Top player in the NHL on Wednesday
John Carlson, Washington Capitals
John Carlson played his best game of the season on Wednesday night in the Washington Capitals’ 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. His night included two goals, two assists, a key defensive play late in the game to help secure the win, and he also had two additional goals waved off (one goal because of an offside review, and a potential empty net goal because of a penalty). He was everywhere for the Capitals. He had a hand in every single one of their goals in the win.
Highlights from around the NHL on Wednesday
Alex Ovechkin gets one goal closer to Wayne Gretzky and also records his 1,400th career point.
Trevor Zegras skilling it up again for the Anaheim Ducks, even though it was not enough against the Calgary Flames.
Robert Thomas is one of the game’s most underrated players and he scored a beauty of a goal here against the Seattle Kraken.
Three takeaways from the NHL on Wednesday
Golden Knights winning streak ends
The Vegas Golden Knights have little margin for error right now in their playoff pursuit, but the one thing they do have going in their favor is a schedule that is loaded with non-playoff teams the rest of the way. That included Wednesday’s opponent, the Vancouverr Canucks. It did not matter as the Golden Knights’ were on the losing end of an ugly 5-1 decision, snapping what had been a five-game winning streak. The Golden Knights remain one point out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference, trailing the Dallas Stars for the second Wild Card spot. Dallas does have three games in hand. That is why Vegas has no margin for error.
Lightning struggling against playoff teams
The big takeaway from Tampa Bay’s 4-3 loss to the Capitals on Wednesday is that they lost to another playoff team. Since the start of Marcy the Lightning have lost seven of their eight games against playoff teams, with the only win being an overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes at the end of the March. They have also really struggled all season against the top Stanley Cup contenders in the NHL, owning only a 7-14-5 record against the top-10 teams in the league standings.
Flames extend lead in Pacific Division
The Calgary Flames extended their lead in the Pacific Division on Wednesday night with a 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks that included a pair of assists from Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau is becoming a major MVP candidate and is quickly closing in on the first 100-point season of his career. His two assists on Wednesday give him 97 points for the season, the fourth highest total in the league. He is a pending unrestricted free agent after this season. He is two points away from matching his previous career high of 99 points from the 2018-19 season,
Thursday’s big story
The Dallas Stars look to continue their recent strong play and continue their push for a playoff spot when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs. Auston Matthews is going for the franchise single season goal record and continuing his push for 60 goals, while the team itself looks to bounce back from that overtime loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. Also in the Western Conference there is a significant game in the Pacific Division where the Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers play for home-ice advantage (and a playoff spot) in the First Round. That is a potential First Round playoff preview.
Wednesday’s NHL Scores
Detroit Red Wings 3, Winnipeg Jets 1
Washington Capitals 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 3
St. Louis Blues 4, Seattle Kraken 1
Vancouver Canucks 5, Vegas Golden Knights 1
Calgary Flames 4, Anaheim Ducks 2
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.