Wednesday, April 24, 2024

NHL Morning Skate – Feb. 14, 2024

* Connor McDavid had a career night as the Oilers captain posted 0-6—6 while becoming the fourth-fastest player in NHL history to reach the 600-assist milestone.

* The two highest-scoring players in the NHL, Nikita Kucherov and Nathan MacKinnon, both boosted their point totals and helped their clubs collect two points as the race to the 2023-24 Art Ross Trophy continued.
 

* Wednesday night will feature another NHL on TNT matchup as the Panthers and Penguins clash on a three-game slate.
 


McDAVID REACHES 600-ASSIST MILESTONE DURING SIX-ASSIST OUTING

Connor McDavid entered the third period with two assists on the night and 599 in his career, but he collected four more in the final frame to eclipse the 600-assist milestone and record his second career six-point outing. In the process, McDavid (21-56—77) also moved into a tie for third in points and first in assists in 2023-24.


* Prior to Tuesday, McDavid had never posted more than four assists in a single game – he beat his personal benchmark via a highlight-reel-worthy spin-o-rama. His sixth assist made him the third player in the past 25 years with as many in a single contest, joining Kris Letang (Dec. 27, 2023), who achieved the feat earlier this season, and Leon Draisaitl (Jan. 31, 2021).



* The Oilers captain became the fifth player in franchise history to record four assists in a single period and just the seventh active skater, joining Letang (Dec. 27, 2023), Kevin Fiala (April 22, 2022), Nick Schmaltz (March 5, 2022), Morgan Rielly (Oct. 15, 2019), Jack Eichel (March 31, 2018) and Patrick Kane (Jan. 9, 2018).

ART ROSS TROPHY RACE CONTINUES AS KUCHEROV HITS 90 POINTS

The race for the 2023-24 Art Ross Trophy continued Tuesday as Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon collected two points and Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov became the first player this season to reach the 90-point mark.

* MacKinnon collected two assists and teammate Artturi Lehkonen (2-2—4) recorded his second career four-point outing to lead the team in scoring as the Avalanche (33-17-4, 70 points) kept pace with the Stars (33-14-6, 72 points) atop the Central Division. MacKinnon (32-55—87 in 54 GP) is now on pace for 132 points in 2023-24, which would be the second most in a single season in franchise history behind Peter Stastny (139 in 1981-82).

* Kucherov scored to improve his season totals to 34-56—90 (53 GP) and help the Lightning (29-20-5, 63 points) maintain third place in the Atlantic Division with a pivotal win against the division-leading Bruins (32-11-10, 74 points). Kucherov established a Lightning benchmark for fewest games to 90 points in a campaign and is now on pace for 139 – should he finish 2023-24 with that amount, he would become the second active player with that high of a total in a single season, joining Connor McDavid (64-89—153 in 82 GP).
 



CANUCKS, STARS MAINTAIN THEIR RESPECTIVE LEADS IN THE STANDINGS
The Canucks (36-12-6, 78 points) and Stars (33-14-6, 72 points) both picked up victories to bolster their leads atop the NHL standings and Central Division, respectively:
 

Dakota Joshua (1-2—3) led the Canucks to their League-leading 36th win and 18th road victory of the season after posting his first career three-point game. Vancouver tied its second-fewest games to reach 40 road points in a campaign (also 30 GP in 2011-12), trailing 2002-03 (29 GP). Tuesday marked the 27th consecutive day, and 37th overall, that the Canucks have held first place in the NHL – their 37 days atop the League standings trail only Vegas (54) for the most this season. 

Joe Pavelski (0-2—2), Jason Robertson (1-1—2) and Roope Hintz (1-0—1) each found the score sheet Tuesday while Jake Oettinger made 32 saves to help backstop the Stars to victory against the Hurricanes. Pavelski, Hintz and Robertson have now been on the ice together for 79 5-on-5 goals dating back to last season, which is the most among any forward trio.



MORE NOTABLE PERFORMANCES FROM TUESDAY FEATURED IN LIVE UPDATES

Tuesday’s edition of #NHLStats: Live Updates featured more notes from the 11-game slate, including several teams that moved closer to the “playoff line” in their respective conference:

Nick Suzuki (7-7—14 in 8 GP) and Juraj Slafkovsky (5-4—9 in 6 GP) extended their point streaks to eight and six games, respectively, as the Canadiens blanked the Ducks. Slafkovsky, who established a single-game career high with three points, tied the longest scoring streak by a teenager in franchise history set by Doug Wickenheiser (6 GP in 1980-81).

