In this edition of “NHL Talk,” these are 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.
Oilers Extend Lead for Second Place in Pacific Division
The Edmonton Oilers padded their second-place lead in the Pacific Division with a 5-2 win against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday. Forward Connor McDavid tallied three points (one goal, two assists) in the game, reclaiming the NHL scoring lead with 113 points (43 goals, 70 assists), two more than Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau. The victory moved Edmonton four points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings, who sit in third place in the division.
“We’ve talked a lot about that stuff here,” McDavid said. “It is what it is, and we have been here and done that, and we are trying to play good hockey and win games, and that is ultimately what we are focused on.”
Coyotes’ Winless Skid Hits Eight Games
The Arizona Coyotes’ winless skid hit eight games in a 4-3 overtime loss against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday. The Coyotes have struggled of late, having been outscored 47-13 in their last eight games for a record of 0-7-1 over that span. Arizona is in last place in the NHL with a 22-49-6 record and a league-worst minus-107 goal differential.
“I thought it was good for our younger players to see how the older guys dug in and competed and were real pros,” Coyotes head coach Andre Tourigny said. “It’s just unfortunate we lost.”
Golden Knights Earn Crucial Win to Keep Up in Wild-Card Race
The Vegas Golden Knights fought to earn a crucial two points with a 4-3 overtime win against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday. With the victory, the Golden Knights moved within two points of the Dallas Stars, who sit in the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Vegas is hoping to avoid missing the postseason for the first time in franchise history since the team’s inaugural season in 2017-18.
“We know the reality of the situation right now,” Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez said. “Our back is against the wall. These are must-win hockey games. Obviously, to get a win tonight and get those two points is huge, but really proud of the way the guys handled everything. We had some adversity throughout the game. It was a little bit back and forth, but it feels good. … The job isn’t done yet. We can enjoy this one for tonight, but we all know what the task at hand is.”
Capitals’ Ovechkin Ties NHL Record With Ninth 50-Goal Season
Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin scored two goals in the 4-3 overtime loss at the Golden Knights, giving him 50 goals on the season, the ninth time he has hit the 50-goal mark in a season, tying Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy for the most in NHL history. At age 36, he ranks third in league goal-scoring this season, behind Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (58) and Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (54).
“I’m always saying, without my teammates and linemates, I’d never reach those milestones and goals, so thanks,” said Ovechkin. “I’m pretty happy.”
Kraken Winning Streak Hits Three Games for First Time
The Seattle Kraken extended their winning streak to three games for the first time in a 3-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday. The Kraken have struggled in their inaugural season, ranking last in the Pacific Division and 29th in the NHL with a 26-44-6 record. Seattle is looking to finish the season strong and give its fans hope for a brighter future, highlighted by rookie Matty Beniers, who is on a four-game point streak.
“Guys are working hard, especially in this building, in front of the fans that have been here through thick and thin for the last six, seven months,” Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol said. “Because they’re working hard, they’re working together all night tonight. We got off to the start that we needed. To be able to play with the lead is really important against Colorado, and we were able to do that.”
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.