ICYMI: NHL Morning Skate – Tuesday, April 26, 2022

April 26, 2022

NHL Morning Skate – April 26, 2022

* The three remaining playoff spots in the Western Conference could be claimed Tuesday, with the outcome of the Stars-Golden Knights game impacting a number of clinching scenarios.

* The NHL could see a first-time Presidents’ Trophy winner by the end of Tuesday’s slate as the Eastern Conference-leading Panthers aim for the League’s top seed.

* After a visit to the White House on Monday, the Lightning could know their First Round opponent by the end of the night, while the fourth and final division crown of 2021-22 could be handed out on Broadway.
 

REMINDER: Early registration is open for the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge at NHL.com/Bracket.

HEAD-TO-HEADS WITH CLINCHING IN THE CARDS

There’s a long list of clinch scenarios on the docket, including these ones rooted in head-to-head matchups on Tuesday’s schedule:

* A victory in regulation would put the Stars (44-30-5, 93 points) into the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs when they host the Golden Knights (42-31-6, 90 points). Vegas, meanwhile, will need at least a point to stay in the hunt for a fifth consecutive postseason berth since entering the NHL.

* If Dallas wins in any fashion, the idle Kings (43-27-10, 96 points) will secure both a playoff berth and a date with the Oilers (46-27-6, 98 points) in the First Round. Edmonton, meanwhile, can clinch the No. 2 seed in the Pacific Division with any sort of win against Pittsburgh (45-24-11, 101 points).

* The Metropolitan Division title will be at stake when the Hurricanes (52-20-8, 112 points) visit the Rangers (51-22-6, 108 points) on Broadway. Carolina needs a win of any kind to wrap up the No. 1 seed in its division for the second straight season and sixth time in franchise history – they would also set a new club benchmark for wins and points in a season (currently tied in each category).

* The Predators (44-29-6, 94 points) can control their own fate Tuesday as they seek an eighth straight postseason berth – a regulation win against the Flames (49-20-10, 108 points) is one of five scenarios by which Nashville could clinch. The regular-season finale between the two clubs may not be the last they see of each other in 2021-22, as they are currently destined for a First-Round matchup – which would be the first-ever between the franchises. Nashville has defeated Calgary in both previous meetings this season, claiming an overtime win Nov. 2 and shootout victory April 19.



PRESIDENTS’ TROPHY AMONG TUESDAY’S STORYLINES WITHIN THE ATLANTIC

The Panthers (57-16-6, 120 points) could guarantee themselves the No. 1 seed throughout the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs when they visit the Bruins (49-25-5, 103 points) at TD Garden. Florida controls half of its destiny but may quickly shift its post-game attention to a showdown at Ball Arena between the Blues (49-20-11, 109 points) and Avalanche (55-18-6, 116 points).

* Florida will secure its first Presidents’ Trophy on Tuesday if they defeat Boston in any fashion AND St. Louis defeats Colorado in any fashion. Another avenue for the Panthers would be to secure one point against the Bruins AND have the Blues defeat the Avalanche in regulation.

* Others in the Atlantic Division could settle their First-Round fate Tuesday as the Maple Leafs (52-21-7, 111 points) and Lightning (49-22-8, 106 points) hit the ice. Toronto will clinch the No. 2 seed in the division if they get at least one point against Detroit OR if Columbus defeats Tampa Bay in any fashion.
 

* A first-ever playoff series between Toronto and Tampa Bay could be confirmed Tuesday, if Tampa Bay wins in any fashion AND Florida wins in regulation.

TWENTY-SIX TEAMS, 13 GAMES, ONE TUESDAY NIGHT
A number of #NHLStats to watch out for Tuesday with 26 teams in action across a 13-game slate:

Nikita Kucherov (23-39—62 in 44 GP) enters Tuesday with the NHL’s longest active goal streak at six games (8-8—16), one shy of his career high; there have only been three longer runs in franchise history. The Lightning, who have outscored opponents 22-7 over the course of three straight wins, have tallied at least six goals in three straight games for the second time in franchise history (also 3 GP from Dec. 22-29, 2018) and can join the Maple Leafs (5 GP from March 29 – April 5, 2022) as the second team to score six-plus in four or more consecutive contests this season.


Mitchell Marner (35-62—97 in 71 GP) and Steven Stamkos (37-60—97 in 78 GP) each sit just three points back of their first 100-point season, with two and three games remaining, respectively. The NHL already has seven players with 100+ points in 2021-22 – only three campaigns in the past 30 years have featured nine or more players in the century club: 1992-93 (21), 1995-96 (12) and 1991-92 (9). Notably, J.T. Miller (30-66—96 in 77 GP) and Artemi Panarin (22-74—96 in 74 GP) are each four points shy of 100 with both the Canucks and Rangers having three games left in their schedules.
 

* Robert Thomas, who is currently tied with Connor McDavid for the longest point streak by a player this season, will put his 17-game run on the line Tuesday. As a team, St. Louis owns an active 16-game point streak (a franchise record) and a seven-game road win streak – its third longest in franchise history. With two games remaining in 2021-22, Thomas could become the fourth player in NHL history with at least one point in each of his team’s final 19+ games in a regular season –only Wayne Gretzky (28 GP in 1984-85), Guy Lafleur (28 GP in 1976-77) and Adam Oates (21 GP in 1992-93) have done so.



* The Avalanche and Hurricanes each enter Tuesday on the precipice of either establishing or matching franchise bests. Already with a club-best 55 wins, Colorado (55-18-6, 116 points) can tie its franchise record for points in a season (2000-01: 52-16-14, 118 points). Meanwhile, Carolina (52-20-8, 112 points) can surpass its best-ever win and point totals (2005-06: 52-22-8, 112 points). Coincidentally, each team won the Stanley Cup during its record-setting seasons.

* Mike Smith enters play on an eight-game win streak dating to April 1, tied with Boston’s Jeremy Swayman (8 GP from Feb. 19 – March 12) and Carolina’s Frederik Andersen (8 GP from Oct. 14 – Nov. 3) for the longest run by a goaltender this season. Smith can climb up an Oilers all-time list as only three netminders have posted a longer win streak in franchise historyGrant Fuhr (10 GP in 1985-86), Tommy Salo (9 GP in 2000-01) and Andy Moog (9 GP in 1982-83).

LIGHTNING GET SURPRISE VISIT TO OVAL OFFICE DURING TRIP TO WHITE HOUSE
The Lightning partook in their first-ever visit to the White House as they were honored for their 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup wins with a reception before a ceremony with President Joe Bidenon the White House’s South Lawn. After the ceremony, President Biden surprised the Lightning by inviting them into the Oval Office.


Talk of a three-peat was abound while the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions toured the grounds. In less than one week, Tampa Bay will begin its postseason endeavor to become the fourth franchise in NHL history – and first in nearly 40 years – to claim at least three consecutive Stanley Cup wins. The last club to do so was the Islanders dynasty (4x: 1980-1983), and before them the Canadiens (5x: 1956-1960; 4x: 1976-1979) and Maple Leafs (3x: 1947-1949; 3x: 1962-1964) each did so twice.

#NHLSTATS LIVE UPDATES: BLACKHAWKS WIN MONDAY’S LONE CONTEST

Leading off with a sneak peek at Tuesday’s clinching scenarios, #NHLStats: Live Updates for Monday, April 25, also included Alex DeBrincat (1-0—1) tying and setting career highs for goals (41) and points (77), respectively, while teammate Patrick Kane (0-1—1) matched his highest single-season assist total with his 66th helper of 2021-22.
 

QUICK CLICKS

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COURTESY NHLmedia.com

Posted in NHL
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