NHL Rink Wrap: Capitals rolling; Ekblad injured; Markstrom’s OT gaffe

NHL Scores
Katherine Gawlik, Getty Images

Top player in the NHL on Friday

Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche had to hold on for a 5-3 win against the San Jose Sharks, and of course it was Cale Makar making a huge impact. He a goal, his 22nd of the season, and added two more assists in 26 minutes of ice-time. He is now up to 22 goals and 69 total points in 58 games this season for the Avalanche. He is already a special player and looks like a generational talent on defense. He has Norris Trophies in his future, and perhaps as soon as this season.

Highlights from around the NHL on Friday

The Buffalo Sabres stunned the Calgary Flames on Friday night with a 1-0 overtime win. Tage Thompson scored the game’s only goal, and it came on an assist from Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom.

Alex Ovechkin with a late power play goal to tie the game, setting the stage for his shootout winner against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Taylor Hall has been playing great lately for the Boston Bruins and he scored a late game-winning goal against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night.

Three takeaways from the NHL on Friday

Capitals keep winning as Eastern Conference playoff continues to dominate

The Eastern Conference playoff race has been set for what seems like the entire season, as the eight playoff teams have put an enormous distance between themselves and everybody else in the conference. Right now the Washington Capitals are the eighth playoff team in the East, and they are a fantastic team that would probably be a top-four seed in the Western Conference. There is a 15-point gap between them in the eighth spot and the first non-playoff team in the Eastern Conference (Columbus Blue Jackets). The Capitals are also trying to gain some ground on the New York Rangers for a top-three spot in the Metropolitan Division. They trail the Rangers by just one point, while the Rangers do still have two games in hand. The Capitals are now 7-0-1 since the start of March.

Aaron Ekblad injured

Scary moment for the Florida Panthers on Friday night when star defenseman Aaron Ekblad was injured just one minute into their game against the Anaheim Ducks following a scary collision along the boards. Ekblad was unable to put any weight on his leg as he was helped off the ice. His season was ended prematurely a year ago with a left leg injury, and this situation had to bring back bad memories for him, the Panthers, and Panthers fans. This time the injury is to his right leg. The good news is head coach Andrew Brunnette said after the game that it looks better than they initially feared and they will know more tomorrow after he is evaluated again. The Panthers ended up winning the game, 3-0, thanks to a pair of goals from Jonathan Huberdeau and Spencer Knight’s first career shutout in goal.

Flyers lose first game without Claude Giroux

After he played in his 1,000th game on Thursday night, Claude Giroux did not play for the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night as the team held him out of the lineup in anticipation of a trade before Monday’s NHL trade deadline. The Flyers dropped a 3-1 decision to Ottawa without Giroux. In Anaheim, Hampus Lindholm and Rickard Rakell were also held out of the lineup.

Saturday’s big story

Some really important and exciting matchups, including a huge game in the Pacific Division where the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights play. Vancouver also looks to keep its playoff push going against the Calgary Flames, while there is also a fun Eastern Conference matchup between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers, two teams that have already made significant trades before Monday’s NHL trade deadline, including Tampa Bay’s blockbuster trade for Brandon Hagel on Friday. Of course, there is also the trade watch as the trade deadline gets one day closer.

Friday’s NHL Scores

Ottawa Senators 3, Philadelphia Flyers 1
Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes 3 (SO)
Boston Bruins 4, Winnipeg Jets 2
Buffalo Sabres 1, Calgary Flames 0
Florida Panthers 3, Anaheim Ducks 0
Colorado Avalanche 5, San Jose Sharks 3

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