NHL Review March 6, 2021
GOLDEN KNIGHTS RECORD FRANCHISE’S BEST 20-GAME START TO SEASON
After Vegas surrendered a 4-2 lead in regulation, Max Pacioretty (2-1—3) scored his League-leading third overtime goal of the season for the 5-4 OT win as the Golden Knights (15-4-1, 31 points) became the first team in the Honda West Division to reach the 30-point mark.
Vegas required the fewest games in franchise history (20 GP) to collect its 30th point of a campaign, eclipsing the previous mark set during their inaugural season in 2017-18 (22 GP).
The Golden Knights improved to 10-1-3 in 14 all-time regular-season meetings against the Sharks (14 GP). San Jose is the third team in which Vegas has collected at least 10 regular-season victories against. The others: Anaheim (14) and Arizona (11).
KAHKONEN SETS FRANCHISE RECORD WITH SIXTH STRAIGHT WIN
Mats Zuccarello (1-1—2) and Kirill Kaprizov (0-2—2) each posted multi-point games while Kaapo Kahkonen strung together a 24-save performance to establish a Wild franchise record for longest win streak by a rookie goaltender.
Kahkonen, with a 1.65 goals-against average and .938 save percentage over his six-game win streak dating to Feb. 18, achieved the feat after four other rookie netminders posted a run of at least that length in 2019-20: Elvis Merzlikins (8 GP w/ CBJ), Igor Shesterkin (7 GP w/ NYR), Ilya Samsonov (7 GP w/ WSH) and Mackenzie Blackwood (6 GP w/ NJD).
Zuccarello’s two points boosted his 2020-21 totals to 4-9—13 (10 GP). Just two players in Wild history have collected more points through their first 10 games of any season: Mikko Koivu (2-12—14 in 2008-09) and Marian Gaborik (6-8—14 in 2002-03).
Kaprizov leads all rookies with 6-13—19 this season thanks in part to five multi-point games. Only three Wild rookies have had more in a single season: Kurtis Foster (7 in 2005-06), Ryan Donato (6 in 2018-19) and Marian Gaborik (6 in 2000-01).
DEBRINCAT SURPASSES 100 CAREER GOAL MILESTONE
Alex DeBrincat scored his 100th and 101st career regular-season goals and Malcolm Subban made 39 saves after the teams traded odd-man rushes in overtime as Chicago erased 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to stunt Tampa Bay’s six-game win streak.
DeBrincat (101-100—201 in 255 GP) scored his 100th career regular-season goal just five days after teammate Patrick Kane – who assisted on DeBrincat’s milestone goal – recorded his 400th. The Farmington Hills, Mich., native hit the 100-goal mark in exactly 50 games fewer than his teammate and fellow countryman (Kane: 305 GP).
Additionally, DeBrincat required the fifth-fewest games among active U.S.-born players to reach the milestone, behind Auston Matthews (187 GP), Bobby Ryan (230 GP), Kyle Connor (245 GP) and Jake Guentzel (249 GP).
DeBrincat and Kane have both recorded a point on the same goal 22 times this season, three more than the next closest duos: Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid (19) and Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele (19).
BLUES, AVALANCHE RALLY FOR ROAD WINS
The Blues and Avalanche both rallied to earn road wins on Friday:
Trailing 2-1 late in the third period, David Perron scored his second goal of the contest to tie the game with 44 seconds remaining in regulation and set the stage for Mike Hoffman’s overtime winner. St Louis extended its win streak to four games – with all four victories coming on the road.
Valeri Nichushkin scored twice, including the overtime winner, as the Avalanche (13-7-1, 27 points) won a game in which they trailed by two goals for the first time this season and accomplished the feat against the Ducks for the fifth time in franchise history. Winnipeg leads all teams with five multi-goal comeback wins in 2020-21.
MARCHAND, BERGERON, PASTRNAK LEAD BRUINS TO VICTORY
Brad Marchand (2-1—3), Patrice Bergeron (1-1—2) and David Pastrnak (0-1—1) combined for 3-3—6 on Friday to propel the Bruins over the Capitals with a five-goal outing. Boston’s ‘Perfection Line’ boosted their combined totals over the last five years to 437-566—1,003 and are just one of two trios over that span to collect at least 1,000 combined points.
BACKSTROM RECORDS 700TH CAREER ASSIST
Nicklas Backstrom (253-700-953 in 979 GP) recorded his 700th career regular-season assist on Friday. The Capitals veteran, the fifth Swedish-born player in NHL history to reach the milestone, became the third active player with 700 career regular-season helpers behind Joe Thornton (1,097) and Sidney Crosby (813).
FIRST SATURDAY OF MARCH TO FEATURE A DOZEN GAMES
A trio of 1 p.m. ET start times in the MassMutual East Division open a 12-game Saturday that includes the fourth rendition of the ‘Battle of Alberta’ and four rematches from Friday.
SIX TEAMS SET TO TAKE TO THE ICE ON HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
Hockey Night in Canada is set to feature a three-game slate when the Montreal Canadiens (10-6-6, 26 points) host the Jets (15-7-1, 31 points), Toronto Maple Leafs (18-5-2, 38 points) square off against the Canucks (10-15-2, 22 points), as well as the latest rendition of the ‘Battle of Alberta’ between the Oilers (14-11-0, 28 points) and Flames (11-11-2, 24 points).
Pierre-Luc Dubois helped Winnipeg edge Montreal in overtime on Thursday, pushing the Jets’ win streak over the Canadiens to four games dating to Jan. 6, 2020. Only two teams hold a longer active win streak against Montreal – San Jose (9-0-0) and Nashville (5-0-0).
Jake Virtanen netted his second career multi-goal game on Thursday as the Canucks halted the Maple Leafs road win streak and road point streak. Vancouver enters Saturday’s contest looking to extend its recent string of success against Toronto on home ice. The Canucks are 11-2-0 in their last 13 home games against the Maple Leafs dating to the start of the 2005-06 season (TOR: 2-9-2).
The Oilers hold a 2-1-0 edge over the Flames (1-2-0) through their first three meetings in 2020-21. Despite being held off the score sheet in Edmonton’s three-game set with Toronto, Connor McDavid (14-26—40) still leads the League in scoring. The Oilers captain, with three 100-point campaigns, two Art Ross Trophies and one Hart Memorial Trophy on his resume, has never gone four consecutive games without a point in his career.
HOCKEY WORLD MOURNS THE PASSING OF WALTER GRETZKY
Walter Gretzky, the beloved father of NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, passed away Thursday at the age of 82. Commonly regarded as the most famous father in hockey, Mr. Gretzky will be remembered for the tremendous impact he had on the League. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettmen had this to say.