Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Fantasy Guru - Baseball

NHL Morning Skate – March 6, 2024

* The Stars were down three goals in the third period but a spirited rally, which featured a Wyatt Johnston hat trick, helped Dallas complete the seventh three-goal, third-period comeback win this season and allow them to re-gain top spot in the Central Division.

Connor McDavid continued to add to the excitement of this season’s Art Ross Trophy race as he recorded yet another multi-point outing to close the gap to just six points behind Nathan MacKinnon and Nikita Kucherov for the NHL scoring lead.

* Defensemen on the League’s top two teams achieved rare NHL feats as Florida’s Aaron Ekblad climbed atop another franchise list and Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes recorded his third straight 60-assist season.

* Two #NHLStats packs were released Tuesday: the 2023-24 Final Quarter document and information ahead of Hockey Day in Czechia.
 


STARS EARN LEAGUE’S SEVENTH THREE-GOAL, THIRD-PERIOD COMEBACK WIN OF 2023-24
A thrilling finish for the Stars started in the third period when the club erased a three-goal deficit after Logan Stankoven found the back of the net and Wyatt Johnston scored twice to complete his hat trick as Dallas (38-17-9, 85 points) re-took top spot in the Central Division from Winnipeg (39-17-5, 83 points). The Stars earned their first three-goal, third-period comeback win since Nov. 23, 2022 and fifth in the past 20 years.

* Johnston tallied 3-2—5 to record his first career three-goal performance and five-point outing. He became the fifth player in Stars/North Stars history to record a hat trick at age 20 or younger, joining Mike Modano (March 17, 1990), Todd Harvey (April 22, 1995), Steve Payne (March 21, 1979) and Brian Lawton (Feb. 19, 1986). With every hat trick this season, AstraZeneca will donate $5,000 to the Hockey Fights Cancer Fund of the V Foundation up to $500,000. Click here for more information.

* Johnston (20 years, 296 days) became the youngest player in franchise history to record five points in a game, besting the previous mark set by Dino Ciccarelli (21 years, 276 days on Nov. 11, 1981 w/ MNS).
 



* Stankoven, who is playing in his first season in the AHL and was recalled from the Texas Stars on Feb. 24, recorded his first career four-point outing and boosted his totals to 5-3—8. Stankoven’s five goals through his first six NHL games trail only Tomas Hertl (7), Evgeni Malkin (7) and Auston Matthews (6) for the most among active players.

Jamie Benn (1-3—4) and Miro Heiskanen (0-4—4) joined Johnston and Stankoven in recording four-plus points, marking the second time in franchise history the club has had as many players register four-plus points in the same game (also 4 on Jan. 25, 1982 at TOR). 

McDAVID FACTORS ON LATE GAME-TYING AND OVERTIME GOAL IN COMEBACK WIN
Connor McDavid (0-2—2) factored on both of Leon Draisaitl’s goals, which tied the game with 1:20 remaining in regulation and won the contest in overtime, as the Oilers (38-20-2, 78 points) created a five-point gap over the the Kings (31-19-11, 73 points) for second place in the Pacific Division. Tuesday also marked Edmonton’s 20th comeback win of the season, which is tied with New Jersey for the most among all clubs.

* McDavid (23-76—99 in 58 GP) moved within one point of his his fourth consecutive 100-point season and the seventh of his career. He also closed the gap to just six points behind the NHL leading scorers, Nathan MacKinnon (39-66—105 in 63 GP) and Nikita Kucherov (38-67—105 in 62 GP) – both have played five and four more games than McDavid, respectively.

* McDavid extended his assist streak to a career-high 12 games and is now on pace for 104 assists. Only three players have had 100-plus helpers in a season: Wayne Gretzky (11x), Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr. This note and more are featured in the #NHLStats 2023-24 Final Quarter document which can be found here.

 
* Draisaitl scored his 60th career game-winning goal and tied Jari Kurri for the fourth most in Oilers history. He also recorded his 57th game-tying tally, which is tied with Steven Stamkos for the fourth most among all players since he entered the League in 2014-15, behind Alex Ovechkin (74), Jeff Skinner (63) and Connor McDavid (61).

RUSH TO THE STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS

The Islanders, Penguins and Kraken continued their pursuit of a playoff spot Tuesday, each earning comeback victories to inch closer:

* Facing a 2-0 deficit, the Islanders rallied for four straight goals with the help of Noah Dobson (0-1—1), who climbed a franchise list, as New York (27-20-14, 68 points) moved within four points of idle Philadelphia (32-23-8, 72 points) for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Dobson boosted his 2023-24 totals to 7-56—63 (61 GP) and moved into a tie with Denis Potvin (1980-81) as well as Stefan Persson (1978-79) for the fifth-most assists in a season by an Islanders defenseman – a list topped by Potvin (70 in 1978-79).  

* 2023 Stanley Cup champion Reilly Smith (1-2—3) factored on three of five Pittsburgh goals as the Penguins (28-24-8, 64 points) earned their 14th consecutive home win against the Blue Jackets dating to Dec. 21, 2015. The Islanders (2) and Penguins (3) both have multiple games in hand on the Flyers (32-23-8, 72 points), who rank third in the Metropolitan Division and have the same number of points as the two Eastern Conference Wild Card teams.

