NHL Review February 21, 2021
MacKINNON LEADS AVALANCHE TO VICTORY AT LAKE TAHOE
Nathan MacKinnon (1-2—3) matched the all-time mark for most points in an NHL outdoor game to lift the Avalanche to 3-2 victory at Bridgestone NHL Outdoors Saturday from the Edgewood Tahoe Resort in Stateline, Nev. – a game that concluded more than 10 hours after the opening puck drop because of a delay due to challenging ice conditions resulting from extreme sun.
MacKinnon boosted his career point total in NHL outdoor games to 2-3—5 in three appearances, trailing only Henrik Zetterberg (0-7—7 in 4 GP) and Jonathan Toews (2-5—7 in 6 GP) for the most all-time.
Additionally, MacKinnon notched his second career NHL outdoor game with multiple points after also doing so in the 2016 Stadium Series (1-1—2). Only two other players have as many multi-point outings in games contested outdoors.
OUTDOOR GAME QUICK HITS
Samuel Girard, who was skating in his first game since Feb. 2, scored Colorado’s first goal of the contest after also scoring the Avalanche’s only goal in the 2020 NHL Stadium Series. Teams that score first in an NHL outdoor game improved to 17-9-5, including a 12-3-3 mark in the last 18 such contests.
Colorado improved its all-time home record against Vegas to 4-0-0 (VGK: 0-3-1).
Nathan MacKinnon participated in the One Million Dollar Hole-in-One Challenge presented by Bridgestone for charity. While he didn’t get the ace, the NHL will donate $25,000 to Colorado Avalanche’s Mile High Mites Learn to Play.
After sharing his story of growing up playing on an outdoor rink in Baldwinsville, N.Y. with NHL.com, Alex Tuch scored a highlight-reel, spinning goal in his first career NHL outdoor game.
FLYERS, BRUINS CLOSE WEEKEND IN LAKE TAHOE WITH OUTDOOR REMATCH
The Flyers and Bruins, the top two teams in the MassMutual East Division standings, will take their turn at Edgewood Tahoe Resort in Stateline, Nev., when they face off at Honda NHL Outdoors Sunday. It will be an outdoor rematch 11 years in the making, after Boston rallied late in the third period at Fenway Park to defeat Philadelphia 2-1 at the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
The Flyers and Bruins will become the third set of teams to have an outdoor NHL game rematch (also PHI-PIT and DET-TOR). Five players who appeared in the first outdoor meeting between the clubs in 2010 are with the same team in 2021: Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk with the Flyers and Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Tuukka Rask with Boston. In 2010, Krejci set up the tying goal with 2:18 remaining in regulation while Bergeron earned the primary assist on Marco Sturm’s overtime winner.
van Riemsdyk, who leads Philadelphia with 7-11—18 in 14 GP this season, is expected to skate in his seventh career outdoor NHL game and fourth with the Flyers. He is currently tied with the Blackhawks’ quartet of Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook for the most career outdoor NHL games played (6).
McDAVID SCORES NATURAL HAT TRICK IN ANOTHER FIVE-POINT SHOWING
League scoring leader Connor McDavid (12-25—37 in 20 GP) had 3-2—5 to record his second five-point game of the season (also Jan. 31 vs. OTT), which included scoring a natural hat trick, as the Oilers defeated the Flames for the second time in as many days.
McDavid scored the second natural hat trick of his NHL career – both have been against Calgary (also Oct. 4, 2017). Only two players in League history have recorded more against one franchise (regular season or playoffs): Cy Denneny (5) and Joe Malone (3) versus the Toronto Arenas/Toronto St. Patricks.
McDavid is one of 10 players with multiple hat tricks in ‘Battle of Alberta’ games (regular season or playoffs) – the list is topped by Lanny McDonald with three (Dec. 20, 1981, Oct. 12, 1982 & Dec. 26, 1982). McDavid is the only player in the history of the rivalry with multiple natural hat tricks.
MATTHEWS OPENS SCORING IN 300TH CAREER GAME TO EXTEND STREAKS
League goals leader Auston Matthews (18-11—29 in 18 GP) had 2-2—4 in the 300th regular-season game of his NHL career, which included opening the scoring for a fourth straight contest, as the Maple Leafs became the first team to reach 30 points this season (14-3-2, 30 points).
Matthews became the 12th player in NHL history to open the scoring in four consecutive team games (regular season or playoffs), a cohort which features three other Toronto Maple Leafs players in Babe Dye (Feb. 18-28, 1925), Sid Smith (Dec. 11-18, 1954) and George Armstrong (March 18-24, 1956). Matthews can become the first player in League history to extend the run to five when the Maple Leafs host the Flames Monday (7 p.m. ET on TVAS, SNW, TSN4).
Matthews, who missed Toronto’s contest on Jan. 22, has recorded at least one point in 16 consecutive games played (18-10—28), which includes an official point streak of 13 games (16-8—24). His run also includes consecutive 2-2—4 outings (also Feb. 18 vs. OTT) – Matthews became the first Maple Leafs player to record four or more points in two straight games since Peter Ihnacak over 34 years ago (Feb. 2-4, 1987).
Matthews’ 176 career goals are the third-most by a player through 300 games with the franchise (176-138—314). Only Charlie Conacher had more among players to skate each of their first 300 career NHL games all with Toronto.
CROSBY REACHES 1,000-GAME MILESTONE
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby played in the 1,000th regular-season game of his NHL career. Crosby, who was honored in a pre-game ceremony at PPG Paints Arena, assisted on both goals by longtime teammate and fellow three-time Stanley Cup champion Kris Letang to help Pittsburgh pick up its second straight win (both against NY Islanders).
Kings’ Strand Fined for Cross-Checking
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Austin Strand has been fined $3,168.10, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for cross-checking Arizona Coyotes forward Conor Garland during NHL Game No. 288 in Arizona on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. The incident occurred at 19:52 of the second period. Strand was assessed a minor penalty for cross-checking. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.