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NHL Morning Skate – March 5, 2024

Sam Reinhart became the sixth player in the past two decades to score 25 power-play goals in a season as the Panthers extended their lead to two points in the Presidents’ Trophy race.

Nathan MacKinnon intensified the Art Ross Trophy race as he moved into a tie with Nikita Kucherov for the League lead in points and extended the sixth-longest home point streak in NHL history to 30 games.

* Monday was the third consecutive day AstraZeneca donated at least $5,000 to the Hockey Fights Cancer Fund of the V Foundation and did so thanks to Alex Nylander’s first career hat trick with the Blue Jackets. The organization, with $425,000 contributed to date, sits $75,000 – or 15 hat tricks – shy of their season goal. Click here for more information.

Connor McDavid enters Tuesday’s nine-game slate a three-point outing away from reaching the 100-point mark – something he’s done an NHL-leading 117 times since he made his NHL debut in 2015-16.


REINHART SCORES TWICE, PANTHERS MAINTAIN TOP SPOT IN LEAGUE STANDINGS
Sam Reinhart (2-0—2) scored a pair of goals – the first of which came courtesy of a highlight-reel assist from Aleksander Barkov (0-2—2) – to help the Panthers (42-16-4, 88 points) earn their fifth straight win and extend their lead to two points in the Presidents’ Trophy Race.
 

 
* The Panthers posted their fourth winning streak of at least five games this season – their most instances in a campaign after recording three runs of five-plus contests in 2021-22, 2017-18 and 2015-16.
 
* Reinhart scored his 43rd and 44th goals of the season and surpassed Carter Verhaeghe (42 in 2022-23) for sole possession of the third most in a campaign in franchise history. The Panthers forward is on pace for 58 goals, which would come within one of Pavel Bure’s single-season record (59 in 2000-01) while matching the second-highest total in franchise history (Bure: 58 in 1999-00).
 
* Reinhart netted his League-leading 25th power-play goal of 2023-24 – 10 more than any other player – and became the sixth skater in the past 20 years to reach that mark in a campaign. The others: Leon Draisaitl (32 in 2022-23), Chris Kreider (26 in 2021-22), Alex Ovechkin (25 in 2014-15), Teemu Selanne (25 in 2006-07) and Ilya Kovalchuk (27 in 2005-06).



MACKINNON KEEPS THE STREAK AT BALL ARENA ALIVE
Nathan MacKinnon (2-2—4) extended his home point streak to 30 games and overtook Nikita Kucherov in the Art Ross Trophy race, while Cale Makar (1-1—2) climbed atop the only franchise scoring category among blueliners he was not leading outright as the Avalanche (38-20-5, 81 points) blanked the Blackhawks and moved within two points of the idle Stars (37-17-9, 83 points) for second place in the Central Division.

* MacKinnon, who already holds the franchise record for longest home point streak, improved his totals at Ball Arena this season to 25-40—65 (30 GP) which is the most home points among all players. He’s on pace to finish with 88 points on home ice, which would by far be a single-season record for the Avalanche/Nordiques franchise – Peter Stastny currently holds the mark (28-47—75 in 40 GP in 1981-82 w/ QUE).



* MacKinnon (39-66—105 in 63 GP), whose overall point streak hit double digits for the third time this season, intensified the Art Ross Trophy race as he tied Nikita Kucherov (38-67—105 in 62 GP) for the League lead in points. The last time MacKinnon led the NHL in scoring (tied or outright) was Feb. 6.

* Makar surpassed Tyson Barrie (232) for sole possession of the most assists by a defenseman in Avalanche/Nordiques history. He already held the franchise mark for most goals and points by defensemen.

PASTRNAK PROPELS BRUINS PAST MAPLE LEAFS IN POTENTIAL FIRST ROUND PREVIEW
David Pastrnak (0-3—3) factored on three of four Bruins goals as Boston (36-13-14, 86 points) kept pace in the tightly-contested Presidents’ Trophy race and extended the club’s win streak against the Maple Leafs to six contests for the fifth time and first since a franchise-best eight-game stretch from Oct. 20, 2011 to March 7, 2013 (spanning seasons or otherwise).

* Pastrnak (38-52—90 in 63 GP), who became the eighth player in franchise history with consecutive 90-point seasons, boosted his career totals versus Toronto to 18-17—35 (27 GP since 2014-15). His 1.30 career points per game against the Maple Leafs is the third highest by a Bruins player (min. 20 GP) behind Phil Esposito (1.49 P/GP) and Jean Ratelle (1.47 P/GP).  



* Despite losing key pieces of their roster like Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, Pastrnak and first-year captain Brad Marchand have helped the Bruins get back in the chase to finish as the regular season’s top team following an NHL record-setting campaign in 2022-23. In addition to becoming the seventh different franchise to prevail with the Presidents’ Trophy in consecutive seasons, the Bruins (4x) can also join the Red Wings (6x) as the second to attain it on five different occasions.

BLUES, KRAKEN PUSH FOR WILD CARD SPOTS IN #NHLSTATS: LIVE UPDATES
The Blues (32-26-3, 67 points) and Kraken (27-23-11, 65 points) each earned crucial victories Monday to stay in the hunt for playoff spots in the Western Conference, with St. Louis moving five points back of a Wild Card position and Seattle closing the gap to seven. Find more notes on all six games from Monday’s slate in the latest edition of #NHLStats: Live Updates.



QUICK CLICKS

Flyers congratulate Jason Kelce on retirement, donate to Eagles Autism Foundation
*Tommy Novak signs 3-year, $10.5 million contract with Predators
*Wendel Clark talks Auston Matthews, time with Maple Leafs in Q&A with NHL.com
Flyers wear high school hockey jerseys ahead of big local tournament
Women in Hockey: Blake Bolden


 

McDAVID CLOSES IN ON SEVENTH 100-POINT SEASON DURING NINE-GAME TUESDAY

A nine-game Tuesday will see a faceoff between the Bruins and Oilers at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sportsnet and TVA Sports as Connor McDavid (23-74—97 in 57 GP) looks to hit the 100-point mark for the seventh time in his career, while the Blues visit the Islanders on ESPN+ and Hulu. McDavid has recorded a three-point game 117 times since he made his NHL debut in 2015-16 – by far the most among all players over that span.



* McDavid, who trailed the leader of the Art Ross Trophy Race by as much as 22 points on Jan. 24, has narrowed that gap to eight thanks to his League-leading 6-31—37 (17 GP) over that span – 10 more points than the next-closest skater. The Oilers captain can become just the fourth player to win the Art Ross Trophy after trailing by a gap of 22 or more points following Peter Forsberg (32 points in 2002-03), Mario Lemieux (23 points in 1987-88) and Bobby Hull (22 points in 1961-62).
 

* McDavid has posted seven of his 11 three-point outings this season since the calendar flipped to 2024 and can record his fourth consecutive 100-point season with another three-point performance against the Bruins. He would become the first player to post four straight 100-point campaigns in more than 30 years after Steve Yzerman and Brett Hull had their six- and four-year runs conclude in 1992-93.

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