Top player in the NHL on Wednesday
Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche
It was a huge game for MacKinnon and the Avalanche as they beat the Los Angeles Kings by a 9-3 margin. MacKinnon had a hat trick and two assists for a five-point game in the win. Cale Makar also had four points, including a goal and three assists, for the Avalanche who have now won seven games in a row (as part of a nine-game point streak at 8-0-1) and extended their lead in the Presidents’ Trophy race. This is MacKinnon’s fourth career five-point game and extends his current point streak to five consecutive games.
Highlights from around the NHL on Wednesday
Looking at MacKinnon’s third career NHL hat trick.
Highlights from Alexander Georgiev’s second shutout of the season for the New York Rangers.
Patrik Laine continues his big season for the Columbus Blue Jackets with this power play goal from an impossible angle.
Three takeaways from the NHL on Wednesday
Big game for Kaapo Kakko
The New York Rangers moved to within two points of first place in the Metropolitan Division with a 4-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Kaapo Kakko led the way for the Rangers with a pair of goals (the first two goals for the Rangers) in the win. He now has seven goals on the season. He and Alexis Lafrenière are two huge wild cards for the Rangers for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The trade deadline additions of Frank Vatrano, Andrew Copp, Justin Braun, and Tyler Motte have greatly improved the Rangers’ already strong top-six. If Kakko and Lafrenière, each top-two overall picks from the 2020 and 2021 NHL Drafts, can take a significant step forward it would be an absolute game-changer for the Rangers’ forward depth and make them even better. It could make them a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
Kings are struggling at the worst possible time
Wednesday’s 9-3 loss to the Avalanche was the sixth loss in the past nine games for the Los Angeles Kings, continuing a late-season slump that is happening at the absolute wrong time. An already thin defense is hurt even more by the season-ending injury to veteran Drew Doughty, while the Kings hold just a three-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for the third playoff spot in the Pacific Division. What seemed to be a guaranteed playoff spot just a couple of weeks ago is now very much in doubt.
Big game for Blue Jackets young players
A lot of key players for the Columbus Blue Jackets future had big games in a 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night. Patrik Laine had a goal (seen above) and two assists, while Jack Roslovic scored a pair of goals in the win. Cole Sillinger, the Blue Jackets’ top pick from this season, also had a goal and an assist in the win. This is not going to be a playoff season for the Blue Jackets but they definitely have a bright future with some of these young players they now have in place.
Thursday’s big story
It is the Western Conference Playoff race with the Dallas Stars hosting the Minnesota Wild and the Edmonton Oilers visiting the Nashville Predators. Dallas and Nashville are trying to hold on to Wild Card spots with the Vegas Golden Knights quickly gaining ground, while the Oilers are looking to snap out of their recent two-game losing streak to try and maintain home-ice advantage in the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Then in the late game Vegas looks to continue its playoff push with a huge game against the Calgary Flames.
Wednesday’s NHL Scores
New York Rangers 4, Philadelphia Flyers 0
Columbus Blue Jackets 5, Montreal Canadiens 1
Colorado Avalanche 9, Los Angeles Kings 3
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.