NHL Review March 30, 2021
NURSE SCORES IN OT, OVERTAKES GOAL LEAD AMONG DEFENSEMEN
After the Oilers tied the game in the third period, Darnell Nurse scored his 12th goal of the season 17 seconds into overtime to move past Jeff Petry (11 w/ MTL) and Aaron Ekblad (11 w/ FLA) for the most among all defensemen.
Nurse, who has scored each of his 12 goals this season at even strength, netted his third career overtime goal. Should Edmonton’s first-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft (No. 7) conclude the season atop the League in goals among defensemen, he would be just the second Oilers blueliner to achieve the feat (tied or outright). The other: Paul Coffey (4x; last: 1985-86).
Connor McDavid collected a primary assist on Nurse’s game-winning goal and extended his point streak to 11 games dating to March 6 (7-16—23) – tied for the second longest of his career (also 11 GP in 2019-20). He now sits three games shy of matching the lengthiest run of his career (14 GP in 2016-17).
ON THE SCORESHEET
- Mitch Marner put the Maple Leafs on the board at 7:59 of the first period and later recorded the primary assist on Auston Matthews’ first period goal. Marner has assists (3) and points (1-3-4) in three consecutive games. Tonight’s game is his 12th multi-point performance of 2020-21. He ranks fourth among NHLers in assists (31) and points (13-31-44). He is tied for seventh in the NHL in even-strength goals (13). He has 11 points (3-8-11) in nine games against Edmonton this season.
- Auston Matthews scored the second Toronto goal of the game at 11:08 of the first period. Matthews has goals (2) in two consecutive games and points (2-2-4) in three consecutive games. He leads the NHL in goals (23) and even-strength goals (15). In 19 games on home ice, he has registered 26 points (16 goals, 10 assists). He has five goals and one assist in six games against the Oilers.
- Zach Hyman recorded the primary assist on Marner’s first period goal. He has three points (1-2-3) over his last four games played. He has seven points (4-3-7) in nine games against the Oilers this season. He has 10 points (6-4-10) in 13 games during the month of March. He is tied for seventh among Maple Leafs in assists at 5-on-5 (8).
- Justin Holl collected the secondary assist on Marner’s first period goal and later had the secondary assist on Matthews’ first period goal. Holl has assists (3) in two consecutive games and points (1-3-4) in three consecutive games. Tonight’s game is his second multi-assist performance of the season and the third of his career. He has recorded nine of his 12 assists on home ice this season.
- Michael Hutchinson stopped 20 shots in the loss.
MATTHEWS, RANTANEN STAKE THEIR CLAIM IN “ROCKET” RACE
Auston Matthews (1-0—1) and Mikko Rantanen (1-0—1) each found the back of the net on Monday to continue their pursuit of their first career Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy.
Matthews concluded his season series against Connor McDavid with 5-1—6 in six games. The Toronto Maple Leafs forward (23-17—40 in 32 GP) has sat atop the NHL in goals for 54 of 76 days this season (outright or tied) – 40 more than the next closest skater (McDavid: 14).
Rantanen (20-20—40 in 34 GP) required the fewest games of his career to score 20 goals in a single season, besting his mark from 2018-19 (44 GP). Since the franchise relocated to Denver, only three different players required fewer games to reach the 20-goal mark than Rantanen: Nathan MacKinnon (30 GP in 2018-19; 32 GP in 2019-20), Joe Sakic (30 GP in 1995-96) and Gabriel Landeskog (33 GP in 2018-19).
MAKAR, GRUBAUER HELP AVALANCHE EXTEND POINT STREAK
Cale Makar (0-3—3) factored on three of Colorado’s five goals and Philipp Grubauer turned aside 13 shots as the Avalanche extended their point streak to 11 contests dating to March 10 (9-0-2). It sits one game shy of the longest by any team this season (NYI: 12 GP from Feb. 22 – March 14).
Makar (3-19—22 in 22 GP), averaging a point-per-game pace this season, registered his fifth career contest with at least three assists and required the fewest games by a defenseman in NHL history to record at least five such performances (79 GP). He achieved the feat in seven fewer contests than Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes (86 GP).
Grubauer, who sports an 11-2-1 mark since March 1 (1.45 GAA, .936 SV%, 3 SO), became the first goaltender in Avalanche/Nordiques history to earn 11 wins in a calendar month.
MARCH OF THE PENGUINS: PITTSBURGH CONCLUDES MONTH WITH 12 WINS
John Marino and Mike Matheson each collected 0-2—2 as the Penguins improved to 23-11-2 (48 points) and matched the Islanders (22-10-4, 48 points) in terms of standings points in the MassMutual East Division. Pittsburgh holds third place due to regulation wins (NYI: 18; PIT: 16).
Pittsburgh, which concluded its five-game homestand with a 4-0-1 mark, also wrapped up the month of March with a 12-3-1 record – currently tied with Colorado (11-2-3, 25 points) for the most points among all teams over that span.
FLYERS ERASE 3-0 THIRD-PERIOD DEFICIT TO WIN
Ivan Provorov (1-1—2) assisted on the game-tying goal with 1:29 remaining in regulation and scored 42 seconds into overtime as the Flyers erased a 3-0 deficit to win. Philadelphia became the fourth team to rally from a three-goal, third-period deficit en route to victory this season, joining Florida (March 11 at CBJ), Arizona (Feb. 24 vs. ANA) and Ottawa (Feb. 15 vs. TOR).
MARLEAU ETCHES ANOTHER CHAPTER IN PURSUIT OF NHL HISTORY
Patrick Marleau appeared in his 1,757th regular-season game and moved past Mark Messier (1,756 GP) for sole possession of second place on the NHL’s all-time list. Marleau is now within striking distance of Gordie Howe (1,767 GP) for the most in League history.
Of the 918 combined skaters and goaltenders who have played in one game this season, 154 (16.8%) had not yet been born when Marleau made his NHL debut on Oct. 1, 1997. The NHL’s current leader in goals, Auston Matthews, was born just 15 days prior and the League’s points leader, Connor McDavid, was eight months, 19 days at the time of Marleau’s first game.
Marleau, who owns the fourth-longest “Ironman” streak in NHL history (888 GP dating to April 9, 2009), has appeared in 98.3% of his team’s games (1,757 out of a possible 1,788 GP).
NHL’S TOP TWO TEAMS TAKE TO THE ICE TONIGHT
The top two teams in the NHL standings are set to take to the ice on Tuesday when the Lightning (24-8-2—50 points) and Capitals (23-7-4—50 points) clash with the Blue Jackets and Rangers, respectively.
The Lightning have won each of their last three home games, outscoring the opposition 13-6 over that span. Excluding shootout-deciding goals, Tampa Bay is averaging an NHL-best 4.13 goals for per game played at AMALIE Arena in 2020-21 and should the defending Stanley Cup champions continue that pace for the remainder of the season, it would mark the highest such average by a team on home ice since 1995-96 (Pittsburgh: 5.34, Detroit: 4.20 & Colorado: 4.17).
Alex Ovechkin’s climb up the 2020-21 Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy race has moved the Capitals captain within one of 200 since the start of 2016-17, the most by any player over that span. Over those five seasons, he has overtaken 27 players to climb from 33rd to 6th on the NHL’s all-time goals list.