NHL Review February 18, 2021

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NHL Review February 18, 2021

PANTHERS EDGE HURRICANES TO CLAIM TOP POINTS PERCENTAGE IN CENTRAL

Juho Lammikko scored the third of three consecutive Florida goals to record the first of his NHL career and put the Panthers up 3-2, but Vincent Trocheck pulled the Hurricanes even against his former club with 6:21 remaining in regulation. Jonathan Huberdeau (2-1—3) then scored the 4-3 overtime winner as Florida (10-2-2, 22 points; .786 P%) leapfrogged idle Tampa Bay (10-3-1, 21 points; .750 P%) for the highest points percentage in the Discover Central Division standings.

Games between Discover Central Division teams have featured a total of 122 lead changes, the most of any NHL division this season (MassMutual East: 119; Scotia North: 118; Honda West: 110). The Discover Central Division has also featured 69 tying goals, which are the second-most in the League (MassMutual East: 74; Scotia North: 64; Honda West: 60).

Huberdeau (7-13—20 in 14 GP), who had a highlight-reel, spin-o-rama assist earlier in the contest, required the fewest games to reach the 20-point mark in franchise history – Huberdeau eclipsed the previous mark of 16 that he and Aleksander Barkov set in 2019-20. Barkov ranks second in team scoring in 2020-21 with 5-10—15 (14 GP), including an assist on Huberdeau’s overtime winner.

ROOKIES HELP BLACKHAWKS BLANK RED WINGS TO KEEP PACE WITH PANTHERS

Philipp Kurashev split the defense to score a highlight-reel goal and fellow rookie Kevin Lankinen turned aside all 29 shots he faced to record the first shutout of his NHL career as Chicago blanked Detroit at Little Caesars Arena. The Blackhawks improved to 9-5-4 (22 points) this season and share the most points in the Discover Central Division standings with the Panthers.

Kurashev scored his fifth goal of the season (5-4—9 in 17 GP) and moved within one of teammate Pius Suter (6-4—10 in 18 GP) for the most among NHL rookies. Lankinen, who assisted on Kurashev’s goal, became the first Chicago goaltender in the League’s expansion era (since 1967-68) – and sixth overall – to record his first NHL shutout against Detroit.

Panthers forward Anthony Duclair and Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane wore skates honoring hockey pioneer Willie O’Ree. The skates will be worn by players around the League and auctioned off with proceeds going to the Black Girl Hockey Club, a non-profit dedicated to uniting Black women in the hockey community and making the game more welcoming and accessible.

MATTHEWS, BOESER CONTINUE GOAL-SCORING WAYS

Auston Matthews opened the scoring for the Maple Leafs with his League-leading 14th goal of 2020-21 (14-7—21 in 16 GP) and extended his official point streak to 11 games (12-4—16), the longest in the NHL this season. Matthews, who missed Toronto’s contest on Jan. 22, has at least one point in each of his last 14 games played (14-6—20) – that’s tied for the sixth-longest such run in franchise history.

Brock Boeser (1-2—3) led all players with three points, which included scoring his 12th goal of the season (12-9—21 in 20 GP), as the Canucks concluded their four straight games against the Flames with a 2-1-1 record. Boeser’s 12 goals in 2020-21 rank second in the NHL behind Matthews and are the most by a Vancouver player through 20 games played in a season since 2018-19, when teammate Elias Pettersson had 13 (13-8—21).

McDAVID ECLIPSES 500-POINT MILESTONE

Oilers captain Connor McDavid recorded two assists to surpass the 500-point milestone (171-330—501 in 369 GP). McDavid tied Sidney Crosby for fewest games to reach the 500-point milestone among active players – the two are also tied for the eighth-fewest in League history.

BRUINS, FLYERS PLAY FINAL GAMES BEFORE MEETING OUTDOORS AT LAKE TAHOE

Six of Thursday’s nine contests begin at 7 p.m. ET including Boston and Philadelphia playing for the last time before squaring off in Honda NHL Outdoors Sunday at Lake Tahoe (3 p.m. ET on NBC, SN1, SN, TVAS), the second of two outdoor games scheduled for this weekend.

The Bruins welcome the Devils to TD Garden for their third head-to-head meeting this season. Boston is 5-0-2 in its last seven games against New Jersey dating to March 2, 2019 (NJD: 2-4-1) – Brad Marchand leads all players with 13 points in those contests (4-9—13).

The Flyers host the Rangers at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia’s first game since earning a 7-4 win over Washington on Super Bowl Sunday. James van Riemsdyk (7-11—18 in 13 GP) leads the Flyers in scoring this season and carries a seven-game point streak into Thursday (4-9—13) – the longest of his NHL career is 10 games, achieved with the Maple Leafs from Dec. 29, 2016 to Jan. 21, 2017 (3-11—14).

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