NHL Recaps: Avs clinch to defend title, Panthers overtake Penguins for wild card, and more
NHL Recaps: April 4, 2023
Tuesday night’s NHL schedule was jam-packed with 11 matchups. When the evening was done the Florida Panthers jumped over the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders to hold the first wild card spot in the East. Meanwhile, after a slow start to the season, Colorado has clinched and will defend their title. Let’s dive into the recaps.
NHL Recaps: Avs ready to defend title
Avalanche 4 vs Sharks 3 (OT)
Nathan MacKinnon scored his second goal of the night at 3:13 of overtime and the visiting Colorado Avalanche clinched a playoff spot with a 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.
Jack Johnson and Evan Rodrigues also scored for Colorado. MacKinnon also added an assist to reach 100 points for the first time in his career. Mikko Rantanen and Devon Toews had two assists each for the Avalanche, and Alexandar Georgiev turned away 28 shots.
The Avalanche, who for the fifth time in six games, tied Dallas and Minnesota for first in the Central Division. However, Colorado has played one fewer game than the Stars and Wild.
Kevin Labanc tallied two goals, Jacob Peterson also scored and Kaapo Kahkonen made 38 saves for the Sharks, whose three-game winning streak ended. Logan Couture logged two assists.
Maple Leafs 4 vs Blue Jackets 2
Zach-Aston Reese scored two goals as Toronto defeated visiting Columbus.
Alexander Kerfoot and Auston Matthews (empty net) also scored for the playoff-bound Maple Leafs. Sam Lafferty added two assists and Joseph Woll made 24 saves for Toronto. The victory put Toronto six points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the race for second place in the Atlantic Division.
Jack Roslovic and Eric Robinson scored for the Blue Jackets, who are out of playoff contention. Jet Greaves played a strong game in stopping 46 shots for Columbus in his NHL debut.
Devils 5 vs Penguins 1
Dawson Mercer recorded his first career hat trick as New Jersey damaged Pittsburgh’s wild-card hopes by cruising to a win in Newark, N.J.
At 21 years and 159 days old, Mercer is the youngest Devils player to record a hat trick since Scott Gomez (20 years, three days) did so on Dec. 26, 1999. Dougie Hamilton and Timo Meier also scored for the Devils, and Vitek Vanecek made 22 saves.
Bryan Rust scored for the Penguins, who fell out of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Tristan Jarry recorded 32 saves.
Red Wings 5 vs Canadiens 0
Ville Husso made 24 saves and David Perron had two goals and an assist as visiting Detroit shut out Montreal.
The victory kept the Red Wings’ slim playoff chances alive, though Detroit may need to win all of its remaining five games to pass the four teams ahead of it for the final Eastern Conference wild-card slot. The Red Wings are 4-1-0 in their past five games.
Goaltender Cayden Primeau stopped 16 of 21 shots as Montreal was shut out for the second time in as many games. The Canadiens fell 3-0 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
Oilers 3 vs Kings 1
Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists for visiting Edmonton in a win at Los Angeles.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and an assist, Darnell Nurse scored and Stuart Skinner made 20 saves for the Oilers, who overtook the Kings for second place in the Pacific Division.
Viktor Arvidsson scored and Pheonix Copley made 30 saves for the Kings, who were blanked 2-0 by Skinner and the Oilers on Thursday in Edmonton. Vegas hosts Los Angeles this Thursday.
NHL Recaps: Panthers in wild card spot
Panthers 2 vs Sabres 1
Matthew Tkachuk scored the go-ahead goal 59 seconds into the third period as Florida rallied past Buffalo Sabres in Sunrise, Fla.
Alex Lyon made 39 saves for his and the Panthers’ fourth straight win. Aaron Ekblad scored and Brandon Montour logged two assists as Florida moved into an Eastern Conference wild-card spot.
Dylan Cozens scored and Devon Levi made 34 saves for the Sabres, who had a five-game point streak (4-0-1) end.
Blackhawks 4 vs Flames 3
Andreas Athanasiou scored twice and Chicago snapped an eight-game losing streak with a win at Calgary.
Jujhar Khaira and Austin Wagner each netted a goal, Lukas Reichel had two assists and Petr Mrazek made 33 saves for the Blackhawks.
Noah Hanifin had a goal and an assist for the Flames, who missed a chance to tie the Winnipeg Jets for the second Western Conference wild-card spot. Mikael Backlund and Tyler Toffoli each scored, and Jacob Markstrom made 19 saves.
Predators 3 vs Golden Knights 2 (OT)
Cody Glass scored a power-play goal at 3:30 of overtime to lift Nashville to a win against visiting Vegas.
Tommy Novak had two goals and an assist, Glass finished with two points and Kevin Lankinen made 30 saves for the Predators. Nashville moved within three points of the Jets for the second and final Western Conference wild-card spot with five games left.
Alex Pietrangelo scored two goals and Jonathan Quick made 24 saves for the Golden Knights, who lead the Pacific Division.
Hurricanes 3 vs Senators 2 (OT)
Martin Necas scored with 41 seconds remaining in overtime and Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Brady Skjei each added a goal and an assist as Carolina beat visiting Ottawa.
Stefan Noesen recorded two assists and Antti Raanta made 26 saves to improve to 10-0-1 at home for the Metropolitan Division-leading Hurricanes, who have won three in a row following an 0-2-1 rut.
Six points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, Ottawa is mired in an 0-1-2 rut with time running out on its playoff hopes. However, 20-year-old Finnish netminder Leevi Merilainen was stellar while making 34 saves in his NHL debut for the Senators.
Blues 4 vs Flyers 2
Alexey Toropchenko and Justin Faulk each had a goal and an assist to lead host St. Louis to a victory over Philadelphia.
Jordan Kyrou and Tyler Pitlick also scored for St. Louis, which has won three of its past five games (3-1-1). Jordan Binnington made 32 saves for the Blues, who have been eliminated from playoff contention for the first time in the past five seasons.
James van Riemsdyk and Morgan Frost scored for the Flyers, who have dropped four straight (0-3-1) and will miss the playoffs for the third straight season. Samuel Ersson made 28 saves.
Kraken 5 vs Canucks 2
Brandon Tanev scored a short-handed goal to highlight Seattle’s three-goal second period as the visiting Kraken rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to defeat Vancouver.
Yanni Gourde, Jordan Eberle, Jaden Schwartz and Matty Beniers also scored for Seattle, which increased its lead to five points over Winnipeg for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Martin Jones stopped 16 of 18 shots for the Kraken, who won for the third time in four games. Elias Pettersson and Anthony Beauvillier scored for Vancouver, which dropped its fourth straight game (0-2-2). Collin Delia made 23 saves.
–Field Level Media