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The Buzzer: McDavid passes Kucherov

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A new points king, and some concerns for the Kings

With two goals on Saturday, Connor McDavid might just pull off an impressive-yet-depressing feat: winning the Art Ross Trophy and then sitting at home after his team misses the playoffs. He now has 96 points on the season, one more than Nikita Kucherov.

That nice output helped the Edmonton Oilers upset the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 in regulation. With this result, the idle Anaheim Ducks hopped into the third spot in the Pacific, while wins for the Avalanche and Blues force Los Angeles out of the wild-card spots, too. More on that here.

Here’s the goal that gave McDavid the lead, at least briefly:

If nothing else, McDavid might generate two 100-point seasons in a row.

Players of the Night

  • Nicklas Backstrom was dishing out some great passes in Washington’s 6-4 win against Montreal. His four-assist night is quite the accomplishment, though you could argue that it isn’t all that rare for the slick Swede.

  • Vincent Trocheck generated a clutch performance for the Panthers, collecting two goals and an assist during a third period rally that saw them avoid being spoiled by the Arizona Coyotes. Keith Kinkaid generated back-to-back wins for the Devils, with 35 of 36 saves coming in a tight win against the Lightning. This post has more on what all of that means for the playoff races.
  • Alexandar Georgiev getting more reps is one of the silver linings of the Rangers roughing it through the end of the regular season. He’s now 4-3-1, yet with a strong .926 save percentage after making 43 out of 44 saves in a win against the Sabres on Saturday.

An ovation for Karlsson

The fans in Ottawa gave Erik Karlsson a heartwarming ovation during his return to the Senators lineup following the death of his infant son. Karlsson collected an assist in Ottawa’s loss.

Courageous fight

Brenden Dillon probably gets the W in this jarringly aggressive fight, but give Garnet Hathaway credit for rallying back in the end, and merely for dropping the gloves against a larger competitor. Wow.

Highlights

Leafs great Borje Salming enjoyed himself during Toronto’s win, including this patently weird moment.

Fantastic save by Jake Allen, who helped the Blues thwart the Blue Jackets in a big game.

Carl Soderberg finished quite the sequence for Colorado’s only actual goal before the Avs edged Vegas in a shootout.

More Factoids

Year after year, Bruce Boudreau churns out regular-season wins. Maybe one of these days he’ll enjoy more postseason success? (It certainly wouldn’t be easy this year, but still.)

Clayton Keller might need to practice Teemu Selanne’s sniping goal celebration at this rate.

Not bad for a team that’s been without Auston Matthews for big chunk of the season.

Scores

Avalanche 2, Golden Knights 1 (SO)
Sharks 5, Flames 1
Maple Leafs 4, Red Wings 3
Capitals 6, Canadiens 4
Hurricanes 5, Senators 2
Panthers 4, Coyotes 2
Devils 2, Lightning 1
Blackhawks 3, Islanders 1
Rangers 5, Sabres 1
Blues 2, Blue Jackets 1
Wild 4, Predators 1
Oilers 3, Kings 2

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

PHT Morning Skate: Barkov the hidden gem; Schwartz closer to return

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• The Nashville Predators threw some love the Tennessee Titans way Wednesday night ahead of this weekend’s playoff game against the New England Patriots. [Predators]

• If you missed it yesterday, the San Jose Sharks/City of Winnipeg controversy saw GM Doug Wilson weigh in about his disappointment with the team’s broadcast partner. [Mercury News]

Aleksander Barkov needs a bigger spotlight on him so people can see just how good of a player he is. [National Post]

• Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi on taking a puck to the back of the neck: “Very scary moment. It was definitely a weird feeling. Just kind of hurt everywhere. My arm was numb. Not sure if there was any damage. It was just a wait and see. But I got really lucky.” [Tampa Bay Times]

• The St. Louis Blues are close to getting Jaden Schwartz back in the lineup. [Post-Dispatch]

• What’s been killing the Edmonton Oilers? A lot of things, especially their weakness on the wings. [TSN]

• Praise to Bruce Cassidy and the job he’s done behind the Boston Bruins’ bench. [NBC Boston]

David Backes is healthy and playing his best hockey again a month after surgery to remove part of his colon. [NHL.com]

• What would Sweden’s Olympic roster look like NHL players? [Bruins Daily]

• Could Anthony Duclair help your hockey team? [Sportsnet]

• What’s gone wrong for Matt Duchene in Ottawa? [Spector’s Hockey]

• Referee Wes McCauley talks about some of his calls that have gone viral. [Yahoo]

• How does one Minnesota high school combat decreasing attendance at its hockey games? By charging $100 to livestream games. [Star Tribune]

• Finally, here’s Brenden Dillon of the San Jose Sharks assisting a Harlem Globetrotter’s trick shot:

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

The Buzzer: Milestones, shutouts and NHL firsts

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Players of the Night:

Marian Gaborik, Los Angeles Kings: 

Gaborik scored twice and helped propel a four-goal third period for the Kings, who came back from a 2-1 deficit after 40 minutes to win 5-2 against the visiting Minnesota Wild. Gaborik’s second goal of the night was his 400th of his NHL career. It came against the team he achieved his highest scoring prowess with.

