The Buzzer: Golden Knights first to clinch, more from Wednesday in NHL

3 Stars for Wednesday in the NHL

1. Jonathan Marchessault, Golden Knights

The Vegas Golden Knights became the first NHL team to clinch a playoff spot in 2020-21 on Wednesday, and Jonathan Marchessault was a big part of that. (This also represented the Golden Knights’ eighth win in a row. They’re pretty good.)

Heading into Wednesday’s NHL action, Marchessault was pretty cold. The often-trigger-happy forward wasn’t shooting that often, firing a single shot on goal in each of his past two games (both without points). He also hadn’t scored a goal in his past five games, settling for an assist during that span.

Marchessault broke through in this one, though. He scored two goals and two assists for the second four-point night of his career. Marchessault attempted to make it a hat trick with an empty-netter, but ended up assisting on Mattias Janmark‘s first goal with Vegas.

Along with those four points, Marchessault ended the night with five SOG, one hit, and a +4 rating.

2. Cam Talbot, Minnesota Wild

If you look at the 4-1 score, you might think that the Wild dominated the Coyotes as part of Wednesday’s NHL action. Cam Talbot’s play explained why this wasn’t a closer game, if not a Coyotes win.

Arizona fired 40 shots on goal, but only beat Cam Talbot once. Even then, Christian Dvorak scored on the power play, so Talbot was perfect at even-strength.

You have to wonder if Talbot’s already-strong season would be more impressive if he’d been able to stay healthy. After this strong win, Talbot is now 15-6-3 with a sparkling .925 save percentage.

During his past 13 games, Talbot’s only lost once during regulation (10-1-2). Many nights, the Wild make life relatively easy for their goalies, Talbot included. Here, Talbot was clearly a difference-maker.

3. Brandon Hagel, Chicago Blackhawks

After falling behind 4-1, the Blackhawks finally notched a win against the Predators this season. Brandon Hagel and Malcolm Subban (36 saves) made the biggest difference in what was a stunner for the NHL on Wednesday.

Hagel scored the overtime game-winner, capping a night where he already generated two assists. With that three-point burst, Hagel continues to heat up, as he now has five points (2G, 3A) in his past four games.

Through 43 games with the Blackhawks this season, Hagel now has a solid 19 points.

Although Subban allowed four goals, it’s tough to beat him up too much for any of them. He now sports a .911 save percentage, making Subban the less dramatic pleasant Blackhawks surprise in net. This isn’t Kevin Lankinen-level stuff, but it would be nice if Subban could establish himself as a reliable NHL backup.

Habs – Oilers almost produced top stars for Wednesday in the NHL. If Josh Anderson‘s stick didn’t break, he likely would’ve scored an empty-netter to nab a hat trick. Connor McDavid and the Oilers almost pulled off a Blackhawks-like rally against Anderson’s Canadiens, as McDavid generated three points. But it wasn’t quite enough, and Hagel scored an OTGWG, so Hagel gets the nod.

Highlights of the night for Wednesday in the NHL

Watch that Hagel OTGWG and that staggering Blackhawks comeback via these extended highlights:

Both Nico Sturm‘s sauce pass and Kevin Fiala‘s slick finish make this a very pretty goal:

Stat of the Night: Another Marleau milestone

It won’t top breaking Gordie Howe’s games played record, but Patrick Marleau played in his 900th consecutive game, joining a rare “Ironman” club.

[Stunning numbers on Marleau breaking Gordie Howe’s games played record]

Wednesday’s NHL scores

Blackhawks 5, Predators 4 (OT)
Wild 4, Coyotes 1
Golden Knights 5, Sharks 2
Canadiens 4, Oilers 3

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Golden Knights become first NHL team to clinch playoff spot in 2020-21

The Sharks gave them a good fight — sometimes literally — but the Vegas Golden Knights became the first team to clinch a playoff spot during the NHL’s truncated 2020-21 season.

Jonathan Marchessault finished the night with four points, while Marc-Andre Fleury earned career win 487 as the Golden Knights beat the Sharks 5-2. The Golden Knights won their eighth in a row to clinch that playoff spot.

Golden Knights first NHL team to clinch playoff spot after beating Sharks

In what was a physical game (particularly early on), the Sharks were able to stick with the Golden Knights at first. Just minutes in, Timo Meier gave San Jose a 1-0 lead, and Tomas Hertl‘s nice shot put the Sharks up 2-1 midway through the second period.

The Golden Knights just kept sending waves of pressure vs. the Sharks — that’s what they do, and that’s why they’ve clinched a playoff spot so early.

(That, and yes, the Avalanche have been on pause thanks to COVID.)

Eventually, the Golden Knights started to got to relatively unknown Sharks goalie Josef Korenar. Korenar managed to keep the game 1-1 through the first period despite Vegas generating a 19-8 shots on goal advantage, but the dam eventually broke.

Mark Stone continues to look dangerous as a net-front presence on the power play:

That Stone goal made it 2-2, and then Alex Tuch scored a late-second-period goal that kind of looked like it took place on the man advantage:

After becoming the first NHL team to clinch a playoff spot for 2020-21, the Golden Knights can at least ponder questions of rest vs. rust. (With two capable goalies in Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner, they don’t even need to strain the boundaries of credulity. Other teams might feel more like they’re throwing games away when opting for backups.)

Of course, the Golden Knights will also put a great emphasis on beating out the Avalanche for the West Division title.

West Division race update

After winning their eighth consecutive game, the Golden Knights clinched that playoff spot, and now the race for the top West Division spot looks like this.

Golden Knights: 33-11-2, 68 points in 46 games played
Avalanche: 30-9-4, 64 points in 43 GP
Wild: 29-13-3, 61 points in 45 GP

(Meanwhile, the Sharks couldn’t gain ground on the Coyotes and Blues in the West Division playoff race. Arizona lost to Minnesota, while the Blues were idle on Wednesday.)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Your 2020-21 NHL on NBC TV schedule

All 31 NHL Teams Featured Throughout Roughly 100 Games Across NBC and NBCSN; 21 Teams Make At Least Four Appearances

Schedule Features Wednesday Night Hockey and Tuesday Hockey Happy Hour Doubleheaders; More Than 75% of Teams Appear on Wednesday Nights

NBC Sports announced its full regular-season schedule that will feature all 31 NHL teams across roughly 100 games on NBC and NBCSN, beginning January 13 with a Wednesday Night Hockey tripleheader on NBCSN headlined by the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning against the Chicago Blackhawks.

