3 Stars for Saturday in the NHL
1. Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs
With his 11th consecutive win, Jack Campbell set a new NHL record for the longest winning streak to start a season. Considering that Jack Campbell’s managed an impressive .934 save percentage during that record-breaking streak, Campbell’s been super for most of those starts.
But on Saturday, it was Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner who made the biggest difference, and share the top star(s) nod across the NHL.
The Senators didn’t make it easy on Campbell and the Maple Leafs, but Toronto’s now won six in a row and are 9-0-1 in its last 10 games. Matthews collected just the third hat trick of his splendid, high-scoring career, also chipping in an assist.
Matthews crossed the 30-goal barrier for the fifth season in a row, ending the night at 31. That four-point game from Auston Matthews also places the star beyond 50 points (52 in 38 games). He’s currently on a four game multi-point streak, which includes a goal streak (7G, 3A). After heating up like this, Matthews ranks as the clear Maurice Richard Trophy frontrunner.
Seeing what Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner accomplish together, it’s stunning that it was such a tough sell to pair them in a full-time way. Marner was right there with Matthews on Saturday, joining Matthews among the NHL’s highest scorers (non-Connor McDavid division) by getting to 52 points as well. In Marner’s case, he generated a goal and three assists for his four points.
Toronto only beat Ottawa by a single goal, so they needed those big outputs from Matthews and Marner.
2. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning
In naming the top stars of the NHL for Saturday, we go from one award frontrunner (Matthews, Maurice Richard), to potential Vezina Trophy winner Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Vasilevskiy stopped all 36 of the Predators’ shots to earn his fourth shutout of the season, good for second-best in the NHL. With a 25-6-1 record and a sparkling .932 save percentage, Vasilevskiy is putting together arguably the best season of his career.
That’s saying a lot, as Vasilevskiy’s been outstanding for quite some time now, including already winning the Vezina Trophy in 2018-19. Maybe it would be wise to rest Vasilevskiy a bit down the stretch, but it’s hard to blame the Lightning if they can’t resist trotting him out.
3. Vince Dunn, St. Louis Blues
After ending a troubling seven-game losing streak, the Blues are heating up. In the case of Saturday’s game, they won thanks in large part to two players whose names have bubbled up (to varying degrees) heading into the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline.
Vince Dunn actually makes the three stars cut by collecting three assists, making him involved in all three Blues goals as St. Louis won its third game in a row. Of Dunn’s three assists, two were primary helpers.
Mike Hoffman‘s name has been in 2021 NHL Trade Deadline rumors quite a bit more lately. It’s not surprising, after all, as Hoffman’s been a healthy scratch. Hoffman did what he does well — and what makes him a quality target — by scoring two goals.
Ryan O'Reilly scored the biggest goal, though, winning this one in OT during the waning seconds of overtime. Every extra point counts as the Blues try to beat out the Coyotes and Sharks for a playoff spot.
2021 NHL Trade Deadline updates
Some big names are already off the board. This isn’t a comprehensive list of pre-2021 NHL Trade Deadline moves, so check the tracker for that.
- The Lightning involved the Red Wings and Blue Jackets in a trade to land David Savard. Columbus received a package including a first-rounder, while Detroit helped make David Savard’s salary fit for the Lightning. Check out the David Savard trade details here.
- David Savard wasn’t the only defensemen moved ahead of the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline on Saturday. The Panthers also acquired Brandon Montour. (Read for more.)
- Earlier this week, the Islanders sent futures to the Devils for Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac.
Highlights from Saturday in the NHL:
See for yourself why Auston Matthews (and Mitch Marner) nabbed the top star of the night in the NHL (imaginary) honors:
That Ryan O’Reilly OTGWG came on one heck of a backhander:
Saturday’s NHL scores
Stars 4, Panthers 1
Flyers 3, Bruins 2
Red Wings 5, Hurricanes 4 (SO)
Blackhawks 4, Blue Jackets 3
Maple Leafs 6, Senators 5
Jets 5, Canadiens 0
Lightning 3, Predators 0
Blues 3, Wild 2 (OT)
Flames 5, Oilers 0
Kings 4, Sharks 2