The Buzzer: Marleau ties Howe for NHL games played record; Sabres eliminated on Saturday

3 Stars for Saturday in the NHL

1. Pavel Buchnevich/Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers

Pavel Buchnevich showed flashes of brilliance so far in his NHL career, but Saturday shines a light on just how hot he’s been this season.

With a hat trick, Buchnevich now has 19 goals and 40 points in just 43 games played this season. He’s on pace to blow his previous career-highs of goals (21) and points (46) out of the water, despite this season being shortened.

He’d likely gain more attention if it weren’t for Artemi Panarin being in supernova mode, and arguably making a stronger claim to be the top star for Saturday in the NHL. “The Bread Man” collected four points on a goal and three assists. He’s on both a three-game point streak (4G, 4A) and a two game multi-point streak (3G, 4A).

Considering how explosive the Rangers have been lately — with Panarin back and leading the way, but also Buchnevich, Mika Zibanejad (three assists), and sometimes others also chipping in — you can bet that other teams are relieved that New York is probably just a bit too far outside of the window to nab a playoff spot. At least, it certainly seems that way … but do you really want to tell Panarin he cannot do something?

2. John Carlson, Washington Capitals

Here’s something that might sneak up on you; after Saturday, John Carlson leads NHL defensemen with 42 points.

Now, don’t beat yourself up about it. Carlson generated an impressive four assists on Saturday to leap over the likes of Victor Hedman (41) and Adam Fox (40) for the points lead among NHL defensemen. Carlson’s now rattled off seven points (all assists) during a three-game point streak.

Taking as step back, it’s truly impressive what Carlson’s accomplished lately. Since 2017-18, Carlson has produced 255 points, far and away the most of any blueliner. Brent Burns ranks a distant second with 221, while Victor Hedman (213) and Roman Josi (202) round out the short list of four defensemen with 200+ points during that span.

Carlson wasn’t the only Capitals player lightning it up. Alex Ovechkin scored two goals and an assist. At 730 career regular-season goals after Saturday, Ovechkin is only a single tally behind Marcel Dionne (731) for fifth in NHL history. Could Ovechkin even catch Brett Hull (741) for fourth all-time this season?

3. Malcolm Subban/Vinnie Hinostroza, Chicago Blackhawks

After you run through the easier choices for three stars for Saturday in the NHL, there are quite a few shutouts and three-point games. Let’s cheat and smoosh a shutout and a three-point game together, then, eh?

The Red Wings went on the power play six times, and fired 29 shots on goal, but Malcolm Subban stopped all of them. While Detroit is in a clear rebuild, they’ve been a bit peskier lately, so credit Subban for keeping them from playing the spoiler.

Following some decent stretches with the Coyotes, Vinnie Hinostroza didn’t really ever get the ball moving with the Panthers. The 27-year-old failed to score a point in nine games played. Returning to the Blackhawks franchise that drafted him in the sixth round (169th overall in 2012) seemingly gave Hinostroza a jolt. He generated three assists on Saturday, giving him five points in six games since the Blackhawks nabbed him around the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline.

Honorable mentions for Saturday in the NHL

  • Again, Subban wasn’t the only goalie to generate a shutout. In fact, you could roll with a different smooshing of a three-point game and a shutout. Drake Batherson scored two goals and one assist, while Matt Murray generated a 23-save shutout. (Maybe Carey Price was rusty in his return, as he gave up three goals on just 14 SOG.)
  • Mike Smith probably gave Subban the biggest fight from a goalie perspective, collecting 26 saves in his shutout.

Highlights of the night for Saturday in the NHL

Watch Pavel Buchnevich collect that hat trick vs. the Devils:

Here are highlights from the Penguins beating the Sabres, which officially eliminated Buffalo from the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Stats of the Night: Marleau ties Howe for most games in NHL history; Sabres eliminated

Want something else to chew on regarding Patrick Marleau tying Gordie Howe for most games played in NHL history with 1,767? This stat is … just a lot.

The Wild honored Patrick Marleau tying Gordie Howe for the NHL record with 1,767 games played, as you can see in the video above this post’s headline.

Sportsnet Stats threw out an interesting fact related to the Sabres’ 10-season playoff drought.

Back in January, Netflix reached 200+ million subscribers. Perhaps the Sabres need to make some (cough) Blockbuster trades to work their way out of this?

Saturday’s NHL scores

Rangers 6, Devils 3
Capitals 6, Flyers 3
Penguins 3, Sabres 2
Senators 4, Canadiens 0
Coyotes 3, Blues 2
Hurricanes 3, Predators 1
Panthers 5, Lightning 3
Blackhawks 4, Red Wings 0
Oilers 3, Jets 0
Stars 5, Blue Jackets 1
Wild 5, Sharks 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.

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    Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

    Ilya Mikheyev
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    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

    Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

    Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

    Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

    Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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    Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

    The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

    Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

    After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

    Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

    Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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    MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

    But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

    “I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

    Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

    “I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

    Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

    Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

    Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

    All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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    SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

    Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

    The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

    Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

    Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.