Top player in the NHL on Friday
Jack Eichel, Vegas Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights are not going to go away without a fight and they got a huge win on Friday night by beating the Seattle Kraken, 5-2. Eichel led the way with a pair of goals in the win. The one big advantage the Golden Knights have the rest of the way is a softer schedule than some of their competition. They need to take advantage of that.
Highlights from around the NHL on Friday
Buffalo Sabres fans turned out on Friday night to honor long-time announcer Rick Jeanneret.
The narrator of Buffalo’s greatest hockey memories.
Rick Jeanneret, we have never been worthy.#ThankYouRJ pic.twitter.com/0CtWCKU6Hz
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) April 1, 2022
The passing here by the Tampa Bay Lightning to set up Steven Stamkos is incredible. Not a power play, but it certainly looked like a power play.
Trevor Zegras is a human highlight reel.
TREVOR ZEGRAS DID IT AGAIN!!! 😱 pic.twitter.com/YxCssSEGUT
— NHL (@NHL) April 2, 2022
Three takeaways from the NHL on Friday
Tage Thompson has 30 goals
Probably the best development for the Buffalo Sabres this season is the fact that Tage Thompson has had a breakout season. He was the centerpiece to the Ryan O'Reilly trade to the St. Louis Blues a few years ago and had mostly been a disappointment through the first part of his career, scoring just 15 goals with 26 total points in his first 104 games with the team. This season he has more than 30 goals and 53 points in 65 games. With Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart traded over the past year, Thompson has taken on a more significant role in the lineup and has more than taken advantage of those minutes. The question for the Sabres now is if this is just a late breakout season (he turns 25 at the start of the 2022-23 season) or just an outlier season. Either way, it has been a positive development for the Sabres this season.
Jon Cooper coaches in 700th game
The Tampa Bay Lightning we’re 5-2 winners over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday thanks to some highlight reel goals and a three point night for Ross Colton. The win also gave coach Jon Cooper the 426th win of his NHL career in his 700th career regular season game. No coach has more wins through their 700th game.
Oilers lose big lead but still win
This game is a perfect illustration of what the Edmonton Oilers are. A great offensive team with major problems on defense and in goal. They jumped out to a big lead against the St. Louis Blues, lost it, then somehow still won. The offense is amazing thanks to their two superstars, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but they need to do a much better job preventing goals.
Saturday’s big story
There are a lot of really intriguing matchups in the NHL on Saturday, including some with potential playoff implications (Dallas Stars fighting for a Wild Card) but the story to watch here might be with the Philadelphia Flyers where Keith Yandle‘s ironman streak could be coming to an end. The Flyers and Yandle have reportedly had discussions on how to handle his streak given where the team is in the standings and the fact they have some other young defenders they want to get a look at the rest of the season. Yandle has played in an NHL record 989 consecutive regular season games. If he does sit against the Toronto Maple Leafs then Phil Kessel would have the NHL’s longest active streak and could pass Yandle early next season.
Friday’s NHL Scores
New York Islanders 3, New York Rangers 0
Buffalo Sabres 4, Nashville Predators 3
Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Chicago Blackhawks 2
Ottawa Senators 5, Detroit Red Wings 2
Edmonton Oilers 6, St. Louis Blues 5 (OT)
Vegas Golden Knights 5, Seattle Kraken 2
Anaheim Ducks 5, Arizona Coyotes 0
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.