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NHL Morning Skate – April 2, 2024

MATTHEWS SETS MAPLE LEAFS RECORD WITH GOALS NO. 61 AND 62
Auston Matthews (2-1—3) continued his push for the NHL’s first 70-goal campaign in more than three decades as he potted his 61st and 62nd tallies of 2023-24 to establish a Maple Leafs record for most in a season, besting his own benchmark set in 2021-22. Toronto (43-22-9, 95 points), which owns a game in hand on their Monday opponent, defeated Florida (47-23-5, 99 points) in a potential First Round preview and moved within four points of the Panthers for second place in the Atlantic Division.


* Matthews (361-279—640 in 554 GP) collected his 12th three-point game of 2023-24, tied with three others for the fourth most in a season by a Maple Leafs skater, and matched Ron Ellis (332-308—640 in 1,034 GP) – a member of Toronto’s 1967 Stanley Cup-winning team – for sixth place on the franchise’s all-time points list.

* Matthews recorded his 17th multi-goal game of the season – the most in a campaign by any player in the past 30 years – and the 76th of his career to pass Keith Tkachuk for the fourth most by a U.S.-born skater in NHL history. The list is topped by Pat LaFontaine (96), Mike Modano (92) and Joe Mullen (85).

CROSBY TIES GRETZKY WITH ANOTHER POINT-PER-GAME CAMPAIGN
Sidney Crosby (37-45—82 in 72 GP) collected 2-1—3 to guarantee the 19th point-per-game season of his NHL career and tied Wayne Gretzky for the most such campaigns in League history. Crosby (587-997—1,584 in 1,264 GP)needs three assists to become the 14th player in NHL history with 1,000 andsix points to match Phil Esposito (1,590) for 10th place on the League’s all-time list.
 


RED WINGS, ISLANDERS STAY WITHIN STRIKING DISTANCE OF WILD CARD SPOTS
The Red Wings (37-30-8, 82 points) and Islanders (32-27-15, 79 points) both earned crucial wins to stay within striking distance of postseason positions as Detroit matched Washington (36-27-10, 82 points), which occupies the second Wild Card spot, in terms of standings points while New York moved within three points of the playoff line. The Capitals have the most games remaining among the three clubs (WSH: 73 GP, DET: 75 GP & NYI: 74 GP).

Dylan Larkin (29-31—60 in 61 GP) bookended the contest with a pair of assists to record his third straight 60-point season and become the first Red Wings skater to post a run of that length since Henrik Zetterberg had a seven-year streak from 2005-06 to 2011-12. Larkin’s first assist set up Patrick Kane’s 18th goal of the season – only two players age 35 or older have scored as many in a campaign for Detroit in the past decade: Pavel Datsyuk (26 in 2014-15) and Daniel Alfredsson (18 in 2013-14).

Bo Horvat’s 30th goal of the season gave the Islanders one of their two leads before Morgan Frost tied the game for Philadelphia with 10 seconds remaining in regulation. Brock Nelson later reached the 30-goal mark for the third time in his career thanks to his winner in overtime. The 2023-24 season is the third in the past 12 years the Islanders have had multiple players reach the mark in a single campaign, following Anders Lee (40) and John Tavares (37) in 2017-18 as well as Matt Moulson (36) and Tavares (31) in 2011-12.

QUICK CLICKS

Connor McDavidLogan Thompson and Alexis Lafrenière named NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ of the Week
Monday edition of #NHLStats: Live Updates
Winnipeg native and linesperson Ryan Galloway appears in final NHL game in hometown

Ryan Hartman suspended three games for unsportsmanlike conduct
Women in Hockey: Sarah Peterson

NASHVILLE, VEGAS, WASHINGTON CAN STRENGTHEN GRIP ON PLAYOFF POSITIONS

The Predators (43-27-4, 90 points), Golden Knights (41-25-8, 90 points) and Capitals (36-27-10, 82 points) can bolster their postseason positioning during an eight-game slate Tuesday.
 

* Nashville occupies the Western Conference’s first Wild Card spot and is 7-0-1 in its last eight home games dating to Feb. 27 as the Predators welcome the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins (43-17-15, 101 points) to Bridgestone Arena. Roman Josi (19-57—76 in 74 GP) scored the overtime winner in the Predators’ last home game and needs one goal to reach 20 for the second time in his NHL career (also 23 in 2021-22).

* Vegas holds a three-point lead on Los Angeles (38-25-11, 87 points) for third in the Pacific Division and faces first-place Vancouver (46-20-8, 100 points) in a potential 2024 First Round matchup. Jack Eichel (4-1—5 in 6 GP) shares the team lead in goals during the active six-game point streak for the Golden Knights (5-0-1 dating March 21), who sat four points back of the Kings when the run began.

* Washington will look to reclaim third place in the Metropolitan Division from Philadelphia (36-29-11, 83 points) when the Capitals square off with the Sabres (35-35-5, 75 points). Alex Ovechkin (41-25—66 in 63 GP) has 41 career goals versus Buffalo, which are tied with Peter Stastny for the third most in NHL history behind Jaromir Jagr (46) and Daniel Alfredsson (44).

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