NBC Sports will present a record 16 regular-season games on the NBC broadcast network, beginning Sunday, Jan. 17 when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Washington Capitals.

In December, the NHL announced a 56-game regular-season schedule per team for the 2020-21 season, as well as a divisional realignment which limits team matchups to intra-division play and minimizes team travel as much as possible.

 • No team will have more than seven exclusive appearances on NBC and NBCSN and 21 teams will have at least four national appearances this year.

 • Some teams will appear nationally more than seven times, but those games will be blacked out in the local market and shown on their local RSN.

Additional NHL NBC schedule highlights:

 • Wednesday Night Hockey Presented by New Amsterdam Vodka on NBCSN – More than 75% of NHL teams will appear on Wednesday nights on NBCSN, and most will feature doubleheaders (and in some cases tripleheaders) surrounding its Wednesday Night Hockey coverage, including both early and late start times.

 •Tuesday Hockey Happy HoursThree Tuesday Hockey Hour doubleheaders (Feb. 2, Feb. 9 and March 9) that will begin at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

 • NHL on NBC – NBC Sports will showcase the NHL 16 times on NBC – once per week on average during the 2020-21 season – marking the most-ever NHL regular-season games on NBC. In addition, the final matchup on Saturday, May 8, is TBD and will feature the most compelling game with playoff implications.

 • Sunday Night Hockey on NBCSNThere will be 10 Sunday Night Hockey matchups on NBCSN, featuring teams from all four divisions, all four Conference Final teams from the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and a majority of matchups featuring a traditional Western Conference team.

2020-21 NHL NBC REGULAR-SEASON SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES EASTERN)

Wed., Jan. 13 Pittsburgh Philadelphia NBCSN PHI 6-3
  Chicago Tampa Bay NBCSN TB 4-1
St. Louis Colorado NBCSN STL 5-1
Sun., Jan. 17 Washington Pittsburgh NBC PIT 4-3 (SO)
Mon., Jan. 18 Columbus Detroit NBCSN CBJ 3-2
Boston N.Y. Islanders NBCSN NYI 1-0
Buffalo Philadelphia NBCSN BUF 6-1
  Arizona Vegas NBCSN VGK 4-2
Tues., Jan. 19 Washington Pittsburgh NBCSN PIT 5-4
Wed., Jan. 20 Edmonton Toronto NBCSN EDM 3-1
Minnesota Anaheim NBCSN MIN 3-2
Thur., Jan. 21 Tampa Bay Columbus NBCSN TB 3-2 (OT)
Montreal Vancouver NBCSN MTL 7-3
Sun., Jan. 24 Detroit Chicago NBC CHI 6-2
Tues., Jan. 26 N.Y. Islanders Washington NBCSN WSH 3-2
Wed., Jan. 27 Chicago Nashville NBCSN NSH 2-1 (SO)
Mon., Feb. 1 Pittsburgh N.Y. Rangers NBCSN NYR 3-1
Tues., Feb. 2 Buffalo N.Y. Islanders NBCSN PPD
Minnesota Colorado NBCSN COL 2-1
Wed., Feb. 3 Detroit Tampa Bay NBCSN TBL 5-1
Boston Philadelphia NBCSN BOS 4-3 (OT)
Sun., Feb. 7 Philadelphia Washington NBC PHI 7-4
Mon., Feb. 8 N.Y. Islanders N.Y. Rangers NBCSN NYI 2-0
Tues., Feb. 9 Philadelphia Washington NBCSN PPD
Tampa Bay Nashville NBCSN TB 6-1
Wed., Feb. 10 Boston N.Y. Rangers NBCSN BOS 3-2 (OT)
Sun., Feb. 14 Washington Pittsburgh NBC PIT 6-3
Colorado Vegas NBCSN VGK 1-0
Mon., Feb. 15 N.Y. Islanders Buffalo NBCSN NYI 3-1
Tues., Feb. 16 Washington Pittsburgh NBCSN WSH 3-1
Wed., Feb. 17 Chicago Detroit NBCSN CHI 2-0
Winnipeg Edmonton NBCSN EDM 3-2
Sat., Feb. 20 Vegas Colorado NBCSN COL 3-2
Sun., Feb. 21 Philadelphia Boston NBCSN BOS 7-3
New Jersey Washington NBC WSH 4-3
Tues., Feb. 23 Pittsburgh Washington NBCSN PIT 3-2 (OT)
Wed., Feb. 24 N.Y. Rangers Philadelphia NBCSN PHI 4-3
Los Angeles St. Louis NBCSN LA 2-1
Sun., Feb. 28 Boston N.Y. Rangers NBC BOS 4-1
Detroit Chicago NBCSN CHI 7-2
Tues., March 2 Philadelphia Pittsburgh NBCSN PIT 5-2
Wed., March 3 Washington Boston NBCSN WSH 2-1 (SO)
St. Louis Anaheim NBCSN STL 3-2
Sun., March 7 Buffalo N.Y. Islanders NBC NYI 5-2
Tampa Bay Chicago NBCSN TBL 6-3
  New Jersey Boston NBCSN NJ 1-0
N.Y. Rangers Pittsburgh NBCSN PIT 5-1
Tues., March 9 N.Y. Rangers Pittsburgh NBCSN PIT 4-2
Chicago Dallas NBCSN DAL 6-1
Wed., March 10 Vegas Minnesota NBCSN MIN 4-3
Los Angeles Anaheim NBCSN LAK 5-1
Sun., March 14 Los Angeles Colorado NBCSN COL 4-1
Mon., March 15 Philadelphia N.Y. Rangers NBCSN PHI 5-4 (OT)
Tues., March 16 Boston Pittsburgh NBCSN BOS 2-1
Wed., March 17 Philadelphia N.Y. Rangers NBCSN NYR 9-0
  Edmonton Calgary NBCSN EDM 7-3
Sun., March 21 Vegas Los Angeles NBCSN LAK 3-1
Mon., March 22 Anaheim Minnesota NBCSN MIN 2-1
Tues., March 23 New Jersey Philadelphia NBCSN NJD 4-3
Wed., March 24 Anaheim Minnesota NBCSN MIN 3-2
  Buffalo Pittsburgh NBCSN PIT 5-2
Los Angeles San Jose NBCSN SJ 4-2
Sun., March 28 N.Y. Rangers Washington NBC WSH 5-4
Columbus Detroit NBCSN DET 4-1
New Jersey Boston NBCSN NJ 1-0
  Nashville Chicago NBCSN NSH 3-2
Mon., March 29 N.Y. Islanders Pittsburgh NBCSN PIT 2-1
Tues., March 30 Carolina Chicago NBCSN CHI 2-1
Wed., March 31 Philadelphia Buffalo NBCSN BUF 6-1
Los Angeles Vegas NBCSN LAK 4-2
Thurs., April 1 Carolina Chicago NBCSN CAR 4-3
Minnesota Vegas NBCSN MIN 3-2 (SO)
Sun., April 4 Detroit Tampa Bay NBC DET 5-1
Dallas Carolina NBCSN CAR 1-0
Tues., April 6 Pittsburgh N.Y. Rangers NBCSN NYR 8-4
Wed., April 7 Edmonton Ottawa NBCSN EDM 4-2
Montreal Toronto NBCSN TOR 3-2
Tues., April 13 Philadelphia Washington NBCSN WSH 6-1
Wed., April 14 Colorado St. Louis NBCSN COL 4-3
Vegas Los Angeles NBCSN VGK 6-2
Thurs., April 15 Florida Tampa NBCSN TB 3-2 (OT)
Sat., April 17 Pittsburgh Buffalo NBC PIT 3-2
Sun., April 18 Washington Boston NBC BOS 6-3
  N.Y. Islanders Philadelphia NBCSN NYI 1-0 (OT)
Los Angeles Colorado NBCSN PPD
Mon., April 19 Detroit Dallas NBCSN DAL 3-2 (SO)
Tues., April 20 Buffalo Boston NBCSN BOS 2-0
Colorado St. Louis NBCSN PPD
Wed., April 21 Nashville Chicago NBCSN CHI 5-4 (OT)
  San Jose Vegas NBCSN VGK 5-2
Sat., April 24 Colorado St. Louis NBC 3 p.m.
Sun., April 25 Boston Pittsburgh NBC 3 p.m.
  Columbus Tampa Bay NBCSN 7 p.m.
Mon., April 26 Carolina Dallas NBCSN 7:30 p.m.
Tues., April 27 N.Y. Islanders Washington NBCSN 7 p.m.
Wed., April 28 St. Louis Minnesota NBCSN 7 p.m.
  Colorado Vegas NBCSN 9:30 p.m.
Thurs., April 29 Florida Chicago NBCSN 8 p.m.
  Calgary Edmonton NBCSN 9:30 p.m. (JIP)
Sun., May 2 Tampa Bay Detroit NBC 3 p.m.
Mon., May 3 TBD TBD NBCSN TBD
Tues., May 4 TBD TBD NBCSN TBD
Wed., May 5 Washington N.Y. Rangers NBCSN 7 p.m.
Thur., May 6 TBD TBD NBCSN TBD
Sat., May 8 TBD TBD NBC 3 p.m.
  TBD TBD NBCSN TBD

