Thursday’s Three Stars
1. Jakub Vrana, Detroit Red Wings
A hat trick certainly isn’t a bad way to make an early impression.
Four goals is even better.
Jakub Vrana’s time in Washington was clearly coming to a close before they sent him to Detroit in the trade for Anthony Mantha. On Thursday, he saw some of the most offensive success as he has in a while, netting a hat trick plus one against the Dallas Stars.
Richard Panik, the other player sent to Detroit in the deal, also scored his first goal with the Red Wings. Perhaps the real winners of the trade *were* the friends the Red Wings made along the way.
The win, behind their two new players, also helped the Red Wings stave off playoff elimination on Thursday night, even as they were without their captain, Dylan Larkin.
2. Ilya Samsonov, Washington Capitals
There were plenty of rumors around the trade deadline involving the Capitals and adding a goalie. Against the offensively-challenged Islanders, Ilya Samsonov put up one of his best performances of the season.
The Caps and Islanders were deadlocked without a goal going into the shootout, partially thanks to the 26 saves from the young Capitals goalie. Samsonov stepped up in the shootout as well to give the Capitals an important win atop the East Division standings. It was his third career shutout, and his second this season.
3. Martin Necas, Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina needed a win over the Panthers and Martin Necas contributed three assists in their 4-2 victory. He’s continued to have a breakout season, now with a career high of 37 points in just 43 games. Last season, he had posted 36 points in 64 contests.
His 26 are second on the team just behind the 31 from defenseman Dougie Hamilton. On Thursday, his helpers came on the last three Hurricanes tallies.
The Hurricanes are 6-0-1 against the Panthers this season, the team they are directly ahead of in the Central playoff race.
Highlights from Thursday
James van Riemsdyk netted two goals to lead the Flyers past the Rangers, including this tally.
FEED JAMES.#PHIvsNYR | @JVReemer21 pic.twitter.com/ExPg2WwQNA
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) April 23, 2021
The Panthers lost, but Aleksander Barkov had himself a nice game, including this excellent shot.
Second of the game for Aleksander Barkov (@Barkovsasha95) is an easy choice for Shot of the Night!
NHL x @JagermeisterUSA pic.twitter.com/MPnNploMCQ
— NHL (@NHL) April 23, 2021
Not a bad save for Hurricanes goalie Alex Nedeljkovic.
Alex Nedeljkovic (@alexned_) certainly brought the WOW factor tonight. 👀 pic.twitter.com/ExjnHmhDdT
— NHL (@NHL) April 23, 2021
Stats from Thursday
- Bruins forward Brad Marchand has scored 12 goals in April (13 games) after he posted yet another against the Sabres on Thursday.
- The Penguins scored two goals in 25 seconds en route to their win over the Devils on Thursday. That’s only the third quickest span between goals for the Pens this season; they scored twice in 22 seconds on March and twice in 14 seconds on February 14.
- Aleksander Barkov’s goal against the Hurricanes gave him 20 goals this season, the sixth 20-goal season of his career. That’s the most in Panthers history.
Thursday’s NHL scores
Flyers 3, Rangers 2
Maple Leafs 5, Jets 3
Bruins 5, Sabres 1
Capitals 1, Islanders 0 (SO)
Lightning 3, Blue Jackets 1
Hurricanes 4, Panthers 2
Penguins 5, Devils 1
Red Wings 7, Stars 3
Avalanche 4, Blues 2
Senators 3, Canucks 0
Marisa Ingemi is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi.