O'Neill: Leafs had nothing going against Flames
It isn’t often that both teams announce they will be without their starting goaltenders right before puck drop for an NHL game.
So when the Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs both confirmed they would be without their No. 1s on Monday night, it created an added level of intrigue surrounding the totals for that game.
First, the Flames announced that Jacob Markstrom wouldn’t dress and was day-to-day because of an upper-body injury.
Shortly after that, the Maple Leafs revealed Frederik Andersen wasn’t available due to a lower-body injury.
With both starters sidelined, would we see another high-scoring North Division matchup?
Thanks in large part to David Rittich’s best performance of the season, Calgary and Toronto matched the lowest total on the board Monday night.
Here is the Morning Coffee for Tuesday Feb. 23, 2021.
Rittich Blanks Maple Leafs
Rittich stopped all 34 shots he faced as the Flames (+150) blanked the Maple Leafs 3-0.
On a night when the under went 5-2-1 in the NHL, Rittich slammed the door on the league’s highest-scoring offence for a much-needed victory.
It’s the first time that Toronto has been shut out this season.
Matthew Tkachuk and Sean Monahan each had a goal and an assist for Calgary. Rasmus Andersson added a pair of assists.
Auston Matthews, who had registered a point in 16 straight games and leads the NHL with 18 goals, was held off the board for just the second time this season.
It was quite the turnaround for a Flames side that had been outscored 14-3 in three straight losses, including a 7-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.
After shutting the door on the best team in the division in their own building, Rittich was an obvious choice as the game’s first star.
It will be interesting to see if he gets the nod again in the rematch on Wednesday night in Toronto.
Rittich wasn’t the only goaltender to earn first star honours in the NHL last night.
Jonathan Quick made 31 saves as the Los Angeles Kings (+160) upset the St. Louis Blues 3-0.
Meanwhile, Marc-Andre Fleury made 34 saves as the Vegas Golden Knights (+115) beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-0.
It’s worth pointing out that Fleury has been absolutely outstanding for Vegas this season.
The 36-year-old is 8-3-0 with a 1.55 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage with three shutouts.
He’s a big reason the Golden Knights are on top of the West Division standings.
Last Call For Nets At Plus Money To Win East
According to our very own Wesley Cheng, it could be last call to get the Brooklyn Nets at plus money to win the Eastern Conference.
Brooklyn, winners of six straight including a sweep of a five-game west coast road trip that featured wins over both teams in Los Angeles, is currently +130 to win the East and -150 to win the Atlantic Division.
Check out why Wesley thinks it won’t be long before oddsmakers make another adjustment to Brooklyn’s odds to emerge from the East.
Stage Set For WGC-Workday Championship
After cashing on Max Homa at +5500 to win the Genesis Invitational thanks to some timely advice from Adam Scully and Michael Harrison last week, I’m looking forward to seeing who they like this week as the best in the world converge on the Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., for the WGC-Workday Championship.
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson will look to bounce back as the betting favourite to win this week following a disappointing final round at the Genesis Invitational.
Can D.J. rebound with his fifth win in 10 starts?
What about some value plays for this week’s tournament?
Harrison has our first look at the field for this week’s PGA Tour event.