*subject to change

*Some games will be blacked out in local markets and televised in those markets by a regional carrier.

Your 2020-21 NHL on NBC TV schedule

All 31 NHL Teams Featured Throughout Roughly 100 Games Across NBC and NBCSN; 21 Teams Make At Least Four Appearances

Schedule Features Wednesday Night Hockey and Tuesday Hockey Happy Hour Doubleheaders; More Than 75% of Teams Appear on Wednesday Nights

NBC Sports announced its full regular-season schedule that will feature all 31 NHL teams across roughly 100 games on NBC and NBCSN, beginning January 13 with a Wednesday Night Hockey tripleheader on NBCSN headlined by the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning against the Chicago Blackhawks.

NBC Sports will present a record 16 regular-season games on the NBC broadcast network, beginning Sunday, Jan. 17 when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Washington Capitals.

In December, the NHL announced a 56-game regular-season schedule per team for the 2020-21 season, as well as a divisional realignment which limits team matchups to intra-division play and minimizes team travel as much as possible.

 • No team will have more than seven exclusive appearances on NBC and NBCSN and 21 teams will have at least four national appearances this year.

 • Some teams will appear nationally more than seven times, but those games will be blacked out in the local market and shown on their local RSN.

Additional NHL NBC schedule highlights:

 • Wednesday Night Hockey Presented by New Amsterdam Vodka on NBCSN – More than 75% of NHL teams will appear on Wednesday nights on NBCSN, and most will feature doubleheaders (and in some cases tripleheaders) surrounding its Wednesday Night Hockey coverage, including both early and late start times.

 •Tuesday Hockey Happy HoursThree Tuesday Hockey Hour doubleheaders (Feb. 2, Feb. 9 and March 9) that will begin at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

 • NHL on NBC – NBC Sports will showcase the NHL 16 times on NBC – once per week on average during the 2020-21 season – marking the most-ever NHL regular-season games on NBC. In addition, the final matchup on Saturday, May 8, is TBD and will feature the most compelling game with playoff implications.

 • Sunday Night Hockey on NBCSNThere will be 10 Sunday Night Hockey matchups on NBCSN, featuring teams from all four divisions, all four Conference Final teams from the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and a majority of matchups featuring a traditional Western Conference team.

2020-21 NHL NBC REGULAR-SEASON SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES EASTERN)

