April 13 — Second Season Storylines & the Presidents’ Campaign

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

TO THE NINES: Eight players found the back of the net for the Washington Capitals, combining for nine goals in a blowout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. James van Riemsdyk scored both goals for the Flyers, while Lars Eller (two goals), Alex Ovechkin, Conor Sheary, and Matt Irwin (one goal, one assist) all had two points in the 9-2 win.

JETS GROUNDED: The NHL announced that the Winnipeg Jets’ home game against the Seattle Kraken scheduled for Wednesday has moved to May 1 due to a snowstorm expected to hit southern Manitoba. Environment Canada projects up to 20 inches (50.8 centimeters) of snow and wind gusts up to 40 miles (64.4 kilometers) per hour, making for hazardous travel conditions.

NIFTY FIFTY IN THE BIG APPLE: For the fourth time in New York Rangers history, a player has scored 50 goals in a season. On Tuesday, 30-year-old and 10-year veteran Chris Kreider tied Vic Hadfield (50 goals in 1971-72) and joined Adam Graves (52 in 1993-94) and Jaromír Jágr (54 in 2005-06) as the only Rangers to reach the mark. 

BLUES BIRTHDAY BOY BURIES BRUINS: Torey Krug returned to Boston for the first time since getting traded to the St Louis Blues in Oct. 2020. Krug scored a goal in the Blues’ 4-2 win over the Bruins, a fitting gift on his 31st birthday!

TALKIN’ WITH TANEV: Yesterday, the Seattle Kraken shared a video featuring forward Brandon Tanev answering questions from young fans. Topics ranged from why Tanev plays hockey to how he felt when the Kraken selected him in the Expansion Draft. However, the kids were most interested in the infamous “ghost” photo. 

Race for the Presidents’ Trophy

Just under three weeks remain in the 2021-22 NHL season. Every team is down to their last 10 games (or fewer). With the end in sight, it’s a good time to look at the contenders for the Presidents’ Trophy, given to the team with the most points at the end of the regular season.

There are currently five teams in triple digits in terms of points. All five are also within 10 points of each other. Here is a look at those five teams and their remaining paths toward potentially winning the Presidents’ Trophy.

Colorado Avalanche (110 Points)

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Tying their franchise record for most wins in a single season, the Avalanche recorded their 52nd last Saturday against Edmonton. At 52-14-6, the Avs have won six consecutive games heading into tonight’s matchup against the Kings. Of their final 10 games, six are at home. However, only two are against clubs with losing records.

Florida Panthers (110 Points)

Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

After beating the Anaheim Ducks in overtime last night, the Panthers extended their winning streak to eight games, moving into a tie for first with a record of 52-15-6. Four of Florida’s last nine games are at home, with four against teams with losing records.

Carolina Hurricanes (104 points)

Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Carolina won a big game over the New York Rangers last night to improve to 48-18-8. Sebastian Aho and the Canes have eight games remaining, with three at home and four against teams under .500, but they also play the Avalanche in Colorado this Saturday.

Toronto Maple Leafs (100 Points)

Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Following a home loss to the Buffalo Sabres last night, the Maple Leafs are now 47-20-6. Toronto has nine games left to play, five at Scotiabank Arena and three against teams with losing records. The Leafs also play on the road against the Panthers next Saturday.

New York Rangers (100 Points)

Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Rangers remain at 100 points following their 4-2 home loss to the Hurricanes last night. Half of their last eight games are at home, and three, including tonight’s game in Philadelphia, are against teams with losing records. They also host the Canadiens on April 27.

With the number of games remaining in the 2021-22 NHL season dwindling to single digits, the Avalanche and Panthers are the two teams best positioned to take home the Presidents’ Trophy. The way these two teams have dominated this season, the race will likely come down to the final day.

Playoff Watch 👀

The playoff picture is coming into focus, with fans anxiously awaiting playoff hockey. Let’s see how things are shaping up in the standings.