Jordan Greenway (2-1—3) and Rasmus Dahlin (1-1—2) put up multi-point performances while rookie Zach Benson (1-0—1) scored a falling-down goal to help the Sabres earn a seven-goal shutout win – their second-highest scoring game of the season. Buffalo scored at least seven goals in a shutout victory for the first time since Nov. 8, 2001, when they picked up an 8-0 win against the Atlanta Thrashers.

Brady Tkachuk was one of two players who recorded a hat trick Tuesday – including Maple Leafs forward Bobby McMann – to lift the total this season to 70. Tkachuk (150-169—319) passed Alexei Yashin (317) for the third-most points before age 25 in Senators history, trailing Marian Hossa (353) and Jason Spezza (345). With every hat trick this season, AstraZeneca will donate $5,000 to the Hockey Fights Cancer Fund of the V Foundation up to $500,000. Click here for more information.

Tomas Tatar tallied the shootout winner as the Kraken defeated the Islanders, who contested their final game before facing the Rangers in the 2024 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 18 (3 p.m. ET on ABC, ESPN+, SN, TVAS). Kyle Palmieri (4-3—7 in 6 GP) potted New York’s lone goal and will carry a six-game point streak into his second career outdoor game (also 2014 SS w/ ANA).

Nico Hischier scored two of his team’s four goals to help the Devils earn their 18th comeback win of the season and tied the Stars for the most among all teams – New Jersey also led the NHL with 26 such victories in 2022-23. The Devils now have one game remaining until they face the Flyers in the 2024 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series at MetLife Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 17 (8 p.m. ET on ABC, ESPN+, TVAS-D, SN1). Click here to read the #NHLStats Pack, which features several more notes on the Islanders, Rangers, Flyers and Devils.


STADIUM SERIES COMMUNITY UPDATE
On Tuesday, the NHL announced two more community initiatives around the 2024 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series in addition to the Devils’ legacy announcement that was unveiled Sunday.

* As a legacy to the 2024 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series, the Islanders, Islanders Children’s Foundation and NHL will support various forms of adaptive hockey on Long Island with a multi-year financial commitment. The Special Olympics New York, Long Island Rough Riders (sled hockey), and Long Island Blues (special hockey) will receive funding, with the latter two also receiving ice time at The Park at UBS Arena Presented by Northwell for practices and games.



* More than 500 kids are expected to participate in this weekend’s free NHL STREET experience at American Dream Mall, including youth hockey community groups that will be part of the on-field entertainment at MetLife Stadium. The ball hockey program provides an affordable, neighborhood-based model that gives kids an opportunity to learn and play hockey. Local street and studio artists collaborated with the NHL to create the NHL STREET rink designs that occupy the field at MetLife Stadium.



QUICK CLICKS
 

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Phil Kessel to work out at home of Canucks’ AHL affiliate
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Evgeni Malkin looking to play smarter, stay healthy for Penguins’ playoff push
NHL names Tourism Prince Edward Island official travel destination partner


REINHART EYES MORE ROAD SUCCESS ON NATIONAL BROADCAST
Sam Reinhart and the Panthers (33-15-4, 70 points) look to continue their climb up the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference standings when they travel to Pittsburgh to clash with Sidney Crosby and the Penguins (23-19-7, 53 points) during an NHL on TNT broadcast. Reinhart has played a pivotal part in Florida’s franchise-record eight-game road win streak and can join Pavel Bure (11 GP in 1993-94 w/ VAN), Steve Yzerman (11 GP in 1988-89 w/ DET) and Auston Matthews (10 GP in 2021-22 w/ TOR) as the fourth player in NHL history with a double-digit road goal streak.
 


DUCLAIR INSPIRES YOUTH THROUGH HIS FOUNDATION

Anthony Duclair and the Sharks will skate in a national broadcast across Canada when they visit the Jets on Sportsnet. Duclair is a child of Haitian immigrants and is working to make hockey more accessible through the foundation he launched last February – the Anthony Duclair Foundation. His efforts have included development camps and a newly announced synthetic outdoor ice rink that is being brought to South Florida.

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