NHL Review March 27, 2021

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NHL Review March 27, 2021

OVECHKIN POTS ANOTHER MULTI-GOAL GAME, PASSES HOWE ON ALL-TIME LIST

Alex Ovechkin (2-0—2) scored his third multi-goal game of the season and 148th of his career to move past Gordie Howe (147) for sole possession of fourth place on the NHL’s all-time list. The Capitals captain helped Washington (22-7-4, 48 points; 33 GP) earn its a 4-0 win and sixth straight win against the Devils and move past the NY Islanders (22-8-4, 48 points; 34 GP) for first place in the MassMutual East Division.

Ovechkin, who has found the back of the net in eight of his last 10 contests, has collected 10-2—12 (12 GP) since March 1 and trails only Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen (11-10—21 in 14 GP) for the most goals among all players over that span.

March 2021 marks the 26th calendar month in which Ovechkin has scored at least 10 goals and first since January 2020 (13). Only four players in NHL history have recorded more such performances: Wayne Gretzky (38), Mario Lemieux (32), Marcel Dionne (28) and Mike Bossy (28).

Ovechkin’s string of success in March also includes three game-winning goals in his past five contests (6-2—8 in 5 GP). Only one Capitals player has recorded more over a five-game span: Bengt-Ake Gustafsson (4 from Feb. 7-18, 1986).

CONNOR NETS 17TH GOAL OF 2020-21 IN JETS WIN

Kyle Connor (1-1—2) factored on two goals and Paul Stastny (1-1—2) scored the winner to help the Jets (21-11-2, 44 points) move into a tie with the Scotia North Division-leading Maple Leafs (21-10-2, 44 points) in terms of standing points.

Friday’s effort moved Connor into a tie with Max Pacioretty and Alex Ovechkin (all w/ 17) for sixth place in the 2020-21 Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy race.

Connor, with 5-3—8 in six games against the Flames this season, has now tallied at least five goals against two teams in 2020-21 (also 6-2—8 in 6 GP vs. MTL). Only one other player has accomplished the feat against multiple teams in a single season since the franchise relocated to Winnipeg: Patrik Laine in 2016-17 (8 in 5 GP vs. DAL; 5 in 2 GP vs. TOR).

KESSEL, COYOTES SHINE IN VICTORY VERSUS SHARKS

Phil Kessel scored one of five Coyotes goals as Arizona improved to 3-1-1 in its last five games. Kessel, who skated in his 1,100th career regular-season game, netted his 382nd goal – only three active players have recorded more at the time of their milestone contest: Alex Ovechkin (669), Eric Staal (397) and Patrick Marleau (383).

PREVIEW OF TODAY’S ACTION

Storylines are aplenty heading into Saturday’s 11-game slate with Patrick Marleau set to continue his pursuit of NHL history, the League’s goal-scoring leaders Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews going head-to-head in Toronto, Mika Zibanejad looking to follow-up a pair of six-point games versus Philadelphia as well as Dougie Hamilton and Philipp Grubauer putting their career-high streaks on the line.

MARLEAU SET TO TIE MESSIER FOR SECOND ON NHL’S ALL-TIME GAMES LIST

Sharks forward Patrick Marleau is set to skate in the 1,756th game of his NHL career and move into a tie with Mark Messier for second place on the League’s all-time list.

Marleau, who made his NHL debut on Oct. 1, 1997, had 7-3—10 in 13 career games against Messier (3-4—7). Four of their head-to-head matchups were during Marleau’s rookie season, when the Sharks and Canucks simultaneously competed in the Pacific Division – Vancouver realigned into the newly-formed Northwest Division the following year.

FIRST PLACE IN “ROCKET” RACE UP FOR GRABS AT SCOTIABANK ARENA

Oilers captain Connor McDavid (21-39—60 in 34 GP) and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (21-16—37 in 30 GP), who share the League lead in goals this season, are set to battle for sole possession of first place in the 2020-21 Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy race when they square off at Scotiabank Arena.

ZIBANEJAD, RANGERS SET FOR ANOTHER CLASH WITH FLYERS

Mika Zibanejad has recorded 3-3—6 in each of his last two games versus the Flyers and is set to guide the Rangers into a second straight head-to-head contest against the club at Wells Fargo Center. Zibanejad, who scored a natural hat trick in both outings, became the first player in NHL history with six or more points in consecutive games played versus one opponent.

Zibanejad has 7-8—15 in his last five games (3.00 P/GP), bookended by six-point performances against Philadelphia on March 17 and March 25 in which New York earned wins by a 9-0 and 8-3 margin, respectively. Zibanejad had 3-8—11 through 27 contests this season before his five-game run began (0.41 P/GP).

Zibanejad has recorded 14 of his 26 points this season versus the Flyers (6-8—14 in 5 GP). He needs one to tie the most by a Rangers player against Philadelphia in a single season, a mark set by Jaromir Jagr in 2005-06 (9-6—15 in 8 GP).

HAMILTON, GRUBAUER CAN EXTEND CAREER-HIGH STREAKS

Dougie Hamilton carries a 13-game point streak into Saturday (2-13—15) and can extend his run when the Hurricanes host the League-leading Lightning (24-7-2, 50 points) at PNC Arena. Hamilton can become the first player with a 14-game point streak in 2020-21 and can also match the longest by a Hurricanes player since the club began play in North Carolina, a mark set by teammate Sebastian Aho last season (12-9—21 in 14 GP).

Philipp Grubauer enters Saturday with an 8-0-0 record in his last eight appearances dating to March 10 (0.65 GAA, .971 SV%, 2 SO) and can extend his winning streak to nine games when the Avalanche play host to the Golden Knights at Ball Arena for the second time in as many games. Grubauer made 18 saves to backstop Colorado to a 5-1 win against Vegas on Thursday as the Avalanche (21-8-3, 45 points) extended their point streak to nine games (8-0-1) and tied the Golden Knights (22-8-1, 45 points) for the most points in the Honda West Division standings.

Coyotes’ Schmaltz Fined for Boarding

Arizona Coyotes forward Nick Schmaltz has been fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for boarding San Jose Sharks defenseman Radim Simek during NHL Game No. 528 in Arizona on Friday, March 26, 2021. The incident occurred at 10:40 of the third period. Schmaltz was assessed a minor penalty for boarding.

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