NHL Review May 1, 2021
HONDA WEST DIVISION STREAKS EXTENDED, SNAPPED ON FRIDAY
Colorado and Arizona each earned shutout wins in the first half of back-to-back sets to extend and snap lengthy streaks:
Mikko Rantanen (1-2—3) factored on all three goals and Philipp Grubauer made 21 saves as Colorado blanked San Jose to improve to 13-0-1 in its last 14 games at Ball Arena dating to March 10. The Avalanche’s 14-game home point streak matched the longest in the NHL this season, a mark set by the Islanders from Jan. 18 to March 11 (12-0-2).
Rantanen has found the score sheet in each of his last seven appearances (6-6—12), including multiple points in three straight (4-3—7). Grubauer recorded his sixth shutout of the season to move into a tie for the most in the NHL (w/ Semyon Varlamov) and improved to 12-0-1 in each of his last 13 appearances at Ball Arena (1.18 GAA, .952 SV%, 3 SO), extending his franchise record for longest home point streak by an Avalanche/Nordiques goaltender.
Michael Bunting scored one of his team’s three goals and Adin Hill turned aside all 25 shots he faced as the Coyotes blanked the Golden Knights and snapped their franchise-record win streak at 10 games, the longest by any team this season.
Bunting has netted a team-leading nine goals since making his season debut on March 31 (9-2—11 in 16 GP), including eight in April (8-1—9 in 15 GP). The only NHL rookie with more during the month was Kirill Kaprizov (11-3—14 in 15 GP).
THIRTY TEAMS IN ACTION ON 15-GAME SATURDAY
Thirty clubs are in action across Saturday’s 15 games, with pushes for the seven remaining berths in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs as well as the tightly-contested race for the Presidents’ Trophy taking center stage during the busiest day of the season.
The Islanders (30-15-5, 65 points) and Bruins (29-14-6, 64 points), who are looking to clinch the final two playoff berths in the MassMutual East Division, square off with the Rangers and Sabres, respectively. The Islanders and Bruins own a seven- and six-point edge over the fifth-place Rangers (26-19-6, 58 points).
The Oilers (29-17-2, 60 points) occupy second in the Scotia North Division and will look to open a five-point lead over the third-place Jets (27-20-3, 57 points) when they contest the final “Battle of Alberta” game slated for the 2020-21 regular season. Three postseason berths in the Scotia North Division are still up for grabs – fourth-ranked Montreal Canadiens (22-18-9, 53 points) rallied past Winnipeg on Friday to move six points ahead of Calgary (22-24-3, 47 points).
The Predators (27-22-2, 56 points) and Stars (21-17-12, 54 points), who are separated by just two points, are set to conclude their eight-game season series in a pivotal showdown at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville has occupied fourth in the Discover Central Division since March 28, while Dallas has moved from seventh to fifth place over that span.
The Blues (23-19-6, 52 points) will close out their three-game sojourn in Minnesota when they take on the postseason-bound Wild (31-14-4, 66 points) at Xcel Energy Center. St. Louis, which sat outside the playoff picture entering games on April 24, has earned four consecutive wins since then to leapfrog Arizona (22-24-5, 49 points) and open a three-point lead over them for fourth in the Honda West Division.
The Hurricanes (33-10-7, 73 points), Golden Knights (35-12-2, 72 points), Panthers (33-14-5, 71 points), Lightning (34-14-2, 70 points), Maple Leafs (32-13-5, 69 points), Capitals (32-13-5, 69 points) and Penguins (33-15-3, 69 points), who are separated by no more than four points atop the NHL standings, will look to gain ground in the tightly-contested 2020-21 Presidents’ Trophy race. Carolina, Vegas, Florida and Toronto can claim the award for the first time since it was introduced in 1985-86, while Washington (2009-10, 2015-16 & 2016-17), Tampa Bay (2018-19) and Pittsburgh (1992-93) have won the trophy at least once.
Stars’ Jason Robertson, Frontline Healthcare Hero Meghin Gomez Named NHL ‘Rookies of the Month’ for April
Dallas Stars left wing Jason Robertson and Hunt Regional Healthcare registered nurse Meghin Gomez have been named the NHL’s “Rookies of the Month” for April.
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.”
Gomez works as a nurse at Hunt Regional Healthcare in Greenville, Texas. A rookie herself, she graduated from nursing school in May 2020 and began working in July 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gomez always knew that she wanted to be a nurse, ever since she cared for and tragically lost a beloved cousin with cerebral palsy eight years ago. She had hoped that she would one day become his nurse, but now her inspiration is to serve the public in his memory.
Gomez had to learn the job in the most challenging of circumstances, when new precautions and procedures were put in place for her safety – and the safety of patients. “Each day I had to tell myself how hard I had worked to be where I was and to not give up,” she says. “No one understands the truth of COVID-19 until you’re face-to-face with it and the only thing separating you is an N-95 mask and a face shield.”
Robertson led rookies with 10 assists, 18 points and a +11 rating in 17 games (8-10—18) to edge Minnesota Wild left wing Kirill Kaprizov (11-3—14 in 15 GP), Ottawa Senators center Josh Norris (7-7—14 in 14 GP), New Jersey Devils center Yegor Sharangovich (7-7—14 in 16 GP) and New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (7-4-2, 2.59 GAA, .915 SV%, 2 SO) for “Rookie of the Month” honors.
Robertson found the scoresheet in 13 of his 17 appearances during the month, highlighted by a nine-game point streak from April 13-27 (4-9—13) – the longest by any NHL rookie since 2017-18 (Clayton Keller: 10 GP w/ ARI). It also marked the Stars’ longest point streak by a rookie since the team relocated to Dallas in 1993-94 and the fifth-longest such run in franchise history, behind only Jude Drouin (15 GP in 1970-71), Neal Broten (2x; 11 GP in 1981‑82) and Mike Modano (10 GP in 1989-90).
The 21-year-old Arcadia, Calif., native – who was selected with the 39th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft – has played in 45 total contests this season, ranking among the rookie leaders in assists (1st; 25), plus/minus (1st; 14), points per game (1st; 0.89), points (2nd; 40), shots on goal (2nd; 111) and goals (t-2nd; 15).