In this edition of “NHL Talk,” we’ll look at the top hockey stories with quotes from players, coaches, managers, and more. Check Tom Pepper’s profile every day for a new edition of the “NHL Talk” column.
Flames’ Gaudreau Reaches 600 Career NHL Points, Surpasses Career-High in Goals
Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau scored two goals in a 5-2 win at the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday, giving him 601 points (208 goals, 393 assists) in 596 career NHL games. His first goal of the night, at 6:23 of the first period, set a new career-high in goals with 37 on the season before closing out the night with his second of the game at 18:28 of the third period for his 38th.
“Playing with some good players, obviously,” Gaudreau said. “You don’t do that by yourself. Not only our line but our ‘D’s done a great job, jumping up in the rush throughout the year, making plays. A lot of help from those guys in the locker room.”
Capitals’ Ovechkin Ties for Most NHL Goals in a Season at Age 36 or Older
Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin scored his 48th goal of the season in a 3-2 win at the Colorado Avalanche on Monday. At age 36, he tied Teemu Selanne (2006-07) for the most goals in a season by an NHL player age 36 or older. This season, Ovechkin leads the Capitals in points (87) and goals (48) and ranks third in assists (39) through 74 games.
“How can you not be [amazed], right? I mean, he keeps doing it,” said Capitals forward Marcus Johansson, who was teammates with Ovechkin from 2010 to 2017 before being reacquired by Washington this season. “It’s fun to watch. It hasn’t changed since I left, and yeah, it’s unbelievable.”
Kraken’s Beniers Scores Goals in Back-to-Back Games
Seattle Kraken rookie forward Matty Beniers scored a goal for a second consecutive game in a 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators on Monday. The first draft selection in Kraken history, taken with the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, has three points (two goals, one assist) in his first three NHL games. He signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Seattle on April 10 after completing his sophomore NCAA season with the Michigan Wolverines.
“He’s been comfortable since his first shift,” Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol said. “We didn’t have any hard matchups tonight for him and his linemates. We had a couple of matchups we were looking more for the [Yanni Gourde] line. Matt and his linemates played pretty much against everybody. Gave him a little bit extra towards the end of the game and the D-zone, an extra half shift. Just a continuation of what he’s done each night. He looks comfortable.”
Hurricanes Move Up to First Place in Metropolitan Division
The Carolina Hurricanes moved up to first place in the Metropolitan Division with a 5-3 win at the Arizona Coyotes on Monday. The Hurricanes now have a two-point lead on the New York Rangers, who have one game in hand. Carolina is gearing up for a playoff run, with the fourth-best record in the NHL this season at 49-20-8.
“We needed that for sure,” Hurricanes defenseman Nino Niederreiter said. “Overall, it’s good we got that win and got some juice from it.”
Golden Knights’ Playoff Hopes Fading With Another Loss
The Vegas Golden Knights’ chances of qualifying for the playoffs diminished after a 3-2 loss against the New Jersey Devils on Monday. The Golden Knights are three points behind the Los Angeles Kings for third place in the Pacific Division and four points behind the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators for the two wild-card spots in the Western Conference. Vegas has five games remaining to make a final push for a postseason berth.
“We got to win them all. It’s pretty simple, we got to win them all,” Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer said. “Circumstances have put us in a situation here where we have no margin of error. That’s a tough way to play. … The work in what has happened all year and what has happened the whole year has put us in a spot where we don’t have the luxury to relax and play loose this time of the year. We don’t have that. We’ve got to make sure we handle that and find a way to stick some pucks in the net.”
Canucks Chasing Wild-Card Spot on Six-Game Winning Streak
The Vancouver Canucks won their sixth consecutive game with a 6-2 win against the Dallas Stars on Monday. The Canucks are four points behind the Los Angeles Kings for third in the Pacific Division, with one game in hand, and five points behind the Stars and Predators for the two wild-card spots in the Western Conference. Vancouver is finishing the season strong to give themselves a chance at qualifying for the postseason.
“We don’t want to let teams dictate and bring the game to us. It’s up to us to take it to them,” Canucks forward Jason Dickinson said. “We’ve been playing that way for a good chunk of time now because we’re desperate and that’s what desperate hockey is.”
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.