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NHL Morning Skate – March 26, 2024

* The Kings spoiled the Canucks’ bid to become the first team to clinch a spot into the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs thanks to a fourth straight multi-point effort from captain Anze Kopitar.

Jonathan Marchessault scored the winner just 19 seconds after Logan Thompson made the first overtime penalty-shot save in Golden Knights history to help Vegas increase its cushion in the second Wild Card spot.

* The Rangers, Panthers, Hurricanes and Bruins can each punch their ticket into the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs during Tuesday’s slate. Click here to see how.

KOPITAR COLLECTS ANOTHER 40-ASSIST SEASON IN KINGS WIN
Anze Kopitar (1-1—2) factored on two of three Kings goals to hit the 40-assist mark for the 14th time in his career and help Los Angeles spoil Vancouver’s bid to become the first team to clinch a berth into the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Kings (38-22-11, 87 points) moved within one point of the Oilers (42-23-4, 88 points) for second place in the Pacific Division – the clubs will face off in Edmonton on Thursday.



* Kopitar extended his multi-point streak to four games and tied the longest such run of his career (4 GP in 2019-20, 2017-18 & 2007-08). The captain will have an opportunity to become just the fourth Kings skater in the past 30 years to extend that run to five games in his next outing – he would join Alex Frolov (5 GP in 2006-07), Wayne Gretzky (6 GP & 5 GP in 1993-94; 5 GP in 1995-96) and Jari Kurri (5 GP in 1993-94).

THOMPSON, MARCHESSAULT COMBINE FOR THRILLING OVERTIME VICTORY

With the game tied 1-1 heading into extra time, Logan Thompson’s dazzling penalty-shot save on Pavel Buchnevich proved to be critical as it was just 19 seconds later that Jonathan Marchessault found the back of the net and helped the Golden Knights (39-25-7, 85 points) create a five-point cushion over their opponent, the Blues (38-30-4, 80 points), for the final Wild Card spot.

* Marchessault (0:49) scored the sixth-fastest overtime goal in Golden Knights history, behind Max Pacioretty (0:07 on Jan. 16, 2021), Marchessault himself(0:22 on March 30, 2018), Reilly Smith (0:23 on Nov. 8, 2022) and Alex Pietrangelo (0:42 on Feb. 23, 2023 & 0:46 on Jan. 11). It was also his eighth overtime tally in a Vegas uniform, passing Shea Theodore (7) for the most in franchise history.

* Thompson, who joined Marc-Andre Fleury (4x) as the second Golden Knights goaltender with multiple 20-win seasons, helped produce the 11th instance in NHL history (regular season & playoffs) of a team recording a penalty-shot save and then scoring the overtime winner. The Islanders were the last team to achieve this feat on Jan. 28, 2023, who happened to do so against the Golden Knights.


ICYMI: HOCKEY FIGHTS CANCER FEATURE ON PWHL’S MADISON BIZAL
Watch the inspiring story of PWHL player Madison Bizal, who was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer when she was a sophomore at Ohio State. Bizal continued playing hockey through cancer treatments, which she finished in September, and is now a member of PWHL Montreal.


QUICK CLICKS
 

Three Stars of the Week: Alex OvechkinAuston MatthewsConnor McDavid

Kathryn Tappen, Jamie Hersch host all-women edition of ‘NHL Tonight’ before PWHL matchup

Adrienne Roberson becomes Ducks’ first female PA announcer

Martin St. Louis to return for Canadiens against Avalanche on Tuesday

NHL, Blackhawks to team up for real-time animated broadcast April 6


RACE FOR PRESIDENTS’ TROPHY CONTINUES ON 12-GAME TUESDAY

Nine of the top 10 teams in the overall standings will be in action Tuesday as the red-hot race for the Presidents’ Trophy continues, where the top seven clubs are all within one point of each other including four Eastern Conference teams that can punch their ticket to the postseason Tuesday. To read each clinching scenario for the Rangers, Panthers, Hurricanes and Bruins, check out the March 26 edition of #NHLStats: Live Updates.


* After meeting in the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Panthers (46-20-5, 97 points) and Bruins (41-16-15, 97 points) sit first and second in the Atlantic Division. One of Florida or Boston has held first place in the Atlantic Division every day since Oct. 19, leapfrogging over each other seven times during that span.
 

* The Hurricanes (45-20-7, 97 points) have posted an 11-2-1 record since Feb. 27 and find themselves one point back of the Rangers (47-20-4, 98 points), who have held first place in the Metropolitan Division every day since Oct. 24.

* The Avalanche (46-20-5, 97 points) will look to win 10 straight games for the fourth time in franchise history while Nathan MacKinnon (28-48—76 in 34 GP) continues his pursuit of Wayne Gretzky (33-70—103 in 40 GP) for the longest home point streak in NHL history.

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