NHL Review April 2, 2021

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NHL Review April 2, 2021

RANGERS HOLD OFF SABRES TO COLLECT TWO CRUCIAL POINTS

After Buffalo tied the game with four seconds remaining in regulation, Mika Zibanejad scored his sixth career overtime goal to lift the Rangers (17-15-4, 38 points) into a tie with the Flyers (17-14-4, 38 points), in terms of points, for fifth in the MassMutual East Division. The Bruins (18-10-5, 41 points) sit in fourth and hold games in hand over both teams.

Adam Fox assisted on Zibanejad’s overtime winner and extended his point streak to nine games (2-14—16) in the process. Only four different defensemen in Rangers history have extended their run to double digits.

Ryan Strome, who owns the NHL’s longest active point streak (11 GP), also extended his assist streak to 10 contests in the effort (1-14—15 dating to March 15 2021). Only one player in franchise history has posted a longer such stretch: Brian Leetch (15 GP in 1991-92).

BARZAL’S FIVE-POINT NIGHT IGNITES ISLANDERS IN EIGHT-GOAL OUTBURST

Mathew Barzal (3-2—5) scored his third career hat trick and matched a career high with five points as the Islanders scored a season-high eight goals. New York (23-10-4, 50 points) is one of three teams in the MassMutual East Division with 50 points, joining Washington (23-9-4, 50 points) and Pittsburgh (24-11-2, 50 points).

Barzal (23 years, 310 days), who went coast-to-coast to score his first goal of the night, recorded his first five-point game since he registered three during his rookie season in 2017-18 (Nov. 5, 2017, Jan. 13, 2018 & Feb. 9, 2018). With four such outings prior to his 24th birthday, he eclipsed Mike Bossy and Denis Potvin (both w/ 3) for the second most in Islanders history, trailing only Bryan Trottier (8).

Overall, the trio of Trottier, Bossy and Potvin are the only players in franchise history with more outings of five-plus points than Barzal.

Barzal registered the 11th instance of a player collecting five or more points in a game in 2020-21, which trails only a set of six-point performances from Mika Zibanejad (March 17 and 25 vs. PHI) and Leon Draisaitl (Jan. 31 vs. OTT).

The Islanders became the fourth team to score eight goals in a game this season, joining the Avalanche (3x), Rangers (2x) and the Oilers. They also tallied eight goals against the longtime-rival Capitals for the fifth time in franchise history and first in nearly 30 years.

DISCOVER CENTRAL’S TOP THREE TEAMS EACH SURVIVE ONE-GOAL GAMES

The Lightning (25-9-2, 52 points), Panthers (24-9-4, 52 points) and Hurricanes (24-8-3, 51 points), who are first, second and third in the overall NHL standings respectively, each survived one-goal games to collect two points.

After Brayden Point bookended the Lightning’s First Round series with the Blue Jackets during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs with overtime goals, he scored twice on Thursday to help Tampa Bay end a three-game slide. His three goals against Columbus this season are the most among his teammates – he also led Tampa Bay with four goals against the club last postseason.

Carter Verhaeghe (0-2—2) recorded his second multi-point game in as many contests as the Panthers concluded their season series against the Red Wings (FLA: 6-2-0; DET: 2-4-2). Verhaeghe, with a chance to collect multiple points in three straight games for the first time in his career on Saturday, sits third in Panthers scoring this season (17-15—32 in 37 GP) and has already exceeded his rookie-season totals with Tampa Bay in 2019-20 (9-4—13 in 52 GP).

In a back-and-forth affair that featured two game-tying goals, Jesper Fast scored the go-ahead goal with 29 seconds remaining in regulation to propel Carolina past Chicago. Fast became the seventh player in Hurricanes/Whalers history to tally a game-winning goal within the final 30 seconds of regulation in a regular-season game.

CANADIENS, STARS MAKE GROUND IN PLAYOFF PUSHES

The Canadiens (16-8-9, 41 points) and Stars (12-12-10, 34 points), who both have four games in hand in their respective divisional races, each collected wins on Thursday to boost their playoff hopes:

Paul Byron’s game-winning goal marked Montreal’s NHL-best eighth shorthanded goal of 2020-21 and helped the Canadiens extend their point streak to six games (4-0-2). Montreal (16-8-9, 41 points) moved within four points of idle Edmonton (22-14-1, 45 points) for third place in the Scotia North Division and sit five back of Winnipeg (22-13-2, 46 points) for second.

Jason Robertson scored his first career game winner to extend his goal streak to three games as the Stars (12-12-10, 34 points) earned a crucial regulation win over the Predators, whom they now trail by five points for the final playoff spot in the Discover Central Division. Chicago (17-16-5, 39 points) and Columbus (14-16-8, 36 points) sit between Dallas and Nashville.

AVALANCHE LOOK TO CONTINUE CLIMB UP THE NHL STANDINGS

The Avalanche (23-8-4, 50 points), with at least five goals in each of their last two games including a nine-goal showing against the Coyotes on Wednesday, will put their 12-game point streak on the line when they square off with the Blues (16-13-6, 38 points).

The Avalanche, who sat fourth in the Honda West Division when their point streak began on March 10, can best the Islanders (12 GP: 11-0-1 from Feb. 22 – March 14) for the NHL’s longest run of the season. A 13-game stretch would mark the third-longest in franchise history, behind a streak of 16 in 2000-01 (12-0-4) and 14 in 2002-03 (11-0-3).

Colorado paces the League with 3.63 goals for per game played in 2020-21, just ahead of Tampa Bay (3.50). Should the Avalanche continue scoring at this rate, it would mark the club’s highest such average since the 1995-96 campaign (3.98 GF/GP) – a season that concluded with the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.

OILERS SET TO PUT HOME STREAK ON THE LINE IN LATEST ‘BATTE OF ALBERTA’

The seventh instalment of the ‘Battle of Alberta’ this season will take to the ice at Rogers Arena, where the Oilers (22-14-1, 45 points) have won each of their last six contests. Edmonton’s six-game home win streak trails only Minnesota (11 GP) for the NHL’s longest active run.

With another win tonight, the Oilers can record at least seven consecutive home wins for just the fourth time in 30 years after doing so in 2016-17 (9 GP), 2015-16 (7 GP) and 2007-08 (7 GP).

Three of the top four scorers in the ‘Battle of Alberta’ this season are Edmonton skaters: Connor McDavid (6-8—14), Leon Draisaitl (1-7—8), Elias Lindholm (3-4—7) and Tyson Barrie (0-7—7).

Golden Knights’ Stephenson Suspended Three Games for Elbowing

Vegas Golden Knights forward Chandler Stephenson has been suspended for three games, without pay, for elbowing Los Angeles Kings defenseman Tobias Bjornfot during NHL Game No. 569 in Las Vegas on Wednesday, March 31, 2021.The incident occurred at 18:07 of the second period. Stephenson was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for elbowing. Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Stephenson will forfeit $71,120.70. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Video shows a full explanation of the decision.

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