Saturday’s top NHL players
Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs win wild 10-7 game vs. Red Wings
Apologies to the 2022 Stadium Series, but a zany 10-7 Maple Leafs – Red Wings game stole the show.
In a game where just about everyone not named John Tavares joined in the fun, Mitch Marner shined brightest. Marner didn’t stop at his first career hat trick. Instead, Marner generated new career-highs in goals (four) and points (six).
This pushes Mitch Marner’s latest point streak to three games (4G, 4A). It’s hard to believe, but earlier this season, Marner was relatively cold. In October, he only managed three points in nine games.
Since Nov. 1, Marner’s generated a resounding 51 points in his last 34 games. Fittingly, Marner’s linemate Auston Matthews leads all scorers during that timeframe (66 points in 43 contests). Impressively, their frequent linemate Michael Bunting is backing up a solid 2020-21 showing with Arizona, collecting 40 points in 52 games this season. Some might grumble that Bunting could be a Calder Trophy candidate at age 26, but there’s little sense denying his contributions to Toronto. For all the hand-wringing about the Maple Leafs and salary cap management, consider that Bunting is on the books for $950K through 2022-23.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 27, 2022
As much as the Maple Leafs want better goaltending and more support (can someone wake up John Tavares?), Marner + Matthews is a red-hot combo. Actually, call it a red-hot trio with Bunting being a seamless addition.
Saturday NHL highlights
Really, you can’t go wrong with full highlights of that stunning Mitch Marner performance, and everything else that happened in the Maple Leafs’ wild 10-7 win over the Red Wings.
Don’t forget about the 2022 Stadium Series between the Predators and Lightning, though. It was certainly easy to see that these two teams don’t like each other.
Speaking of Marner and the Maple Leafs stealing someone’s thunder, Derek Ryan normally would’ve been the player of the night with his first career hat trick. He’ll settle for being the difference in the Oilers’ win against the Panthers:
This is not how Cal Clutterbuck wants his last name to be modified (Ex: “Clutterbucking it into your own net”).
With the Golden Knights looking shaky, a clash with the Avalanche is slightly less thrilling. Still, it’s worth watching the Golden Knights – Avalanche highlights. Maybe Vegas can get it together and build this into a rivalry?
While Avalanche – Golden Knights was close, the Flames handled the Wild during the Saturday NHL action. Watch the highlights:
Here’s hoping Oliver Kylington is OK after a very scary moment in that Flames – Wild game.
Scary moment: Kylington gets spun around with Ryan Hartman and goes hard into the boards. pic.twitter.com/H0d0GBF0xZ
— Mike Pfeil (@mikeFAIL) February 27, 2022
The crew criticized the "dirty" play by Taylor Hall, which caused Ferraro to leave the ice during the second period pic.twitter.com/mdtao4zLIy
— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) February 27, 2022
Saturday NHL Takeaways
No, not a typo. Marner and the Maple Leafs survive Red Wings 10-7
Lightning beat Predators in testy 2022 Stadium Series game
In that same post, you can read about the Lightning beating the Predators 3-2 at the 2022 Stadium Series.
The short version is that a Ryan Johansen hit on Erik Cernak really set the tone of nastiness. Special teams loomed large over a game that the Bolts ultimately won. Increasingly, it’s looking like the Lightning have a chance to win the Atlantic Division. The Predators, meanwhile, are at risk of slipping out of playoff contention.
Oilers lose RNH, but win against Panthers
Speaking of the Panthers, they lost their third in a row via a narrow loss to the Oilers.
After winning their first five games under Jay Woodcroft, the Oilers dropped games to formidable opponents in the Wild and Lightning. Saturday began a tough back-to-back set, as the Hurricanes represent another test for the Oilers on Sunday.
Getting a Derek Ryan hat trick was a welcome, unexpected development for the Oilers. Losing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to injury is a big concern, however. It’s not yet clear how long the Oilers might lose RNH.
Sunday’s big story
That test for the Oilers vs. the Hurricanes
With or without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the Oilers are in for a real test against the Hurricanes.
Broadly speaking, the Oilers look improved under Woodcroft. If the Hurricanes perform like they usually do, it may not be easy to see the Oilers’ positive steps.
Carolina’s absolutely a buzzsaw, with a four-game winning streak creating distances between the Hurricanes and the rest of the Metro. It’s unclear if they’ll slow down much with Tony DeAngelo injured, either.
Under normal circumstances, the Hurricanes would already be favorites against the Oilers. Carolina has the rest advantage, so that tilts things in their favor that much more. Edmonton deserves kudos if they squeeze out a win here.
They might even earn some respect by merely securing a “charity point.”
Saturday NHL scores
Oilers 4, Panthers 3
Flyers 2, Capitals 1
Penguins 1, Rangers 0
Canadiens 2, Senators 1
Lightning 3, Predators 2
Maple Leafs 10, Red Wings 7
Avalanche 3, Golden Knights 2
Flames 7, Wild 3
Bruins 3, Sharks 1
Kings 5, Islanders 2