Lock Them In

New York Rangers: The New York Rangers are officially postseason bound. Goaltender Igor Shesterkin remains a top goaltender in the league and the Vezina Trophy favorite. Forward Chris Kreider scored his 50th goal of the season last night in front of fans against the Carolina Hurricanes. New York has eight games remaining this month and only three against postseason-bound teams. 

Toronto Maple Leafs: With the easy part officially over, the Toronto Maples turn their focus toward the playoffs for a second consecutive year. Toronto has 47 wins in 73 games while scoring the second-most goals with 277. While no one is disputing their offensive ability, Leafs’ goaltenders will take center stage as the postseason draws near. 

In the Driver’s Seat

Nashville Predators: Following most of the season near the top of the Central Division, the Predators have dropped to Wild Card contention. Nashville is currently in the top Wild-Card spot in the Western Conference, thanks to a 1-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks while being led by defenseman Roman Josi and goaltender Juuse Saros. However, fans can’t forget they also have Tanner Jeannot, who leads all rookies with 24 goals. 

Washington Capitals: It’s where the Capitals have spent most of the season—in the second Wild Card spot. There is no threat as they have a 15-point advantage over the New York Islanders. The club has won its last four games and beat the Philadelphia Flyers last night by an impressive 9-2 score

In the Hunt

Vegas Golden Knights: Pete DeBoer’s team is desperately fighting to keep its postseason hopes alive. Vegas is four points behind the Dallas Stars, although the Stars have a game in hand. The biggest news out of Sin City is that team captain Mark Stone returned to the ice. If you’re wondering how the salary cap is working, the club moved William Carrier, Nolan Patrick, and Laurent Brossoit to long-term injured reserve, opening an additional $4.925 million in cap space. 

Vancouver Canucks: Bruce Boudreau’s Canucks are not out of the playoff hunt just yet! Last night, they beat the Golden Knights in overtime and are now only three points behind Vegas in the standings. The Canucks are making the Wild Card watch in the Western Conference exhilarating for fans, as they are not going down without a fight. Defenseman Quinn Hughes is having a career season, and it’s only fitting that he secured the win for his team against Vegas. 

Have a Good Summer!

With playoff races continuing to tighten up as the postseason nears, the unfortunate but necessary consequence is more teams having their hopes for life beyond the regular season snuffed out. Yesterday, we bid farewell to the Arizona Coyotes, Montreal Canadiens, and Seattle Kraken, with plenty of other teams already planning exit interviews once the season concludes on April 29.

Here’s the next group of clubs to have been cast off with the playoff field continuing to shrink:

New Jersey Devils

Amidst a trying season bookended by a shoulder injury at the start and a knee injury at the end, Jack Hughes offered plenty for New Jersey Devils fans to be excited about this year. The 20-year-old posted 26 goals and 56 points in just 49 games in a frustrating but productive third NHL season. It might take some time to turn things around, but the Devils are building something here with Hughes, younger brother Luke, Mackenzie Blackwood, Jesper Bratt, Dougie Hamilton, and a slew of youngsters.

Philadelphia Flyers

A rebuild seems to be in order in Philadelphia, but let’s not pretend that the whole Flyers roster is expendable. Claude Giroux was the first domino to fall in an exodus that might also include the likes of James van Riemsdyk, Cam Atkinson, and—if they can find a taker—Kevin Hayes. However, there’s still some in-their-prime, 20-something talent here, both on the blue line (Ivan Provorov, Rasmus Ristolainen, Travis Sanheim) and upfront (Travis Konecny, Joel Farabee, and Owen Tippett).

Ottawa Senators

It’s been a tough year in the Canadian capital city. The Ottawa Senators never expected to be particularly good this year. However, they didn’t expect to endure constant injuries, pandemic restrictions that forced them to play in front of empty arenas, and, most sadly, the passing of long-time owner Eugene Melnyk. Looking ahead offers positives with top prospect Jake Sanderson set to join a core that includes Brady Tkachuk, Thomas Chabot, and Tim Stützle. Heck, there might even be a new downtown arena on the horizon!

NHL Standings

NHL’s Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule