Todd McLellan was bullish when he talked about the performance Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had against Arizona on Saturday.
“He wanted the puck tonight. He wanted it on his tape, he was ready to shoot it, guys were getting it back for him. That’s good for those three and that’s good for our team,” said the head coach.
The centre finished the game with an assist and three shots on goal in 21:30 of ice time, adding a shootout tally at the end of the game to win it. He also came close to ending it in OT with a speedy rush down the right wing.
“I thought Nuge had a really good game,” said McLellan. “I don’t know what anybody else thought. But standing back there, I kept wanting to put him on the ice. He battled, he stripped pucks, he created a great opportunity for (Jordan Eberle) on the (game-tying goal) and I felt confident with him.”
Nugent-Hopkins has four assists in his last four games.
“There’s been games where I could have had a few but didn’t get the bounces and a few where it’s kind of gone the other way too,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “You’ve just got to try to stay positive.”