HURRICANES LOCK UP NO. 1 SEED IN DISCOVER CENTRAL
By virtue of the Stars’ regulation win over the Lightning, the idle Hurricanes secured top spot in the Discover Central Division. The 2020-21 campaign marks the first time in 15 years that Carolina will enter the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the No. 1 seed in its division.
BLUES CLINCH FINAL PLAYOFF BERTH IN HONDA WEST DIVISION
After Ryan O’Reilly scored his team-leading 24th goal of the season in regulation to help St. Louis salvage a point against Vegas and Colorado defeated Los Angeles in regulation, the Blues (24-19-9, 57 points) clinched the final playoff spot in the Honda West Division. St. Louis is headed to the postseason for the third straight year and ninth time in the past 10 seasons.
* The Blues have reached the postseason for the 44th time in franchise history, the most among non-Original Six clubs and four more than the next closest team (PHI: 40). St. Louis made 25 of its 44 appearances from 1980 to 2004, tied for the third-longest stretch of consecutive playoff appearances in NHL history.
* St. Louis is one of three clubs to reach the postseason in at least nine of 10 campaigns since 2011-12 (also PIT: 10 & WSH: 9).
* O’Reilly, winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2019, has 12-22—34 in 35 career postseason games with the Blues after notching 3-4—7 in 13 playoff contests with the Avalanche (in 2010 and 2014). O’Reilly had 4-7—11 in the 2020 postseason, including 4-4—8 against the Canucks (6 GP) – only Colorado’s NathanMacKinnon (3-7—10 in 5 GP) and Vancouver’s Elias Pettersson (3-6—9 in 6 GP) had more points in the 2020 First Round.
PAVELSKI TALLIES TWICE AS STARS KEEP PLAYOFF HOPES ALIVE
Joe Pavelski (2-2—4) scored two goals as Dallas (22-18-14, 58 points), which ranks fifth in the Discover Central Division, moved within two points of fourth-place Nashville (29-23-2, 60 points). The Stars face the sixth-ranked Blackhawks in each of their final two games this season (May 9 & May 10), while the Predators host the NHL-leading Hurricanes twice to close out the campaign (May 8 & May 10).
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE HONDA WEST DIVISION ON FRIDAY
* Kirill Kaprizov (1-1—2) factored on two of his team’s four goals and scored the game winner 17 seconds into overtime to help the Wild earn their sixth straight win against the Ducks. Kaprizov, who collected his 22nd assist of the season and established a franchise record for the most by a rookie, now has a six-point cushion over Dallas’ Jason Robertson for the most among all rookies in 2020-21.
* Mikko Rantanen (1-0—1) scored his 30th goal of the season and Cale Makar (1-1—2) reached the 40-point mark for the second consecutive campaign to help Colorado earn its third straight win against Los Angeles. Makar (7-34—41) became the first defenseman in Avalanche/Nordiques history, and the fifth active blueliner, to record 40 points in each of his first two seasons to start his career.
* Jason Robertson of Stars embraces being role model for Asian Americans
* Zack MacEwan suspended one game for actions in Canucks game against Oilers
* Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov ready for Lightning playoff return
* Lightning will play Panthers in First Round of Stanley Cup Playoffs
* Maple Leafs wear remixed legends on colorful custom hoodies
CONFIRMED AND POTENTIAL FIRST ROUND MATCHUPS HIGHLIGHT TODAY’S SLATE
One confirmed and three potential First Round matchups in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs highlight today's 14-game slate, which opens at 3 p.m. ET with a pair of contests on NBC.
* The Lightning (36-15-3, 75 points) and Panthers (35-14-5, 75 points), who occupy second and third place, respectively, in the Discover Central Division, open their two-game set to close out the campaign before meeting in the postseason. The Sunshine State rivals, who are the first confirmed matchup for the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, will meet in a head-to-head playoff series for the first time.
* The Hurricanes (36-10-8, 80 points), who clinched first place in the Discover Central Division, and fourth-place Predators (29-23-2, 60 points) contest the penultimate contest of their eight-game season series, with Carolina earning wins in each of the first six (NSH: 0-5-1). The Hurricanes and Predators have never met in the postseason.
* The Honda West Division-leading Golden Knights (37-13-2, 76 points) and fourth-ranked Blues (24-19-8, 56 points) wrap up their back-to-back set. Vegas and St. Louis, which reached the Final in 2018 and 2019, respectively, met in the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers – Western Conference Round Robin. The Golden Knights earned a 6-4 win as Alex Pietrangelo, who captained the Blues to the championship less than 14 months prior, contested one of his final games with the franchise before joining Vegas.
* The Scotia North Division-leading Maple Leafs (34-13-6, 74 points) and fourth-place Canadiens (24-20-9, 57 points) conclude their 10-game season series. The last time the Original Six rivals met in the playoffs was during the 1979 Quarterfinals, which was about two months before Toronto forward Joe Thornton, who carries a seven-game point streak into tonight, was born.
McDAVID CLOSING IN ON ANOTHER 100-POINT SEASON
Oilers captain and NHL scoring leaderConnor McDavid (31-65—96 in 52 GP) enters tonight four points shy of his fourth career season with a triple-digit total (also 2016-17, 2017-18 & 2018-19). He can become the fourth player to record four or more 100-point campaigns with Edmonton, joining franchise cornerstones Wayne Gretzky (9), Jari Kurri (6) and Mark Messier (5).
* McDavid, who has nine multi-point games since April 17 (8-19—27 in 10 GP), can become the ninth different player in NHL history to reach the 100-point mark in 53 games played or fewer and first since 1995-96, when Penguins teammates Mario Lemieux (40-60—100 in 38 GP) and Jaromir Jagr (42-58—100 in 52 GP) each did so.