* The Maple Leafs were one of two teams to clinch a berth in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday as Toronto will head to the postseason for a sixth straight year.
* Artemi Panarin matched a franchise mark and Chris Kreider moved within one of a 50-goal campaign as the Rangers clinched a postseason berth for the 61st time in franchise history.
* Alex Ovechkin tied Gordie Howe for the second-highest single-season goal total by a player age 36 or older and helped the Capitals move within four points of the Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division with two games in hand.
MATTHEWS HELPS MAPLE LEAFS MOUNT SIXTH STRAIGHT PLAYOFF BERTH
Auston Matthews (2-0—2) scored multiple times for the second straight contest, improving to 51 goals through his past 50 games, to lead the Maple Leafs (47-19-6, 100 points) to the postseason for a sixth straight year. The only longer playoff streaks in the 104-season history of the franchise came from 1931-1945 (15 seasons), 1959-1967 (9 seasons) and 1974-1981 (8 seasons).
* Toronto has required a winner-take-all game in nine of its past 12 series dating to 2002, including eight Game 7s (3-5) and a Game 5 defeat against Columbus in the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers. That includes an active run of four straight years with a winner-take-all showdown (2018-2021) – a streak exceeded by only three teams in NHL history.
* Matthews, who scored both tallies at even strength, notched his 14th multi-goal game of the season – trailing only Rick Vaive (15 GP in 1983-84) for the most in a single campaign in franchise history. Meanwhile, his 43 even-strength goals in 2021-22 eclipsed Frank Mahovlich (41 in 1960-61) for the most in a single season by a Maple Leafs skater.
PANARIN, KREIDER SPUR RANGERS PLAYOFF BERTH
Artemi Panarin (1-2—3) and Chris Kreider (2-0—2) each played pivotal roles as the Rangers (47-20-6, 100 points) clinched a postseason berth for the 61st time in franchise history and fifth since their Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2014. New York (73 GP) has reached the 100-point mark in fewer contests just once in franchise history: 1971-72 (67 GP).
* Panarin factored on three of five Rangers goals for his 59th career three-point game. Since entering the NHL in 2015-16, only two players have more: Connor McDavid (81) and Leon Draisaitl (61).
* Panarin has averaged nearly one point per playoff game in his NHL career (0.93 P/GP; 10-18—28 in 30 GP). The only undrafted players to debut since 1963-64 and average at least one point per game in the postseason (min. 25 GP) are Wayne Gretzky (1.84 P/GP), Bobby Orr (1.24 P/GP), Peter Stastny (1.13 P/GP) and Phil Esposito (1.05 P/GP).
* Kreider (49-21—70 in 73 GP) moved within one of the first 50-goal season of his career and tied Mike Gartner (49 in 1990-91) for the fourth-most goals by a Rangers player in a single campaign, trailing Jaromir Jagr (54 in 2005-06), Adam Graves (52 in 1993-94) and Vic Hadfield (50 in 1971-72).
* ICYMI: The 2021-22 season has featured the debut of #NHLStats Pack: Team Clinching Notes, a running document of notes for all teams as they clinch a berth in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Click here to read more.
CAPITALS EARN PIVOTAL ROAD WIN OVER DIVISION-RIVAL PENGUINS
The Capitals (39-22-10, 88 points) and Penguins (41-22-10, 92 points) traded goals within the first 1:01 of a contest broadcast nationally on ABC in the United States, the first of three game-tying moments through two periods. Washington then reeled off three straight goals in the third to earn its fifth straight road win and moved within four points of Pittsburgh for third in the Metropolitan Division with two games in hand.
* Alex Ovechkin scored on Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry for the first time and now has a regular-season goal against 158 different netminders. The only players to score against more are Jaromir Jagr (178), Patrick Marleau (177) and Mark Messier (164).
SIX-GOAL BURST BUMPS BLUES INTO SECOND PLACE
Justin Faulk (2-1—3) extended his goal streak to three games and Robert Thomas (1-2—3) stretched his point streak to nine games as the Blues (42-20-10, 94 points) improved to 7-0-1 in their past eight contests and leapfrogged the idle Wild (43-21-6, 92 points) for second place in the Central Division. St. Louis will meet Minnesota one more time in 2021-22 (April 16), with the latter holding two games in hand.
* Thomas, set to turn 23 on July 2, has posted 18-47—65 in 2021-22 (62 GP) – 23 more points than his previous season best (10-32—42 in 2019-20). Only three players in Blues history have posted more points in a single campaign at age 22 or younger: Wayne Babych (54-42—96 in 1980-81), Bernie Federko (31-64—95 in 1978-79) and Brian Sutter (41-39—80 in 1978-79).
AVALANCHE MATCH FRANCHISE RECORD FOR WINS ON #NHLSTATS: LIVE UPDATES
Nathan MacKinnon (1-0—1) scored the game-tying goal with 5:07 remaining in regulation and netted the deciding tally in the shootout, while Darcy Kuemper made a career-high 49 saves to help the Avalanche (52-14-6, 110 points) match their franchise record for wins in a season (also 52 in 2013-14 & 52 in 2000-01).
* With 10 games remaining, Colorado is also on pace to establish a new franchise record for most points in a campaign, besting its current mark of 118 which was set during the 2000-01 season – the year the club won its most recent Stanley Cup.
* Storylines like these and more can be found in the latest edition of #NHLStats: Live Updates.
* Islanders Casey Cizikas suspended one game for boarding
* Rookie Cole Caufield scores in fourth straight game
* Jack Roslovic completes hat trick with OT winner for Blue Jackets
* Panthers score 300th goal of 2021-22
* Kraken sport beautiful floral warmup jerseys for inaugural Pride Night
TNT DOUBLEHEADER STIRS UP PLAYOFF MEMORIES
An afternoon doubleheader on TNT is bound to stir up memories of playoffs past starting with the Bruins visiting Washington in the opening game – the two teams met in the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs with Boston advancing after a Game 5 victory. The first three games of that series all required overtime. The Bruins have won the first two contests between the teams this season.
* The second game of the broadcast will feature the two teams who faced off in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, which marked the first time the Predators made it to the Final and the second of consecutive Stanley Cup championships by the Penguins.
Thanks to the NHL PR department for the information above.
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