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NHL Short Notes

THREE HARD LAPS

Auston Matthews found the back of the net on Saturday and stands as the only U.S.-born player in NHL history to begin his career with five straight 30-goal seasons.

* The Blues tied the game late in regulation and captain Ryan O’Reilly scored late in overtime to propel St. Louis into a playoff spot.

* The Stars and Blackhawks had rookies play pivotal roles in their wins as they gained crucial points on the Predators in the Discover Central standings.




MATTHEWS, MARNER PROPEL MAPLE LEAFS IN HIGH-SCORING AFFAIR
Auston Matthews (3-1—4) and Mitchell Marner (1-3—4) each surpassed the 50-point mark this season as the Maple Leafs outlasted the Senators and extended the NHL’s longest active point streak to 10 games (9-0-1). Toronto (28-10-3, 59 points) moved past Carolina (27-9-4, 58 points) and idle Colorado (27-9-4, 58 points) for first place in the League standings.

* Matthews, a native of San Ramon, Calif., scored a career-high 47 goals in 2019-20 and is averaging an NHL-best 0.72 goals per game over the last two seasons (min. 50 GP). In the process, the Maple Leafs forward became the first U.S.-born player in NHL history to score 30 or more goals in each of his first five career seasons.



* Matthews (31-21—52 in 38 GP), who scored his third career hat trick, became the first player to reach the 30-goal mark this season. Only three other active players hit the benchmark in as many games or fewer in a single campaign: Alex Ovechkin (34 GP in 2013-14), Sidney Crosby (37 GP in 2010-11) and Steven Stamkos (38 GP in 2010-11).

* Meanwhile, fellow U.S.-born teammate Jack Campbell improved to 11-0-0 through his first 11 appearances in 2020-21 (1.88 GAA, .934 SV%, 2 SO) and established an NHL record for longest win streak to start a season.



O’REILLY HELPS BLUES CLIMB INTO A PLAYOFF POSITION
Mike Hoffman tied the game twice, including an equalizer with 42 seconds remaining in regulation, and set the stage for Ryan O’Reilly in overtime. The Blues (19-16-6, 44 points) swept their two-game set with the third-seeded Wild (24-13-3, 51 points) and leapfrogged the idle Coyotes (19-17-5, 43 points) into fourth place in the Honda West Division.

* After powering St. Louis with a four-point outing on Friday, O’Reilly’s game winner marked the latest overtime goal in Blues history – one second later than Vince Dunn’s mark in 2018-19 (4:57 on March 30, 2019). The Blues captain also became the third player to score within the final five seconds of overtime this season, joining Minnesota’s Matt Dumba (4:59 on Feb. 27) and Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn (4:59 on March 4). 



BLACKHAWKS, STARS GAIN GROUND ON PREDATORS IN CENTRAL
The Blackhawks (19-18-5, 43 points) and Stars (15-14-10, 40 points) each earned pivotal wins on Saturday to move within two and five points, respectively, of the Predators (22-19-1, 45 points) who hold the final playoff spot in the Discover Central Division.

Wyatt Kalynuk’s first career NHL goal came on the night the Blackhawks overcame a multi-goal deficit to win for the second time in 2020-21 (also: March 5 vs. TBL). Chicago currently sits atop the League in goals by rookies this season (Pius Suter: 11, Philipp Kurashev: 7, Brandon Hagel: 5, Nicolas Beaudin: 2, Ian Mitchell: 2 and Kalynuk: 1).



Jason Robertson (11-16—27) recorded his first career two-goal game and tied Chicago’s Pius Suter and Ottawa’s Josh Norris for the second-most goals among rookies this season. He also registered his sixth multi-point game of 2020-21, which trails only Minnesota’s Kirill Kaprizov (8) for the most among rookies.



LIGHTNING, JETS AND FLAMES STIFLE OPPONENTS TO COLLECT SHUTOUT WINS
The Lightning (28-11-2, 58 points), Jets (25-13-3, 53 points) and Flames (17-21-3, 37 points) received shutout performances from Andrei Vasilevskiy (36 saves), Connor Hellebuyck (19 saves) and Jacob Markstrom (17 saves), respectively, to collect wins on Saturday.

* While Vasilevskiy posted his fourth shutout of the season, rookie Ross Colton scored the game-winning goal and collected his 10th point of the season (7-3—10 in 15 GP). Tampa Bay’s fourth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft (No. 118) owns a three-game goal streak and trails only Anthony Cirelli (4 GP in 2018-19) and Cedric Paquette (4 GP in 2014-15) for the longest such run by a Lightning rookie.



Nikolaj Ehlers (1-1—2) was one of five different Winnipeg goal scorers and became the eighth player to score 10 road goals this season. The Jets, 2-0-0 on their current five-game road trip, improved to 14-7-1 as visitors this season and moved into a tie with the Maple Leafs (14-4-1) for the most road wins among all clubs in 2020-21.

Mark Giordano (1-1—2) earned his 90th career multi-point game as Markstrom recorded three shutouts in a single season for the first time in his career. Only two netminders in franchise history have recorded more in their first season with the Flames: Roman Turek (5 in 2001-02) and Miikka Kiprusoff (4 in 2003-04).

QUICK CLICKS

Canucks can return to play April 16; NHL regular season extends to May 16
Kraft Hockeyville Canada winner announced as Elsipogtog First Nation
David BackesPatrick Russell honor Colby Cave at celebration of life in Edmonton
Alex Ovechkin already best power-play goal scorer, NHL greats say
Canadiens invite young fans fighting cancer to sing anthem

PREVIEW OF TODAY'S ACTION
The top two teams in the Honda West Division will take to the ice on Sunday. Nathan MacKinnon will put his eight-game point streak on the line when the first-place Avalanche (27-9-4, 58 points) face off with the Ducks, while the second-place Golden Knights (26-11-2, 54 points) – with at least six goals in each of their last two wins – host the Coyotes.

Thanks to the NHL PR department for the information above.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com