There was a packed slate of NHL action over the weekend, and that means there is plenty to discuss today.
One of the biggest trades of the season is already working out for the New York Rangers, as Vladimir Tarasenko scored in his first game with the blue shirts. Two different players had four-goal games on Saturday and Sidney Crosby managed to do something he had never accomplished in his prolific NHL career.
Let's take a look at the biggest storylines and best highlights from the weekend that was in the NHL.
Goal of the weekend: Garnet Hathaway pays the price for glory
Not every goal can be Connor McDavid breezing past a defender and deking a goaltender out of his jockstrap. Some of them have to be greasy. Garnet Hathaway's tally against the Boston Bruins is the best of both worlds.
After a Bruins turnover, Hathaway had a free lane to the high slot, and he fired a bullet over the shoulder of Jeremy Swayman. However, that goal didn't come without a little pain. Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton came in with a slightly-more-than-late hit on Hathaway that knocked him to the ice.
Garnet Hathaway scores, takes a huge hit, then does his celly from the ice 🤣 pic.twitter.com/q15gGDalng— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) February 11, 2023
Completely undeterred by getting dropped like a sack of potatoes, Hathaway simply chose to celebrate on his back. That is goal of the weekend material right there.
Robbery of the weekend: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen shuts down a 2-on-0
Luukonen had a tough game against the Flames, but this was still one of the best saves of the season. On a Sabres power play, Jack Quinn lost his footing, resulting in a shorthanded 2-on-0 for the Flames, which isn't something you see every day.
Andrew Mangiapane dished a pass over to Dillon Dube, but Luukonen was anticipating that. He slid from post to post, and Dube's shot hit right in the webbing of Luukkonen's glove.
Luukkonen ROBS the Flames on a shorthanded 2-on-0. 🙅♂️ pic.twitter.com/id2YkvKNO1— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 11, 2023
The shot was so hard that the puck popped out of Luukonen's glove, but he had the presence of mind to pounce on the rebound before any Flame could get near it. Luukkonen did allow seven goals in this game, but this save was on highlight reels all weekend.
Tarasenko makes great first impression with Rangers
On Friday night, Tarasenko made his debut against the Seattle Kraken at Madison Square Garden, and he put on a show. Before the puck even dropped, fans in New York were fired up to see Tarasenko in blue and red.
MSG gets LOUD for Vladimir Tarasenko’s first intro 🔊 pic.twitter.com/6HIdqYGfcl— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) February 11, 2023
Less than three minutes into the game, Artemi Panarin found his new teammate streaking toward the net and threw a pass into the low slot. Tarasenko chipped Panarin's pass by Martin Jones and caused an eruption at MSG.
FIRST SHOT AS A RANGER— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 11, 2023
FIRST GOAL AS A RANGER pic.twitter.com/LbSIfOMgNV
After his first goal as a Ranger, the crowd in New York chanted Tarasenko's name as the team cruised to a 6-3 win.
"TARASENKO" chants at MSG after he gets his first as a Ranger 👏 pic.twitter.com/fNHHkg3FWy— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) February 11, 2023
Artemi Panarin scores a hat trick plus one
Panarin may have assisted on Tarasenko's first goal, but he was the one finding the back of the net most on Saturday's 6-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. The red-hot Panarin put on a clinic as he led the Rangers' late surge.
With just over two minutes remaining in the second period, the Rangers trailed 2-1, but Panarin evened the score with a shot from the high circle that beat Freddie Andersen cleanly.
Trocheck ➡️ Panarin = 🔥 pic.twitter.com/p5aTlxOvY9— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) February 12, 2023
Less than five minutes into the third period, Panarin gave the Rangers a lead. This time, he cashed in on a rebound with reflexes so quick that it initially appeared as though Vincent Trocheck scored, but Panarin's stick got to the loose puck first.
WHEN THE BREAD GETS HOT pic.twitter.com/IkX3CG6nfA— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 12, 2023
Late in the third period, the Hurricanes were pushing for a goal to tie the game, and all five skaters got caught deep in the New York zone. That gave Panarin a breakaway off a turnover, and he did not miss his chance to provide some insurance. As Panarin celebrated, hats and bread came flying over the glass in Raleigh.
GIVE HIM THE HATS, BABY pic.twitter.com/bfOWoj6Dwv— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 12, 2023
After an empty-net goal from Kaapo Kakko, Panarin decided that he wasn't content with just the hat trick, so he slipped one more past Andersen for good measure.
