Matthew Tkachuk scored the game winning goal for the Flames in their 2-1 victory over Vancouver Friday night. But all of Calgary took a collective sigh of relief after Tkachuk looked to suffer an injury early in the second period. Pat Steinberg tweeted the reaction as soon as Tkachuk was rocked into the boards by defenseman Joseph Labate. What appeared to be a serious injury barely kept him off the ice. Tkachuk returned to score the game winner and the sixth overall draft pick of the 2016 has looked good early on a line with Sam Bennett and Troy Brouwer. Calgary bench boss Glen Gulutzan said this about Tkachuk:
“(Brouwer) certainly helps and Bennie, they’ve got a little chemistry, but Matthew, he fits right in. He’s always around the net so he’s always picking up loose change.”
In other NHL notes:
- Adam Vingan writes about Pekka Rinne and his approach to the game after playing for Team Finland in the World Cup of Hockey. The 33-year-old netminder has been fighting the perception that he is in decline and Vingan notes that Rinne was the rock of Nasvhille’s team for many years. Last season, Rinne had 66 starts, which was second in league for all goalies. Vingan points out, however, that Rinne led the league in starts with a save percentage less than 85 percent during eleven of those 66 starts. Regardless, the Preds don’t seem too concerned about Rinne’s performance. Captain Mike Fisher agreed with coach Peter Laviolette who said Rinne is capable of winning games for the Preds:
“We’re all excited to see him back. He’s a leader around here. Practices, games, he works so hard. He brings the level up by the way he competes.”
- The Red Wings have trimmed their roster and included veteran Dan Cleary who was signed to a professional tryout. Cleary will now report to Grand Rapids, and it appears that his days, or opportunities with the Red Wings are over. Since signing again with Detroit during the 2013-14 season, Cleary has been in steep decline and a lightning rod of criticism from fans who felt he took a spot from younger players to play.