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NHL Morning Skate – March 17, 2024

* The Lightning padded their Wild Card position and the Red Wings moved into one, while the Capitals and Islanders collected points as the Rush to the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs continues.

* The Hurricanes overcame a 3-0 deficit in a contest that saw them score two goals in the final 1:32 to send the game to extra time as the club kept pace with the Rangers who sit atop the Metropolitan Division.

* Who will have the luck of the Irish on their side during St. Patrick’s Day? The Eastern Conference’s Wild Card race is once again at the forefront of Sunday’s seven-game slate, which features an NHL on TNT doubleheader as well as a pivotal showdown on Sportsnet and NHL Network.

SATURDAY STARTS AND ENDS WITH IMPACTFUL MOVEMENT IN EAST’S WILD CARD RACE

Saturday afternoon featured the Red Wings (34-27-6, 74 points) posting a pivotal comeback win against the Sabres to take the Eastern Conference’s final Wild Card spot from the Islanders (29-22-15, 73 points), who scored a tying goal with 37.2 seconds remaining in regulation to earn a point before falling to the Senators after Brady Tkachuk completed his hat trick in overtime. The Lightning (36-25-6, 78 points) then defeated the Panthers to maintain their hold on the first Wild Card position, while the Capitals (32-25-9, 73 points) earned a comeback win against the Canucks to keep pace.



Patrick Kane scored the winning goal versus his hometown team, which trailed Detroit by just three points entering play, as the Red Wings snapped a seven-game losing streak dating to Feb. 29. Detroit is looking to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2016, which marked the final year of its historic 25 consecutive campaigns with a postseason appearance.

Steven Stamkos (2-2—4) factored on four goals, including Nikita Kucherov’s (1-1—2) 40th of 2023-24, to help the Lightning hold off a comeback attempt by their intrastate rival. Kucherov (40-74—114 in 66 GP), who moved within two points of Nathan MacKinnon (42-74—116 in 68 GP) for the lead in the Art Ross trophy race, recorded his third career 40-goal season – the second most in Lightning history behind Stamkos (6).

* After Quinn Hughes (0-1—1) established a Canucks record for most points in a season by a defenseman, the Capitals staged a comeback win against the Western Conference leaders with the help of captain Alex Ovechkin whose game winner stood as his 19th tally of 2023-24. Ovechkin is one away from becoming 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.

* Tkachuk, who stole the second point from the Islanders deep in the Wild Card race, became the third player in franchise history to score a hat trick which included an overtime goal. Tkachuk tallied the NHL’s 94th hat trick of the season – AstraZeneca, which is donating $5,000 to the Hockey Fights Cancer Fund of the V Foundation up to $500,000, needs just six more three-goal performances to reach its donation goal. Click here for more information.



HURRICANES SURGE TO LATE COMEBACK VICTORY
The Hurricanes, who trailed by three goals just past the midway mark of the second period, pulled within one before the end of the middle frame including a Seth Jarvis goal with 2.7 seconds remaining on the clock. Carolina then found themselves down a pair of goals late in regulation before Sebastian Aho scored twice in the final 1:32, including a tying tally with seven seconds left on the clock, to set the stage for a shootout victory.

* The Hurricanes rallied from a three-goal deficit to win for the second time this season (also Nov. 4) and from a multi-goal deficit in the third period to win for the third time in 2023-24 (Nov. 26  & Nov. 4). With the victory they kept pace with the Rangers, who also won Saturday, as they sit four points back of New York for top seed in the Metropolitan Division.




TWO OF THE NHL’S TOP THREE TEAMS EARN WINS SATURDAY
The Bruins (40-14-15, 95 points) jumped the Panthers (45-19-4, 94 points) to reclaim top spot in the NHL for the first time since entering play Feb. 24, while the Rangers (44-19-4, 92 points) climbed over the Canucks (42-17-8, 92 points) for third overall as two of the top three teams in the League standings earned wins Saturday – both of those contests featured 11 goals.

