NHL Roundup: Auston Matthews hits 60, Predators clinch, Stars edge Knights, and more
Today’s NHL Roundup for April 26, 2022 recaps all 13 games on the schedule.
In yesterday’s action the Nashville Predators with some help clinched a playoff spot despite losing to the Calgary Flames in OT. Thanks to the Dallas Stars shootout win over the Vegas Golden Knights, not only did Nashville get in but the Los Angeles Kings as well. Dallas can officially clinch with a win tonight over the Arizona Coyotes or a Vegas loss of any kind against the Chicago Blackhawks.
In the East, the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Rangers for first-place in the Metropolitan Division. The Pittsburgh Penguins still hold a one point advantage for third place as both they and the Washington Capitals lost.
However, we start the recaps with Auston Matthews making some history by reaching the 60 goal plateau.
Maple Leafs 3, Red Wings 0
Auston Matthews scored twice to become the first Toronto player and first U.S. born player in history to reach 60 goals in a single season as the Maple Leafs blanked the visiting Detroit.
Matthews, who leads the league in goals, scored in the second and third periods for the playoff-bound Leafs. He had gone his previous five games without scoring and had not hit the back of the net since April 9, when he also netted a pair.
“It was pretty special,” Matthews said. “Just the reception from my teammates, the crowd, everything, it just kind of sends a chill down your bones but it’s kind of hard to put into words.”
John Tavares scored Toronto’s other goal while Jack Campbell stopped 20 shots to notch his fifth shutout of the season. Alex Nedeljkovic made 33 saves for Detroit (31-40-10, 72 points).
Avalanche 5, Blues 3
Valeri Nichushkin had a goal and an assist, and four other players scored as Colorado beat St. Louis in Denver.
Erik Johnson, Josh Manson, Artturi Lehkonen and Nazem Kadri also scored for Colorado. Darcy Kuemper stopped 29 shots and Alex Newhook and J.T. Compher had two assists each for the Avalanche, who stopped a four-game skid and tied the franchise record for points in a season.
Ryan O’Reilly had two goals and an assist, Brandon Saad also scored, Jordan Kyrou had three assists and Jordan Binnington had 29 saves for St. Louis. The Blues remain tied with Minnesota for second in the Central Division after having their 16-game points streak ended.
Oilers 5, Penguins 1
Connor McDavid had a goal and three assists as visiting Edmonton clinched second place in the Pacific Division with a win over Pittsburgh.
Edmonton will have home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Evan Bouchard, Evander Kane, Zach Hyman and Zack Kassian also scored for the Oilers, who have won five of their past six. Mike Smith extended his winning streak to nine, making 33 saves.
Jeff Carter scored for the Penguins, who have lost two straight and three of five as they scramble to keep from finishing in a wild-card spot. Casey DeSmith made 37 saves.
Canucks 5, Kraken 2
Quinn Hughes had a goal and two assists and Conor Garland added three assists as Vancouver defeated visiting Seattle, sweeping the four-game season series from the expansion Kraken.
The Canucks built a 3-0 lead in the first period while still in the NHL’s Western Conference wild-card race, but they were eliminated midway through the game when the Vegas-Dallas contest went to overtime, putting the Stars out of Vancouver’s reach.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson had a goal and an assist and Sheldon Dries, J.T. Miller and Luke Schenn also scored for the Canucks, who snapped a three-game losing streak (0-2-1). Jordan Eberle and Morgan Geekie scored for Seattle, which lost its third game in a row.
Flames 5, Predators 4 (OT)
Elias Lindholm scored the overtime winner and Dillon Dube tallied twice as the Calgary Flames collected a franchise-record 25th road victory with a 5-4 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk tied the game with 0.1 seconds left in regulation.
The Predators (44-29-7, 95 points) could have clinched a playoff berth with a regulation win. However, they sealed a postseason spot less than an hour later when the Dallas Stars beat the Golden Knights 3-2 in a shootout, as Vegas can no longer catch Nashville.
“I think it’s a real tribute to our players,” Nashville coach John Hynes said. “We certainly deserve to be in the playoffs, the way that I think we played all year and the way the guys have battled. No one picked us to be here. We talked about writing our own story and having a strong team identity and a strong team culture, along with a lot of talent. They worked their [tails] off for 80 games to get here.”NHL
Noah Hanifin had a goal and an assist while Dan Vladar made 19 saves for the Pacific Division champion Flames (50-20-10, 110 points), who are on a 10-1-1 overall run and a 7-0-1 road streak.
Filip Forsberg scored twice, Matt Duchene scored once in a three-point game and Roman Josi collected one goal and one assist for the Predators. Mikael Granlund contributed three assists. Nashville starting goalie Juuse Saros left the game late in the third period favoring his left leg after stopping 30 shots.
Bruins 4, Panthers 2
Brad Marchand and Taylor Hall each had a goal and an assist and Jake DeBrusk scored the game-winner as host Boston knocked off Eastern Conference-leading Florida.
