NHL Rewind: Mitch Marner, Mikko Rantanen shine with heroic overtime performances

Another weekend of NHL action is officially in the books and it certainly produced its fair share of drama. We saw Mitch Marner continue to make history while Mikko Rantanen produced an offensive performance for the ages.

Let’s take a closer look at everything that went down this weekend around the league.

Goal of the weekend: Clayton Keller finishes hat trick in overtime

While there weren’t really any mind-boggling goals around the league this weekend, Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller had quite the night against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. He recorded a hat trick in a 5-4 overtime win and scored his third goal in the overtime period.

In the final minute of overtime, Keller received the puck from defenseman Jakob Chychrun, drifted into the face-off circle and ripped a ferocious snapshot past Flyers goaltender Carter Hart.

Keller became just the ninth player in franchise history to finish off a hat trick in overtime. It also marked the first time in Keller’s career that he completed a hat trick in overtime.

Robbery of the weekend: Sergei Bobrovsky goes post to post

Sergei Bobrovsky is not having a great season with the Florida Panthers. But he clearly still has the talent to make some spectacular saves, and that’s exactly what he did against them Seattle Kraken on Sunday evening.

Late in the first period, Bobrovsky exploded from one post to another to rob Will Borgen of what looked like a sure goal as the play was developing.

What I love about this save is that there was one Panther not puck-watching, and lucky for them, it was the goalie. Unlike the skaters in front of him, Bobrovsky read the play perfectly, anticipated the backdoor pass and slid across just in time to shut it down.

Mitch Marner stays hot, extinguishes flames

the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames played a fun one in Toronto over the weekend, and Mitch Marner kept his lengthy point streak going with a heroic performance. Through the first two periods, the Maple Leafs and Flames played to a 3-3 tie, with Marner extending his point streak to 22 games with an assist on a power play goal by William Nylander.

Early in the third period, Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin scored a bizarre goal on a bad-angle shot that just leaked through Leafs goaltender Matt Murray. At that point, Calgary was in position to pick up a big road win.

However, it didn’t take long for Toronto to respond with a goal of its own. Williams Nylander ripped a one-timer from the point that kicked off the end boards and bounced in front of the net. Michael Bunting was in the right place at the right time and fired the puck past Dan Vladar for a goal.

Neither team would find the back of the net again in regulation, but on the opening face-off of overtime, Flames forward Jonathan Huberdeau took a high-sticking penalty. That gave the Maple Leafs a four-on-three advantage, and Marner ended the game with a power play goal.

With a goal and assist, Marner now has 30 points over the life of his 22-game point streak. He simply cannot be stopped.

Mikko Rantanen gives St. Louis the blues

For much of Sunday’s Central Division showdown between the Colorado Avalanches and St. Louis Blues, there wasn’t much offense. Then Mikko Rantanen gave the Avs a 1-0 lead in the second period and Vladimir Tarasenko answered with a power play goal eight minutes into the third.

Late in the third period is when the fireworks really began for both sides.

Blues forward Brayden Schenn took a late interference penalty, and the lethal Avalanche power play had an opportunity to win the game against a Blues penalty kill that ranked 32nd in the league. However, Brandon Saad decided that the best defense is a good offense.

The Avalanche turned the puck over in the neutral zone, and Saad out-muscled JT Compher for the loose puck before firing it past Pavel Francouz to give the Blues a 2-1 lead with 96 seconds left in regulation.

That could have been a back-breaking play for the Avs, but instead they dialed the pressure up to 11 in the waning moments of the third period. With nine seconds left, it paid off as Rantanen poked home his second goal of the game to tie the score at 2-2.

Just 29 seconds into overtime, Rantanen crashed the net on a pass from Cale Makar. He somehow managed to jam the puck behind Jordan Binnington to complete the hat trick and stick a dagger in the Blues.

Jeff Skinner suspended for vicious cross check

Buffalo Sabres forward Jeff Skinner gave the NHL Department of Player Safety some work this weekend. During Friday night’s game between the Sabers and Pittsburgh PenguinsSkinner gave Jake Guentzel some free dental reconstruction surgery.

Late in the third period, Skinner and Guentzel exchanged a couple of slashes, but Skinner chose to escalate things from there. Skinner got his hands up high and cross-checked Guentzel in the shoulder. Still not satisfied, Skinner got his hands up even higher and popped Guentzel in the mouth.

The result of that was a five-minute major and a three-game suspension for Skinner. He already served his first game on Saturday night against the Penguins, but he will also miss this week’s games against the Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche.

Even though it’s only for a couple of more goals, Buffalo will struggle to replace Skinner’s production. With 13 goals and 32 points in 27 games played, he is having a phenomenal season.

Kris Letang returns just 12 days after suffering a stroke

Kris Letang suffered a stroke last month and it was ruled that he would be out indefinitely. Just 12 days after suffering the stroke, Letang was in the lineup for the Pittsburgh Penguins when they took on the Buffalo Sabers on Saturday.

Letang logged a team-high 22:14 of ice time in the Penguins’ 3-1 win over the Sabers. The veteran defenseman missed just five games while he was out of the lineup.

“Mentally, I feel good to be back, to be honest,” Letang aid following Saturday’s game. “It’s always hard to be on the sidelines. I know health comes first… We’re taking all the time we need to figure this thing out. Like [Vyas] said, when I feel ready to go and practice like I did today, he’s going to give me the green light, if it’s safe to do.”

Letang returned to the ice and began skating on Dec. 1, just three days after he suffered the stroke. However, the 35-year-old star wasn’t cleared to resume practicing until Thursday. The Penguins defenseman previously had a stroke during the 2013-2014 season and missed more than two months of action.

Appointment viewing this week

stars at devils | Tuesday, Dec 13: This should be a fun one to watch because of the elite young talent both teams have at forward. Jason Robertson and Roope Hintz have the ability to take over a game for the Stars. On the other side, players like Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt are a big reason why the Devils look like serious Stanley Cup contenders.

octopus at Lightning | Tuesday, Dec 13: This matchup features one of the biggest surprises of the season against a team that has become a mainstay in the Stanley Cup Final every year. The Kraken have played well this year, and the Lightning are just a well-oiled machine. Both sides have been hot in their last 10 games.

Flames at canucks | Wednesday, Dec 14: Two teams that need to get it in gear will meet in Vancouver on Wednesday night as the Flames go head-to-head with the Canucks. If you listen closely you will be able to hear the groan of the losing team’s fan base.

Panthers at Devils | Saturday, Dec 17: Few teams need to get their mojo back more than the Florida Panthers, and what better way to do that than by beating one of the best teams in hockey, the New Jersey Devils? Of course, if the Panthers play like they have lately, the Devils have the potential to run away with this one.

Penguins at hurricanes | sunday, december 18: Take the NHL standing with a grain of salt, especially before Christmas, but would anyone be surprised if these two teams did meet in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs? This is a fun matchup between two of the best teams the Metro Division has to offer.

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