NHL Review March 29, 2021

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NHL Review March 29, 2021

OVECHKIN SCORES AGAIN AS CAPITALS HOLD OFF THIRD-PERIOD RANGERS RALLY

Alex Ovechkin scored his 18th goal of the season and T.J. Oshie (1-2—3) had a game-high three points as the MassMutual East Division-leading Capitals (23-7-4, 50 points) defeated the Rangers 5-4, who nearly rallied from a 4-0, third-period deficit.

Ovechkin (18-12—30 in 30 GP), who has 10 goals in his last nine games dating to March 11 (10-2—12) after scoring just eight through his first 21 this season (8-10—18), is now tied for fifth place in the 2020-21 Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy race. Auston Matthews (22-17—39 in 31 GP) and Connor McDavid (21-41—62 in 35 GP), who are set to go head-to-head again tonight, rank first and second, respectively.

The largest deficit in which Alex Ovechkin trailed the League leader in goals this season was 13 – entering play Feb. 21, Auston Matthews had 18 and Ovechkin had five.

DUCKS, PANTHERS RALLY FOR COME-FROM-BEHIND WINS

Anaheim and Florida both overcame deficits to earn a victory on Sunday:

The Ducks fell behind 2-0 but responded with three unanswered goals – bookended by tallies from defensemen Cam Fowler and Josh Manson – to follow-up their 4-1 win over the Blues on Friday with a 3-2 overtime victory. Anaheim earned its third multi-goal comeback win of the season – only the Panthers (5), Jets (5) and Coyotes (4) have more.

Jonathan Huberdeau (2-1—3) accounted for two of Florida’s four unanswered goals – which also included Anthony Duclair converting on a penalty shot attempt at 6:26 of the first period – as the Panthers rallied from a deficit to defeat the Stars for the second time in as many days. Florida (22-9-4, 48 points) occupies third place in the Discover Central Division standings.

ROOKIE ROBERTSON RECORDS 15TH POINT SINCE MARCH 1; SMITH KEEPS PACE

Stars forward Jason Robertson scored a goal and Devils defenseman Ty Smith recorded an assist on Sunday. Robertson (6-15—21 in 27 GP) ranks second among all rookies with 21 points this season, while Smith (2-17—19 in 33 GP) paces rookie blueliners with 19.

Robertson opened the scoring for Dallas and has recorded 15 points since March 1 (4-11—15 in 16 GP). He became the third Stars rookie with 15 or more points in a single month since the franchise began play in Texas, joining Jere Lehtinen in February 1996 (4-12—16 in 13 GP) and Jussi Jokinen in March 2006 (5-10—15 in 15 GP).

Smith supplied the primary assist on the game-winning goal by Kyle Palmieri and Mackenzie Blackwood recorded the second 40-save shutout of his NHL career as New Jersey blanked Boston at TD Garden. Smith posted his 17th assist of the season to move ahead of Kirill Kaprizov (11-16—27 in 32 GP) for sole possession of the most among all rookies.

PREVIEW OF TODAY’S ACTION

Fourteen teams are in action tonight, with Sharks veteran Patrick Marleau set to continue climbing the NHL’s all-time games played list and Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury needing one win to move into a tie for the fourth most in League history. Sidney Crosby, who has been a teammate of both Marleau and Fleury, can extend his point streak as the Penguins look to conclude their five-game homestand without a regulation loss.

Marleau is set to skate in the 1,757th regular-season game of his NHL career and move past Mark Messier (1,756 GP) for sole possession of second place on the League’s all-time list. Marleau would then need just 10 to tie Gordie Howe (1,767 GP) for the most in NHL history.

Fleury owns 483 career regular-season wins, one back of Ed Belfour (484) who occupies fourth place on the League’s all-time list. Fleury has backstopped the Honda West Division-leading Golden Knights (23-8-1, 47 points) to 17 of their 23 wins this season, which includes a 3-2 overtime victory over the second-place Avalanche on Saturday.

