Connor McDavid back on track, Islanders clinch, Cole Caufield scores first in OT, and more NHL action

connor McDavid hart
May 1, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) celebrates after a first period goal against the Calgary Flames at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Connor McDavid got behind the pace he needed to hit 100 points this season when the Flames blanked him on Thursday night. Yesterday, he and Leon Draisaitl got back to business with McDavid notching a goal and two assists, while his teammate added four helpers to the Oilers 4-1 win.

McDavid back on track; Matthews scores again

After another virtuoso performance, McDavid now climbs to 87 points in 49 contests. He has 7 games remaining to get 13 more and hit that 100 mark for the year. In order to do so he has to improve on his season average of 1.77 points per game to 1.85 the rest of the way.

“Personally, I want to continue to play good hockey, our group wants to continue to play good hockey,” McDavid said. “We want to go into the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs on a good note. Personally, it’s a number and it’d be different to be able to do it in a shortened season, but I’m not going to change anything. I’m going to keep playing my game, and if I get there, I get there.”

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Over in Toronto, Auston Matthews scored twice to pad his league leading goal total to 38. The Maple Leafs won their fifth straight by downing the Canucks 5-1. As for Matthews, he’s on an incredible goal scoring pace at .80 per game. Extrapolated over a normal 82 game season, he’d be on pace for an incredible 66 goals.

In Montreal, Cole Caufield scored his first NHL goal and it couldn’t come at a better time. At the 2:25 mark in OT, he notched the winner to give the Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Senators. Montreal now holds an 8 points lead over Calgary for the last playoff spot.

cole caufield first goal
May 1, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Cole Caufield (22) reacts after scoring the winning goal against the Ottawa Senators during the overtime period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Islanders third team to lock up playoff spot in East, Bruins close

Semyon Varlamov did it again. He shutout the Rangers for the fourth time this season as the Islanders defeated them by a 3-0 margin. The victory puts the Islanders in the post season and the Rangers on the brink of mathematical elimination.

“It’s a great achievement for sure for me personally and I think for this team,” Varlamov said. “This is a team sport, and there’s no way I could do this without my brothers. They work hard for me every game. … I appreciate everything they do for me. This is beautiful.”

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islanders playoffs
May 1, 2021; Uniondale, New York, USA; New York Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov (40) celebrates with left wing Anthony Beauvillier (18) after defeating the New York Rangers at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Bruins easily beat the Sabres 6-2 with Craig Smith picking up the hat-trick in the process. Boston needs just one more point to clinch a playoff spot with six games to go. Any combination of one, whether they achieve it or the Rangers give it up will put them in the postseason.

Meanwhile the Penguins picked up a big win over the Capitals and are in first place by two points. Trista Jarry made 24 saves and bryan Rust scored two unassisted markers for the 3-0 victory. And the Devils beat the Flyers again, this time by a 4-1 score.

Central Action sees the Lightning fall further from first place

The Red Wings astonishingly shutout the Lightning 1-0 on the strength of a Thomas Greiss performance that saw 33 saves. Both teams played a scoreless game and it took 8 shootout rounds to finally decide the winner thanks to Sam Gagner.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes beat the Blue Jackets by a 2-1 score as Dougie Hamilton won it with 53 ticks on the clock in OT. The Panthers keep pace with them as they won their contest 5-4 against the Blackhawks. Anthony Duclair notched two goals and an assist for Florida in the win. As it stands this morning, Carolina leads the division with 75 points, Florida has 73, and Tampa sits with 72.

The battle for the last playoff spot rages between the Predators and Stars with Nashville picking up a 1-0 win yesterday. Juuse Saros made 28 saves and Erik Haula scored the OT winner to help the Preds increase their hold to three points over Dallas.

West playoff picture looks clear

Three teams have already clinched, and with the Blues picking up a point in their OT loss to the Wild they increase their hold on fourth place over the Coyotes to three points with three games in hand. Kevin Fiala won it in the extra session for Minnesota who remain six points out of first.

The Golden Knights won their match 3-2 over the Coyotes as Marc-Andre Fleury ties Roberto Luongo for third all-time on the wins list at 489. The Avalanche remain four points out of first with their 4-3 win over the Sharks. Finally, the Ducks beat the Kings 6-2.