 59th on the all-time games played list with 508 appearances and tied for 56th with Gerry Cheevers on the all-time wins list at 230.
Biron also is one of only five players who have suited up for the Buffalo Sabres, Rangers and New York Islanders - the three NHL teams based in New York state. The others are Mike Donnelly, Jason Dawe, Pat LaFontaine and current Rangers forward Taylor Pyatt.
He saves, he scores
Coyotes goalie Mike Smith became the 11th goalie in NHL history to score a regular season goal with his game-ending crease-to-crease shot in a 5-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.
Here is a list of the regular season and playoff goal-scoring goalies:
Canadian Olympic goalies
Each week, we rank the top contenders for the three goalkeeper spots on the Canadian Olympic team based on their play to date:
1. Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh) - Another perfect week for the Penguin with pads. He beat the Oilers, Flyers and Canucks to improve to 7-0-0 this season.
2. Carey Price (Montreal) - He notched two wins, but was even better in a 35-save loss to Nashville on Saturday.
3. Corey Crawford (Chicago) - After a sluggish start, the Stanley Cup champ has gone 3-0-1 in his last four starts.
4. Mike Smith (Phoenix) - He shoots and scores. This capable netminder topped off a decent week with a goal against Detroit.
5. Jonathan Bernier (Toronto) - Like Vancouver's Roberto Luongo and Jonathan Quick of Los Angeles this season, Bernier surrendered an embarrassing fluky goal in a game against Carolina last week.
By the numbers
2 - Shutouts from Winnipeg Jets backup goalie Al Montoya in the past two seasons, the only two shutouts for the Jets during this span.
4 - Teenagers in the Buffalo Sabres lineup in their game against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday: Nikita Zadorov (18); Rasmus Ristolainen (18); Mikhail Grigorenko (19); and Zemgus Girgensons (19). The Sabres were the first team to play at least four teenagers in a game since three teams did so in 1995-96: Winnipeg Jets (6) - Jason Doig; Shane Doan, Craig Mills, Chad Kilger, Deron Quint, Oleg Tverdovsky; Buffalo Sabres (5): Martin Biron, Jay McKee, Wayne Primeau, Curtis Brown, Vaclav Varada; Florida Panthers (4): Radek Dvorak, Dave Nemirovsky, Ed Jovanovski, Rhett Warrener.
6 - NHL players in the expansion era since 1967-68 who have scored at least a goal with the same franchise for 18 consecutive seasons after Phoenix captain Shane Doan scored last week. The other five players are: Steve Yzerman (Detroit, 22); Ray Bourque (Boston, 21); Joe Sakic (Quebec/Colorado, 20); Mike Modano (Dallas, 20); and Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit, 20).
8 - Consecutive games Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has checked in with at least a point. It's his longest point streak to start a season. He also has five multi-point games this year.
13 - Teenagers have scored goals in the NHL so far this season: San Jose's Tomas Hertl (7); Calgary's Sean Monahan (5); Florida's Aleksander Barkov (3); Nashville's Seth Jones (2); Montreal's Alex Galchenyuk (1); Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon (1); Pittsburgh's Olli Maatta (1); Nashville's Filip Forsberg (1); Winnipeg's Jacob Trouba (1); Buffalo's Zemgus Girgensons (1); Carolina's Elias Lindholm (1); Minnesota's Mathew Dumba (1); and Washington's Connor Carrick (1).
Follow Tim Wharnsby on Twitter @WharnsbyCBC
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