Tomas Tatar scored a tying goal 25 seconds after the Jets took an early lead 1:17 into the third period, Andre Burakovsky talled a go-ahead goal with 2:39 remaining in regulation and Joey Daccord (30 saves) made a highlight-reel, game-saving stop in the dying seconds to keep the Kraken (28-23-11, 67 points) in the mix for a Wild Card position. Seattle extended its road winning streak to four games and moved within six points of a spot in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
 



PANTHERS AND CANUCKS, LEAGUE’S TOP TWO TEAMS, EARN WINS

The Panthers (43-16-4, 90 points) and Canucks (40-17-7, 87 points), the League’s top two teams in the standings, each picked up wins to bolster their position thanks in part to defensemen achieving rare NHL feats.

* Matthew Tkachuk (0-3—3) helped the Panthers withstand a multi-goal rally from the Devils and later reached the 50-assist mark, while Aaron Ekblad factored on the insurance marker as the Panthers became the first team to 90 points in 2023-24 – just the second time in franchise history the club reached the plateau in 63 or fewer games (62 GP in 2021-22).

* Ekblad (115-230—345 in 670 GP), who already sits atop the franchise lists for goalspoints and games played among defensemen, surpassed Robert Svehla (229) on the assists list. The only other active blueliners to hold this distinction are Victor Hedman (TBL), Kris Letang (PIT), Roman Josi (NSH) and Cam Fowler (ANA).
 



Quinn Hughes assisted on Elias Pettersson’s 30th goal of the season to help Vancouver send the game into overtime before J.T. Miller potted the winner as the Canucks became the third team in 2023-24 to hit 40 wins, following the Panthers (43) and Rangers (40). Vancouver reached the 40-win mark in 64 or fewer contests for the third time in franchise history after 2011-12 (62 GP) and 2010-11 (64 GP). 

* Hughes has now posted 60-plus assists in three consecutive seasons and became the second player in Canucks history to achieve the feat, following Henrik Sedin (6x).
 


BLACKHAWKS, CANADIENS HIGHLIGHTED IN #NHLSTATS: LIVE UPDATES
The latest edition of #NHLStats: Live Updates featured a number of notes across the nine-game slate, including Connor Bedard collecting a multi-assist outing as well as Brendan Gallagher and David Savard scoring six seconds apart – among the fastest two goals in Canadiens history.

* Bedard (17-26—43 in 49 GP) assisted on two of Chicago’s four power-play goals and became the sixth Blackhawks rookie in the past 30 years to record 25 helpers in a season, joining Patrick Kane (51 in 2007-08), Artemi Panarin (47 in 2015-16), Kris Versteeg (31 in 2008-09), Jonathan Toews (30 in 2007-08) and Brent Seabrook (27 in 2005-06). 

* Gallagher and Savard’s goals six seconds apart pulled the Canadiens even and laid the groundwork for a comeback victory, with Nick Suzuki sealing the win in overtime to end Nashville’s eight-game winning streak. Montreal snapped a team’s run of at least that length for the 10th time in franchise history and first since 2017-18, when the club ended Colorado’s 10-game streak.



QUICK CLICKS

*David Lehanski wins Technology Executive of the Year at Sports Business Journal Awards

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#NHLStats Ahead of 2024 Hockey Day in Czechia


LEAGUE LEADERS HEADLINE THREE-GAME SLATE
A three-game Wednesday includes an NHL on TNT and Max doubleheader that features both the League’s leading goal and point scorers in action as Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs (35-18-8, 78 points) face off against the Sabres (29-29-4, 62 points), while Nathan MacKinnon and the Avalanche (38-20-5, 81 points) host the Red Wings (33-22-6, 72 points) at Ball Arena.
 



* Matthews (53) enters the final quarter of the 2023-24 season with eight more goals than the next-closest skater (Sam Reinhart: 45) and continues his pursuit of his second 60-goal campaign, achieved by only eight different players in NHL history. He can join Ovechkin (9x) as the second active player to win the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy at least three times and the 13th in NHL history to lead the League in goals on three separate occasions. Ten players have done so in the League’s modern era (listed below) along with two before that: Toronto forwards Charlie Conacher (5x) and Babe Dye (4x).


* MacKinnon (39-66—105 in 63 GP) enters Wednesday only one goal back of 40 in 2023-24. He can become the fourth player in Avalanche/Nordiques history to record three or more 40-goal campaigns – he would join franchise icons Michel Goulet (7), Joe Sakic (5) and Peter Stastny (5).


* MacKinnon, who is tied with Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov (38-67—105 in 62 GP) for the League scoring lead but sits in first thanks to the goals-scored tiebreaker, is on pace for 136 points and can become the eighth player to capture his first Art Ross Trophy at age 28 or older – a list that also includes the only player in franchise history to win the award (Peter Forsberg: age 29 in 2002-03). Click here for more more #NHLStats and storylines on the League’s top players and teams as we enter the final quarter of the 2023-24 NHL season.

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