March 30 — Isobel Cup Recap & Playing Spoiler

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

A WIN AND THREE LOSSES: An eventful night in Boston saw the Toronto Maple Leafs remain ahead of the Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division thanks to a 6-4 win, with Auston Matthews’ league-leading 49th goal holding up as the game-winner. However, the game proved costly for Toronto, as goaltender Petr Mrázek and defensemen Ilya Lyubushkin and Justin Holl left the game with injuries

CENTURY CLUB: For the ninth time in the last 45 years, a team has reached 100 points in 67 games or fewer in a season. On Tuesday, the Colorado Avalanche became the first team in 2021-22 to hit the century mark, earning their 47th win with a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. All three goals in the game came on the power play, as Cale Makar became only the third Avalance/Quebec Nordiques defenseman to record 50 assists in a season (Steve Duchesne in 1992-93 and Ray Bourque 2000-01).

HUBERDEAU TIES JUNEAU: Jonathan Huberdeau recorded an assist on Aleksander Barkov’s empty-net goal late in the Florida Panthers’ 7-4 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night. While an empty-net assist is rarely newsworthy, yesterday’s was Huberdeau’s 70th helper on the season—and 400th of his career—tying Joé Juneau’s record for most assists by a left-winger in one season, which he set while with the Boston Bruins in 1992-93. 

WILD STREAK: The Minnesota Wild won their seventh game in a row last night, beating the Philadelphia Flyers. Goaltender Marc-André Fleury made 32 saves in the 4-1 victory at Xcel Energy Center. Led by youngster Kirill Kaprizov, who has six points in his last four games, the Wild are back at it tomorrow night in front of their home crowd. Let’s see if they can make it eight! 

PHF 2021-22 Season Review

The Premier Hockey Federation (PHF), formerly known as the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), concluded its 2021-22 season on Monday night, when the Boston Pride beat the Connecticut Whale, 4-2, to win their second consecutive Isobel Cup title.

After exchanging goals in the first period, the Whale scored 33 seconds into the second and took that 2-1 lead into the third. However, the Pride knotted things up 6:39 into the final period and took the lead 18 seconds later. They added an empty-net tally with 1:30 remaining.

Boston’s Mary Parker and Jillian Dempsey led all players with two points each. Parker picked up two assists, and Dempsey had a goal and an assist. Five other players registered points for the Pride, and goaltender Katie Burt stopped 32 of 34 shots.

Mary Parker and the Boston Pride won the Isobel Cup for the second straight year with a 4-2 win over the Connecticut Whale on Monday (Photo Credit: Michelle Jay/NWHL)

League Background

Beginning in 2015 as the NWHL, the league initially consisted of four teams. After rebranding in Sep. 2021, the PHF has grown to six organizations: the Pride, Whale, Minnesota Whitecaps, Metropolitan Riveters, Toronto Six, and Buffalo Beauts.

Following a 20-game regular season, all six teams made the playoffs, with the top two seeds receiving byes. Each round consisted of one game, with all games played at AdventHealth Center Ice in Wesley Chapel, Florida. The winner received the Lady Isobel Gathorne-Hardy Cup (shortened to the Isobel Cup), whose namesake was the daughter of Lord Stanley and one of the first known women to play hockey.

Regular Season: By the Numbers

47 – Points Connecticut (15-3-1) finished with, good for first in the league, while Toronto came in second (16-3-1, 46 points) due to teams earning three points for a regulation win, two for an overtime or shootout win, and one point for an overtime or shootout loss. Boston finished third (10-5-5, 32 pts), the Riveters came in fourth (7-12-1, 21 pts), the Whitecaps fifth (6-13-1, 19 pts), and the Beauts ended last (6-14-0, 15 pts) to conclude the regular season.

+30 – Goal differential for the Whale, which was nine better than second-place Toronto, and 29 more than third-place Boston. Metropolitan was minus-11 and Minnesota was minus-12, while Buffalo finished minus-29.

33 – Points Connecticut forward Kennedy Marchment finished with, most in the league. With 20 coming via assists, which also led all players, she ended the season three ahead of Toronto’s Mikyla Grant-Mentis in both categories.

18 – Goals scored by Minnesota forward Allie Thunstrom, five more than the next-closest players (Marchment and Grant-Mentis).

.958 – Save percentage (SV%) for Katie Burt of the Pride, which led the league during the regular season. She also led all goalies in goals against (16), goals-against average (1.41), and shutouts (3). 

