Three Stars: Monday in the NHL
1. Mark Scheifele (and Nikolaj Ehlers), Winnipeg Jets
The Jets aren’t a perfect team, but in a flawed North Division, they should not be dismissed. That’s especially true if they can mix a dangerous offense with strong goaltending.
You don’t see Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers line up together all that often, at least at even strength. That might change after this display, though.
Scheifele gets the tiebreaker over Ehlers (and other Monday standouts in the NHL) because he scored two goals and one assist. Ehlers, meanwhile, collected three assists. The Jets didn’t even lean on their power play, either, as they went 0-for-2 on another miserable night for the Flames.
With those three points, Scheifele now has 43 points in 36 games. Even after being cold by his standards lately (two assists, zero goals in six games), Ehlers continues to reach another level of NHL recognition. He’s at a point-per-game (36 in 36) after piling up three assists.
Kyle Connor deserves a mention, too, as he produced two points (2A) for Winnipeg.
2. Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche
Speaking of three assist-nights on Monday in the NHL, Cale Makar matched that output.
In both the cases of Ehlers and Makar, they collected two primary assists and one secondary helper apiece. Makar’s heating back up after returning from injury, scoring two goals and six assists for eight points in his past seven games.
Along with Makar, the Avalanche’s other top players exerted their will vs. the Ducks. Nathan MacKinnon, for example, generated two assists. If Ryan Miller wasn’t so resilient (43 saves), this could have been even more lopsided than the 5-2 score.
The Avalanche are on a roll, and look like they’re going to be as scary as many expected heading into the 2020-21 season.
3. Erik Karlsson, San Jose Sharks
Understatement alert: It’s been a very rough season for Erik Karlsson, and the Sharks. Maybe chalk it up to celebrating Marleau’s milestone, but they put forth a spirited effort to beat the Wild after a (lengthy) shootout.
During regulation, Erik Karlsson scored two goals. He wasn’t done then, either, as Karlsson scored the shootout-deciding tally.
Kevin Fiala‘s team lost that shootout, yet he produced a similar game (1G, 1A, shootout goal) in defeat.
Marleau passes Messier, 10 behind Howe; Sabres losing streak to 18 games
History (some bad, some good) was made, and some bad injury news came down. Here’s a quick look at some of the bigger developments from Monday in the NHL:
- Despite carrying a 3-0 lead into the third period, the Sabres lost against the Flyers 4-3 in OT. With that, the Sabres became the 18th team in NHL history to suffer through a winless streak of 18 games or more. Read on about the Sabres’ 18-game losing streak.
- Patrick Marleau passed Mark Messier at 1,757 games played, taking second place in NHL history. Marleau sits just 10 back behind Gordie Howe, who holds the all-time record at 1,767 games played. Check out this post for even more.
Side note: it’s a little bit of a letdown that Marleau didn’t get a shootout opportunity. No sense of the moment, Sharks. (Unless he said “please don’t send me out during the shootout.” If so, then fair enough, Sharks.)
- Perhaps the Aaron Ekblad injury news could’ve been worse for the Panthers. Still, they’ll be without Ekblad for about 12 weeks, so it’s certainly not great news, either.
Highlights from NHL on Monday:
Some players pull off moves that would make you complain about a lack of realism while you’re playing video games. That happened at least twice on Monday, as NHL players showed off some serious skill.
One of Makar’s assists was just absurd, as he looked unstoppable setting up Valeri Nichushkin:
EXCUSE US JOEL. WOW. pic.twitter.com/kvzbvNEsMa
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) March 30, 2021
Monday’s NHL scores