The Central Division perennially exhibits a brutal fight from start to finish, and this season is no different. For as much talent as there is at the NHL level, the Central’s top teams also boast some of the deeper prospect pipelines in the NHL. Having a surplus of young talent below the NHL level is going to give some of those top teams trade flexibility if they’re looking to bolster their rosters in the hopes of a long playoff run.
In Russia, winger Andrei Altybarmakyan is a player to know for his aggressive style. He should be on Russia’s roster for the World Juniors. Meanwhile, 23-year-old goalie Ivan Nalimov continues to impress while splitting time in net for Vladivostok in the KHL, with a sterling .942 save percentage in 17 appearances. Forward Maxim Shalunov is another intriguing prospect, but it’s unclear if he’ll ever come to North America.
Tomas Hertl tapped in a loose puck for San Jose with five minutes left in regulation to tie it at 3.
Hertl’s goal followed a furious Sharks attack that Wild goalie Alex Stalock was able to fend off until a shot from Dylan DeMelo bounced off his shoulder pads and into no man’s land just above the crease.
“We faced a barrage in the third period,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I think goalies like that as long as they’re making the saves. It came out positive.”
Brent Burns scored twice for the Sharks, who had won five of seven.
“It’s so crazy with a big comeback,” Burns said. “It got a little exciting out there and it was still a big point.”
Stalock made 31 saves in his first appearance against his former team. Martin Jones stopped 20 shots for the Sharks.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever played against an old team,” Stalock said. “I have a lot of good friends. I can’t wait to talk to Burnsie about the second goal. He ripped it but it moved like a knuckleball.”