Postseason Results


  • No. 5 Minnesota Whitecaps 4, No. 4 Metropolitan Riveters 1
  • No. 3 Boston Pride 6, No. 6 Buffalo Beauts 0


  • No. 1 Connecticut Whale 4, No. 5 Minnesota Whitecaps 2
  • No. 3 Boston Pride 5, No. 2 Toronto Six 1


  • No. 3 Boston Pride 4, Connecticut Whale 2

Spoiler Alert!

At this time of the season, the focus tends to shift to the exciting, down-to-the-wire battles that will determine playoff participants and shape the first round, and rightfully so. The Atlantic Division playoff seeding and the Western Conference Wild Card chase are two of the many hotly contested battles that will likely create some late-season drama.

Today, however, we focus on the other side of the coin. For every playoff-hopeful facing high stakes in each late-season tilt, there’s a team out of contention driven only by the opportunity to play spoiler to someone else’s season. We won’t know who that team is until they claim a crucial upset victory down the stretch to shake up the postseason race, but we might have some ideas as to possible spoilers:

Buffalo Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres were recently a bit marring on the strength of some late-game heroics, knocking off Calgary, Vancouver, and Pittsburgh across a trio of consecutive games that required overtime as part of what’s been a six-game point streak. More opportunities are forthcoming, as 10 of the Sabres’ remaining 15 games come against teams currently amid positioning battles. Those games will include two showdowns with the Florida Panthers and old friend Robert Hägg.

New York Islanders

Nine months ago, the New York Islanders were a 1-0 loss shy of a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. So, suffice to say, spoiler mode wasn’t the goal for this year. Will they take the bitterness stemming from their current plight out on their remaining opponents? Recent trends indicate so, having won eight of their last 12 games. With multiple games for the Isles remaining against the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes, and Washington Capitals, the contenders better take notice. 

Chicago Blackhawks

Given that the season started with the Chicago Blackhawks adding Marc-André Fleury, Seth Jones, and Jake McCabe as part of an ambitious, win-now effort, being out of the playoff picture is an abject disaster for the club. The Blackhawks’ 2021-22 disappointment might prompt substantial changes in the summer, meaning that this could well be the last ride for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Having already dealt away Chicago’s 2022 first-rounder, there’s no reason not to go all-in on these last 15 games.

Playoff Watch 👀

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

Lock Them In

Colorado Avalanche: Colorado has officially hit 100 points this season and remains the top dog in the league. Over the last week, the Avalanche posted a record of 2-1-1, as the main story surrounding the team is how long they will be without superstar Nathan MacKinnon. Colorado coach Jared Bednar said his concern is “high,” as there is no current timeline for MacKinnon’s return.

Florida Panthers: The Panthers have 45 wins on the season, and last night beat the Montreal Canadiens 7-4. In the past week, Florida is 3-1-0, while newly acquired Claude Giroux has five assists in four games. According to Tankathon, Florida has one of the easiest remaining schedules in the league, allowing the Panthers to remain the beasts of the East. 

In the Driver’s Seat

Carolina Hurricanes: Carolina has been a threat all season and went 3-2-0 this past week. The Hurricanes have a five-point advantage over the New York Rangers with 15 games left in the regular season and play eight more games at home. With a record of 24-5-4 at PNC Arena, it doesn’t look like Carolina will be dethroned by the Rangers. 

Calgary Flames: This season’s performance by the Flames has led to Darryl Sutter’s consideration for the Jack Adams Award, as Calgary has won 40 games this season, going 6-3-1 in the last 10. Johnny Gaudreau has 90 points and could easily reach 100 before the end of the regular season. This team is not going anywhere and is a nightly threat to their opponents. 

In the Hunt

Dallas Stars: Unlike in the daytime, the Stars are simply not going away. They completed a gutsy win against the Anaheim Ducks last night and continue fighting to earn a playoff spot in the West. Dallas has a heavy schedule in April that includes four sets of back-to-backs. It’s not going to be an easy path to the postseason for the Stars, but they are a team that looks to be up to the task. 

Vegas Golden Knights: Currently on the outside looking in, the Golden Knights continue to battle with the Stars for a playoff spot and extend their lead over the Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks. Vegas has won its last two games but is only 4-6-0 during a recent stretch. Many are betting against them, expecting the team to miss the postseason. Is there enough time to prove the house always wins? 

NHL Standings

NHL’s Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule