NHL Historic 16-Game Day Mailbag
Updated: Apr 9
With spring here, we’re now in the homerun stretch of the NHL season with each game critical for playoff positioning for home rink advantage. There’s a full 16-game slate of games today (the first time in leagues 106-year history) as every hockey team will be in action. From the Boston Bruins having an opportunity to tie for the NHL regular-season wins record of 62, to the Buffalo Sabres’ defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3, let's get into some of the games.
Sabres defeat Hurricanes 4-3 off a Tage Thompson go-ahead winner
The Sabres capped off a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Hurricanes behind Sabres center Tage Thompson’s go-ahead winner with 6:15 left in the third period. This was a big win for the Sabres as they playoff hopes were in the balance while the Hurricanes on the other hand were jockeying to continue cushioning their lead for the No.1 seed in the Metropolitan Division over the New Jersey Devils. Casey Mittelstadt scored twice as well for the Sabres to help improve to 6-1-1 in their last eight games as they continue to keep their postseason hopes alive.
A regulation loss would have put 10th-place Buffalo in a tough position to be eliminated today and extend their NHL-worst playoff drought of 12 consecutive seasons. The Sabres (39-32-7) matched its highest amount of victories since 2011-12 when they finished with a (39-32-11) record.
The Hurricanes are now 3-4-1 in their past eight games including the loss against the Sabres which now leaves the door open for the Devils to grab the No.1 seed with a win over the Bruins tonight.
Crosby scores 1,500th career goal to help surge the Penguins past Red Wings
One of the greatest to ever lace them up on the rink showed up when his team needed to, and that is Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby aka Sid-The-Kid. The three-time Stanley Cup champion knows what time of season it is and he showed just that in a dominate display against the Detroit Red Wings scoring three goals (two goals, one assist) en route to become the 15th player in the NHL’s storied history to achieve 1,500 career (550 goals, 950 assists) points in a 5-1 victory.
Crosby has the most career goals amongst active players with Washington Capitals left winger Alex Ovechkin coming in second with 1,484. Here’s what else you need to know:
Crosby becomes the sixth fastest player to record 1,500 points, doing so in his 1,188th NHL game.
Crosby, who’s in his 18th season with the Penguins, posted a career-high number of points in 2013-14 with 104 (36 goals and 68 assists).
Heading into Saturday, the 35-year-old center had recorded 88 points (31 goals and 57 assists) in the 2022-23 season.
12th player to score 90 points in his age 35 season
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan had high praise for his captain stating: “This is something only 15 players have ever done, and he’s the sixth fastest of all of them, I think that company speaks to this milestone and to the impact he’s had on the game. Not only is he one of the greatest players of his generation, he’s one of the greatest players in history.”
This was a crucial win for the Penguins (40-30-10) as this keeps them in play to land a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with just two games left on the schedule against the Chicago Blackhawks (25-47-6) Tuesday and Colombus Blue Jackets (24-46-8) Thursday which should be easy wins for Crosby to propel Penguins to the playoffs.
The Magnificent McDavid helps Edmonton Eviscerate the San Jose Sharks
It’s a crime that the best player in the NHL, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid is only getting $1 million a year as he continues to make history throughout his magnificent career so far. The marvelous McDavid manhandled the Sharks on Saturday with three points (two goals, one assist) en route to a 6-1 victory.
McDavid made history once again on Saturday, becoming the first and youngest player (26 years, 85 days) to reach 150 points in a season since Mario Lemieux (23 years, 132 days), and Steve Yzerman (23 years, 319 days), which he achieved with a goal and an assist to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins early in the opening period for his 87th assist this season.
This milestone hasn’t been achieved since NHL legend Mario Lemieux accumulated 161 points in the 1995-96 season. The 26-year-old McDavid is in the prime of his career and becomes just the sixth player to record 150 points in a season, joining Wayne Gretzky (nine times), Lemieux (four times), Phil Esposito, Steve Yzerman, and Bernie Nicholls.
The All-Star forward is trying to help his team build off the momentum of last year's Western Conference Finals appearance in which they were swept by the eventual Stanley Cup champions in the Colorado Avalanche. McDavid is the betting favorite at -1000, according to Vegas Insider, to win the Hart Trophy, which is given to the league’s most valuable player annually, something McDavid deserves as he has shattered numerous team and league records this season.
He hasn’t been without help though this season, as Hopkins has scored 100 points this season (8th in NHL), and All-star forward Leon Drasaitl has scored 123 (2nd in the league), hence why they’re No.1 in goals this season.
McDavid has long been considered a transcendent talent since he came onto the scene as the No.1 pick in 2015. Can he and the Oilers finally take that next step and get to the Stanley Cup and win a championship? That’ll be the next hurdle for McDavid to overcome as he has basically achieved every award at this point of his young illustrious career besides the ultimate prize.
Other Scores Around the League
Dallas Stars 2, Vegas Golden Knights 1
Arizona Coyotes 5, Anaheim Ducks 4
New York Rangers 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 0
Ottawa Senators 7, Tampa Bay Lightning 4
Winnipeg Jets 2, Nashville Predators 0
Toronto Maple Leafs 7, Montreal Canadiens 1
Flordia Panthers 4, Washington Capitals 2
New York Islanders 4, Philadelphia Flyers 0
Boston Bruins 2, New Jersey Devils 1
Minnesota Wild 5, St. Louis Blues 3
Seattle Krakken 7, Chicago Blackhawks 3
Vancouver Canucks 3, Calgary Flames 2
Colorado Avalanche 4, Los Angeles Kings 3