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NHL Morning Skate – April 14, 2024

* The Eastern Conference’s final Wild Card spot was occupied by three teams in a span of 49 minutes Saturday, with the Penguins holding the position entering play before it was taken by the Flyers (7:30 p.m. ET) and Capitals (8:19 p.m. ET).

* The 13-game slate resulted in just one First Round matchup getting confirmed and one division title being clinched, meaning seven opening-round series, two playoff berths and the Presidents’ Trophy winner will be determined over the final five days of the regular season.

* The NHL, TNT Sports and Warner Bros. Games are joining forces to bring viewers a clash of excellence in hockey and real-time animation for the first-ever MultiVersus NHL Face-Off – a simulcast of the Avalanche-Golden Knights game Sunday – exclusively on truTV and Max’s B/R Sports Add-on.

EASTERN CONFERENCE’S WILD CARD 2 SPOT CHANGES HANDS THREE TIMES SATURDAY
The Flyers (38-32-11, 87 points) foiled the Devils to grab the Eastern Conference’s final Wild Card spot from the Penguins (37-31-12, 86 points), but then the Capitals (38-31-11, 87 points) clipped the Lightning to overtake Philadelphia by virtue of holding a game in hand:

John Carlson scored his 150th career goal and surpassed Kevin Hatcher (149) for sole possession of the most by a Capitals defenseman. He also became just the 12th U.S.-born blueliner in NHL history to reach the milestone.

* Travis Konecny scored the Flyers 16th shorthanded goal of 2023-24 – by far the most among all teams (next closest: DAL w/ 12) – and Samuel Ersson made 20 saves for his fourth shutout of the season. Ersson became the fifth Flyers rookie goaltender to record four-plus shutouts in a campaign, joining Tommy Soderstrom (5 in 1992-93), Brian Boucher (4 in 1999-00), Bob Froese (4 in 1982-83) and Doug Favell (4 in 1967-68).

* After Auston Matthews scored his 69th goal of the season to help the Maple Leafs mount a three-goal comeback, Dylan Larkin netted the ninth overtime tally of his career to tie franchise legends Brendan Shanahan and Steve Yzerman for second most in club history. The Red Wings (39-32-9, 87 points) matched the Capitals for points and kept their playoff hopes alive by avoiding a regulation loss.
 



JETS SKATE TO HIGH-SCORING SHUTOUT WIN VERSUS AVALANCHE IN PLAYOFF PREVIEW
Sean Monahan (2-1—3) and Adam Lowry (2-0—2) accounted for four of the Jets’ seven unanswered goals and Connor Hellebuyck turned aside all 30 shots he faced as Winnipeg (50-24-6, 106 points), which occupies second place in the Central Division, moved two points ahead of third-ranked Colorado (49-25-6, 104 points). The Jets (194 GA, 2 GR) and Panthers (198 GA, 1 GR) are the only teams to allow fewer than 200 goals against this season and Hellebuyck could win the first William M. Jennings Trophy in franchise history.

* Dallas’ win confirmed that Winnipeg will clash with Colorado in the First Round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Avalanche/Nordiques franchise holds an all-time series record of 15-10 (.600 W%) in their first-ever Stanley Cup Playoffs matchup with an opponent, while the Jets/Thrashers are 3-6 (.333 W%).



PRESIDENTS’ TROPHY RACE DOWN TO RANGERS, HURRICANES, STARS AND BRUINS
Four teams remain in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy after the NHL’s top seven clubs were separated by just one point through March 25:


Artemi Panarin (1-0—1) and Vincent Trocheck (0-1—1) connected on the game-tying goal with less than five minutes left in the third period and both scored in the shootout to propel the League-leading Rangers (54-23-4, 112 points) to victory. New York established a franchise record for most wins in a season (54) and most comeback wins in a campaign (28), surpassing 2021-22 (27). The Rangers also lead the NHL for comeback wins in 2023-24.

