NHL Recap February 8, 2024 – FLAMES CONTINUE PLAYOFF PUSH

Thursday saw Andrei Kuzmenko (1-0—1) and rookie Connor Zary (1-1—2) account for two of five Calgary goals and saw the Flames (24-22-5, 53 points) earn their third straight win to move within one point of the idle Blues (26-21-2, 54 points) for the second Wild Card spot. St. Louis holds two games in hand on Calgary – two of five teams separated by just four points in the Western Conference playoff race.

  • Kuzmenko has scored in each of his first two games with the Flames and is no stranger to making an early impression with an NHL team, after also scoring in his League debut with the Canucks on Oct. 12, 2022.

FAST GOALS FUEL BOSTON TO VICTORY IN BATTLE BETWEEN TOP TWO TEAMS

Boston came out victorious in a battle between the top two teams in the NHL and did so with the help of Brad Marchand’s shorthanded goal 32 seconds into the game as well as a pair of tallies within the first 49 seconds of the second period. In the process, the Bruins (32-10-9, 73 points) moved into a tie with the Canucks (34-11-5, 73 points), in terms of points, atop the League standings.

  • The Bruins are now on pace to reach the 50-win threshold for the third straight season following 2022-23 (65) and 2021-22 (51) – a feat the franchise has accomplished once before from 1970-71 to 1973-74. The only other franchises to post at least three consecutive 50-win seasons are the Red Wings (2005-06 – 2008-09), Canadiens (1975-76 – 1978-79) and Flyers (1973-74 – 1975-76).
  • Marchand’s shorthanded goal marked the 35th of his career, tying him with Dirk Graham and Theo Fleury for the ninth most in NHL history. Meanwhile, his five career goals within the opening 45 seconds of a contest equaled the third most in Bruins history – the only players with as many are Ray Bourque (9), Patrice Bergeron (7) and Terry O’Reilly (5).

PANTHERS, HURRICANES CONTINUE PURSUIT OF TOP SPOT IN THEIR DIVISIONS
The Atlantic Division’s second-place Panthers (32-15-4, 68 points) and Metropolitan Division’s second-seeded Hurricanes (29-16-5, 61 points) both earned wins as they continued their pursuit of the top spot in their respective divisions:

  • After the Capitals took a 2-1 lead, Sam Reinhart scored on the power play and set the stage for a Panthers comeback victory. Reinhart’s goal was his 38th of 2023-24, tying him with Olli Jokinen for the seventh most in a season in franchise history. It also marked his 21st on the man advantage – the most in a single campaign since Leon Draisaitl (32) and Connor McDavid (21) in 2022-23.
  • Martin Necas scored three goals in the opening 16:51 and joined Cory Stillman (3 in 11:28 on Nov. 5, 2007) as the second player in Hurricanes/Whalers history to net a first-period natural hat trick as Carolina staved off a Colorado comeback attempt that included a franchise-record two goals in five seconds. Necas joined Teuvo Teravainen (3-0—3 on Oct. 27) as the second player to score a natural hat trick with Carolina this season – eight of the 11 natural hat tricks in 2023-24 have now been produced by just four teams (CAR, EDM, CBJ & VAN all w/ 2).

FLYERS, ISLANDERS KEEP UP WINNING WAYS AHEAD OF APPEARANCE OUTDOORS
A pair of 2024 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series participants bettered their playoff aspirations with victories as the Flyers (27-19-6, 60 points) kept pace with the Hurricanes (29-16-5, 63 points) in the Metropolitan Division, while the Islanders (22-17-12, 56 points) earned a crucial regulation win against the Lightning (27-20-5, 59 points) – a team they now trail by three points in the Eastern Conference Wild Card standings.

  • Travis Konecny (1-1—2) factored on two of four Flyers goals and Samuel Ersson stopped 28 of 29 shots to record his League-leading 14th win among all rookie netminders and 20th of his career. Ersson (39 GP) became the eighth rookie goaltender in franchise history to reach 20 career wins prior to his 40th contest following Ron Hextall (28 GP), Antero Niittymaki (29 GP), Pete Peeters (29 GP), Bob Froese (30 GP), Sergei Bobrovsky (31 GP), Brian Boucher (35 GP) and Pelle Lindbergh (37 GP).
  • Mathew Barzal (1-1—2) registered his 100th career multi-point game and 14-season NHL veteran Kyle Palmieri scored the game-winning goal as the Islanders skated to victory thanks to scoring three or more goals in each of the first two periods of a game for the first time since Feb. 7, 2016.
  • Palmieri is one of six players on one of the Islanders, Rangers, Devils and Flyers active rosters to have played for multiple clubs who are about to compete in the 2024 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series after posting 140-126—266 in 397 contests with New Jersey. The others: Marc Staal (892 GP w/ NYR & 17 GP w/ PHI), Tyler Pitlick (63 GP w/ PHI & 33 GP w/ NYR), Jimmy Vesey (370 GP w/ NYR & 68 GP w/ NJD), Erik Gustafsson (50 GP w/ NYR & 24 GP w/ PHI) and Max Willman (50 GP w/ PHI & 13 GP w/ NJD).

DOUBLEHEADER ON TVA SPORTS HIGHLIGHTS FRIDAY’S THREE-GAME SLATE

Friday will feature a doubleheader on TVA Sports in Canada, starting with the Penguins (23-17-7, 53 points) visiting the Wild (22-23-5, 49 points). Pittsburgh aims to extend its point streak against Minnesota to 11 games (9-0-1 dating to Jan. 25, 2018), a streak that is currently tied for the club’s longest active run against a single franchise. The Ducks (18-30-2, 38 points) then welcome the Oilers (29-16-1, 59 points), with Edmonton looking to bounce back from its first loss of 2024 – Edmonton’s 11 wins since Jan. 1 are tied with Vancouver for the most among all teams.

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