NHL Review March 7 2020
CAPITALS TAKE LATEST SHOWDOWN WITH PENGUINS
Nicklas Backstrom (1-1—2) was one of four players with multiple points as the Capitals (41-20-7, 89 points) took the latest showdown with the Penguins. Washington, which maintained its position atop the Metropolitan Division, has combined for at least seven goals in each of its last four games with Pittsburgh.
The Capitals improved to 23-10-2 on the road and are tied with the Avalanche (23) for most wins as visitors this season. Additionally, Washington scored five or more goals in a road game for a League-leading 13th time this season – three more than the next closest clubs (CGY, FLA and TOR: all with 10).
HART, FLYERS CONTINUE WINNING WAYS
Claude Giroux (2-0—2) recorded his eighth 20-goal season, while Carter Hart (38 saves) improved to 20-2-2 at Wells Fargo Center as the Flyers (41-20-7, 89 points) kept pace with the Capitals (41-20-7, 89 points) – who also won Saturday – and extended the League’s longest active win streak to nine contests. Despite identical records and games played, Washington holds top spot in the Metropolitan Division due to regulation plus overtime wins (WSH: 37, PHI: 36).
Prior to the start of their nine-game run on Feb. 18, Philadelphia (32-20-7, 71 points) held a one-point advantage over Carolina (33-21-4, 70 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference and sat eight points behind Metropolitan Division-leading Washington (37-17-5, 79 points).
After he posted eight consecutive victories in his rookie campaign last season (8-0-0 from Jan. 14 – Feb. 9, 2019), Hart improved to 7-0-0 dating to Feb. 18 and became the first goaltender in NHL history to record multiple win streaks of seven-plus games at age 21 or younger.
Additionally, Hart, with wins in each of his last eight home games, collected his 20th home victory of 2019-20 in only his 24th appearance. He matched the franchise mark for the fewest contests to achieve the feat, joining Bernie Parent (24 GP in 1976-77) and Wayne Stephenson (24 GP in 1975-76).
PANTHERS COLLECT TWO POINTS ON LUONGO’S BANNER-RAISING NIGHT
On the night the Panthers raised Roberto Luongo’s No. 1 to the rafters of BB&T Center, Jonathan Huberdeau scored one of four Florida goals to help his team improve to 34-26-8 (76 points) and move within three points of idle Toronto (35-25-9, 79 points) for third in the Atlantic Division.
The Panthers, who became the seventh franchise to retire a player’s No. 1, are one of two clubs that Luongo holds the wins record for (VAN: 252 and FLA: 230).
PREDATORS SWEEP HOME-AND-HOME SET WITH STARS
Ryan Ellis scored the only goal of the contest and Juuse Saros (37 saves) registered his second shutout in as many games to help the Predators (34-26-8, 76 points) blank an opponent in both games of a home-and-home set for the first time in franchise history.
Nashville, which became the 11th team in the last 45 years to blank an opponent in a home-and-home set and first since Minnesota (Nov. 11-14, 2017 vs. PHI), moved past idle Winnipeg (35-28-6, 76 points) for the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference due to games played (NSH: 68 GP, WPG: 69 GP).
Ellis (8-29—37 in 48 GP), four points shy of matching his single-season career high, has collected a team-leading nine points (2-7—9 in 9 GP) since returning to the Predators lineup on Feb. 21. Additionally, he sits tied with Chicago’s Duncan Keith (1-8—9 in 8 GP) and Boston’s Torey Krug (1-8—9 in 8 GP) for the most among all defensemen over that span.
Saros (33-save shutout on March 5) joined Pekka Rinne (Oct. 24, 2019 and Oct. 29, 2019) as the second Predators goaltender to post consecutive shutouts this season. Nashville, which featured multiple goaltenders accomplish the feat in a single season for the first time in franchise history, became the first team to do so since St. Louis in 2015-16 (Jake Allen: 2 GP from Nov. 7-10, 2015 and Brian Elliott: 3 GP from March 19-25, 2016).
