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Sports Gaming Monitor

NHL Morning Skate – Jan. 24, 2024

Nikita Kucherov netted three goals and an assist en route to becoming the first player to hit 80 points in 2023-24 and just the third active skater to reach the mark in a season in 47 games or fewer.

* The Oilers’ quest for an NHL record established more than 30 years ago continued Tuesday as the club extended its winning streak to 14 games.

* A busy Wednesday night in the NHL is set to feature seven games, including two as part of an NHL on TNT and Max doubleheader starting with the Hurricanes visiting the Bruins before the Kraken welcome the Blackhawks.

KUCHEROV BECOMES FIRST PLAYER TO HIT 80 POINTS IN 2023-24
Nikita Kucherov (3-1—4) scored a hat trick and recorded his League-leading fourth four-point outing of the season en route to becoming the first player to reach the 80-point plateau in 2023-24. With the win, the Lightning (25-18-5, 55 points; 48 GP) overtook the idle Maple Leafs (23-14-8, 54 points; 45 GP) for third place in the Atlantic Division.



* Kucherov’s four four-point performances this season, all of which have come on the road, are already tied with 2021-22 and 2016-17 for his second most in a single campaign behind only his franchise record in 2018-19 (8). In fact, 14 of his of 25 career four-point games have been on the road – tied with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin for the third most among active players while trailing only Sidney Crosby (17) and Connor McDavid (16).

* Kucherov recorded at least three points in a contest for the 12th time, while being held off the score sheet only 11 times so far in 2023-24. He joined Nathan MacKinnon (9 GP w/ 3 points, 7 GP w/ 0 points) as the only other player to post more three-plus point games than scoreless games this season.

* His second tally helped the 2018-19 Art Ross Trophy winner register his seventh career 30-goal season and surpass Martin St. Louis for second most in Lightning history. Only six other active players have as many 30-goal campaigns: Ovechkin (17), Crosby (11), Auston Matthews (8), Steven Stamkos (8), David Pastrnak (7) andMcDavid (7).

MORE OIL IN THE TANK: EDMONTON EXTENDS STREAK TO 14
Evander Kane scored the game-winning goal while Stuart Skinner stopped 27 of 28 shots to help the Oilers extend their win streak to 14 games and defeat the Blue Jackets – the last team to post a longer run – in the process. With the victory, Edmonton (27-15-1, 55 points) remains seven points behind Vegas (28-14-6, 62 points) for second place in the Pacific Division with five games in hand.


A look at the Oilers’ 14-game win streak “By the Numbers:”

1 – The Oilers are the first team to post a win streak of 14-plus games after starting their run outside of a playoff position. The 2022-23 Devils are the only other club to post a 13-game win streak after beginning outside of the playoffs (13 GP from Oct. 25 – Nov. 21, 2022).

10 – Evander Kane became the 10th different player to score a game-winning goal during Edmonton’s run. The 2012-13 Penguins are the only other club with as many different game-winning goal scorers during a win streak of 14-plus contests (also 10).

11 – Stuart Skinner extended his win streak to 11 games, surpassing Grant Fuhr (10 GP in 1985-86) for the longest by a goaltender in Oilers history.

14 – Kris Knoblauch earned his 14th straight victory behind the bench, marking the longest win streak by a head coach during their first NHL season. Tom Johnson (13 GP in 1970-71 w/ BOS) and Andrew Brunette (13 GP in 2021-22 w/ FLA) are the only coaches to post 13-game runs during their first campaigns.

16 – Connor McDavid scored to extend his home point streak to 16 games and became the second player in Oilers history to record multiple home point streaks of more than 15 contests (also 21 GP in 2022-23). He joined Wayne Gretzky (6x; longest: 33 GP in 1985-86).
 

PLAYOFF RACE: TEAMS CHASE HIGHER POSITIONS

The Golden Knights and Stars, both within a playoff spot, earned wins Tuesday to inch closer to a climb up the standings.

Sheldon Rempal scored his first NHL goal on Tuesday to help the second-place Golden Knights (28-14-6, 62 points) lessen their gap to six points with the Pacific Division-leading Canucks (32-11-4, 68 points). Rempal was recalled from the Henderson Silver Knights on Jan. 18, the club he’s currently leading in goals (18) while sitting tied for fifth across the AHL in that category. The 28-year-old’s road to his first NHL goal was a long one – spanning five seasons and 14 games between the Kings, Hurricanes, Canucks and now the Golden Knights after making his NHL debut on Oct. 18, 2018.