Wed., Jan. 13 Pittsburgh Philadelphia NBCSN PHI 6-3
  Chicago Tampa Bay NBCSN TB 4-1
St. Louis Colorado NBCSN STL 5-1
Sun., Jan. 17 Washington Pittsburgh NBC PIT 4-3 (SO)
Mon., Jan. 18 Columbus Detroit NBCSN CBJ 3-2
Boston N.Y. Islanders NBCSN NYI 1-0
Buffalo Philadelphia NBCSN BUF 6-1
  Arizona Vegas NBCSN VGK 4-2
Tues., Jan. 19 Washington Pittsburgh NBCSN PIT 5-4
Wed., Jan. 20 Edmonton Toronto NBCSN EDM 3-1
Minnesota Anaheim NBCSN MIN 3-2
Thur., Jan. 21 Tampa Bay Columbus NBCSN TB 3-2 (OT)
Montreal Vancouver NBCSN MTL 7-3
Sun., Jan. 24 Detroit Chicago NBC CHI 6-2
Tues., Jan. 26 N.Y. Islanders Washington NBCSN WSH 3-2
Wed., Jan. 27 Chicago Nashville NBCSN NSH 2-1 (SO)
Mon., Feb. 1 Pittsburgh N.Y. Rangers NBCSN NYR 3-1
Tues., Feb. 2 Buffalo N.Y. Islanders NBCSN PPD
Minnesota Colorado NBCSN COL 2-1
Wed., Feb. 3 Detroit Tampa Bay NBCSN TBL 5-1
Boston Philadelphia NBCSN BOS 4-3 (OT)
Sun., Feb. 7 Philadelphia Washington NBC PHI 7-4
Mon., Feb. 8 N.Y. Islanders N.Y. Rangers NBCSN NYI 2-0
Tues., Feb. 9 Philadelphia Washington NBCSN PPD
Tampa Bay Nashville NBCSN TB 6-1
Wed., Feb. 10 Boston N.Y. Rangers NBCSN BOS 3-2 (OT)
Sun., Feb. 14 Washington Pittsburgh NBC PIT 6-3
Colorado Vegas NBCSN VGK 1-0
Mon., Feb. 15 N.Y. Islanders Buffalo NBCSN NYI 3-1
Tues., Feb. 16 Washington Pittsburgh NBCSN WSH 3-1
Wed., Feb. 17 Chicago Detroit NBCSN CHI 2-0
Winnipeg Edmonton NBCSN EDM 3-2
Sat., Feb. 20 Vegas Colorado NBCSN COL 3-2
Sun., Feb. 21 Philadelphia Boston NBCSN BOS 7-3
New Jersey Washington NBC WSH 4-3
Tues., Feb. 23 Pittsburgh Washington NBCSN PIT 3-2 (OT)
Wed., Feb. 24 N.Y. Rangers Philadelphia NBCSN PHI 4-3
Los Angeles St. Louis NBCSN LA 2-1
Sun., Feb. 28 Boston N.Y. Rangers NBC BOS 4-1
Detroit Chicago NBCSN CHI 7-2
Tues., March 2 Philadelphia Pittsburgh NBCSN PIT 5-2
Wed., March 3 Washington Boston NBCSN WSH 2-1 (SO)
St. Louis Anaheim NBCSN STL 3-2
Sun., March 7 Buffalo N.Y. Islanders NBC NYI 5-2
Tampa Bay Chicago NBCSN TBL 6-3
  New Jersey Boston NBCSN NJ 1-0
N.Y. Rangers Pittsburgh NBCSN PIT 5-1
Tues., March 9 N.Y. Rangers Pittsburgh NBCSN PIT 4-2
Chicago Dallas NBCSN DAL 6-1
Wed., March 10 Vegas Minnesota NBCSN MIN 4-3
Los Angeles Anaheim NBCSN LAK 5-1
Sun., March 14 Los Angeles Colorado NBCSN COL 4-1
Mon., March 15 Philadelphia N.Y. Rangers NBCSN PHI 5-4 (OT)
Tues., March 16 Boston Pittsburgh NBCSN BOS 2-1
Wed., March 17 Philadelphia N.Y. Rangers NBCSN NYR 9-0
  Edmonton Calgary NBCSN EDM 7-3
Sun., March 21 Vegas Los Angeles NBCSN LAK 3-1
Mon., March 22 Anaheim Minnesota NBCSN MIN 2-1
Tues., March 23 New Jersey Philadelphia NBCSN NJD 4-3
Wed., March 24 Anaheim Minnesota NBCSN MIN 3-2
  Buffalo Pittsburgh NBCSN PIT 5-2
Los Angeles San Jose NBCSN SJ 4-2
Sun., March 28 N.Y. Rangers Washington NBC WSH 5-4
Columbus Detroit NBCSN DET 4-1
New Jersey Boston NBCSN NJ 1-0
  Nashville Chicago NBCSN NSH 3-2
Mon., March 29 N.Y. Islanders Pittsburgh NBCSN PIT 2-1
Tues., March 30 Carolina Chicago NBCSN CHI 2-1
Wed., March 31 Philadelphia Buffalo NBCSN BUF 6-1
Los Angeles Vegas NBCSN LAK 4-2
Thurs., April 1 Carolina Chicago NBCSN CAR 4-3
Minnesota Vegas NBCSN MIN 3-2 (SO)
Sun., April 4 Detroit Tampa Bay NBC DET 5-1
Dallas Carolina NBCSN CAR 1-0
Tues., April 6 Pittsburgh N.Y. Rangers NBCSN NYR 8-4
Wed., April 7 Edmonton Ottawa NBCSN EDM 4-2
Montreal Toronto NBCSN TOR 3-2
Tues., April 13 Philadelphia Washington NBCSN WSH 6-1
Wed., April 14 Colorado St. Louis NBCSN COL 4-3
Vegas Los Angeles NBCSN VGK 6-2
Thurs., April 15 Florida Tampa NBCSN TB 3-2 (OT)
Sat., April 17 Pittsburgh Buffalo NBC PIT 3-2
Sun., April 18 Washington Boston NBC BOS 6-3
  N.Y. Islanders Philadelphia NBCSN NYI 1-0 (OT)
Los Angeles Colorado NBCSN PPD
Mon., April 19 Detroit Dallas NBCSN DAL 3-2 (SO)
Tues., April 20 Buffalo Boston NBCSN BOS 2-0
Colorado St. Louis NBCSN PPD
Wed., April 21 Nashville Chicago NBCSN 7 p.m.
  San Jose Vegas NBCSN 9:30 p.m.
Sat., April 24 Colorado St. Louis NBC 3 p.m.
Sun., April 25 Boston Pittsburgh NBC 3 p.m.
  Columbus Tampa Bay NBCSN 7 p.m.
Mon., April 26 Carolina Dallas NBCSN 7:30 p.m.
Tues., April 27 N.Y. Islanders Washington NBCSN 7 p.m.
Wed., April 28 St. Louis Minnesota NBCSN 7 p.m.
  Colorado Vegas NBCSN 9:30 p.m.
Thurs., April 29 Florida Chicago NBCSN 8 p.m.
  Calgary Edmonton NBCSN 9:30 p.m. (JIP)
Sun., May 2 Tampa Bay Detroit NBC 3 p.m.
Mon., May 3 TBD TBD NBCSN TBD
Tues., May 4 TBD TBD NBCSN TBD
Wed., May 5 Washington N.Y. Rangers NBCSN 7 p.m.
Thur., May 6 TBD TBD NBCSN TBD
Sat., May 8 TBD TBD NBC 3 p.m.
  TBD TBD NBCSN TBD

*subject to change

*Some games will be blacked out in local markets and televised in those markets by a regional carrier.

NHL Horoscopes Week 15: Taurus season a welcome calm

It’s Taurus season, and you know what that means.

A lot of calm. Nearly the exact opposite of Aries’ chaos energy. The Taurus season is all about comforts, which doesn’t always fit the NHL description. Should make for an interesting month.