David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron both logged two assists for the Bruins (50-25-5, 105 points), who have won three straight games. Marchand added an empty-netter with 3:05 left in regulation. Linus Ullmark stopped 19 shots, improving to 8-1-1 in his last 10 decisions for Boston.
Florida (57-17-6, 120 points) has now lost back-to-back games after rattling off a franchise-record 13 straight wins. Gustav Forsling and Sam Reinhart scored the Panthers’ goals.
Hurricane 4, Rangers 3
Rookie goalie Pyotr Kochetkov held his own for his third career NHL victory as Carolina clinched the Metropolitan Division title by defeating host New York in a showdown between the top teams in the division.
Vincent Trocheck, Jordan Martinook, Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho scored Carolina’s goals. Brady Skjei notched two assists against his former team and Trocheck also had an assist in the team’s fifth consecutive victory. The Hurricanes (114 points) set a franchise record for points in a season.
Chris Kreider, Jacob Trouba and Alexis Lafreniere scored for the Rangers, who have lost their past two games. It’s their first back-to-back losses in regulation since March 8 and 10.
Islanders 4, Capitals 1
Noah Dobson scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period for visiting New York, who beat the Capitals and prevented Washington from climbing out of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot.
Ryan Pulock scored in the first period and Casey Cizikas and Anders Lee added unassisted goals later in the third for the Islanders, who snapped a five-game losing streak. New York goalie Ilya Sorokin made 32 saves.
Conor Sheary scored in the first for the Capitals, who remained one point behind Pittsburgh in the race for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Goalie Ilya Samsonov recorded 22 saves for the Capitals, who played without Alex Ovechkin after he sustained an upper-body injury Sunday.
Lightning 4, Blue Jackets 1
Steven Stamkos collected two goals and two assists to surpass the 100-point plateau on the season, fueling host Tampa Bay over Columbus.
Stamkos, the NHL’s reigning First Star of the Week, recorded at least three points in his fifth consecutive game — just the 10th such streak in league history. The most recent on that list had been Jari Kurri in 1992-93. The record is six consecutive games with three-plus points, shared by Kurri, Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr.
“It’s something I’ve never done before,” Stamkos said. “I’m more proud of the fact that I’ve probably proved a lot of people wrong. It’s the people that have always believed in me that make these moments pretty special.”
Nikita Kucherov scored to extend his goal-scoring streak to seven games and added three assists, Ondrej Palat scored a goal and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 20 saves to send the Lightning to their fourth straight win. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored a power-play goal for the Blue Jackets, who have dropped five of their past six games (1-4-1).
Stars 3, Knights 2 (SO)
Miro Heiskanen scored the winner in the seventh round of a shootout and Jason Robertson had two goals in regulation as Dallas inched closer to a Stanley Cup playoff berth with a shootout win over visiting Vegas.
Jake Oettinger finished with 33 saves for the Stars, who moved four points ahead of the Golden Knights for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
“Those are the opportunities you want as a professional athlete, to be able to step up for the guys that are in the room,” Oettinger said. “This time of year, you want to be a guy that’s looked upon. The guys look down in the net and they know I’ll be able to step up for them and be big.
William Carrier and Chandler Stephenson scored goals for Vegas while Logan Thompson made 28 saves.
“I thought our guys left everything on the ice tonight,” Knights head coach Peter DeBoer said. “We’ve got a lot of guys playing banged up and they gave us what they had. We’ve still got a pulse. We’re not eliminated. I’m proud of our group.”
Coyotes 5, Wild 3
Anton Stralman and Phil Kessel each had a goal and an assist as Arizona snapped a 10-game losing streak with a win over Minnesota in Minneapolis, leaving the Wild tied for second in the Central Division with the St. Louis Blues.
Shayne Gostisbehere had three assists and Karel Vejmelka made 35 saves for the Coyotes, who were 0-8-2 during their slide.
Joel Eriksson Ek and Marcus Foligno each had a goal and an assist while Kirill Kaprizov had two assists for the Wild, whose five-game winning streak and 10-game point streak ended.
Senators 5, Devils 4 (OT)
Drake Batherson scored his second goal of the game with 1:43 remaining in overtime and Ottawa beat visiting New Jersey for its first four-game winning streak in more than five years.
Tim Stutzle had two goals with two assists and Brady Tkachuk topped the 100-career assist mark with three for the Senators, who have won four straight for the first time since a six-game run from March 2-11, 2017. Anton Forsberg stopped 37 shots for the win.
Nolan Foote scored twice and Pavel Zacha notched a goal with an assist for the Devils (27-44-9, 63 points), who are mired in an 0-2-2 rut. New Jersey netminder Mackenzie Blackwood returned from a nearly three-month absence to make 29 saves.
Ducks 5, Sharks 2
Max Comtois and Sonny Milano each had a goal and an assist for Anaheim in a win at San Jose.
Trevor Zegras, Josh Mahura and Zach Aston-Reese also scored and Anthony Stolarz made 31 saves for the Ducks, who ended a three-game losing streak.
Brent Burns and Scott Reedy scored and Kaapo Kahkonen made 26 saves for the Sharks, who had won three of their previous four.
–Field Level Media contributed to this report