Start each and every morning with FPC’s Opening Face-Off. We recap the previous action in the National Hockey League and look forward to what the upcoming day brings in the greatest league in the world. Be sure to follow Full Press NHL on Twitter by clicking here!
Hall Notches 29th Goal of the Season
Since the turn of the calendar year, there haven’t been many players playing as well as Devils forward, Taylor Hall. Of Hall’s 29 goals this season, 17 have come since January 1st. The former first-overall selection of the Edmonton Oilers scored the lone goal in a 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday, giving him a tally in six of his last seven games. The goal extends his points streak to 17-consecutive games, adding to a Devils franchise record that he recently set. In fact, he now has a point in his last 24 appearances (he missed three games prior to the current 17 game streak).
Hall has now reached the 70 point plateau for the second time in his career. It is a first time a Devil player has reached that mark in a season since 2011-12. His 29 goals extend his career high he set when he scored his 28th. It is no coincidence that Hall’s emergence in New Jersey has the Devils looking primed for a playoff appearance. Currently, they sit in the first wildcard spot, five points ahead of the Blue Jackets and Hurricanes. In addition, they sit are just five points behind division-leading Washington with 17 games remaining. If Hall keeps up this pace he will find himself right in the thick of the MVP race, if he isn’t already.
Galchenyuk’s Hat Trick Propels the Canadiens Past the Islanders
Not much has gone right for Montreal this season. They currently are the third-worst team in the East with just 60 points. In addition to losing superstar goalie, Carey Price, to a concussion over a week ago, tonight they watched captain Max Pacioretty leave the game with a lower-body injury.
However, Habs fans had something to cheer about on Friday night, despite the Pacioretty injury. Alex Galchenyuk’s empty-net goal in the third sealed the 6-3 victory for the Canadiens over the Islanders. On top of that, it gave Galchenyuk the hat trick—the second of his career. The Canadiens currently sit nine points out of the final wildcard spot in the East.
Around the League
- Although unlikely, the wind has forced the NHL to consider moving the Stadium Series game between the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs at the U.S Naval Academy to Sunday instead of Saturday. The teams were unable to use the ice today as the crew removed the glass for safety reasons.
- The Winnipeg Jets picked up a big win to remain within reach of the scorching hot Predators in the West. Patrick Laine scored twice for the Jets as they held on for a 4-3 victory over the Red Wings. The Jets sit four points behind the Predators in the Central Division.
- Nathan MacKinnon notches five points ( two goals, three assists) as the Colorado Avalanche roll to a 7-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. They remain three points behind the Anaheim Ducks, who also won on Friday, for the final wildcard spot in the West.
- The league-leading Predators clinched their seventh-straight win when Calle Jarnkrok’s 16th goal of the season found the back of the net in overtime against the Canucks. The Predators entered the third period trailing, however, a Ryan Ellis goal (assisted by Jarnkrok) tied the game with just over three minutes remaining in regulation.
What to Watch For
- Despite heading in opposite directions, matchups between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens should never be taken lightly. Despite being without Patrice Bergeron, the Bruins are still looking like one of, if not, the best team in the East. New additions, Rick Nash and Tommy Wingels, have fit in nicely with the Black-and-Gold.
- Two of the other top teams in the East, Toronto and Washington, face-off on Saturday as well. The Maple Leafs sit a point behind the Bruins in the Atlantic division. However, they have played four more games than Boston. The Capitals currently lead the Metropolitan Division with 79 points.
- Finally, two teams that have combined to win five Stanley Cups over the past decade, square off on Saturday as the Blackhawks and Kings battle in Los Angeles. The Blackhawks are well out of a playoff spot at this point. Meanwhile, the Kings are fighting for their postseason lives.