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NHL Morning Skate – March 3, 2024

* Three teams climbed the standings with wins Saturday as the Oilers moved into second in the Pacific Division thanks to a multi-point effort by Leon Draisaitl and both the Predators and Islanders were powered by hat tricks.

* The Jets staged a three-goal, third period comeback win to keep pace in their pursuit of first place in the Central Division while the Flames staged a late rally of their own to cap a memorable night that started with Miikka Kiprusoff’s No. 34 raised to the rafters.

* With Canadian clubs occupying three of the top five spots in the Western Conference, the No. 1-ranked Canucks will take to the ice on a six-game Sunday after locking up Elias Pettersson with an eight-year contract extension. The slate also includes a Devils-Kings game on TNT, Max and TVA Sports along with a Sidney CrosbyConnor McDavid clash on Sportsnet programming.
 


THREE OF NHL’S HOTTEST TEAMS PICK UP POINTS, TIGHTEN PRESIDENTS’ TROPHY RACE
The Presidents’ Trophy race remained tight Saturday as the Panthers (41-16-4, 86 points) won to maintain their perch and the Rangers (40-17-4, 84 points) salvaged a point by scoring a late-tying goal in a seesaw affair against the Maple Leafs (35-17-8, 78 points), who are also hot in pursuit after ascending into eighth place overall.

* Sam Reinhart scored one of Florida’s four goals and tied Carter Verhaeghe (42 in 2022-23) for the third-most goals in a season in franchise history as the Panthers blanked the Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena. Reinhart’s tally marked his 24th on the power play this season. Only four other active players have had as many in a single campaign: Leon Draisaitl (32 in 2022-23 & 24 in 2021-22), Chris Kreider (26 in 2021-22), Alex Ovechkin (25 in 2014-15 & 24 in 2013-14) and Steven Stamkos (24 in 2009-10).

* After Mitch Marner and William Nylander scored to pull the Maple Leafs even and John Tavares netted a go-ahead goal, the Rangers staged their own comeback when Vincent Trochek (2-0—2) tied the score with 67 seconds remaining in regulation. However, New York’s rally fell short as birthday-boy Max Domi found the back of the net with the shootout-deciding goal to give Toronto a six-point cushion on both Detroit (33-22-6, 72 points) and Tampa Bay (33-24-6, 72 points) in the Atlantic Division.

* Nylander extended his point streak to 10 games, the fourth time in his career that he has had a double-digit run (tied with Marner for the second-most such streaks in franchise history behind Darryl Sittler: 6). Three of Nylander’s four runs have occurred in 2023-24, making him the first player in franchise history to record three separate point streaks of 10-plus games in a single season.


HAT TRICKS POWER WILD CARD HOPEFULS TO WINS

The Predators and Islanders each won following hat tricks by Cody Glass and Kyle Palmieri, with Nashville claiming its eighth straight win and New York its third in a row. The two hat tricks bring the League total to 82 this season, boosting the AstraZeneca donation total to the Hockey Fights Cancer Fund of the V Foundation to $410,000 ($5,000 per hat trick in 2023-24, up to $500,000).

* Glass entered Saturday with just two goals on the season but netted his first career hat trick to help the Predators match the second-longest winning streak in franchise history behind only a 10-game run in 2017-18. Nashville (35-25-2, 72 points) sat four points outside the playoff bracket before its winning streak began but moved into the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference with the win Saturday – the club’s highest rank since Jan. 19.

* Palmieri (3-1—4) matched a career high for points in a game and became the third player in Islanders history to score a natural hat trick in the first period while netting the first hat trick (of any sort) by the club since 2021-22. New York (26-20-14, 66 points) halted three Bruins streaks and overtook idle Washington (28-22-9, 65 points) to become the first team outside the playoff bracket in the Eastern Conference.

FLAMES CAP MEMORABLE NIGHT WITH LATE RALLY, KEEP PACE WITH BLUES

In Calgary, retired goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff had his No. 34immortalized by the Flames (30-25-5, 65 points) – who ensured it was a memorable night from start to finish thanks to a multi-goal comeback and final-minute winning goal – as the club kept pace with the Blues (31-26-3, 65 points), who won earlier in the day when Jordan Binnington moved up the franchise wins list. Both clubs now sit five points back of a playoff spot.
 