Stat Leaders

Connor McDavid: 74 points, 50 assists (Capricorn)
Auston Matthews: 33 goals (Virgo)
Mathieu Olivier: 68 PIM (Aquarius)
Andrei Vasilevskiy: .930 Save % (Cancer)

EAST DIVISION

• Boston Bruins: Highest concentration in Taurus

Cancer Mike Reilly is off to a great start.

Horoscope: The Bruins have been playing well for a while, but perhaps the Taurus season will ground them even more.

Do: Mike Reilly Don’t: Too much for the young guys

• Buffalo Sabres: Highest concentration in Sagittarius

The season inches towards a merciful end.

Horoscope: The Sabres were the first team to be mathematically eliminated this week.

Do: Best foot forward Don’t: Let Don Granato go

• Washington Capitals: Highest concentration in Taurus/Virgo

Virgo Anthony Mantha has been a welcome addition.

Horoscope: Mantha has been a welcome addition. These Taurus Capitals need to think about goaltending, though.

Do: Toe the line Don’t: Neglect goaltending x3

[NHL Power Rankings: Hurricanes’ surprising strength; Rangers on the rise]

• New York Rangers: Highest concentration in Aquarius

Imagine if they had played like this like a month earlier.

Horoscope: Actually maybe the most Aquarius thing is suddenly improving and performing well way after it’s most likely too late.

Do: Finish strong Don’t: Drama

• New York Islanders: Highest concentration in Aquarius

The Isles still need more offense

Horoscope: Once Aquarius season ended the offensive-challenged Islanders totally forgot how to score entirely.

Do: Scoring Don’t: Late season slump

• New Jersey Devils: Highest concentration in Scorpio/Sagittarius

Taurus Jack Hughes has slowed down significantly.

Horoscope: The Devils are looking towards the future at this point, which means it’s time to focus on the young guys.

Do: Blackwood Don’t: Bad finish

• Philadelphia Flyers: Highest concentration in Taurus

The Flyers need this Sun season to go well.

Horoscope: The Flyers need all the help they can get. Perhaps the Taurus season is what they need.

Do: Carter Hart hot streak Don’t: Horrible finish

• Pittsburgh Penguins: Highest concentration in Leo/Taurus

Perhaps quietly, Leo Sidney Crosby is putting together an excellent campaign.

Horoscope: How can’t you love the way the Penguins are playing? It’s time to finish strong.

Do: Win some road games Don’t: Fall back

Flyers
Getty Images

CENTRAL DIVISION

• Detroit Red Wings: Highest concentration in Aquarius

Seems like a good opportunity for Aquarius Richard Panik to get on track.

Horoscope: The Red Wings have to feel good about how they’re building after the trade deadline. Keep the positive vibes.

Do: Scoring Don’t: Forgot the power play

[Your 2020-21 NHL on NBC TV schedule]

• Tampa Bay Lightning: Highest concentration in Gemini

Perhaps Gemini Nikita Kucherov will give the Lightning a spark.

Horoscope: Losing Aquarius Steven Stamkos to injury is tough luck. Don’t let it get in your head.

Do: Karma Don’t: Overthink

• Florida Panthers: Highest concentration in Virgo

Losing Leo Carter Verhaeghe is tough luck.

Horoscope: The Panthers keep surging. Maybe, just maybe they are for real after all.

Do: Defensive chemistry Don’t: Overthink Spencer Knight

Carolina Hurricanes: Highest concentration in Cancer/Aries

Quietly, the Hurricanes goalie tandem has been one of the best in the league.

Horoscope: The Hurricanes should be on your radar as one of the scariest teams in the league if they aren’t already.

Do: Defense and goalies Don’t: Overextend

• Nashville Predators: Highest concentration in Gemini

Maybe the return of Capricorn Matt Duchene will be a spark.

Horoscope: The Gemini Predators keep pushing for more. Going 6-0 against Chicago can only help.

Do: Beat good teams Don’t: Lose bad games

• Dallas Stars: Highest concentration in Gemini and Cancer

Cancer rookie Jason Robertson has led a playoff push.

Horoscope: Dallas has a clear path to the postseason, but it’s all in their hands now. Don’t overthink, just do.

Do: Rookies Don’t: Injuries

• Chicago Blackhawks: Heaviest concentration in Aries

The schedule might make it so Chicago can’t make that final playoff push.

Horoscope: Losing six games to the playoff team ahead of you isn’t going to help no matter what sign the sun is in.

Do: Consistency Don’t: Lose to the same team a bunch

• Columbus Blue Jackets: Heaviest concentration in Cancer

Aries Patrik Laine has not been a good fit.

Horoscope: Is anyone playing worse than the Blue Jackets right now? What a rough limp to the finish line this has been.

Do: Finish ahead of Detroit Don’t: Oof

Getty Images

WEST DIVISION

• Minnesota Wild: Highest concentration in Virgo and Cancer

Taurus Kirill Kaprizov continues his Calder push.

Horoscope: The Wild seem rather locked into that third playoff spot in the West no matter what happens.

Do: Call up Matt Boldy Don’t: Look back

• St. Louis Blues: Highest concentration in Cancer and Aries

The Blues could sure use Cancer Jaden Schwartz getting hot.

Horoscope: They’re 3-6-1 in their last 10 and have been pushed from a playoff spot by a team not playing its best either.

Do: Any scoring Don’t: Whatever this has been

• Arizona Coyotes: Highest concentration in Leo

Certainly not the time to lose five games in a row.

Horoscope: The Leo Coyotes keep losing games and yet they are in a playoff position. Imagine if they went on a run.

Do: Score Don’t: Throw away a playoff chance

• San Jose Sharks: Highest concentration in Aries

Virgo Patrick Marleau broke the NHL regular season games played record this week.

Horoscope: If the Sharks really wanted a playoff seed they could make a push, but they don’t seem capable of that.

Do: Celebrate Marleau Don’t: Be weird about Marleau’s record

• Vegas Golden Knights: Highest concentration in Leo

The Golden Knights could use more scoring from Capricorn Jonathan Marchessault.

Horoscope: The Knights have won seven in a row. This Taurus season should be good for the fixed sign Golden Knights.

Do: Goaltending Don’t: Let the Avs catch up

• Anaheim Ducks: Heaviest concentration in Aquarius

Adding Cancer Haydn Fleury feels like it was a smart move.

Horoscope: The West has been so weird it’s not impossible mathematically for the Ducks to make a run, not like that’s happening.

Do: Play the kids Don’t: Offensive woes

• Los Angeles Kings: Highest concentration in Libra

The Kings could make a playoff push.

