NHL Review March 28, 2021

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NHL Review March 28, 2021


After Connor McDavid (0-2—2) helped Edmonton build a 3-1 lead through 40 minutes, Auston Matthews (1-1—2) scored 54 seconds into overtime to cap the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 multi-goal, third-period comeback and retake sole possession of first place in the 2020-21 Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy race from the Oilers captain.

Matthews scored his NHL-best eighth game-winning goal of the season and 31st of his career. The only player with more since Matthews entered the League in 2016-17 is McDavid (34).

McDavid’s multi-point outing extended his point streak to 10 games (7-15—22) – his second double-digit run this season – and improved his League-leading totals to 21-41—62 (35 GP). He required the fewest games by an Oilers player to reach the 40-assist mark in a single season since Mark Messier in 1990-91 (34 GP).

McDavid also became just the sixth active player to collect 40 assists in a season in 35 games or fewer. He joined Sidney Crosby (34 GP in 2006-07 & 35 GP in 2012-13), Mikko Rantanen (32 GP in 2018-19), Evgeni Malkin (32 GP in 2008-09), Blake Wheeler (35 GP in 2018-19) and Jason Spezza (35 GP in 2005-06).


  • Pierre Engvall opened the scoring for the Maple Leafs with a goal at 4:14 of the second period. He has a goal and two assists in three games against the Oilers this season. In eight career games against Edmonton, he has recorded seven points (2-5-7), which is his highest point total against a single opponent.
  • John Tavares scored the second Toronto goal of the game at 12:21 of the third period. Tavares has four points (2-2-4) over his last five games. He has nine points (3-6-9) in eight games against the Oilers this season.
  • William Nylander picked up the secondary assist on Tavares’ third period goal and later scored the Maple Leafs’ third goal of the night at 16:38 of the third period. Tonight’s game is his seventh multi-point game of the season. He has 10 points (6-4-10) in eight games against the Oilers this season.
  • Auston Matthews registered the primary assist on Engvall’s second period goal and later scored the overtime winning goal at 0:54 of the extra frame. Matthews has assists (2) in two consecutive games. Tonight’s game is his 11th multi-point game of the season. He has recorded 25 points (15 goals, 10 assists) in 18 games on home ice this season. He has four goals and one assist in five games against Edmonton this season.
  • Mitch Marner had the secondary assist on Engvall’s second period goal. Marner has assists (2) in two consecutive games. He has recorded nine points (2-7-9) in eight games against the Oilers this season. In 19 games on home ice, he has recorded 24 points (8-16-24).
  • Alex Galchenyuk registered the primary assist on Tavares’ third period goal and later had the secondary assist on Nylander’s third period goal. Tonight’s game is Galchenyuk’s first multi-assist and first multi-point game of the season. He has three assists in four games with the Maple Leafs this season.
  • Justin Holl recorded the primary assist on Nylander’s third period goal. Holl has points (1-1-2) in two consecutive games. He has recorded seven of his 10 assists on home ice this season. With an assist in tonight’s game he has recorded at least one point against every North Division opponent this season.
  • Morgan Rielly registered the lone assist on Matthews’ overtime winning goal. Rielly has three assists over his last five games played. He has a goal and eight assists in 12 game during the month of March. In 19 home games this season, he has recorded a pair of goals and 11 assists.
  • Jack Campbell stopped 17 shots to earn his sixth win of the season.


Sidney Crosby (1-1—2) recorded his third consecutive multi-point game and Bryan Rust (3-0—3) scored his fourth career hat trick as the Penguins (22-11-2, 46 points) moved within two points of the Capitals (22-7-4, 48 points) for first place in the MassMutual East Division.

Crosby improved his career point totals against the Islanders to 39-82—121 in 74 regular-season games – his highest against any franchise. He eclipsed Hockey Hall of Fame member Mark Recchi for the third-most points versus the Islanders by one player in NHL history.


In a back-and-forth affair that saw Vegas erase 1-0 and 2-1 deficits, Max Pacioretty (1-1—2) scored his NHL-leading fourth overtime goal of the season as the Golden Knights (23-8-1, 47 points) edged the Avalanche (21-8-4, 46 points) in a battle between the top two clubs in the Honda West Division.

The Golden Knights, whose eight comeback wins trail only the Blues (12) for the most in the division, rallied from a deficit to defeat the Avalanche for just the second time. They first did so on Dec. 27, 2018.

Pacioretty’s 16 career overtime goals trail only Alex Ovechkin (24) and Sidney Crosby (18) for the most among active players.


Sharks forward Patrick Marleau skated the 1,756th game of his NHL career and tied Mark Messier (1,756 GP) for second place on the League’s all-time list. Marleau now needs 12 to pass Gordie Howe (1,767 GP) for the most in NHL history.


In a showdown between the top two teams in the Discover Central Division, Dougie Hamilton assisted on the game winner and Martin Necas (2-2—4) factored on all four Hurricanes goals as Carolina (23-7-3, 49 points) moved within one point of Tampa Bay (24-8-2, 50 points) for first place in the NHL’s overall standings.

Hamilton extended his point streak to 14 games (2-14—16) and eclipsed Auston Matthews (16-8—24 in 13 GP) for the longest run by any player this season.

Should Hamilton’s point streak stand as the longest by any player this season, 2020-21 would mark the eighth campaign in NHL history in which a defenseman recorded the season’s longest point streak (outright or tied).

Since he entered the League in 2012-13, Hamilton has factored on 58 game-winning goals (21-37—58). Only three defensemen have factored on more over that span: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (29-53—82), Brent Burns (25-47—72) and John Carlson (22-41—63).


Juuse Saros turned aside 29 shots as the Predators earned their fourth straight win, with three of those coming since captain Roman Josi returned to the lineup. Saturday’s contest marked the seventh straight decision in which Saros surrendered one goal or fewer.

Carter Verhaeghe (3-1—4) scored his second career hat trick and collected a career-high four points as the Panthers improved to 21-9-4 (46 points) in 2020-21. Verhaeghe became the third player in franchise history to score a hat trick that included an even-strength, power-play and shorthanded goal. The others: Colton Sceviour (Oct 30, 2016 at DET) and Nathan Horton (Dec 14, 2009 at NYI).

Boston erased two separate deficits and 23-year-old Dan Vladar made 25 saves to earn his second NHL win in as many appearances. Among goaltenders to debut with the Bruins, Vladar became the ninth to win each of his first two appearances with the franchise.

Phil Kessel (385-502—887 in 1,101 GP) scored his seventh career hat trick and surpassed Joe Pavelski (384) for sole possession of 11th place on the NHL’s all-time goals list among U.S.-born players. Arizona (16-14-5, 37 points) moved into a tie with St. Louis (16-13-5, 37 points), in terms of standings points, for fourth in the Honda West Division.


Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals are set to compete in the first of six games on Sunday’s slate, with a tripleheader on NBCSN set to follow later in the afternoon.

Ovechkin’s scoring pace has benefited from the turn of the calendar month, tallying 9-2—11 through his past eight games after accumulating just 8-10—18 through his first 21 contests of the season. The Capitals captain now sits five goals shy of Auston Matthews for the lead in the NHL’s 2020-21 Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy race.

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