Saturday’s mega NHL star: McDavid reaches 100
Normally, you won’t get an extra star of the night. But then again, what’s normal about Connor McDavid reaching 100 points in 53 games?
Remarkably, McDavid doesn’t get here just by reaching that 100-point plateau, either. The NHL super-duper-star stood out among Saturday’s high-scoring pack by scoring four points (1G, 3A) to reach 100.
One cannot help but wonder if he could’ve reached 101 Dalmatians. He collected his four points through the first 40 minutes, and the Oilers ended up winning. If the Canucks tied things up 4-4, would McDavid have scored some more?
Now it’s really just a question of: how much more will McDavid score, and how much might the Oilers rest him now that he’s just adding onto 100?
The other three stars for Saturday in the NHL
1. Alexander Wennberg, Florida Panthers
OK, Connor McDavid didn’t just get his own section because he reached 100 points.
It turns out that it’s also pretty challenging to split hairs when McDavid generates four points to reach 100, while three other players generate hat tricks. If the Predators clinching a playoff berth and other teams clinching division titles along with McDavid hitting 100 points didn’t cement Saturday being a busy day in the NHL, then this does. How does one pick the hat trick that impressed them the least?
So, let’s cheat.
But if there’s a superior hat trick, Wennberg probably generated it. Unlike Stuetzle and Smith, Wennberg didn’t score his hat trick-finalizing goal via an empty-netter.
Now, Wennberg did enjoy some luck on his way to that hat trick. He scored three goals on three shots on goal, and that hat-trick goal was … fortunate:
2. Tim Stuetzle, Ottawa Senators
When it came to Saturday’s other NHL hat trick, Stuetzle and Smith didn’t exactly make things easy. As mentioned, each player completed hat tricks via empty-net goals. If that wasn’t enough, it was the first hat trick of both of their careers.
So, Stuetzle wins by the very arbitrary tiebreaker of age. Simply put, it’s impressive that Stuetzle owns a hat trick at age 19. In fact, Stuetzle became the youngest Senators player to score a hat trick, breaking Martin Havlat’s mark.
While it’s too little, too late, the Senators are now 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. Wow.
3. Reilly Smith, Vegas Golden Knights
At 30, Reilly Smith’s accomplished a lot in his NHL career, but he generated his first hat trick on Saturday.
While this hasn’t been the highest-scoring season of Smith’s career, he’s been heating up lately. With that hat trick, Smith is now on a five-game point streak (5G, 2A).
If the Golden Knights can really develop their one-two punch, they could be deadly in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Before they do that, they have to hold off the Avalanche for the West Division title, though.
From Seth Jones to Pavel Buchnevich, there were players who also produced three-assist games. Quite the frantic day, especially with news that John Tortorella’s reportedly not returning for the Blue Jackets.
Predators clinch playoff spot; Maple Leafs, Penguins win division titles
Read more about it here, but in short:
- By beating the Hurricanes, the Predators clinched a playoff spot. In doing so, they eliminated the Stars. The two Central Division series are set: Predators – Hurricanes, and Panthers – Lightning.
- For the first time in 21 years, the Maple Leafs won their division title. They also delayed the Canadiens in their quest to clinch a playoff spot.
- Finally, the Penguins won the East Division title. Their Round 1 opponent is not yet clear.
Top highlight for Saturday in the NHL
Watch Connor McDavid reach 100 points this season after generating four points:
Saturday’s NHL scores
Rangers 5, Bruins 4
Penguins 1, Sabres 0
Islanders 5, Devils 1
Capitals 2, Flyers 1 (OT)
Panthers 5, Lightning 1
Blue Jackets 5, Red Wings 4 (OT)
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2
Senators 4, Jets 2
Predators 3, Hurricanes 1
Wild 4, Ducks 3 (OT)
Golden Knights 4, Blues 1
Avalanche 3, Kings 2
Oilers 4, Canucks 3
Coyotes 5, Sharks 4 (OT)
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.