* Charlie Coyle scored two goals – including one of the combined seven third-period tallies between Boston and Phildalephia – to help the Bruins extend their winning streak against the Flyers to seven games, tied for their second-longest active run against an opponent (also 7-0-0 vs. TOR). They trail only a 13-0-0 streak versus the Sharks (dating to Feb. 9, 2017). Boston also established its seventh home point streak of 20-plus contests against a franchise and its second versus Philadelphia (also 22 GP from Jan. 20, 1968 to March 27, 1976; 18-0-4).

* Brad Marchand collected two assists to increase his season totals to 27-34—61 (69 GP) and recorded his ninth 60-point season, tying Rick Middleton (9) for the third most in Bruins history. He trails Ray Bourque (15) and Johnny Bucyk (12).

Artemi Panarin (2-3—5) collected an assist on one of the three goals between the Rangers and Penguins that came in a span of 57 seconds and finished the contest with his fourth five-point game as a member of the Blueshirts. The only players in franchise with as many include Rod Gilbert (6), Ulf Nilsson (4) and Jean Ratelle (4). With his third assist of the game, Panarin reached the 500-assist benchmark (657 GP) and became the third-fastest active player to reach the milestone behind Connor McDavid (527 GP) and Sidney Crosby (554 GP).  

* He also reached the 90-point benchmark for the fourth time in his five seasons with the Rangers to surpass Mark Messier (3) andRatelle (3) for the most in franchise history.



ACTION-PACKED #NHLSTATS: LIVE UPDATES
A jam-packed #NHLStats: Live Updates featured notes from all 28 teams in action, including four Central Division clubs who collected wins:

* Roman Josi tallied 2-0—2 to help the Predators (39-25-4, 82 points) strengthen their grip on the Western Conference’s first Wild Card spot and extend their point streak to 14 games, matching the second-longest run in franchise history. Josi collected his 33rd career game-winning goal and tied Drew Doughty for the sixth most by a defenseman with a single franchise in NHL history. He trails Ray Bourque (60 w/ BOS), Denis Potvin (44 w/ NYI), Brian Leetch (37 w/ NYR), Nicklas Lidstrom (35 w/ DET) and Kris Letang (34 w/ PIT). 


Robert Thomas (81-219—300 in 381 GP) collected an assist to become the seventh-fastest Blues (35-29-3, 73 points) player to record 300 NHL points as he helped his club stave off a multi-goal rally from the Wild (33-27-8, 74 points). St. Louis is now within four points of Vegas (35-24-7, 77 points) for the final Wild Card spot.

Nathan MacKinnon (10-21—31 in 15 GP) assisted on the overtime goal by Artturi Lehkonen with 0.5 seconds left on the clock to extend his point streak to 15 games and help the Central Division-leading Avalanche (43-20-5, 91 points) earn their sixth straight win. Lehkonen became the second player in franchise history to score a goal in the final second of an overtime period, joining Matt Duchene (March 10, 2013).

Wyatt Johnston (50-44—94 in 151 GP) scored his seventh goal since March 5 and the 50th of his career to help Dallas (41-19-9, 91 points) keep pace with Colorado. Johnston became the third player in Stars/North Stars history with 50 NHL goals before age 21 following Brian Bellows (102) and Mike Modano (57), the latter of whom had a statue unveiled in his honor outside American Airlines Center on Saturday.


QUICK CLICKS


Mike Modano congratulated by fellow Dallas sports legend Dirk Nowitzki

Lanny McDonald returns to Scotiabank Saddledome
James van Riemsdyk honored for 1,000th NHL game in front of family, friends

Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs wear sweaters honoring Toronto St. Patricks on Saturday

Morgan Frost‘s incredible between-the-legs goal


ST. PATRICK’S DAY SLATE OPENS WITH NHL ON TNT TWO-PACK

Sunday’s seven-game schedule opens with an NHL on TNT doubleheader featuring the Islanders and Devils visiting the Rangers and Golden Knights, respectively. The evening slate has a pivotal showdown on Sportsnet and NHL Network between the Red Wings and Penguins – Detroit, NY Islanders, New Jersey and Pittsburgh are separated by no more than seven points in the NHL standings as each team vies for a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Click here to read Sunday’s edition of #NHLStats Live Updates, which features some St. Patrick’s Day-centric notes.

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