Roope Hintz (2-1—3) and Wyatt Johnston (0-3—3) each factored on three of four Dallas goals in the second period, including combining on the game winner to bring the Stars (28-13-6, 62 points) within one point of the idle Avalanche (30-14-3, 63 points) for second in the Central Division standings. Tuesday marked Johnston’s third career three-point outing – he became the second-youngest player in Stars team history with a three-assist performance, behind only Valeri Nichushkin (18 years, 278 days on Dec. 7, 2013).

WESTERN CONFERENCE WILD CARD RACE FEATURED IN #NHLSTATS: LIVE UPDATES
With the end of the 2023-24 regular season 86 days away, the Wild Card race continued in Tuesday’s edition of #NHLStats: Live Updates as both St. Louis and Minnesota earned important wins in their hunt towards the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Brandon Saad (2-0—2) scored the game winner with 48 seconds remaining in regulation and Brayden Schenn recorded his first career shorthanded goal as the Blues (23-20-2, 48 points) collected two crucial points against the Flames (21-21-5, 47 points), who are also in the Wild Card race, to move within three points of the Predators (25-21-1, 51 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. Schenn accounted for the Blues’ 11th shorthanded goal of the season, which is tied with the Stars for the most among all teams.

* The duo of Brock Faber (1-0—1) and Marco Rossi (0-1—1), who share the second-most points among rookies in 2023-24, combined on the first of five Wild goals to lead Minnesota (21-21-5, 47 points) to its third straight victory and within four points of idle Nashville. The Wild have scored at least five tallies in three consecutive games for the sixth time in franchise history following 2015-16 (4 GP), 2022-23 (3 GP), 2021-22 (3 GP), 2020-21 (3 GP) and 2019-20 (3 GP).

* Faber (Maple Grove, Minn.), who established a franchise record for longest point streak by a rookie defenseman (2-6—8 in 5 GP), is no stranger to success after playing a role in Team USA’s gold-medal entry at the 2021 World Junior Championship and capturing consecutive NCAA Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2021-22 and 2022-23 with the University of Minnesota.
 


NOT ONE PATH: MICHAEL BUNTING
Michael Bunting will be skating in the first of two games on a Wednesday night on NHL on TNT and Max double header and is the most recent player to be featured in the Not One Path series, highlighting unconventional routes to the NHL. Bunting has proved that achieving your dream of playing in the NHL can come true, even without playing at the highest levels of sport growing up. The Hurricanes forward currently sits third in his team in scoring with 10-20—30 (44 GP) and was a Calder Memorial Trophy finalist in 2022.
 

QUICK CLICKS

Jack Hughes to attend All-Star Weekend, status uncertain

Tij Iginla talks Top Prospects Game, famous father on ‘NHL Draft Class’ podcast

Patrick Roy braces for emotional Montreal homecoming as Islanders coach

*Carter Hart granted indefinite leave of absence from Flyers

Sebastian Aho‘s work ethic, consistency leads to 3rd All-Star Game appearance

SEVEN GAMES COMING RIGHT UP

A seven-game slate features a showdown between the Central-Division leading Jets (30-11-4, 64 points) and Maple Leafs (23-14-8, 54 points) on TVA Sports and Sportsnet, with Toronto looking to reclaim third place in the Atlantic Division. A couple of streaks will also be put on the line as Nathan MacKinnon (11 GP) looks to extend the NHL’s longest active point streak to 12 games when the Avalanche (30-14-3, 63 points) face the Capitals (22-17-6, 50 points) and the League-leading Canucks (32-11-4, 68 points) will look to extend their point streak to 10 contests when they host the Blues (23-20-2, 48 points).


* An NHL on TNT and Max doubleheader begins with David Pastrnak and the Bruins (29-8-9, 67 points) going head-to-head with the Hurricanes (25-15-5, 55 points). Pastrnak enters the contest with a seven-game home goal streak and can surpass Phil Kessel (also 7 GP in 2008-09) for the longest by a Boston player over the past 42 seasons (since 1981-82). Meanwhile, Carolina (6-0-1) will look to extend its seven-game road point streak – currently tied with Boston (4-0-3) for the second-longest active run in the NHL behind Edmonton (9-0-0).

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