Jason Robertson scored the game-winning goal to help the Stars (51-21-9, 111 points) clinch the Central Division title for the first time since 2015-16 after holding top spot in the division for 76 days. Robertson improved his season totals to 29-51—80 (81 GP) and became the third Stars player to record consecutive 80-point seasons, joining Jamie Benn (2 from 2014-15 to 2015-16) and Mike Modano (multiple times) since the club began play in Texas.

David Pastrnak picked up two assists and Brad Marchand scored his 36th career shorthanded goal to climb a League all-time list as the Bruins (47-18-15, 109 points) defeated the Penguins and maintained their place atop the Atlantic Division standings. Pastrnak recorded his 208th career multi-point game and surpassed Wayne Cashman (207 GP) for sole possession of eighth place on the franchise’s all-time list.



#NHLSTATS: LIVE UPDATES FEATURED WINS BY PLAYOFF-BOUND PANTHERS, CANUCKS
The final Saturday edition of #NHLStats: Live Updates for the 2023-24 regular season featured a number of notable performances from all 26 teams in action, including the Panthers (51-24-6, 108 points) and Canucks (49-22-9, 107 points):

Sam Reinhart scored the overtime winner against his former team as the Panthers clinched home-ice advantage for their First Round series and remained in the hunt for the Atlantic Division title. Reinhart (55-37—92 in 81 GP) enters Florida’s finale Tuesday trailing only Pavel Bure (59 in 2000-01 & 58 in 1999-00) on the franchise’s all-time list for most goals in a campaign, while Reinhart’s 10 game winners are the second highest single-season total in club history behind Bure (14 in 1999-00).

J.T. Miller (3-10—13 in 10 GP) extended his point streak to 10 games as Vancouver, which occupies first place in the Pacific Division, moved five points ahead of second-ranked Edmonton (48-25-6, 102 points). The Canucks can clinch first place in the Western Conference if they close out the regular season by defeating the Flames (April 16) and Jets (April 18) AND the Stars lose to the Blues (April 17) in any fashion.




QUICK CLICKS

Penguins celebrate Erik Karlsson’s 1,000th NHL game
Noah Hanifin excited for next phase of career with Golden Knights
Wayne Simmonds drops puck, reads lineup before Flyers game
Christian McCaffrey supports buddy Jack Eichel at Golden Knights game

Denver University defeats Boston College to win national championship


COLORADO, VEGAS TEAM UP WITH BUGS BUNNY, SUPERMAN ON SUNDAY

The last two Stanley Cup champions, the Avalanche (2022) and Golden Knights (2023), will close out an NHL on TNT doubleheader Sunday that opens with the Blues hosting the Kraken. Also Sunday is the final home game of Connor Bedard’s rookie season. With 60 points to date, Bedard has a shot at becoming the eighth player in NHL history with 65-plus points in a season as an 18-year-old – a feat only one active player has accomplished (Sidney Crosby: 39-63—102 in 2005-06; 81 GP).

* The traditional broadcast of the Avalanche-Golden Knights game will be on TNT and Max, while truTV and Max’s B/R Sports Add-on will carry a special collaboration between TNT Sports, Warner Bros. Games and the NHL as they join forces to bring viewers a clash of excellence in hockey and real-time animation for the first-ever MultiVersus NHL Face-Off.

* Legendary and beloved Warner Bros. Discovery characters appearing in the highly anticipated MultiVersus video game will skate alongside avatars of the NHL’s biggest stars, with Bugs BunnyWonder WomanShaggy and Batman joining Jack Eichel and Jonathan Marchessault on the Golden Knights, while SupermanVelmaSteven Universe and Finn the Human skate alongside Nathan MacKinnonCale Makar and the Avalanche. The Tasmanian Devil will officiate and drop the puck on the game.

* The animated presentation will use the League’s innovative NHL EDGE tracking technology to recreate the action on the ice as it happens in real-time. The ice rink for the alternate telecast will be dynamic and incorporate rotating elements based on environments from the MultiVersus game.

World Elite Syndicate

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