KOSKINEN SHINES AS OILERS MOVE INTO FIRST IN PACIFIC
Mikko Koskinen turned aside 46 shots, falling 59 seconds shy of a shutout, to backstop the Oilers (37-24-8, 82 points) to their fourth win in five contests. Edmonton overtook idle Vegas (37-24-8, 82 points) for top spot in the Pacific Division and have recorded 31 regulation wins to the Golden Knights’ 29.
After he originally turned aside 49 shots earlier this season on Oct. 16, 2019 (vs. PHI), Koskinen became the sixth goaltender in Oilers history to record multiple wins with at least 45 saves. Grant Fuhr recorded a franchise-best five such performances.
KUCHEROV CONTINUES TO FIND THE SCORE SHEET AS LIGHTNING EDGE BRUINS
Nikita Kucherov scored one of Tampa Bay’s five goals as the Lightning (43-20-5, 91 points) reached the 90-point mark for the seventh straight season and halted the Bruins’ win streak at four games.
Kucherov boosted his team-leading totals to 33-50—83 in 66 contests and has found the score sheet in all but three since Jan. 1 (20-22—42 in 29 GP). In fact, Kucherov became the NHL’s seventh player to record at least one point in 50-plus games this season. Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl paces the NHL with 56.
Meanwhile, David Pastrnak (48-46—94 in 69 GP) – one of seven players listed above – found the back of the net to retake the lead in the NHL’s Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy race from Washington’s Alex Ovechkin (47-18—65 in 67 GP).
Pastrnak stands two goals shy of becoming the sixth different player in Bruins history to score 50 goals in a season and first since Cam Neely (50-24—74 in 1993-94) did so 26 years ago. In fact, Pastrnak (23 years, 287 days) would also become the youngest Bruins skater to accomplish the feat.
HURRICANES WIN CRUCIAL HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH ISLANDERS
Vincent Trocheck scored his first goal with Carolina at 1:36 into overtime to lift the Hurricanes (36-25-5, 77 points) to within two points of the Islanders (35-23-9, 79 points) and Blue Jackets (32-22-15, 79 points), who hold the first and second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, respectively.
Andrei Svechnikov collected two assists, including one on Trocheck’s goal, to reach the 60-point mark in 2019-20 (24-36—60 in 66 GP). The 19-year-old forward has factored on a game-winning goal 21 times since making his NHL debut in 2018-19 – the third most by a teenager in NHL history, behind Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby (28) and Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine (23).
Predators’ Josi Fined for Cross-Checking
Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi has been fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for cross-checking Dallas Stars forward Corey Perry during NHL Game No. 1051 in Dallas on Saturday, March 7, 2020. The incident occurred at 15:13 of the second period. Josi was assessed a minor penalty for high-sticking. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
PREVIEW OF TODAY’S ACTION – NHL CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY WITH ALL-FEMALE BROADCASTS
Sunday’s schedule will be highlighted by national telecasts on NBCSN and Sportsnet featuring all-female broadcast and production teams in celebration of International Women’s Day.
Sportsnet will conclude its week-long campaign with a special Rogers Hometown Hockey broadcast featuring the Golden Knights (37-24-8, 82 points) and Flames (36-26-7, 79 points) – two of the top three teams in the Pacific Division – called by an all-female broadcast team: play-by-play announcer Leah Hextall, game analyst Cassie Campbell-Pascall and reporter Christine Simpson. The all-female production team will be live from Calgary, Toronto and Salmon Arm, B.C., and work alongside students from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.
NBCSN will air the first-ever U.S. telecast of an NHL game broadcast and produced solely by women, with Kate Scott calling the season finale between the Western Conference-leading Blues (40-18-10, 90 points) and Blackhawks (31-29-8, 70 points). Scott will be joined by analysts Kendall Coyne-Schofield and AJ Mleczko, along with studio coverage from Kathryn Tappen and Jen Botterill.