BREAD FOUR THE WIN. #NoQuitInNY | @JagermeisterUSA pic.twitter.com/NIlfDT7PUC— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 12, 2023
While Panarin has been piling up assists lately, he hadn't scored in the eight games leading up to his four-goal outburst. That's quite a way to break out of a scoring slump.
As does Adrian Kempe...
Panarin wasn't the only player to score four goals in a single game on Saturday. Just hours after Panarin's explosion, Adrian Kempe went to work against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Early in the second period, Kempe picked up a rebound, with some help from Anze Kopitar, and fired a shot off the crossbar and in to give the Los Angeles Kings a 3-0 lead.
A JUICY ONE TO MAKE IT 3-0 🧃 pic.twitter.com/PQS1VKyPjA— LA Kings (@LAKings) February 12, 2023
Just a few minutes later, Kopitar found Kempe again, this time off the rush. Kempe took Kopitar's feed and placed it just underneath the arm of Casey DeSmith for his second goal of the night.
WE'RE HAVING FUN pic.twitter.com/a3iHWav7jl— LA Kings (@LAKings) February 12, 2023
Kempe completed the hat trick before the second period was even over, and you'll never believe who assisted on the goal. This time, Kopitar got some help when his pass kicked off the skate of a Penguins penalty killer and popped right to Kempe at the side of the net.
THAT'S AN ADRIAN KEMPE HAT TRICK 🧃🧃🧃 pic.twitter.com/qHlXl0ORlV— LA Kings (@LAKings) February 12, 2023
In the third period, the Kings had a 5-on-3 power play, and this time Kempe scored without any help from Koptar at all. Kevin Fiala teed up a one-timer for Kempe, and he blasted a shot past DeSmith to make it four goals in a row.
THE JUICE JUST KEEPS FLOWING pic.twitter.com/TK3mfu2yY9— LA Kings (@LAKings) February 12, 2023
With that goal, Kempe became just the seventh players in the last 30 years to score four straight goals in a game. Oddly enough it was also the first time a Kings player scored four goals in a game since Dustin Brown did it in 2018, and he had his number retired before Saturday's game.
Sidney Crosby gets tossed against Kings
On the other side of that 6-0 beatdown in Los Angeles, there was Sidney Crosby, who got to strike another first off his career to-do list. I'm not sure getting ejected from a game was something Crosby was aiming for before retirement, but he did it anyway.
Midway through the third period, Kings defenseman Mikey Anderson cross-checked Crosby in front of the net. Anderson was whistled for the penalty, but he and Crosby jawed at one another after the play. That earned both players a 10-minute misconduct. Anderson was fine to end the incident there, but Crosby was unable to cool down in the moment. The Penguins legend said something -- either to Anderson or an official -- that earned him a full game misconduct.
Sidney Crosby was given a ten-minute and a game misconduct following an altercation with Mikey Anderson. pic.twitter.com/oAHMXLn91x— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 12, 2023
After the game, Crosby said he was "shocked" to find out that he had been ejected and took a not-so-thinly-veiled shot at the officiating.
"Can I really say what I think anyway?" Crosby said. "Let's be honest here."
At least Crosby didn't have to endure the last 10:14 of a blowout. That's a veteran move.
Appointment viewing this week
Bruins at Stars | Tuesday, Feb. 14: When the two top teams in each conference do battle, it's must see TV. Shockingly enough, the Bruins have lost four of their last five while the Stars are coming off a deflating loss at the hands of the Lightning. These two teams will be hungry to get back into the win column.
Lightning at Avalanche | Tuesday, Feb. 14: We just saw these teams face off in what turned out to be a dominant 5-0 win by the Lightning. Still, I doubt we'll see another blowout like that in a rematch of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final.
Rangers at Oilers | Friday, Feb. 17: When the season started, these were two teams that were in the conversation to reach the Stanley Cup Final. With the addition of Vladimir Tarasenko, the Rangers look more dangerous than ever. The offensive firepower on the ice in this one is endless.
Devils at Penguins | Saturday, Feb. 18: It's been an up-and-down year for the Penguins to say the least. They're clinging to the final Wild Card spot, mostly due to inconsistent play in net. The Devils have been victorious in the first two meetings, so a win here would go a long way.
Capitals at Hurricanes, Saturday, Feb. 18: The two Metropolitan Division foes will do battle in the Stadium Series at NC State's Carter-Finley Stadium. Outdoors games are always a ton of fun and seeing two playoff teams go head-to-head will be entertaining theater.