Player of the Night: Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
It was a big night for Kucherov and the Lightning. Their 7-5 win over the Buffalo Sabres helped them get one step closer to winning the Atlantic Division and claiming the No. 1 overall seed in the Eastern Conference, and with a pair of points Kucherov became the second player in the NHL this season to hit the 100-point mark. The 100-point scorer had pretty much disappeared from the league in recent years but with offense seeing a slight increase in the league this season Kucherov and Connor McDavid were both able to hit the century mark this season.
Since the start of the 2011-12 season there have only been seven 100-point seasons in the NHL: Two for McDavid, one for Patrick Kane, one for Sidney Crosby, one for Evgeni Malkin, one for Daniel Sedin, and now one for Kucherov.
This is the first time since the 2009-10 season that the NHL has had more than one 100-point scorer in a season.
The Lightning now have 112 points on the season heading into the regular season finale on Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes.
If the Lightning win, they will win the division and get the top seed in the East. If they lose they will need to get some help and hope the Bruins (who play twice this weekend) do not pass them in the standings.
Player of the Night Part 2: Patrik Berglund, St. Louis Blues
Thanks to their 4-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night all the St. Louis Blues have to do on Saturday is collect one point against the Colorado Avalanche in order to clinch a playoff spot. A regulation loss knocks them out. The fact they are even in that position is remarkable when you think back to the NHL trade deadline when they were stuck in a terrible losing streak and had traded one of their top players, veteran forward Paul Stastny.
The star of the night for the Blues on Friday was Patrik Berglund for scoring three goals, including the game-winner just 12 seconds after the Blackhawks had tied the game at one.
It was a pretty slick goal, too.
Highlight of the Night
Sidney Crosby doesn’t score normal goals anymore. After scoring a couple of goals where he batted the puck out of mid-air, he was back to scoring goals from his office on Friday night. By office, I mean from four feet behind the goal line. Here he is intentionally shooting the puck off of Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson for his 29th goal of the season. Crosby does this at least two or three times a year. It is 100 percent intentional.
The Penguins were 4-0 winners on Friday night and secured the No. 2 seed in the Metropolitan Division which means home-ice advantage in the first-round. They now await their first-round opponent which could be either the Columbus Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers, or New Jersey Devils. By finishing in second place in the division it is guaranteed they will not play the Washington Capitals in the first round.
Ducks inch closer to home ice
The Anaheim Ducks kept rolling on Friday night with a 5-3 win over the Dallas Stars and are now just one point back of the San Jose Sharks for second place in the Pacific Division. You can read about their win on Friday night here.
Factoid of the Night
It is another tough year for the Buffalo Sabres, but at least their 7-5 loss on Friday night had a bright spot.
Pittsburgh Penguins 4, Ottawa Senators 0
Tampa Bay Lightning 7, Buffalo Sabres 5
St. Louis Blues 4, Chicago Blackhawks 1
Anaheim Ducks 5, Dallas Stars 3