NHL Morning Skate – Feb. 6, 2023

By NHL Public Relations

* Four Wild Card spots, two competitive races in both the Eastern and Western Conference – dive into the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoff race as teams return to action.

* Jack and Quinn Hughes are set for the sixth all-time head-to-head as the Devils (32-13-4, 68 points) and Canucks (20-26-3, 43 points) clash when the NHL’s regular-season schedule resumes following All-Star Weekend.

* Jamie Benn (348-465—813 in 999 GP) is set to become the second player in Stars/North Stars history to skate in 1,000 games when Dallas’ captain celebrates the milestone night Monday. Mike Modano (1,459 GP) is currently the only player to do so.

The NHL’s 2022-23 regular season resumes following a pause from Feb. 2-5 for the 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend, with a shift in focus toward the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Four teams currently hold a playoff position after failing to do so in 2022 (NJD, WPG, VGK & SEA).

* The Bruins (39-7-5, 83 points), who occupy first place in the League standings, will look to claim the fourth Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history (2020, 2014 & 1990). Boston has held top spot in the NHL standings for 95 days this season and can establish the sixth instance in NHL history of a club holding the No. 1 position for at least 162 days should they remain in first through the duration of 2022-23.

* Elsewhere in the Atlantic Division, the Sabres (26-20-4, 56 points) – a club looking for their first playoff berth since 2010-11 – and Panthers (24-22-6, 54 points) currently sit one and three points behind the Penguins for the final Eastern Conference Wild Card spot, respectively. Two teams who would potentially face Boston in the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

* While the Hurricanes (34-9-8, 76 points) have held a share of the Metropolitan Division lead since Dec. 20, 2022, the Devils (32-13-4, 68 points) and Rangers (27-14-8, 62 points) – both in action Monday – currently hold second and third place, respectively. The two clubs, who are trending towards their first Stanley Cup Playoffs meeting in over a decade, both aim to earn a win in their 50th game of 2022-23, with New Jersey looking to record its second-most victories through as many contests in a season in franchise history behind only 2009-10 (34).

* The Islanders (25-22-5, 55 points), who are engaged in a close race for a Wild Card position, will also take to the ice when they visit the Flyers (21-21-9, 51 points); New York was 17 points outside of the playoff picture at this time last season.

* The first and second slot in the Central Division includes teams separated by just one point, with Dallas (28-13-10, 66 points) and Winnipeg (32-19-1, 65 points) also occupying the first two seeds in the Western Conference. The Stars can finish atop their division for the first time since 2015-16 and should they conclude the campaign in the conference’s first-place seed it would mark the first time since 2002-03. Meanwhile, the Jets have yet to conclude a season No. 1 in the division since the club re-located to Winnipeg – last achieving the feat in 2006-07 in Atlanta – and is in pursuit of their first-ever conference title.

* Two of the top three teams in the Pacific Division failed to participate in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, highlighted by the top-seeded Kraken (29-15-5, 63 points) who hold four games in hand over the second-place Kings (28-18-7, 63 points). Seattle, which has already surpassed its point total from 2021-22, can become the fourth expansion team since 1967-68 to win a division title within its first two seasons, joining the 2017-18 Golden Knights (Pacific Division), 1967-68 Flyers (West Division) and 1968-69 Blues (West Division). Of note, Philadelphia and St. Louis were part of the NHL’s all-expansion division from 1967-68 to 1973-74.

* The Western Conference features a tightly contested Wild Card race separated by six points and includes two teams from each division. Calgary will have the opportunity to move back into the Second Wild Card position for the first time since Jan. 27 when the Flames kick off a four-game road swing at Madison Square Garden.

Jack Hughes (33-31—64 in 49 GP) and the Devils (32-13-4, 68 points) welcome Quinn Hughes (5-40—45 in 45 GP) and the Canucks (20-26-3, 43 points) to Prudential Center as the NHL’s regular-season schedule resumes following All-Star Weekend.

* Jack enters his 50th game of the 2022-23 season on an eight-game point streak – a stretch that also includes multiple points in each of his past four contests dating to Jan. 22 (4-4—8 in 4 GP). Hughes, tied for the most goals (13) and points (23) among all players since Jan. 1, can become the third player in franchise history with five consecutive multi-point outings joining Scott Gomez (5 GP in 2005-06) and Kirk Muller (5 GP in 1987-88).

* Quinn sits tied for the fourth-most points among all defensemen since Jan. 1 (4-11—15 in 13 GP), thanks in part to five multi-point games and two outings with two or more assists. He sits one multi-assist performance shy of second double-digit total in a single season (also 11 in 2021-22) and five away from the most by a Canucks defenseman in a single campaign.

Stars captain Jamie Benn (348-465—813 in 999 GP) is expected to skate in his 1,000th career game when his Central Division-leading Stars (28-13-10, 66 points) host the Ducks (16-29-5, 37 points) at American Airlines Center.

* Benn (19-25—44 in 51 GP), who has already passed his 82-game goal total from 2021-22 (18-28—46) and sits one tally away from his 10th 20-goal campaign with Stars, is set to join a franchise icon with his milestone contest.


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Color of Hockey: Sophie Jaques has unfinished business at Ohio State
Avalanche enter second half confident they can repeat as Cup champions
Jamie Benn prepared to play 1,000th NHL game for Stars



NHL Morning Skate – Oct. 30, 2022

* While players 23 and younger found their names all over score sheet for the Canadiens on Saturday, it was 26-year-old Christian Dvorak who completed a third-period hat trick and capped a Montreal comeback win.

