April 26 – Collectors Edition

Friday’s Forecheck

THAT ICE IS FIRE: The Tampa Bay Lightning unveiled their championship rings on Friday night, and they did not disappoint. The ring has 557 diamonds, 81 blue sapphires, and comes with a warning to never wear in direct sunlight due to risk of blinding light refraction.

NIFTY NEW YORKERS: Sam Reinhart notched a hat trick in the Buffalo Sabres’ 6-3 loss to the New York Rangers on Friday, the same day Artemi Panarin became the second-fastest player to reach 100 assists with the Rangers. It took him 106 games, two more than it took Mark Messier. Close!

Saturday’s Snipes

GIANT ACCOMPLISHMENT: The Boston Bruins’ Washington Capitals’ Zdeno Chara became the 13th player — and fifth defenseman — to play in 1,600 career games. He earned some, well, unique headwear in the process.

CAN’T HOLD A YANDLE: Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle moved into second all-time after playing in his 915th consecutive NHL game, and now trails only Doug Jarvis’ 964-game streak.

BERN-IER ON FIRE: The Detroit Red Wings’ Jonathan Bernier did everything but provide the intermission entertainment after putting together a 50-save effort in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars.

Sunday’s Cellys

CLAUDE THEIR WAY BACK IN: Claude Giroux’s two goals — scored 22 seconds apart — helped the Philadelphia Flyers stun the New Jersey Devils to keep their dwindling playoff hopes alive, albeit ever so slightly. For those keeping track at home, Ron Flockhart holds the Flyers’ record for the fastest two goals scored: He did it eight seconds apart against the St. Louis Blues on December 6, 1981.

A HAT TRICK HAT TRICK: The New York Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad notched his third hat trick of the season in Sunday’s 6-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. All he needs to do now is record one in each of the Rangers’ remaining seven games and he’ll be tied with The Great One, who twice earned 10 hat tricks in a single season with the Edmonton Oilers – once in 1981-82, and again in 1983-84.

Mika Zibanejad Hat Trick April 25, 2021

This Day in NHL History

Saturday April 24th

Patrick Roy has left his mark all over the record books, including being the first goalie to reach 100 career playoff wins. St. Patrick hit that milestone on this date 22 years ago as his Avs beat the Sharks, 3-1.

With the Blackhawks trailing the Preds by one goal with a little more than a minute left in regulation in the 2010 Western Conference Quarterfinals, Marian Hossa received a boarding major. Patrick “Showtime” Kane scored a short-handed goal with 14 seconds left to force overtime, as Hossa redeemed himself with the OT game-winning goal.  

Sunday April 25th

Did you really think we could take a look at hockey history and not include “the Great One”? Wayne Gretzky put up seven points on this date in a 1985 playoff game against the Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers went on to beat the Jets, 8-3 in the Smythe Division Final.  

Monday April 26th

Once upon a time there was a defenseman by the name of Bobby Orr. On this day in 1967 he won the Calder Memorial Trophy for rookie of the year. He is now in the Hockey Hall of Fame and has a trophy case that would make any athlete green with envy.

What to Watch This Week

Monday – Anaheim at Los Angeles (10:00pm ET)

As playoff races across the league heat up, let’s not forget the battles being waged at the bottom of the standings, such as this Monday night clash between the Honda West division basement-dwelling Ducks and Kings. Whether you’re “blowin’ for Owen” or trying to “lose for Hughes“, every loss counts.

Tuesday – Carolina at Dallas (7:30pm ET); Florida at Nashville (8:00pm ET)

A big night awaits on Tuesday for the Central division with two games that carry significant postseason implications. You know, before the Tampa Bay Lightning ruin all the fun and dominate everyone.

Wednesday – Edmonton at Winnipeg (9:00pm ET)

This week brings two head-to-head showdowns between the Oilers and Jets, which will all but certainly serve as a first round playoff preview. Let’s take a moment to spare a thought for the Jets’ blue line, who will have already contended with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl nine times this season and could still have seven more playoff games forthcoming.

Wednesday – Colorado at Vegas (9:30pm ET)

Yeah, we all get it – two elite teams, Cup contenders… blah blah blah. The Avs and Golden Knights are on a collision course to meet in the second round, and the outcome of this game probably does nothing to change that. But if you’re not a fan of either team, it’s kind of fun to see one of them lose – and know that one won’t make it out of the division.