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NHL Morning Skate – Feb. 22, 2024

* Auston Matthews made some NHL history against his hometown team by scoring twice to eclipse 50 goals on the season in just 54 games.


Zach Werenski scored twice and established a franchise record in the process as the Blue Jackets survived a four-goal Ducks rally to earn a win Wednesday.

* Brandon Hagel and Alex Ovechkin will both look to extend their point streaks when the Lightning clash with the Capitals on ESPN during Thursday’s 11-game slate.




MATTHEWS TALLIES TWO AGAINST HOMETOWN TEAM TO ECLIPSE 50 GOALS IN 54 GAMES
Auston Matthews (51-24—75 in 54 GP) scored two goals versus the Coyotes and became the fastest U.S.-born player in NHL history to reach 50 in a season, shattering the previous mark of 62 games set by Kevin Stevens in 1992-93 and equaled by “Papi” in 2021-22.



* Wednesday night marked the latest noteworthy moment in League history involving Matthews and his hometown team, which also includes being in attendance as a youngster when Alex Ovechkin famously scored “The Goal” against the Coyotes at Glendale Arena on Jan. 16, 2006.

* Matthews recorded the milestone goal with several friends and family in attendance including his parents Brian and Ema, which was quickly followed by “MVP! MVP! MVP!” chants raining down from the Mullett Arena stands for the Jr. Coyotes alumnus.



* Matthews became the second player in franchise history and sixth U.S.-born skater in NHL history with multiple 50-goal seasons. Of note, Dave Andreychuk had 53 with the Maple Leafs in 1993-94 and concluded the 1992-93 campaign with 54 after scoring his first 29 with the Sabres.

* Matthews required just nine games to go from the 40- to 50-goal mark (including Jan. 27), with only nine different players in NHL history needing fewer contests to make the jump. He is nine tallies shy of becoming the ninth player in League history with multiple 60-goal seasons and is currently on pace to conclude the campaign with 76, which would be tied for the fifth-highest total by an NHL player.



PAIR OF DEFENSEMEN SHINE IN ANAHEIM
After defenseman Zach Werenski scored two of four consecutive Blue Jackets goals, Ducks blueliner Pavel Mintyukov (0-3—3) factored on three of his team’s four straight tallies to help his club erase the deficit. However, Anaheim’s rally was short lived as Yegor Chinakhov (1-0—1) and Sean Kuraly (2-0—2) both scored in a span of 49 seconds in the third period to secure a Columbus victory.

* Werenski’s fifth career multi-goal game also stood as his 51st career multi-point contest, moving past Oliver Bjorkstrand (50) for the sixth most in Blue Jackets history



* At the opposite end of the rink, Mintyukov became the sixth rookie defenseman in Ducks history to record a three-assist game and first since Josh Mahura (Oct. 29, 2019).

DeBRUSK, McAVOY LIFT BRUINS TO OVERTIME VICTORY IN #NHLSTATS: LIVE UPDATES
After Jake DeBrusk (1-1—2) scored a goal in front of his father, Louie, who was working between the benches during the Sportsnet broadcast, he added an assist on Charlie McAvoy’s diving overtime winner. McAvoy, who scored his seventh career overtime tally to lead all defensemen in Bruins history, was one of many players featured in the Wednesday edition of #NHLStats: Live Updates.




QUICK CLICKS
 

Travis Konecny extends point streak to games as Flyers defeat Blackhawks

AHL notebook: Bruins prospect Justin BrazeauLogan Stankoven of Stars among top surprises

Frederik Andersen progressing from ‘scary time,’ no target date for return to Hurricanes

Sabres dads answer favorite thing about their sons in sweet video

2024 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series Metrics

LIGHTNING, CAPITALS HEADLINE 11-GAME THURSDAY

Thursday’s 11-game slate is headlined by an ESPN showdown between the Lightning (30-22-5, 65 points) and Capitals (25-21-8, 58 points), with Brandon Hagel and Alex Ovechkin both looking to extend their streaks when the clubs face off at Amalie Arena. The night concludes with a clash between the Predators (29-25-2, 60 points) and the Kings (28-16-10, 66 points) on ESPN+ and Hulu.




* Hagel enters Thursday with a point in each of his past 10 games (7-8—15) – the longest active point streak in the League. Should he extend his run, Hagel would tie Nikita Kucherov (11 GP from Nov. 16 to Dec. 6) for the longest point streak by a Lightning player this season. The last Tampa Bay player with a longer run was Steven Stamkos (14 GP in 2022-23).

Ovechkin, whose seven goals since Feb. 1 are tied for the second most in the NHL over that span, has a nine-game point streak (8-5—13). He can become the 12th different NHL player to record a double-digit run at age 38 or older and the first since Martin St. Louis a decade ago (10 GP in 2013-14). Jean Beliveau (12 GP from 1970-71) and Brett Hull (12 GP from 2003-04) share the mark for the longest such run in League history.

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