Horoscope: The Kings are just seven points out of a playoff spot with three games in hand, never say never?

Do: Goaltending Don’t: Bad finish

• Colorado Avalanche: Highest concentration in Scorpio 

Taurus Devan Dubnyk is going to be heavily relied on for a bit.

Horoscope: Colorado has won nine of its last 10. Maybe only the Golden Knights can slow them down.

Do: Goalies Don’t: Squander games in hand

Getty Images

NORTH DIVISION

• Vancouver Canucks: Heaviest concentration in Cancer and Libra

In their first game back, the Canucks beat the Maple Leafs.

Horoscope: The Canucks won their first game after dealing with a huge Covid outbreak. Thoughts with everyone still recovering.

Do: Be safe Don’t: Pressure, they literally just all had Covid

• Calgary Flames: Heaviest concentration in Pisces

Doesn’t seem like this is going anywhere.

Horoscope: They are Flaming out, so to speak.

Do: Figure out next season Don’t: Lose 13 road games

Edmonton Oilers: Heaviest concentration in Cancer and Libra

Aries goalie Mike Smith has been surprisingly good.

Horoscope: The Oilers have fallen behind the surging Jets, but have room to win some games and move back into second. Use the calmness of the Taurus season.

Do: McDavid highlight goals Don’t: Collapse

• Winnipeg Jets: Heaviest concentration in Aries

Perhaps Cancer Pierre-Luc Dubois has a run in him.

Horoscope: The Jets have a big opportunity in front of them with two games against the Maple Leafs this week. The end of Aries season will perhaps give some stability.

Do: Big week Don’t: Defensive woes

• Ottawa Senators: Heaviest concentration in Pisces

Gemini goalie Matt Murray seems to be taking a step forward.

Horoscope: Ottawa has actually won two in a row and hasn’t looked too bad. There’s more hope going into next season.

Do: Take the good vibes Don’t: Let Taurus Mercury make for a lax plan

• Montreal Canadiens: Heaviest concentration in Leo and Taurus

If Leo goalie Carey Price gets hot, the Habs might have a chance.

Horoscope: If Price is out that’ll hurt the Habs, who could use a strong Taurus season to close things out.

Do: Call up Cole Caufield x2 Don’t: Late collapse

• Toronto Maple Leafs: Heaviest concentration in Gemini

A two-game set with Winnipeg this week will be interesting.

Horoscope: All things considered the Leafs are really good, but we won’t know how Gemini they truly are until they sink or swim outside of the North.

Do: Beat the teams chasing you Don’t: External pressure

Marisa Ingemi is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop her a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi.

Push for the Playoffs: Hurricanes could get boost with Teräväinen return

Push for the Playoffs will run every morning through the end of the 2020-21 NHL season. We’ll highlight the current playoff picture in both conferences, take a look at what the first-round matchups might look like, see who’s leading the race for the best odds in the draft lottery and more.

Teuvo Teräväinen is inching closer to a return to the Hurricanes’ lineup as he recovers from a concussion that he’s been dealing with for two months.

Teräväinen has played once since Feb. 19, but joined the team for practice on Friday — an encouraging sign that a comeback is in the offing. Carolina opened a six-game road trip Monday with an overtime loss to the Lightning. Head coach Rod Brind’Amour is hoping that Teravainen could return while they’re away from PNC Arena.

“Not sure. I hope so,” he said. “Just waiting on him to say, ‘Book me in,’ and then he’ll go in. Positive side is that he’s at least practicing with us so he’s part of the group now. Hopefully he’ll get the bug and feel good and he’ll get in there.”

Teräväinen opened the season by testing positive for COVID-19, then took a hit from Blackhawks defenseman Nikita Zadorov on Feb. 19 causing him to miss seven games. He last played March 4.

Since Teräväinen has been skating now for a few weeks, whether he’s back playing will be up to him and how he feels at this point. He’s played 13 of Carolina’s 44 games this season and if he recovers 100% could be a key addition as the Hurricanes battle with the Lightning and Panthers for the top spot in the Central Division.

Entering play on Tuesday, Carolina and Florida are tied atop the division with 63 points with Tampa right behind them with 62. The Hurricanes currently have the edge via points percentage (.716) as they have 12 games to play.

[Your 2020-21 NHL on NBC TV schedule]

IF PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY (matchups by total points)

EAST DIVISION
1. Capitals vs. 4. Bruins
2. Islanders vs. 3. Penguins

NORTH DIVISION
1. Maple Leafs vs. 4. Canadiens
2. Jets vs. 3. Oilers

WEST DIVISION
1. Golden Knights vs. 4. Coyotes
2. Avalanche vs. 3. Wild

(NOTE: St. Louis currently holds a better points percentage than Arizona — .512 to .489.)

CENTRAL DIVISION
1. Hurricanes vs. 4. Predators
2. Panthers vs. 3. Lightning

(NOTE: Dallas currently holds a better points percentage than Nashville — .545 to .543.)

TODAY’S KEY GAMES
Rangers vs. Islanders, 7 p.m. ET
Hurricanes vs. Lightning, 7 p.m. ET
Maple Leafs vs. Canucks, 9 p.m. ET

TUESDAY’S CLINCHING SCENARIO
The Golden Knights can become the first NHL team to clinch a playoff spot if the Ducks top the Kings in regulation.

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Capitals – 98.4%
Penguins – 97%
Islanders – 92.9%
Bruins – 90%
Rangers – 21.3%
Flyers – 0.4%
Devils – 0%
Sabres – eliminated

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Maple Leafs – 100%
Jets – 99.93%
Oilers – 99.7%
Canadiens – 81.6%
Flames – 13%
Canucks – 5.7%
Senators – 0%

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Hurricanes – 100%
Lightning – 99.99%
Panthers – 99.99%
Stars – 49.6%
Predators – 44.3%
Blackhawks – 6.1%
Blue Jackets – 0%
Red Wings – 0%

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Avalanche – 100%
Golden Knights – 100%
Wild – 100%
Blues – 42.7%
Coyotes – 34.4%
Kings – 12.5%
Sharks – 10.4%
Ducks – 0%

draft lottery
Getty Images

DRAFT LOTTERY PICTURE (via MoneyPuck)

Sabres – 17.2%
Ducks – 11.4%
Devils – 9.9%
Senators – 9.8%
Blue Jackets – 9.3%
Red Wings – 9%
Kings – 5.3%
Sharks – 5.2%
Canucks – 5%
Flames – 3.3%
Coyotes – 2.9%
Blackhawks – 2.9%
Blues – 2.5%
Flyers – 2.5%
Predators – 1.1%

ART ROSS TROPHY RACE
Connor McDavid, Oilers – 74 points
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 63
Patrick Kane, Blackhawks – 57
Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 54
Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs – 54
Brad Marchand, Bruins – 54

ROCKET RICHARD RACE
Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 33 goals
Mikko Rantanen, Avalanche – 26
Alex Ovechkin, Capitals – 24
Connor McDavid, Oilers – 24
Brad Marchand, Bruins – 23
Alex DeBrincat, Blackhawks – 23

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

PHT Morning Skate: Ranking top pending UFAs; Canucks’ playoff race

Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from the NHL and around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit for the PHT Morning Skate? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.