Crosby (3-7—10 in 5 GP) looks to extend his point streak as the Penguins conclude a five-game homestand in which they own a 3-0-1 record through the first four contests, including a 6-3 win over the Islanders in their last outing.

Rangers’ Adam Fox, Frontline Healthcare Hero Deena Trupkin Named NHL ‘First Stars’ of the Week Hurricanes’ Necas, Predators’ Saros Round Out ‘Three Stars’

New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox and Northwell Health – Long Island Jewish Medical Center RN Deena Trupkin have been named the NHL’s “First Stars” for the week ending March 28.

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.”

Trupkin, a Rangers fan since birth, is a registered nurse in maternal fetal medicine at Northwell Health – Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y. At the height of the pandemic, she was reassigned to work in labor and delivery. Her role became even more essential to many laboring women who could not have the in-person support of their partner or family due to the unknown threat of COVID-19 on newborns.

Trupkin’s fandom of the Rangers spans generations. Her grandfather had season tickets for more than 60 years and her daughter’s middle name is Madison, after Madison Square Garden. Trupkin is very proud to share this weekly honor with Fox, who hails from Long Island (Jericho, N.Y.).

Rounding out the “Three Stars” of the week are Carolina Hurricanes center Martin Necas and Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros. More on each NHL player’s performance can be found below:

FIRST STAR – ADAM FOX, D, NEW YORK RANGERS

Fox collected a League-leading 10 assists and 11 points in four games (1-10—11) to propel the Rangers (15-15-4, 34 points) to a 2-2-0 week. He recorded 1-2—3, his second career three-point outing (also Jan. 2, 2020 at CGY: 0-3—3), in a 5-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres March 22. Fox then notched a career-high five assists, the eighth such performance in Rangers history and first since since Feb. 15, 1999 (Wayne Gretzky: 0-5—5 at NSH), in a 8-3 triumph against the Philadelphia Flyers March 25. Fox added three more helpers over his next two contests, assisting on New York’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss to the Flyers March 27 and picking up two helpers in a 5-4 defeat against Washington Capitals March 28. The 23-year-old Jericho, N.Y., native – who finished fourth in Calder Memorial Trophy voting in 2019-20 (8-34—42 in 70 GP) – ranks third among defensemen with 3-26—29 through 33 appearances this season, highlighted by an active seven-game point streak dating to March 17 (1-13—14). Fox, who topped the NHL with seven power-play assists/points last week, also places among the overall leaders in both power-play assists (4th; 15) and power-play points (7th; 17) in 2020-21.

SECOND STAR – MARTIN NECAS, C, CAROLINA HURRICANES

Necas posted 4-3—7 in three games to lift the Hurricanes (23-7-3, 49 points) to a perfect week and into second place in the Discover NHL Central Division. He registered 2-1—3 over a pair of matchups against the Columbus Blue Jackets, scoring once in a 3-0 win March 22 and adding 1-1—2 – including the lone assist on Sebastian Aho’s overtime goal – in a 4-3 triumph March 25. Necas capped the week by factoring on all four of Carolina’s goals (2-2—4), including scoring the winner with 3:53 remaining in regulation, in a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning March 27. It stood as Necas’ second career four-point performance, matching his career high set Dec. 23, 2019 (2-2—4 at TOR). The 22-year-old Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic, native – who collected 16-20—36 during his first full NHL campaign in 2019-20 (64 GP) – ranks second on the Hurricanes with 9-19—28 through 30 outings this season.

THIRD STAR – JUUSE SAROS, G, NASHVILLE PREDATORS

Saros stopped 80 of the 82 shots he faced, compiling a 3-0-0 record, 0.67 goals-against average, .976 save percentage and one shutout to help the Predators (18-17-1, 37 points) win all four of their games. He earned his 12th career shutout with 31 saves in a 2-0 triumph over the Detroit Red Wings March 23. Saros then yielded one goal in each of his next two appearances, making 20 stops in a 7-1 victory against the Red Wings March 25 and denying 29 shots in a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks March 27. The 25-year-old Forssa, Finland, native has played in 18 total contests this season, posting a 9-6-0 record, 2.38 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and one shutout.

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