Travis Zajac helping build Devils future as he prepares for 1,000th NHL game

NEWARK, NJ – Travis Zajac is two NHL games from reaching 1,000, and though the New Jersey Devils forward has plenty of seasons behind him, he’s looking ahead by helping to build a better future for his team.

He was scheduled to reach the milestone this weekend but could be out for the games against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, MSG-B, MSG+, NHL.TV), and Sunday after entering COVID-19 protocol Friday.

When he does play two more games, he will join defenseman Ken Daneyko (1,283 games), goalie Martin Brodeur (1,259) and forward Patrik Elias (1,240) as the only players with 1,000 games for the Devils.

The 35-year-old center knows the path New Jersey is taking with its youth movement and said he feels his experience and leadership can be a big part of it.

Outdoor rivalry games never easy, but ‘so much fun’ for Bellemare

LAKE TAHOE, CA – When Pierre-Edouard Bellemare steps on to the ice this weekend during the NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe, he’ll use an extra moment to take it all in.

“I’m a kid from France. It comes down to that,” the Avalanche forward told NBC Sports this week. “Where I come from, how often will I have the chance to play outdoors? Another game in the NHL is huge. I never thought I was going to be here.”

Bellemare and the Avalanche will play the Golden Knights Saturday afternoon (3 p.m. ET, NBC) on a rink built on the 18th fairway of the Edgewood Tahoe Resort Golf Course. The Bruins and Flyers will play Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on the same sheet with the Sierra Nevada mountains in the background.

Mackey Family “Proud” of Son Connor and his NHL debut with Flames

CALGARY, AB – It certainly made for a late night in the American Midwest, but Dave Mackey wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

His boy, Connor – at 24 years old, and a free-agent signing of the Flames last March – was finally getting a look in The Show.

“We’re all a bit tired today,” Dave laughed Sunday from the Mackey family home in Tower Lakes, Ill. “In the moment, you don’t really appreciate all the emotions, the nervousness and the excitement you feel watching the game when he’s in there.

“Here, it was my wife and I, and Connor’s twin brother, Ian, watching Hockey Night in Canada.

“But Vancouver – where I’m from – was kind of a second home for Connor growing up. For him to be able to play his first game in that city, in that rink, was awesome.

Ottawa Acquires Dzingel in a Swap of Forwards with Carolina

OTTAWA, ONT- The Ottawa Senators announced today that the team has acquired forward Ryan Dzingel from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for forwards Alex Galchenyuk and Cedric Paquette.

 A native of Wheaton, Ill., Dzingel returns to the Senators in the midst of a campaign in which he has registered four points (two goals, two assists) and two penalty minutes over 11 games in his second season with the Hurricanes.

 

Winnipeg Jets Prospect Cole Perfetti: “A Quarantine Professional Now”

WINNIPEG, MB – As high-level hockey tries to trudge through the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s players have been forced to adapt—an accept isolation as a lifestyle.

One player that knows this well is Winnipeg Jets prospect, Cole Perfetti. The 19 year-old has spent 34 days quarantining over the last three months, and since November 15, he has been living out of a hotel for all but three days. Not exactly an ideal scenario entering his first season in professional hockey.

Foote scores first NHL goal to help Lightning defeat Predators

TAMPA BAY, FL – Cal Foote scored his first NHL goal, one of four second-period goals for the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 4-3 win against the Nashville Predators at Amalie Arena on Saturday.

Victor Hedman had a goal and an assist, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 23 saves for the Lightning (4-1-1).

Pekka Rinne made 29 saves for the Predators (4-4-0), who lost to the Lightning in regulation for the first time (9-1-2). Filip Forsberg had two assists.

John Gibson Named NHL’s Third Star of the Week

ANAHEIM, CA – Ducks goalie John Gibson was named the NHL’s Third Star for the week ending Jan. 24, going 2-0-1 with a 1.33 goals-against average, .960 save percentage and one shutout to help the Ducks (2-2-2, 6 points) collect points in three of their four outings (2-1-1).

He earned his 20th career shutout with 34 saves in a 1-0 win over the Minnesota Wild Jan. 18. Gibson then started each of Anaheim’s two games against the Colorado Avalanche, making 29 saves in a 3-2 overtime loss Jan. 22 and 32 stops in a 3-1 triumph Jan. 24. The 27-year-old Pittsburgh native has appeared in 292 career NHL games, compiling a 141-104-35 record (2.52 GAA, .919 SV%).