Gustav Nyquist, Detroit Red Wings: 

Nyquist scored twice and added a helper as the Red Wings toppled the Western Conference-best Winnipeg Jets at Little Caesars Arena. Nyquist’s first-period marker held up as the game-winner in a big game for the Red Wings, who responded after getting shellacked 10-1 by the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver Canucks:

Markstrom made 30 saves in a 3-0 win for the Canucks against the Carolina Hurricanes. His shutout was the first of his NHL career.

Highlights of the Night:

Boo Nieves, the owner of one of the coolest nicknames in the league, scored his first NHL goal on a slick wrist shot in the first period of a 4-3 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

John Gibson committed this theft tonight. The victim failed to press charges:

Shea Weber did his best Clayton Kershaw impression to score against the St. Louis Blues:

Factoids of the Night:

Gaborik had a pretty good night:

And Nikita Kucherov put himself in some pretty elite company, both in Tampa Bay Lightning history, as well as NHL history in general:

MISC:

Scores:

Devils 4, Blue Jackets 1

Rangers 4, Penguins 3

Blues 4, Canadiens 3

Red Wings 5, Jets 1

Lightning 6, Islanders 2

Predators 5, Stars 2

Sabres 4, Avalanche 2

Canucks 3, Hurricanes 0

Golden Knights 4, Ducks 3 (SO)

Kings 5, Wild 2


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Sharks’ Dillon handed one-game suspension by player safety department

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A nasty two-handed chop that already got Brenden Dillon booted from a game will earn him another night off.

Dillon was handed a one-game suspension by the league on Tuesday night have his slash on Washington Capitals defenseman Madison Bowey in a 4-1 San Jose Sharks on Monday.

Dillon was slapped with a five-minute major and a game misconduct in the third period.

The deed, which was explained as a “simply frustrated player delivering a retaliatory and forceful slash” to a vulnerable area of an opponent’s body, can be seen here:

Under the terms of the CBA, Dillon will forfeit $17,580.65 based on his average annual salary.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Sharks coach livid over Capitals’ ‘premeditated’ revenge on Thornton

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Late in the second period of the Washington Capitals’ eventual 4-1 win against the San Jose Sharks from Monday, Joe Thornton delivered a questionable hit on T.J. Oshie, which ended the slick forward’s night with an upper-body injury.

The retaliation came early in the third, as Tom Wilson exacted revenge against Thornton by dropping him with a hard punch in a quick-but-violent fight. It was quite a spectacle between two teams you wouldn’t expect to build bad blood.

(You can see video of the fight above this post’s headline, while the hit is below. This post initially covered this situation.)

As it turns out, Sharks coach Peter DeBoer’s reaction to this carnage was arguably even more entertaining than the violence itself.

For one thing, cameras caught DeBoer jawing with Capitals assistant Lane Lambert following the Wilson – Thornton skirmish:

DeBoer didn’t clam up about it after the game, unloading on the Capitals for such a “premeditated” response. He used dirtier words to the media and unquestionably in arguing with Lambert.

“Well like I said, if someone would have grabbed Joe in the heat of the moment after the play because they thought a liberty was taken, then I’ve got no problem with that,” DeBoer said, via Kevin Kurz of The Athletic. “To go into the dressing room, think about it, come in the first shift, and do that premeditated crap is just garbage.”

Wow, that’s spicy. To DeBoer’s credit, he didn’t meltdown at a John Tortorella level, so we didn’t get to see a weird-awkward-awesome locker room argument.

Now, from the Capitals’ perspective, it’s not as though there was *that* much time between the hit and the fight.

Again, the check came late in the second, while Wilson dropped the gloves early in the third. Yes, there was the intermission, which could have served as an opportunity to diffuse the situation … but it’s not necessarily a given that anyone in the Caps room said “go after Jumbo Joe.” Wilson easily could have decided to stand up for his teammate on his own.

Speaking of moments from that game, the AP’s Stephen Whyno wonders if supplemental discipline is coming for Brenden Dillon:

If you want more drama, the good news is that the Capitals and Sharks meet one more time during the regular season. They’ll need to have long memories, though, as that second date doesn’t come until March 10.

Both teams seem like they’ll be battling for positioning – or perhaps their playoff lives – so the shenanigans could be limited anyway. Still, that game gets a little more sizzle to go with the Alex OvechkinNicklas Backstrom – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski steak, if nothing else.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.