NHL Review April 5, 2021

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NHL Review April 5, 2021

OVECHKIN TIES HULL, HELPS CAPITALS SWEEP SEASON SERIES AGAINST DEVILS

Alex Ovechkin (1-2—3) factored on three of the Capitals’ five goals to help Washington (25-9-4, 54 points) win 5-4 over the Devils and take sole possession of first place in the MassMutual East Division and sweep its season series against New Jersey (WSH: 8-0-0, NJD: 0-6-2). It marked the first time in franchise history the Capitals have recorded eight wins against one opponent in a single campaign.

Ovechkin’s 19th goal of 2020-21 was also the 265th power-play tally of his career, tied with Brett Hull for second place on the NHL’s all-time list. Six of his 19 goals have come against the Devils this season, his most against any opponent.

Sunday’s contest also marked the Capitals captain’s 115th career outing with at least three points, the second most among active players behind Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (149).

CHYCHRUN COMPLETES HAT TRICK WITH OT WINNER

Jakob Chychrun (3-0—3) completed his first career hat trick 1:47 into overtime as the Coyotes (18-15-5, 41 points) opened up a three-point cushion on the Blues (16-15-6, 38 points) for fourth place in the Honda West Division. Chychrun became the eighth defenseman in NHL history to complete a hat trick with an overtime goal and the third to do so at Honda Center.

Chychrun, who joined Vegas’ Dylan Coghlan (3-0—3 on March 10 at MIN) as the NHL‘s second defenseman to score a hat trick in 2020-21, boosted his season totals 12-13—25 and moved into a tie with Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse (12-15—27) for the most goals among all blueliners.

PANTHERS POUNCE INTO FIRST PLACE IN NHL STANDINGS

Aleksander Barkov collected 1-1—2 and Chris Driedger turned aside all 32 shots he faced as the Panthers (26-9-4, 56 points) moved into first place in the NHL standings. Florida extended the League’s longest active win streak to six games, dating to March 27.

MRAZEK RETURNS AND JOINS RARE COMPANY WITH ANOTHER SHUTOUT

Petr Mrazek, who made his first start since Jan. 30, stopped all 28 shots he faced to earn his third shutout and improve to 3-1-0 this season (0.74 GAA, .968 SV%, 3 SO). After he posted three such performances in all of 2019-20, Mrazek became the sixth goaltender in the NHL’s modern era to post a shutout in each of his first three or more wins of a season.

Only two goaltenders in NHL history extended their streak beyond three wins: Pascal Leclaire (4 w/ CBJ in 2007-08) and Dave Kerr (4 w/ NYR in 1937-38).

EASTER TREATS, COURTESY OF #NHLSTATS

Auston Matthews (25-19—44 in 35 GP) scored one of four Toronto goals to boost his lead in the NHL’s Maurice “Rocket” Richard race in 2020-21. Only three different Maple Leafs players in the League’s expansion era (since 1967-68) required fewer games than Matthews to score 25 goals in a season.

Mark Giordano (0-1—1) found the score sheet and collected his 500th career point. The Flames captain (140-360—500), who hails from Toronto, Ont. and also scored his first NHL goal versus his hometown team on Oct. 14, 2006 (2-0—2), became the third defensemen to reach the milestone with the franchise, joining Al MacInnis (822) and Gary Suter (564).

WILD AIM FOR 12TH STRAIGHT WIN AT XCEL ENERGY CENTER

The Wild (23-11-2, 48 points) return to Xcel Energy Center after going 2-1-1 on their four-game road trip and set their sights on extending their franchise-record home win streak to 12 contests.

Minnesota, which suffered its last home loss on Jan. 30 against Colorado, have held the opposition to two or fewer goals in each of its last six home contests and has only trailed for 41:23 of 665:17 over their current 11-game stretch.

The Wild can become the fourth different team in five seasons to register a home win streak of at least 12 games. The Bruins (12 GP in 2018-19), Maple Leafs (13 GP in 2017-18) and Capitals (15 GP in 2016-17 & 12 GP in 2015-16) each did so over that span.

STAAL SET TO SKATE IN FIRST GAME WITH CANADIENS

Eric Staal, who was traded to the Montreal Canadiens by Buffalo on March 26, is set to make his team debut when the Canadiens welcome the Oilers to Bell Centre.

