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NHL Morning Skate – March 13, 2024

Connor Bedard became the fifth 18-year-old in NHL history to record five points in a game and did so while he was mic’d up by NBC Sports Chicago.

* The “Comeback Cats” rallied from a multi-goal third-period deficit to defeat the Stars, who they are set to face as part of the 2024 NHL Global Series presented by Fastenal, and increase their lead atop the League standings.

* Wednesday’s four-game slate features an NHL on TNT doubleheader as well as Nashville looking to extend its lengthy point streak and Western Conference-leading Vancouver hosting Colorado on Sportsnet programming.


BEDARD BURIES FIVE POINTS DURING HISTORIC NIGHT AT UNITED CENTER
Fresh off a 2-1—3 performance in his last outing, Connor Bedard (1-4—5) upped the ante offensively for the Blackhawks and produced a performance to remember at United Center by matching franchise rookie records for assists and points in a game as well as becoming the fifth 18-year-old in NHL history to register a five-point game.

* Bedard also asserted himself into elite company in NHL history with his two-game stretch and joined an 18-year-old Dale Hawerchuk (4-4—8 in 2 GP; March 13-16, 1982) as just the second teenager in League history with eight points in a two-game span – with Hawerchuk doing so nearly 42 years ago to the date.

* The No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, who’s already collected three or more points in a game four times in 2023-24, became the fifth 18-year-old in NHL history to record consecutive three-point games, following Steve Yzerman (2 GP in 1983-84), Ron Francis (2 GP in 1981-82), Hawerchuk (3x; all 2 GP in 1981-82) and Wayne Gretzky (2 GP in 1979-80).

* Bedard collected three of his five points during Tuesday’s middle frame – his third three-point period of the season – and joined Ted Kennedy (3x) as the only other 18-year-old in NHL history to achieve the feat on three different occasions. In fact, Ilya Kovalchuk and Bobby Carpenter (both 2x) are the only others to do so multiple times.


DIVISION-LEADING PANTHERS, RANGERS RECORD VICTORIES

The Atlantic Division-leading Panthers (45-17-4, 94 points) and Metropolitan Division-leading Rangers (43-18-4, 90 points) registered wins Tuesday:

* After the Stars jumped out to a three-goal lead, the Panthers rallied to earn a comeback victory spearheaded by their captain Aleksander Barkov (2-1—3), who scored the winning tally, and Matthew Tkachuk (0-2—2). Barkov, who already tops the Panthers franchise in goals, assists, points and game-winning goals, recorded his 31st career multi-goal game and tied Pavel Bure and Olli Jokinen for the most in Panthers history. Tkachuk recorded his 15th multi-assist game of 2023-24 and surpassed Barkov (14 GP in 2017-18) for the fifth most by a Panthers player in a single season.


* The NHL, NHLPA and Live Nation announced Tuesday that the 2024 NHL Global Series presented by Fastenal will feature the Panthers and Stars as well as the Sabres and Devils. Buffalo will play an exhibition game against Red Bull Munich in Munich, Germany on Sept. 27 before its season-opening back-to-back set with New Jersey in Prague, Czechia from Oct. 4-5, while Florida and Dallas will meet in Tampere, Finland from Nov. 1-2. Click here for details.
 



Adam Fox scored the contest’s only goal and Igor Shesterkin (28 saves) posted his second shutout in as many appearances as the Rangers earned a pivotal regulation win against the Hurricanes (39-20-6, 84 points), who occupy the No. 2 seed in the Metropolitan Division.

* Fox’s tally, which helped the Rangers become the fourth team to register 20 road victories in 2023-24, also marked his 15th career game-winning goal and tied Reijo Ruotsalainen for the third most by a defenseman in Rangers history, behind only Brian Leetch (37) and Ron Greschner (18).



MacKINNON, RANTANEN HELP COLORADO INCH CLOSER TO DIVISION-LEADING DALLAS
Nathan MacKinnon (1-1—2) and Mikko Rantanen (2-2—4) extended their point streak to 13 and 10 games, respectively, and helped the Avalanche (41-20-5, 87 points) move within two points of the Central Division-leading Stars (40-18-9, 89 points).

