Tuesday, February 20, 2024

NHL Morning Skate – Jan. 30, 2024

* Upwards of 25,000 fans are expected to skate, learn and play hockey across Toronto during the 2024 NHL All-Star Weekend, with free public skating, free skate rentals and more than 100 organized NHL STREET ball hockey games included on a full slate of community events and initiatives focused on making hockey fun and accessible to everyone. Click here or keep scrolling for more information on plans announced Monday. 
 

* Connor Bedard and Victor Wembanyama – the first-overall picks in the NHL and NBA drafts in 2023 – met recently to discuss life as No. 1 draft picks in their respective leagues. Click here to watch their conversation. 

* 2024 NHL All-Star and Senators captain Brady Tkachuk scored the tying goal to help his club overcome a three-goal deficit to win for the first time in nearly than three years – marking the League’s 100th multi-goal comeback victory of the season. 

SENATORS RALLY FROM THREE DOWN AS GIROUX BURRIES OVERTIME WINNER
After conceding three goals in the first period, Brady Tkachuk (1-1—2) led a three-goal Ottawa outburst in the second frame to erase their deficit. The game was tied at 3-3 until the final 84 seconds of extra time when Claude Giroux scored his 13th career overtime goal to give the Senators their 15th three-goal comeback win in franchise history – and first in nearly three years. 
 
* The Senators earned their first three-goal comeback win since Feb. 15, 2021, against the Maple Leafs (6-5 OT W) and their first at home in more than six years (Jan. 5, 2018: 6-5 OT W vs. SJS). 
 
* Monday marked the 100th multi-goal come-from-behind victory of 2023-24 – the second most in NHL history at this stage of a season behind 1985-86 (112 in 775 GP). 
 
* Giroux has now scored the decisive goal in games when trailing by three or more goals for the fifth time in his career – tied for the most in NHL history. The next-closest active players for such winners are Rickard Rakell and Leon Draisaitl (both w/ 3). 

COMMUNITY-FOCUSED FESTIVITIES GEAR UP IN TORONTO AHEAD OF ALL-STAR WEEKEND 
With two more days until the start of on-ice events at Scotiabank Arena for the 2024 NHL All-Star Weekend in Toronto, the NHL has unveiled a number of community-based events and initiatives scheduled across the city focused on making hockey more fun and accessible for everyone. A few highlights: 
 
Wednesday: The NHL, along with the Maple Leafs and MLSE Foundation, will unveil the 2024 NHL All-Star Legacy Project by investing more than $500,000 into the upgrade of ball and ice hockey rinks in parks across Toronto. The initiative will benefit more than 23,000 youth each year and help reduce barriers to play. 
 
Thursday: The hockey for all Rink at NHL All-Star Weekend will run daily from Feb. 1-3 at Nathan Phillips Square, with various events taking place on the public rink. The first will begin at 8 a.m. ET Thursday when PWHL captains Kendall Coyne SchofieldBrianne JennerHilary KnightMarie-Philip Poulin and Blayre Turnbull take to the ice during the opening event ahead of their Canadian Tire PWHL 3-on-3 Showcase at Scotiabank Arena later that that day. 
 
Friday: The 2024 NHL All-Star Future Goals Kids Day presented by SAP will see nearly 500 students from across the Greater Toronto Area congregate to hear from professionals in hockey who utilize the principles of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Also Friday, Rogers will host new Canadians who are part of Hockey 4 Youth to skate on the ice and show off their skills. 
 
Saturday: The NHL, Scotiabank and Pride Tape will come together to host players from the Toronto Gay Hockey Association – one of the largest LGBTQ+ hockey associations in the world – in a ball hockey tournament for the Pride Cup trophy, with teams coached by Brian Burke and Andrew Ference
 
* Other events taking place include NHL STREET – an initiative offering more than 100 ball hockey games for around 1,500 kids, and the NHL All-Star Officiating Workshop – a program designed to give amateur officials from the Greater Toronto Area a chance to learn from current NHL referees and linespersons. View the full list of community events and initiatives here and catch the first three-day NHL All-Star Weekend from Feb. 1-3. 

ICYMI: BEDARD, NBA’S WEMBANYAMA SIT DOWN FOR INTERVIEW BETWEEN NO. 1 PICKS 
Connor Bedard, the NHL’s No. 1 pick from the 2023 NHL Draft, and Victor Wembanyama, the NBA’s No. 1 pick from the 2023 NBA Draft, sat down for an exclusive one-on-one discussing life as first overall picks in their respective Leagues, exchanged jerseys and even compared their slapshots. Click here to watch the full video on the NHL’s YouTube channel. 

QUICK CLICKS 
 
Nikita Kucherov, Connor McDavid, Matthew Tkachuk named “Three Stars” of the week 
Brendan Shanahan shares NHL All-Star Weekend memories ahead of Toronto hosting festivities 
Henrik Lundqvist skates rookie lap for Rangers at Alumni Classic 
Adam Fantilli out for Blue Jackets with leg injury 
CHEL Intel: All-Star Edition 
 

THREE FIRST-TIME ALL-STARS SET FOR LAST CONTESTS BEFORE HEADING TO TORONTO 
Sportsnet, TVA Sports and NHL Network will all be on the air Tuesday as the Blues (26-20-2, 54 points) look to leapfrog the idle Kings (22-15-10, 54 points) for the first Wild Card position when they host the Blue Jackets (15-24-10, 40 points), while the Kraken (21-18-10, 52 points) visit the Sharks (13-32-4, 30 points) in pursuit of a Western Conference playoff position. 

* The Blue Jackets, Blues and Kraken all will contest their final game before the 2024 NHL All-Star Weekend, with Boone JennerRobert Thomas and Oliver Bjorkstrand looking to make an impact before heading to their first All-Star:

* Jenner, in his 11th season with the Blue Jackets and among the top three in franchise history for career goals and points, led the club with 13 goals before being injured Dec. 8 (29 GP) – halfway to his 68-game total from 2022-23 (26) – but is in search of his first tally since returning to the lineup Jan. 19.

* Thomas (17-35—52 in 48 GP) is on pace to set career highs for goals and points in a season (currently 20-57—77 in 2021-22; 72 GP) and is one of six All-Stars who holds at least a share of the team lead in goals, assists and points this season (also Clayton KellerDavid PastrnakSebastian AhoNathan MacKinnon and Nikita Kucherov). A point Tuesday would send him to his first NHL All-Star Game riding a six-game point streak (1-7—8 in 5 GP).

Bjorkstrand is set to face off against the Sharks before becoming the third Danish-born player to appear in an NHL All-Star Game, after Frans Nielsen (2017) and Frederik Andersen (2020 & 2022). On Saturday, Lars Eller became the first player from Denmark to skate in 1,000 NHL games.

* Check out more player notes and storylines in the #NHLStats Pack: 2024 NHL All-Star Weekend, including a section on San Jose’s representative Tomas Hertl – owner of the record for most goals in one game under the 3-on-3 format. Notes will be updated Feb. 1 after the final regular-season games are played.

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