The Canadiens can become the fifth team in the NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) to dress at least six Stanley Cup winners after having none during the preceding campaign (excluding expansion franchises in their inaugural season), following the Flyers in 1974-75 (19), Islanders in 1980-81 (22), Flames in 1989-90 (20) and Blues in 1994-95 (7). St. Louis is the only other club to do so after not winning the Cup during the previous year.

Islanders’ Mathew Barzal, Frontline Healthcare Hero Kelly McLaughlin Named NHL ‘First Stars’ of the Week
Sharks’ Jones, Bruins’ Marchand Round Out ‘Three Stars’

New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal and Northwell Health – South Shore University Hospital RN Kelly McLaughlin have been named the NHL’s “First Stars” for the week ending April 4.

Throughout the 2020-21 season the NHL is celebrating the remarkable efforts of the off-ice stars who make it possible for us to play our games amid a pandemic by honoring frontline healthcare heroes from the regions represented by the League’s weekly and monthly “Stars.”

McLaughlin works as a registered nurse certified in emergency nursing at Northwell Health – South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y. Last April, she created an event called the “Day of Hope,” a hospital-wide initiative intended to boost morale among staff during the height of COVID-19. McLaughlin did so after noticing that her usually fun and spunky coworkers had become deflated and broken down following the onset of the pandemic.

“Day of Hope” included food, music and entertainment for the entire hospital’s staff. McLaughlin even created matching shirts for employees via a local vendor who was struggling due to the economic impact of the pandemic. There also was a moment of silence for all of the hospital’s patients and loved ones lost to coronavirus.

“The event was a great success,” said McLaughlin, who was born and raised on Long Island and credits her father and grandfather for her Islanders fandom. “And for a short while, everyone in attendance was able to forget about all of the hardship and suffering.”

Rounding out the “Three Stars” of the week are San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones and Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand. More on each NHL player’s performance can be found below:

FIRST STAR – MATHEW BARZAL, C, NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Barzal registered 3-4—7 and a shootout-deciding goal across three contests to help the Islanders improve to 24-10-4 (52 points), on pace for their best points percentage in 39 years. He assisted on New York’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins March 29. Barzal then posted 3-2—5, including his third career hat trick (in highlight-reel fashion) and fourth career five-point performance, in an 8-4 triumph over the division-leading Washington Capitals April 1. Only three players in franchise history have recorded more career five-point games than Barzal (272 GP): Mike Bossy (15 in 752 GP), Bryan Trottier (15 in 1,123 GP) and Denis Potvin (5 in 1,060 GP). Barzal closed the week with an assist and the shootout-deciding goal, the fourth such tally of his career, in a 3-2 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers April 3. The 23-year-old Coquitlam, B.C., native and 2017-18 Calder Memorial Trophy winner tops the Islanders with 13‑21—34 in 38 outings this season.

SECOND STAR – MARTIN JONES, G, SAN JOSE SHARKS

Jones won a League-best four games, posting a 1.71 goals-against average, .942 save percentage and one shutout in four starts to lift the Sharks (17-16-4, 38 points) to a perfect week and within three points of the final playoff spot in the Honda NHL West Division. He made 48 saves over a pair of games against the Minnesota Wild, denying 22 shots – as well as six in the shootout – in a 4-3 win March 29 and turning aside 26 pucks in a 4-2 triumph March 31. Jones then picked up two wins against his former team, the Los Angeles Kings, earning his 25th career shutout with 30 saves in a 3-0 victory April 2 and making 35 stops in a 3-2 triumph April 3. The 31-year-old North Vancouver, B.C., native has appeared in 24 total contests this season, compiling a 14-7-2 record with a 3.03 goals-against average, .905 save percentage and one shutout.

THIRD STAR – BRAD MARCHAND, LW, BOSTON BRUINS

Marchand collected 5-2—7 in three outings to propel the Bruins (19-10-5, 43 points) to a pair of victories. He notched 1-1—2 in a 5-4 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils March 30, then scored Boston’s lone goal in a 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins April 1. Marchand capped the week with 3-1—4, including his fourth career hat trick, in a 7-5 triumph against the Penguins April 3, halting Pittsburgh’s winning streak at five games. The 32-year-old Halifax, N.S., native paces the Bruins and ranks among the League leaders in both goals (t-9th; 17) and points (11th; 41) through 32 contests this season.

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