Dougie Hamilton, Tuukka Rask, Jaden Schwartz. Ranking the top pending 2021 NHL unrestricted free agents. [NBC Sports Edge]

• They have a grind in front of them, but Sunday’s win for the Canucks could catapult them in the North Division playoff race. [The Hockey News]

• A good look at the NHL teams that are getting plenty of offense from their defense. [JFresh]

• Why this summer could see plenty of change for the Flames. [Spector’s Hockey]

• Should he pick up his game, Jason Zucker could play an impactful role for the Penguins down the stretch. [Pensburgh]

• Why Florida-born Jakub Chychrun has eyes on playing on Canada’s blue line in the 2022 Olympics. [ESPN]

Conor Sheary has become a productive staple in the Capitals’ lineup. [Japers’ Rink]

• The Devils have signed 2020 first-rounder Alexander Holtz to an entry-level deal. He’ll join AHL Binghamton after quarantine and his NHL contract will begin with the 2021-22 season. [All About the Jersey]

• Barry Trotz is hoping to get more from Noah Dobson as the Islanders eye a playoff berth. [NY Hockey Now]

Nick Foligno could exit quarantine and be ready to play for the Maple Leafs by Thursday. [NHL.com]

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy

The Buzzer: McDavid goes off, Marleau breaks record

Monday’s Three Stars

1. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

Any day Connor McDavid takes the ice could be the best game of anyone in the NHL that night, so, ho hum. McDavid scored an absolutely filthy goal through the Montreal defense while dishing two assists on Monday night, leading the Oilers to an important 4-2 win.

All three of his points came in the third period, where the Oilers went on a four-goal run after trailing 1-0 heading into the final frame.

2. Frank Vatrano, Florida Panthers

Florida’s push for the top of the Central continued on Monday night with an impressive win over the Blue Jackets, led by two tallies from Vatrano. The Panthers have won two in a row and have points in seven of their last 10 games, six of those wins.

The winger took seven shots on goal as well in Florida’s four-goal effort. It bumped him to 15 goals this season, just a single tally behind his 16 he scored in 69 games a year ago. He’s been hot, scoring once last game against the Lightning and another one on April 13 against Dallas.

3. Jason Robertson, Dallas Stars

Dallas needs points and rookie Jason Robertson is doing everything he can to keep the Stars in the playoff race. He scored a go-ahead goal in the second period before Detroit tied things, and then he scored again in the shootout as Dallas went on to beat the Red Wings.

He’s been one of the best rookies in the league all season, and down the stretch has been huge for the Stars.

Highlights from Monday

Connor McDavid was at it again.

Sam Bennett scored his first goal with the Panthers since being traded from Calgary.

The Lightning struck in overtime — again. This time it was Yanni Gourde beating the Hurricanes.

Stats from Monday

  • Patrick Marleau broke Gordie Howe’s record for NHL regular season games played when he took the ice in Vegas on Monday night.
  • Brayden Point‘s goal for the Lightning on Monday night was the 300th point of his career in 340 games.
  • Ottawa’s Connor Brown scored his third shorthanded goal of the season, putting him just one behind Cam Atkinson for the most shorties this season.
  • Milan Lucic of the Flames played in his 1,000th career NHL game.

Scores

Lightning 3, Hurricanes 2 (OT)
Panthers 4, Blue Jackets 2
Stars 3, Red Wings 2 (SO)
Predators 5, Blackhawks 3
Senators 4, Flames 2
Oilers 4, Canadiens 1
Wild 5, Coyotes 2
Golden Knights 3, Sharks 2 (SO)

Marisa Ingemi is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop her a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi.

Stunning numbers: Patrick Marleau NHL record edition

On Monday night against the Golden Knights, Sharks forward Patrick Marleau played in his 1,768th regular season game, breaking the NHL record that had been held by Gordie Howe. That is a stunning number all its own. So let us take a look at some more stunning numbers from Marleau’s career.

• It is not just the fact that Marleau has played in a record number of regular season games. He has also appeared in 195 Stanley Cup playoff games, a mark that places him among the top-25 in NHL history. Add that total to his regular season total and he has appeared in 1,963 NHL games. Assuming he plays in all of the remaining Sharks games this season that would put him well over the 1,970 mark.

• Marleau has played in that number of games over a 23-year career that goes all the way back to the 1997-98 season. His career touched four different decades (1990s, 2000s, 2010s, 2020s). That takes an enormous amount of dedication, durability, and luck. He has appeared in every game in 12 of his 23 seasons.

[Related: A remarkable talent: Marleau to break NHL games played record]

• He has appeared in at least 80 games 16 times. He has never missed more than six games in a season in his entire NHL career. Had it not been for the 2004-05 lockout and three shortened seasons (2019-20, 2020-21, as well as the 2012-13) his games played total would be even higher. We could be talking another 140-150 regular season games on his total games played.

• This might be the most stunning number of Marleau’s career.

When you play that many games over 23 seasons you are going to have a lot of teammates and play against a lot of players. According to the NHL, there have been 8,102 players that have appeared in at least one NHL game. Via @sharksstats, Marleau has played against 3,009 players as an opponent and been a teammate with 335 players. That comes out to more than 38% of the players in league history that Marleau has played in a game with either as an opponent or a teammate.

• Marleau has skated in 70.5% of all Sharks games in franchise history. That is the highest percentage of any player for any team in league history (minimum 1,000 games for the team in franchise history). Marleau has appeared in 98.5% of the Sharks games in which he has been a member of the active roster. (Via NHL PR)

• Just to bring all of this full circle: In Marleau’s rookie he was teammates with Bernie Nicholls in San Jose. In Nicholls’ rookie season he was teammates with Jim Rutherford. In Rutherford’s rookie season he was teammates with Gordie Howe.

