Top player in the NHL on Friday
Mason Marchment, Florida Panthers
Not only do the Florida Panthers have a couple of stars at the top of their lineup, but they also have some incredible depth throughout their lineup. That was on display in a 6-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night with Mason Marchment recording his first career hat trick to continue his strong season. Marchment now has 11 goals and 26 total points in 24 games this season for a Panthers team that has one of the league’s best records.
Highlights from around the NHL on Friday
Marc-Andre Fleury was sensational for the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night, taking a tough luck 1-0 loss in a shootout against the Dallas Stars. His best save of the night was this stop on Roope Hintz with 5.6 seconds to play in the second period to keep the game scoreless.
Huge win for the Los Angeles Kings on Friday as they beat the Vegas Golden Knights in overtime thanks to this Adrian Kempe goal.
Jaccob Slavin beats the buzzer in the second period for the Carolina Hurricanes in their 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators.
Three takeaways from the NHL on Friday
Kings get huge win
Absolutely massive win for the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night as they came from behind to beat the Vegas Golden Knights to keep pace in a tight Western Conference playoff race. The Kings now have 57 points on the season, tied with the Edmonton Oilers and just a couple of points behind Vegas and Calgary for the top spot in the Pacific Division. This has been a huge development year for the Kings as they make a serious push for a playoff spot far sooner than most expected in their rebuild. Adrian Kempe scored two goals in the win on Friday, including the game-winner in overtime seen above.
Stars also get two important points
The Stars have have been one of the streakiest teams in the NHL this season, alternating between stretches where they look unbeatable and stretches where they can not seem to win. With a 9-3-0 record over their past 12 games, they are on one of the unbeatable runs lately. That continued on Friday with a 1-0 shootout win in Chicago led by Jake Oettinger‘s second career shutout and a game-winning goal in the shootout from Jacob Peterson. The Stars are now just one point out of a playoff spot, trailing the Kings. The Stars do have the narrowest of advantages by points percentage (.583 to .582) for that second Wild Card spot.
Duclair reaches 20-goal mark again
Back on the subject of the Panthers and their depth, Anthony Duclair continues to be a steal for them as he scored his 20th goal of the season in their 6-2 win over the Wild, putting him on a pace for nearly 40 goals this season. He has found a home with the Panthers after bouncing around the league for a few years despite always scoring at a 20-goal pace (or better) per 82 games.
Saturday’s big story
It is the Western Conference playoff race with several teams on the playoff bubble all in action. The Kings look to keep their push going when they play at Arizona, while the Jets and Oilers face off in Winnipeg and the Ducks visit the Vancouver Canucks. While the Eastern Conference playoff field seems mostly set, the West still has several teams on the bubble fighting for a spot. There are six teams, including all four of the aforementioned teams here, entering play on Saturday and separated by just five points as they fight for what amounts to two playoff spots (one wild card spot and one spot in the Pacific Division.
Friday’s NHL Scores
Carolina Hurricanes 5, Nashvillle Predators 3
Florida Panthers 6, Minnesota Wild 2
Dallas Stars 1, Chicago Blackhawks 0 (SO)
Los Angeles Kings 4, Vegas Golden Knights 3 (OT)