* Kiprusoff, the winningest goaltender in Flames history, gave a speech surrounded by friends, family, former teammates and fans before watching his No. 34 rise to the rafters at Scotiabank Saddledome, but that wasn’t the only time the Calgary faithful were on their feet Saturday. Facing a 3-1 deficit in the third period, Nazem Kadri jumpstarted a Flames comeback with a highlight-reel goal before Blake Coleman scored 32 seconds later to level the game. With 50 seconds left in regulation, Yegor Sharangovich scored to lift the Flames to their third multi-goal, third-period comeback win of 2023-24.

* “Kipper” was the benefactor of a go-ahead, game-winning goal in the final minute of regulation on six occasions during his time with the Flames, the last of which occurred Oct. 3, 2009, in a Battle of Alberta showdown when David Moss broke a 3-3 deadlock in a 31-save effort by Kiprusoff.
 


* Binnington earned his 138th career win and surpassed Curtis Joseph (137) for sole possession of the third most victories in franchise history behind only Mike Liut (151) and Jake Allen (148). St. Louis claimed its victory against Minnesota (28-27-6, 62 points), another contender in the Wild Card race.


JETS SCORE FIVE IN THE THIRD TO RALLY FROM THREE-GOAL DEFICIT

After the Hurricanes stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, the Jets responded with five straight markers in the final frame to record their first three-goal, third-period comeback win since Oct. 4, 2019 (5-4 SO W at NJD). Winnipeg (38-16-5, 81 points) remains two points back of Dallas (37-17-9, 83 points) for first place in the Central Division – with four games in hand – after the Stars claimed their 19th comeback win of the season (tied for the second most in the NHL).

Kyle Connor became the second player in Jets/Thrashers history to record at least seven straight 25-goal seasons (after Ilya Kovalchuk: 8 from 2001-02–2009-10). He is one of three players with an active run of at least that length alongside Auston Matthews (8 from 2016-17–2023-24) and Leon Draisaitl (8 from 2016-17–2023-24).


OILERS CLIMB INTO SECOND PLACE IN PACIFIC DIVISION

After ranking 31st in the NHL standings entering Kris Knoblauch’s coaching debut and sitting outside the playoff bracket for the first 60% of the regular season, the Oilers (36-20-2, 74 points) moved into their highest rank so far this season by overtaking the reigning Stanley Cup champion Golden Knights (33-21-7, 73 points) for second place in the Pacific Division standings. Edmonton holds three games in hand on Vegas and four on Vancouver (38-17-7, 83 points) – the only club ahead of them in the Pacific.

Connor McDavid notched an assist to extend his point streak to 10 games (1-23—24), tying Guy Lafleur (15x) for the second-most double-digit point streaks in NHL history behind Wayne Gretzky (31).

Leon Draisaitl (1-1—2), meanwhile, joined McDavid (7 from 2016-17 to 2022-23) as one of four active skaters to post at least six straight 30-goal seasons, alongside Alex Ovechkin (15 from 2005-06–2019-20) and Auston Matthews (8 from 2016-17–2023-24). McDavid needs eight more goals in 2023-24 to extend his run.
 


QUICK CLICKS

Flyers set NHL record with fifth penalty-shot goal this season in #NHLStats: Live Updates
Evgeny Kuznetsov of Capitals cleared by NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program
Elias Pettersson signs 8-year, $92.8 million contract with Canucks
Cody Glass tears up from loud ovation after 1st NHL hat trick
JJ Watt breaks out hockey gear again in workout at Mullett Arena


PETTERSSON EYES 400-POINT MARK DURING SIX-GAME SUNDAY
A six-game Sunday features a doubleheader on NHL Network, a battle between the Devils (30-26-4, 64 points) and Kings (30-19-10, 70 points) on TNT, Max, Sportsnet 360 and TVA Sports, as well as three other contests on Sportsnet programming. The night slate includes the newly re-signed Elias Pettersson looking to reach the 400-point milestone when the Western Conference-leading Canucks (38-17-7, 83 points) visit the Ducks (22-35-3, 47 points).
 


* Pettersson, who inked an eight-year extension with the Canucks on Saturday, enters Sunday with 29-46—75 (62 GP) on the season and can become the seventh player in franchise history to record at least three consecutive 30-goal campaigns.

* Pettersson (165-233—398 in 387 GP) can also become the second-fastest player in franchise history to record 400 points with the club behind Pavel Bure (360 GP) – the only Canucks skater to reach the milestone in fewer than 400 games.

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