Around the league, there have been 61 hat tricks through the first 770 games of the season – the most since 1995-96 (62), according to research by the NHL stats and information department. Leading the surge are Alex Ovechkin of Washington and Patrik Laine of Winnipeg with three each.
Selected the MVP, Crosby finished the night with four goals and four assists in two games on the same ice where he won the Conn Smythe Trophy and Stanley Cup three years ago for Pittsburgh.
It’s only fitting that Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and Nathan MacKinnon are serving as captains for this weekend’s NHL All-Star game. The three high-scoring forwards are all 23 or younger and part of a youth movement that is taking over the NHL. It will be on center stage when the league’s best players gather this weekend in San Jose, California, for their annual midseason celebration.
Nazem Kadri recorded the fifth hat trick of his career and added an assist as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated Washington 6-3 on Wednesday night and dealt the defending Stanley Cup champion Capitals their seventh straight loss.
The NHL’s upcoming puck and player tracking will get its first on-air television testing at All-Star Weekend. NBC will showcase the tracking technology during the skills competition and then feature it as part of a digital-only broadcast during the All-Star 3-on-3 tournament. It’s a chance for the network to see just how much data it should use when puck and player tracking becomes a reality.
The Edmonton Oilers have fired president of hockey operations and general manager Peter Chiarelli amid another season that has failed to live up to expectations. The team announced Chiarelli’s abrupt dismissal in the aftermath of its third consecutive loss. Edmonton has lost 12 of its past 16 games going into the All-Star Break. Chiarelli took over the Oilers in 2015. President and CEO Bob Nicholson says Keith Gretzky will assume more responsibilities as the Oilers look for a full-time GM.
Tomas Hertl completed his hat trick by scoring in overtime, and the San Jose Sharks withstood Alex Ovechkin’s three goals to beat the Washington Capitals 7-6 on Tuesday night and hand the defending Stanley Cup champions their sixth consecutive defeat.
Barry Trotz is beginning to change the culture for the Islanders like he did with the Capitals before winning the Stanley Cup. New York’s first-year coach has implemented the off-ice discipline and on-ice structure he brought to Washington. Trotz has the Islanders in first place and sees similarities to his first season with the Capitals.
The Florida Panthers are hoping for deja vu. Sort of. A year ago, the Panthers shook off a disastrous start to the season and caught fire after the All-Star break – only to miss the playoffs by a single point. This year, they’re heading into the break on a three-game winning streak and playing perhaps their best hockey of the season after spending the first three months of the year sputtering near the bottom of the NHL. So here they go again, trying for another late and improbable playoff push.
The Boston Bruins almost made it into their mid-winter break completely healthy. Forward Joakim Nordstrom is recovering from a fractured lower leg bone. Goaltender Tuukka Rask is out with a concussion from the game before their break on Saturday. Otherwise, the Bruins lineup from the start of the season was on the ice when they completed their 49th game with a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers. They’re in third place in the Atlantic Division despite fighting through injuries.
Devante Smith-Pelly got the start Sunday in his first game in Chicago since the black forward heard chants of “basketball, basketball, basketball” while he was sitting in the penalty box during the third period of a 7-1 loss last February. The fans were promptly ejected, and then banned from Chicago’s home games.
John Gibson made 29 saves and Troy Terry scored his first NHL goal and set up another, helping the sending the new-look Anaheim Ducks beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 on Saturday. The Ducks have won two straight after a franchise-record 12-game losing streak.
Josh Bailey and Cal Clutterbuck scored third-period goals, Thomas Greiss made 19 saves and the New York Islanders beat the Capitals 2-0 on Friday night in Barry Trotz’s return to Washington to move into first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Mitch Marner scored a go-ahead goal late in the second period, Nazem Kadri and Patrick Marleau each had a goal and an assist, and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 on Thursday night.
Sean Couturier had a hat trick, Carter Hart stopped 39 shots and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 on Wednesday night.
Valtteri Filppula scored 1:37 into overtime and the New York Islanders beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1 Tuesday night for their 12th win in 15 games.
Nick Foligno scored twice, Sergei Bobrovsky returned from a team suspension and stopped 22 shots and the Columbus Blue Jackets held off a late surge and defeated the New York Rangers 7-5 Sunday night.
Steven Stamkos broke a tie with 5:16 remaining in the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning’s 5-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
Rick Nash has decided to retire at 34 because of unresolved symptoms from a concussion he suffered in March. Agent Joe Resnick says Nash decided under advice from doctors that the risk of brain injury was too great if he returned to play hockey. Nash played 15 NHL seasons for the Blue Jackets, Rangers and Bruins and won two Olympic gold medals with Canada.
John Tavares scored twice and hit the 300-goal mark in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
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