[Your 2020-21 NHL on NBC TV schedule]

In Howe’s rookie season he was teammates with Roy Conacher (1941). In Conacher’s rookie season he was teammates with Eddie Shore. Shore was teammates with Harry Meeking in his rookie season. Meeking’s career began in 1917, the very first year of the NHL. Yes, you can trace Patrick Marleau’s career today back to the start of the NHL in a chain of just six players.

• He is one of just 43 players in league history with at least 500 goals and 1,000 career points. He is also 14th on the NHL all-time postseason goals list and 50th in playoff points.

• When Marleau entered the NHL and made his debut the league had 26 teams. It now has 31, with a 32nd team entering next season. His career pre-dates the Nashville Predators, Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

NHL Power Rankings: Hurricanes’ surprising strength; Rangers on the rise

In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings we look at one team that is a legit Stanley Cup contender, and another that could be one in very short order. Maybe as soon as a year or two from now.

In Carolina, the Hurricanes remain a top-five team  thanks to a great core of young talent, an exceptional defense, and a surprising strength in goal. For years the biggest question mark with them was always whether they could get enough goaltending. Right now, they boast one of the best goaltending performances in the league with the trio of Petr Mrazek, Alex Nedeljkovic, and James Reimer combining for a .915 all situations save percentage (per Natural Stat Trick). That is one of the best marks in hockey, and combined with their defense makes them one of the toughest teams to score against in the league.

That can take you a long way.

Meanwhile, the Rangers are starting to see their pieces all come together for an impressive 13-4-3 stretch over their past 20 games. They are not only winning, but they have been one of the NHL’s most exciting teams. They are top-10 in goals per game and goals against per game; have the fifth-best goal differential, and a core of talent that is rapidly improving. It may not be enough to get them in the playoffs this season, but they are not far away. They are closing in on the top-10 this week.

Where does your team sit in this week’s NHL Power Rankings?

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

1. Colorado Avalanche. They have not played in a while and are on pause for the next couple of days, but they have the NHL’s best points percentage, an insane plus-53 goal differential in 43 games (also best in the league) and are 17-1-2 in their past 20 games. The best team in hockey.

2. Vegas Golden Knights. No weakness here. Right there with Colorado among the league’s top teams. They could meet in the Second Round.

3. Carolina Hurricanes. Their goaltending has been insanely good this season. Third-best team save percentage in hockey, behind only Vegas and the Islanders. Scary team.

4. Washington Capitals. Anthony Mantha has been an incredible fit so far with four goals in his first four games.

5. Tampa Bay Lightning. They have been a little off for a couple of weeks now, but that is not a huge concern. It happens to even the best teams at some point in a season.

[MORE: Steven Stamkos placed on LTIR by Lightning, out until May]

6. Florida Panthers. Carter Verhaeghe has been one of the best stories in the NHL, so his injury is tough to see.

7. Pittsburgh Penguins. Sidney Crosby just keeps rolling along with 50 points in 44 games and another top-10 year in the scoring race.

8. Boston Bruins. Do not count them out in the East. They could still win it. With the way they are playing right now and their remaining schedule, they might.

9. Toronto Maple Leafs. When this team is playing well it looks unbeatable. But it also has stretches where it looks very beatable. Little bit of a concern for the playoffs.

10. New York Islanders. Just 13 goals in the past eight games is not ideal. They have won two games during that stretch by a 1-0 score. That might be Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz’s dream situation, but you are going to need more than that in the playoffs

11. New York Rangers. You can see the potential in this group. It is scary. Also one of the most exciting teams in the NHL right now. They jump from No. 17 in last week’s NHL Power Rankings.

12. Minnesota Wild. Their reward for a strong season that has seen them take a big leap forward is going to be a First Round matchup with Vegas. Congratulations!

13. Winnipeg Jets. With those forwards and that goaltending you do not want to count them out. The right ingredients in the right division in the right season to maybe surprise you.

[Your 2020-21 NHL On NBC TV Schedule]

14. Edmonton Oilers. Mike Smith has been great this season. Can he maintain that? It seems like the Oilers are banking quite a lot on his ability to do just that.

15. Dallas Stars. They are not going away quietly. A couple of rookies (Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger) are helping to lead their playoff push.

16. Nashville Predators. They have four head-to-head matchups with Chicago (three) and Dallas (one) the rest of the way. Winning at least three of them would do wonders for their playoff chances.

17. Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks probably have the toughest remaining schedule of the three teams fighting for that fourth playoff spot in the Central. If they get in, they will have definitely earned it.

18. Montreal Canadiens. Given their record before and after the coaching change it seems that this is just a middle of the pack team.

19. Calgary Flames. That little three-game winning streak this past week was way too little, way too late. Very disappointing season here.

20. St. Louis Blues. That loss to Arizona this past week could loom large. They play the top-three teams in the division in nine of their remaining 12 games.

21. Arizona Coyotes. Beating St. Louis in regulation to snap a five-game losing streak was massive. While the Blues finish the season playing Vegas, Minnesota, and Colorado in most of their games, the Coyotes finish while playing the Sharks and Kings.

22. Philadelphia Flyers. A Carter Hart bounce back next season would produce a Flyers bounce back.

23. Vancouver Canucks. Credit to them for coming back and beating Toronto. It still seems like it was too soon for them to be back on the ice.

24. Buffalo Sabres. Credit to them for not mailing in the rest of the season. They look like a wildly different team under Don Granato. Not really a particularly good team, but definitely better. Also no longer a pushover.

[Related: Coaching change helping Sabres finish strong]

25. Detroit Red Wings. Like the Sabres, the Red Wings have also been surprisingly competitive down the stretch. I want to see what Jakub Vrana can do with an increased role.

26. Los Angeles Kings. Keep your eyes on the future, Kings fans. It is bright.

27. San Jose Sharks. They played their way back into the playoff race and then lost six out of seven, including four losses to Anaheim and LA. You just can not let that happen.

28. Ottawa Senators. Hopefully that shutout against Montreal is something Matt Murray can build on. He needed a positive game. The Senators need him to be good.

29. Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks seem further away from seriously contending than any almost other team in the league.

30. New Jersey Devils. It has been a struggle lately, but there is some very good young talent here.

31. Columbus Blue Jackets. They may not be the worst team in the league, but nobody is playing worse than them right now. Only two regulation wins since March 5, and they’re tied for the lowest total in the league. The team they are tied with, Vancouver, has only played 11 games during that stretch. Columbus has played 21 games. Overall the Blue Jackets have lost eight of their past 10 games and looked bad while doing so.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.