Nikita Kucherov and Brent Burns both propelled their clubs to victory and did so by scoring within the final 60 seconds of regulation and overtime, respectively.

Matty Beniers has collected points in four straight games to boost his 2022-23 totals to 4-4—8 and overtake the points lead among all rookies this season.

After the Blues jumped out to a 3-1 lead and the trio of Cole Caufield (2-1—3), Nick Suzuki (1-2—3) and Kirby Dach (0-2—2) helped the Canadiens take a 4-3 advantage entering the third period, Christian Dvorak’s first career hat trick secured a Montreal victory as well as the fifth seven-goal performance by a team in 2022-23.

* Dvorak, who tallied his first two goals within the opening 1:21 of the final frame, became the seventh Canadiens player in nearly 30 years to register a three-goal period. The others: Max Pacioretty (Nov. 19, 2013; P2), Erik Cole (March 23, 2012; P1), Lars Eller (Jan. 4, 2012; P3), Michael Cammalleri (Dec. 4, 2009; P2), Robert Lang (Jan. 7, 2009; P3) and Michael Ryder (April 7, 2007; P2).

The Lightning (5-4-0, 10 points) and Hurricanes (5-2-1, 11 points) each earned two points Saturday on the strength of some late-game heroics from Nikita Kucherov (1-0—1) and Brent Burns (1-0—1), respectively:

* Kucherov put Tampa Bay ahead with 57 seconds remaining in the third period and joined Leon Draisaitl (59:22 on Oct. 27), Josh Anderson (59:41 on Oct. 12) and Mark Stone (59:34 on Oct. 11) as the fourth player to score a go-ahead goal in the final minute of regulation this season. His two career go-ahead goals in that scenario trail only Patrick Kane (3) for the most among active skaters.

* After scoring his first goal in a Hurricanes uniform Friday, Burns found the back of the net again Saturday – this time netting his NHL-best 16th career overtime tally among defensemen with just 54 seconds on the clock. Of his 41 career game-winning goals in the regular season, three prior have also come within the final 60 seconds of overtime (none during regulation).

AfterPenguins forward Jake Guentzel broke the ice midway through the second period, the Kraken responded just 1:15 later as Matty Beniers (0-1—1) set up Jordan Eberle (1-0—1) to tie the game and spark Seattle’s first comeback win of the season. Beniers (4-4—8 in 10 GP) overtook Senators forward Shane Pinto (6-1—7 in 8 GP) and Wild defenseman Calen Addison (0-7—7 in 8 GP) for the NHL’s rookie scoring lead.

* Beniers, who posted nearly a point per game with the Kraken last season (3-6—9 in 10 GP), boosted his career totals to 7-10—17 through his first 20 contests. The No. 2 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft established a franchise mark for most points through a skater’s first 20 games with the Kraken, besting the pace set by Yanni Gourde (6-10—16 in 20 GP) and Jaden Schwartz (4-12—16 in 20 GP) in 2021-22.

Carter Verhaghe (2-1—3), Aleksander Barkov (1-2—3), Matthew Tkachuk (1-2—3) and Brandon Montour (1-2—3) each collected three points on the day the Panthers scored five goals on 58 shots – the most by any team in a game this season and the most in a game in franchise history.

* Tkachuk posted his first three-point game in a Panthers uniform and his fourth with two or more in 2022-23 (5-8—13 in 9 GP). After posting a career year in 2021-22 (42-62—104 in 82 GP), which witnessed the 24-year-old forward produce 1.27 points per game, Tkachuk is currently collecting points at a 1.44 points-per-game clip to start his tenure with his new club.

* After a 51-shot outing in its previous game against Philadelphia on Oct. 27, Florida has accumulated 100-plus shots through a two-game span for the second time in franchise history (105 in 2 GP from Nov. 3-5, 2010).


The Sabres and Islanders were both facing a multi-goal deficit entering the third period down, but clawed their way back to collect two points in the standings:

Tage Thompson (2-1—3) scored twice in the third period to help the Sabres force overtime and assisted on Victor Olofsson’s goal 36 seconds into overtime. Saturday marked the first time Buffalo has recorded a multi-goal, third-period comeback win since Dec. 11, 2018 (4-3 OT W vs. LAK).

Noah Dobson scored one of the Islanders five goals, four of which came in the final frame, as New York erased a three-goal deficit and won in regulation for the first time since March 10, 2014 (7-4 W at VAN). New York become just the second team this season to stage a three-goal comeback victory in regulation and just the fourth team this calendar year (EDM: 5-3 W vs. VAN on Oct. 12, MIN: 6-3 W vs. LAK on April 10 & BUF: 6-5 W at CHI on March 28).

Thirty-two-year-old Erik Karlsson (2-0—2)scored two of San Jose’s three goals to boost his 2022-23 totals among defensemen to an NHL-best 11 points (6-5—11 in 11 GP). After a three-point performance in his last outing, it marks the first time in his 14-season career – which includes two Norris Trophies (2011-12, 2014-15) – that Karlsson is the first defenseman to 10 points in a season by date (outright or tied).

* Follow our #NHLStats: Live Updates for more nightly notes and storylines like this one throughout the 2022-23 regular season.


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Sunday’s five-game slate will open with Devils forward Jesper Bratt (3-10—13 in 8 GP) looking to push his season-opening point streak to nine games when New Jersey hosts Columbus. Only one player in franchise history has posted a longer season-opening point streak than Bratt: Tim Higgins (10 GP in 1984-85).