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NHL Morning Skate – March 29, 2022

The Sabres became the second team in 2021-22 to secure a four-goal comeback win after Tage Thompson scored the game winner with 12 seconds remaining in regulation, achieving the feat for the fourth time in franchise history and first since Jan. 21, 1989.

* Frederik Andersen held Washington to just one goal for his 32nd win of the season as Carolina (44-15-7, 95 points) leapfrogged idle Florida (44-15-6, 94 points) to reclaim the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference standings for the first time since March 14.

The NHL released a Gender Equality Month feature on Meghan Duggan, focused on her role as Manager, Player Development for the Devils.

SABRES SECURE SECOND FOUR-GOAL COMEBACK OF 2021-22
A high-scoring affair at United Center saw the Blackhawks secure a four-goal lead, the Sabres erase that deficit, Alex DeBrincat put Chicago ahead and Alex Tuch tie the game with 2:14 remaining, before Tage Thompson scored the game winner in the final 12 seconds. Buffalo joined Carolina (Jan. 1 at CBJ) as the second team this season to overcome a four-goal deficit to win.


* The Sabres erased a four-goal deficit to win for the fourth time in franchise history. The others: Jan. 21, 1989 (at BOS), Feb. 25, 1983 (vs. BOS) and March 10, 1976 (at PIT).



* Buffalo improved to 8-3-2 (18 points) through March – only six teams have more points this month: Calgary (20), Boston (19), Washington (19), Florida (19), Winnipeg (19) and Minnesota (19).


ANDERSEN HELPS HURRICANES HOP BACK INTO FIRST IN EASTERN CONFERENCE
Frederik Andersen made 25 saves and Martin Necas (2-1—3) factored on three of his team’s six goals as the Hurricanes (44-15-7, 95 points) earned a win against the Capitals (37-21-10, 84 points) in a potential playoff matchup preview. Carolina leapfrogged idle Florida (44-15-6, 94 points) to reclaim the top position in the Eastern Conference standings for the first time since March 14.

* Carolina owns the lowest goals against among all teams in 2021-22 with 155, five fewer than the next-closest club (CGY: 160). Andersen (.927 SV%, 2.05 GAA, 3 SO) and Antti Raanta (.919 SV%, 2.30 GAA, 2 SO) can become the first duo in franchise history to win the William M. Jennings Trophy, which is awarded to the goaltenders with the fewest goals against in the regular season – Andersen previously shared the award with John Gibson in 2015-16 (w/ ANA).


TARASENKO TALLIES 500TH POINT, PERRON STAYS HOT AS BLUES CLIMB CENTRAL
Vladimir Tarasenko (2-1—3) scored twice in the third period to join the 500-point club and David Perron (1-0—1) tallied his 12th goal in March as the Blues (36-20-9, 81 points) overtook the idle Predators (38-24-4, 80 points) for third place in the Central Division.

* Perron, who is on pace to become the next player to reach the 500-point mark with the Blues (192-260—452 in 657 GP), matched Brock Nelson (12 G in 15 GP) and Kirill Kaprizov (12 G in 14 GP) for the most goals among all skaters in March. Only Leon Draisaitl (15 G in November) has scored more in a calendar month this season.
 


* Tarasenko (241-259—500 in 589 GP) became the fifth player in franchise history to reach the 500-point milestone with St. Louis, joining Bernie Federko (352-721—1,073 in 927 GP), Brett Hull (527-409—936 in 744 GP), Brian Sutter (303-333—636 in 779 GP) and Garry Unger (292-283—575 in 662 GP). Among players to debut with the club, only Federko reached the mark in fewer games.
 

McDAVID EXTENDS POINT STREAK ON #NHLSTATS: LIVE UPDATES
Connor McDavid (36-62—98 in 66 GP) scored to extend his point streak to 10 games – marking his second double-digit run in 2021-22 – and moved within two of becoming the first player to reach the 100-point mark, while teammate Leon Draisaitl recorded his 48th goal of the season, which tied Auston Matthews for the NHL lead. These notes and more were featured in Monday’s edition of #NHLStats: Live Updates.


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EAST’S PLAYOFF PICTURE DOMINATES TUESDAY SLATE

Seven of eight teams battling for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference are set to take to the ice, including head-to-head matchups between the Maple Leafs (41-19-5, 87 points) and Bruins (41-19-5, 87 points), Hurricanes (44-15-7, 95 points) and Lightning (41-18-6, 88 points) as well as the Penguins (40-17-10, 90 points) and Rangers (42-19-5, 89 points).
 


* Toronto and Boston, which have met in the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs twice in the past four years (2018 & 2019), boast identical records in 2021-22 but the Maple Leafs hold third place in the Atlantic Division due to regulation wins (TOR: 35, BOS: 33). The showdown also features the winners of the past two Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophies and the NHL’s two highest goal scorers since the calendar flipped to 2022David Pastrnak (29-16—45 in 29 GP) and Auston Matthews (28-22—50 in 33 GP).

* When Tampa Bay – second place in the Atlantic – hosts Metropolitan Division-leading Carolina, Victor Hedman enters the contest with a career-high 18 goals which trails only Cale Makar (24 G in 62 GP)for the most among all defensemen in 2021-22. Six of Hedman’s 18 tallies this season have also stood as the game winner, two shy of the NHL record for most by a blueliner in a single campaign (Oliver Ekman-Larsson: 8 in 2015-16 w/ ARI).

* Fresh off a meeting on March 25 (NYR: 5-1 W), March 29 marks the second-last matchup between New York and Pittsburgh this season (also April 7) with the third-place Rangers (66 GP) holding one game in hand on the second-place Penguins (67 GP) in the Metropolitan Division. After Tuesday, Pittsburgh concludes 2021-22 with nine more games against clubs currently sitting above the NHL’s playoff line and New York contests five.




AVALANCHE EYE 100TH POINT OF 2021-22 IN CLASH WITH FLAMES
NHL-leading Colorado (46-14-6, 98 points) and Pacific Division-leading Calgary (40-17-8, 88 points) are set to face off in a battle of Western Conference division leaders. The Avalanche (66 GP), two points shy of their eighth 100-point season in franchise history and first since 2013-14, can become the first team to hit the mark this season.



* Colorado and Calgary are set to duel for the third time in 2021-22 (also March 13 & March 5) with each team earning a win in their previous matchups. Colorado has yet to relinquish top spot in the Central Division since reclaiming it on Jan. 15 (74 days), while Calgary has done the same since taking over the Pacific Division on Feb. 15 (43 days) – the two longest active runs among current League division leaders (CAR: 40 days, FLA: 23 days).


STREAKING WILD AIM FOR SEVENTH STRAIGHT VICTORY
Minnesota (40-20-4, 84 points), in the midst of a nine-game homestand (6-1-0), enters Tuesday riding the NHL’s longest active win streak (6-0-0 since March 16) which also includes three straight victories in overtime. The Wild can become the first team in NHL history to win four consecutive contests in overtime.

* The Wild, who will conclude the longest homestand in franchise history on March 31 against the Penguins, can become just the fifth team in NHL history to earn seven wins in a homestand of at least nine games. The Avalanche (7-1-1 in 2020-21), Lightning (7-3-2 in 2010-11), Oilers (7-1-1 in 1981-82) and Kings (7-0-2 in 1973-74) all accomplished the feat.

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