1. Carter Verhaeghe, Florida Panthers. This has turned out to be one of the best offseason additions in the NHL. Not only in terms of contract value, but just overall impact. Verhaeghe has taken his opportunity with the Panthers and run with it, turning into a legit top-line performer. His hat trick on Saturday helped the Panthers get a 4-3 win over the Dallas Stars to keep pace in the Central Division. He now has 15 goals and 27 total points in 34 games this season while also posting dominant possession numbers. He has been sensational for the Panthers. The Panthers were able to get the win on Saturday thanks to Aaron Ekblad‘s overtime goal. His second goal of the overtime period. Yes, you read that right (read about it here).
2. Bryan Rust, Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins have five regular forwards (Evgeni Malkin, Kasperi Kapanen, Teddy Blueger, Brandon Tanev, and Jason Zucker) out of the lineup right now and are playing with a number of callups and fill-ins. They are getting contributions from everybody to continue winning, but the top line of Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, and Rust is also still carrying the offense. That was true again on Saturday night in an impressive 6-3 win over the New York Islanders that was highlighted by a Rust hat trick. The Penguins are just two points back of the Islanders with the two teams playing again on Monday night.
3. Martin Necas, Carolina Hurricanes. Just an absolutely monster game for Necas as he recorded four points in Carolina’s 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. He scored two goals, including the game-winner late in the third period, and added a pair of assists to contribute to every Carolina goal. The Hurricanes overcame an early two-goal deficit to get the win and close to within one point of Tampa Bay for the top spot in the Central Division.
Boston Pride Win Isobel Cup
The NWHL postseason concluded on Saturday night with the Boston Pride winning the Isobel Cup for the second time in a thrilling 4-3 win over the Minnesota Whitecaps. You can read more about the Pride win here.
You can see the highlights here.
Other Notable Performances From Saturday
• Samuel Morin scored his first NHL goal to help lift the Philadelphia Flyers to a much-needed 2-1 win over the New York Rangers.
• The Buffalo Sabres lost for the 17th game in a row when they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Boston Bruins. Boston scored two goals in the third period to get the win.
• After scoring four goals on Thursday night, Rocco Grimaldo found the back of the net again for the suddenly streaking Nashville Predators in a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Suddenly Nashville is just two points back of a playoff spot.
• William Nylander helped the Toronto Maple Leafs overcome a two-goal third period deficit against the Edmonton Oilers with an assist and a game-tying goal. Auston Matthews scored his 22nd goal of the season to win the game in overtime.
• Dougie Hamilton recorded a point for the 14th game in a row for the Carolina Hurricanes in their 4-3 win over Tampa Bay.
• Max Pacioretty had two points including the game-winning goal in overtime to help the Vegas Golden Knights earn a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
• Phil Kessel had the other hat trick on the net with his three-goal effort in Arizona’s 4-0 win over the San Jose Sharks. Kessel now has 14 goals in 35 games this season, matching his total from a year ago which he reached in 70 games.
• The Calgary Flames bounced back with a 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets to snap a four-game losing streak.
Highlights Of The Day
The passing by the Carolina Hurricanes on this play is some of the best of the day.
This Sergei Bobrovsky save in overtime is the save of the night.
Boston Bruins 3, Buffalo Sabres 2
Philadelphia Flyers 2, New York Rangers 1
Vegas Golden Knights 3, Colorado Avalanche 2 (OT)
Detroit Red Wings 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 1
Carolina Hurricanes 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 3
Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Edmonton Oilers 3 (OT)
Pittsburgh Penguins 6, New York Islanders 3
Nashville Predators 3, Chicago Blackhawks 1
Florida Panthers 4, Dallas Stars 3 (OT)
Arizona Coyotes 4, San Jose Sharks 0
Calgary Flames 4, Winnipeg Jets 2