* MacKinnon (41-72—113 in 66 GP) established a single-season career high for points and increased his lead on Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov (38-69—107 in 64 GP) in the Art Ross Trophy race. Rantanen (253-348—601 in 556 GP), who recorded the second double-digit point streak of his NHL career (also 14 GP from Nov. 18–Dec. 15, 2018), became the third fastest Finnish-born player in NHL history to reach the 600-point mark behind Jari Kurri (419 GP) and Teemu Selanne (455 GP).




WILD CARD HOPEFULS MINNESOTA, BUFFALO BEAT ARIZONA, DETROIT

* Kirill Kaprizov (2-1—3) added to his team-leading totals by factoring on three of Minnesota’s four goals to help the Wild (32-27-7, 71 points) remain six points back of the Golden Knights (35-23-7, 77 points), who occupy the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference and rallied past the Kraken on Tuesday thanks in part to a tying goal by Jonathan Marchessault (2-0—2) in the dying seconds of regulation. Kaprizov tied Zach Parise (25) for the second most multi-goal games in franchise history trailing only Marian Gaborik (41), and became the sixth Wild player to record multiple 40-assist seasons. He joined Mikko Koivu (5), Ryan Suter (4), Mats Zuccarello (3), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (2) and Mikael Granlund (2).


Zach Benson (1-2—3) posted a career-high three points, recording all of them in the opening frame, as the Sabres (31-30-5, 67 points) exploded for seven goals through two periods against the Red Wings (33-26-6, 72 points) and closed the gap to just five points between them and the idle Islanders (29-21-14, 72 points) in the Eastern Conference’s Wild Card race. Benson became the fourth 18-year-old in Sabres history to record a three-point game, joining Phil Housley (4x; last: Feb. 27, 1983), Pierre Turgeon (3x; last: March 13, 1988) and Rasmus Dahlin (Dec. 15, 2018).



MORE ROOKIES SPOTLIGHTED IN #NHLSTATS: LIVE UPDATES
The latest edition of #NHLStats: Live Updates featured noteworthy performances from a number of rookies, including Canadiens goaltender Cayden Primeau who turned aside all 41 shots he faced to earn his second straight shutout at Bell Centre. Primeau, who established the most saves in a shutout victory by a Canadiens rookie (since shots on goal began being officially tracked in 1955-56), became the fourth rookie goaltender in franchise history to record consecutive home shutouts. He joined George Hainsworth (3 GP in 1926-27), Jacques Plante (3 GP in 1953-54) and Gerry McNeil (2 GP in 1950-51). 




QUICK CLICKS


Kraken sport custom T-shirts, jersey patches in honor of Jordan Eberle’s 1,000th NHL game

Roope HintzMiro Heiskanen understand power of NHL Global Series for next generation

Matt Rempe suspended four games for elbowing

Coaches preach consistency during playoff race

Women in Hockey: Therese Baird

WEDNESDAY’S FOUR-GAME SLATE HIGHLIGHTED BY NHL ON TNT TWO-PACK

Wednesday is headlined by an NHL on TNT doubleheader, which opens with St. Louis (33-29-3, 69 points) hosting Los Angeles (33-20-11, 77 points) followed by Washington (30-24-9, 69 points) visiting Edmonton (39-21-3, 81 points). The Blues and Capitals can inch closer to the final Wild Card spots in their conference, while the Oilers and Kings can strengthen their grip on second and third place, respectively, in the Pacific Division. Both contests are also available on TVA Sports.




Anze Kopitar (411-783—1,194 in 1,356 GP) needs two assists to tie Mats Sundin (564-785—1,349 in 1,346 GP) for 38th place on the League’s all-time listRobert Thomas (81-218—299 in 379 GP) is one point shy of becoming the fourth player in franchise history with 300 before age 25, following Bernie Federko (131-226—357 in 334 GP), Doug Gilmour (149-205—354 in 384 GP) and Wayne Babych (142-161—303 in 326 GP).

Connor McDavid (14-45—59 in 25 GP), who can extend his home point streak to 26 games, has 7-13—20 in 12 career head-to-head contests with fellow No. 1 pick Alex Ovechkin (5-6—11 in 12 GP). Ovechkin (18-30—48 in 60 GP) needs two tallies to become the third player in League history with 19 consecutive 20-goal seasons and sixth with 19 or more at any point in his NHL career.

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