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The NHL announced on Wednesday that 95 games have been scheduled from Feb. 7-22 when the league was going to pause for the Olympic break. The Ottawa Senators will be the busiest team during that stretch, with 10 games, while the Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets will play eight contests apiece over that span.
On the ice Wednesday, there were some superb goaltending performances. Colorado was backstopped to victory by Pavel Francouz, who stopped all 34 shots he faced in a 2-0 shutout win over Anaheim. Karel Vejmelka defended 35 shots in a 4-1 victory over New Jersey, while Igor Shesterkin blocked 35 shots in a 6-3 triumph against Toronto.
The Avalanche also received some good news when Darcy Kuemper avoided injury when he was run over by Minnesota’s Jordan Greenway on Monday. He was able to dress as the backup on Wednesday and he is slated to return to the crease on Thursday when Colorado visits the Los Angeles Kings. Still, Francouz is proving to be a solid crease buddy for fantasy managers who have Kuemper rostered or as a depth option between the pipes.
ARIZONA 4 NEW JERSEY 1
The Coyotes have won two straight games for the second time this season after scoring four unanswered goals against the Devils.
Lawson Crouse had one goal, which held up as the game winner, and one assist.
Nico Hischier opened the scoring for New Jersey just 6:09 into the match with a power-play goal.
Johan Larsson potted the final goal of the contest at the 8:27 mark of the third period. He has 10 points in his past nine outings.
Loui Eriksson picked up two assists in his first game since Jan. 4. He had been scratched for the previous six matches.
Karel Vejmelka turned aside 35 of 36 shots in the victory. He has four of his six wins in his past six starts.
Mackenzie Blackwood permitted four goals on 17 shots in his first start since Jan. 8 because of COVID-19 protocol.
TORONTO 3 NY RANGERS 6
The Rangers stretched their win streak to three consecutive games following a comeback win over the Maple Leafs.
Adam Fox registered his first career multi-goal performance as part of a three-point night. He had two goals, one assist, two shots, one hit and five blocks over 24:41 of ice time in the contest.
Ryan Reaves netted his first two goals of the season. It was also his first multi-goal effort since Apr. 25, 2013.
Ilya Mikheyev opened the scoring for Toronto just 2:44 into the match. He has six goals and one assist in eight outings this campaign.
Michael Bunting had the other goal for the Leafs, which gave them a 3-1 lead before the Rangers scored the next five.
Chris Kreider was the other goal scorer for the Rangers. He is tied for third in the league with 25 goals on the year.
Tavares also had a game-high seven shots.
Igor Shesterkin blocked 35 shots for his 18th win of 2021-22. He has emerged victorious in each of his past five starts.
Jack Campbell surrendered five goals on 26 shots in the defeat.
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COLORADO 2 ANAHEIM 0
The Avalanche won for a fourth straight time following a shutout victory over the Ducks.
Pavel Francouz shielded all 34 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season and the second of his NHL career. He is currently riding a five-game win streak.
Nazem Kadri notched one goal and one assist in the match. He sealed Colorado’s win with an empty-netter to get his 17th multi-point performance of the year. That ranks him second in the league behind only Connor McDavid.
Samuel Girard potted what held up as the game winner at the 18:29 mark of the second period.
John Gibson blocked 26 of 27 shots in his first game since Jan. 4 due to COVID-19 protocol, but came away with the loss.