NHL Review March 5, 2021
EKBLAD MATCHES FRANCHISE MARK AS PANTHERS EDGE PREDATORS AGAIN
Aaron Ekblad (2-2—4) matched the Panthers record for points in any game by a defenseman as Florida edged Nashville 5-4 in the third one-goal game between the teams this season (FLA: 2-0-1; NSH: 1-2-0). Ekblad’s four points were the highest-single game total by a defenseman this season and helped him move into the NHL lead for goals among blueliners in 2020-21.
KREIDER SCORES SECOND HAT TRICK IN AS MANY ROAD GAMES
Chris Kreider scored his second hat trick in five games – each of which have come on the road – and Alexis Lafrenière (1-1—2) posted the first multi-point game of his NHL career as the Rangers opened a six-game road swing with a victory against the rival Devils.
Kreider, who leads the League with nine goals since Feb. 20, became the first Rangers player with multiple hat tricks in a span of five team games since 1988-89 when Tony Granato did so.
It was the first natural hat trick on the road by a Rangers player in more than 11 years (Marian Gaborik: Jan. 31, 2010 at COL). Overall, Kreider became the sixth Rangers player in the past 31 seasons with a natural hat trick in any game.
DUBE NETS FIRST NHL HAT TRICK IN LATEST TKACHUK BROTHERS DUEL
Dillon Dube scored his first career hat trick – with Matthew Tkachuk (0-3—3) notching the primary assist on each goal – as the Flames scored a season-high seven times.
The Flames went 2-2-0 through their four straight games against the Senators (2-2-0), with Matthew (1-4—5) outscoring his brother Brady Tkachuk (1-1—2) across the four contests.
SVECHNIKOV, STAAL BROTHERS BATTLE IN CAROLINA
Carolina’s Andrei Svechnikov (1-1—2) and Jordan Staal (1-2—3) each collected multiple points to outduel their brothers, Detroit’s Evgeny Svechnikov (0-1—1) and Marc Staal.
Thursday marked the first time that Andrei – selected by the Hurricanes with the second-overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft – and Evgeny – chosen 19th overall by the Red Wings in 2015 – competed against one another in an NHL game.
Jordan, who posted his 10th regular-season game with three or more points since joining the Hurricanes in 2012-13, improved to 22-20-6 in 48 career regular-season games against Marc.
FLYERS ERASE EARLY 3-0 DEFICIT TO DEFEAT RIVAL PENGUINS
After the Penguins scored three goals within the first four minutes of the game, Claude Giroux (2-1—3) factored on three of four unanswered goals to help the Flyers erase a three-goal deficit and improve to 3-1-0 against the Penguins this season (PIT: 1-3-0).
Philadelphia joined Washington (Jan. 28 vs. NYI), Boston (Feb. 1 at WSH), Arizona (Feb. 22 vs. ANA) and Edmonton (Feb. 23 at VAN) as the fifth team to win in regulation after trailing by three or more goals this season.
VASILEVSKIY, SOROKIN BACKSTOP STREAKING LIGHTNING, ISLANDERS
Andrei Vasilevskiy (35 saves) and Ilya Sorokin (16 saves) each had their shutout streak snapped on Thursday but still stifled their opponents, as both the Lightning (16-4-1, 33 points) and Islanders (13-6-4, 30 points) earned wins to extend their respective streaks.
After Vasilevskiy set a franchise record for longest shutout streak (228:09), the Lightning overcame a 2-0 deficit and scored in the final second of overtime to extend their win streak to six games. Vasilevskiy, who earned his first career playoff win in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final against Chicago (1-1 in 2 GP), improved to 7-0-0 in seven career regular-season games against the club.
The Islanders extended their home point streak to 10 games (8-0-2) and earned their seventh straight win against Buffalo (7-0-0 dating to March 30, 2019). After posting back-to-back perfect performances in each of his first two wins, Sorokin’s shutout streak ended at 143:08, the third-longest stretch by a rookie in franchise history.
ENTIRE HONDA WEST DIVISION IN ACTION ON FRIDAY
Each team in the Honda West Division will hit the ice tonight and open a two-game set against the same opponent, including the Wild (12-7-1, 25 points) and Coyotes (10-9-3, 23 points) meeting for the first time this season and the top two teams in the division putting their win streaks on the line (VGK: 4-0-0 and STL: 3-0-0).
The Golden Knights will face the Sharks for just the second time this season as they look to extend their four-game win streak. Marc-Andre Fleury has played in each of the Golden Knights’ last four games and should he play and record a fifth consecutive win tonight it would mark his second five-game win streak of the season. He would match Andrei Vasilevskiy and Kaapo Kahkonen for the League’s longest active win streak this season (the only other runs of at least five straight wins by a goaltender in 2020-21).
The Blues will put their three-game win streak on the line as they enter their fourth consecutive game on the road. With a win tonight, the Blues (9-2-0) would require the fewest games in franchise history to reach 10 road wins (currently 15 GP on three occasions). Blues forward Zach Sanford (4-2—6 in 3 GP) enters with a three-game goal streak, tied with Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog (3-3—6 in 3 GP) for the longest active run in the NHL.
Cam Fowler, who enters tonight’s contest on a five-game assist streak (1-6—7 in 5 GP), can become the first Ducks defenseman to record an assist streak of six or more games since Scott Niedermayer (8 GP) and Chris Pronger (6 GP) both did so in 2006-07.
Sharks’ Blichfeld Suspended Two Games for Illegal Check to the Head
San Jose Sharks forward Joachim Blichfeld has been suspended for two games, without pay, for an illegal check to the head of Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon during NHL Game No. 363 in San Jose on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The incident occurred at 8:04 of the third period. Blichfeld received a match penalty for illegal check to the head.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Blichfeld will forfeit $12,701.14. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Click on video for a full explanation of the decision.
Hurricanes’ Pesce Fined for Dangerous Trip
Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce has been fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for a dangerous trip against Detroit Red Wings forward Robby Fabbri during NHL Game No. 365 in Carolina. The incident occurred at 5:28 of the second period. Pesce was assessed a minor penalty for tripping. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.