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Around the NHL: Nashville Predators’ point streak extended to 18 games, Josh Doan scores in his first NHL game, and more!

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Photo credit:© Rick Scuteri - USA Today
Ryley Delaney
23 days ago
There are just 22 days left in the National Hockey League regular season.
With that being said, there’s a ton of notes from around the league, including an unstoppable team, a close playoff race in the east, and a young player coming into his own.
Let’s dig into the latest edition of Around the NHL!

Nashville’s point streak up to 18 games

Whichever team plays the Nashville Predators in the first round is in for a tough match-up. On Tuesday, they came back from a three-goal deficit in the third period, eventually defeating the Vegas Golden Knights in overtime.
Dating back to Feb. 17, the Predators haven’t lost a game in regulation, going 16-0-2 with losses to the Montréal Canadiens and Minnesota Wild. However, they’ve beaten teams like the Colorado Avalanche, Winnipeg Jets, Florida Panthers, and now the Golden Knights, making this record more impressive than the Edmonton Oilers’ 16-game win streak.
As it stands, the Predators are in the second wild card spot with 90 points, the same as the Oilers who will get home ice advantage. It’s time to bring back the old playoff format where the best teams play the worst teams.

Washington Capitals defeat the Detroit Red Wings

On Tuesday evening, the Washington Capitals defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 in overtime, coming back from a 2-1 lead (and blowing a 3-2 late in the third), but eventually closing it out to get the extra point.
As it stands, the Capitals have a 36-26-9 record with 81 points, while the Red Wings have a 36-29-7 record with 79 points. Moreover, the Wings have an additional game played, while the Capitals have three additional regulation wins, the first tiebreaker.
Unfortunately, Alex Ovechkin did not score in this game, meaning he still needs 46 goals to surpass Wayne Gretzky’s 894 career goals, the most in an NHL career.
The New Jersey Devils (76) and New York Islanders (75 points) are still somewhat in the race, but it looks like it’ll come down to the Red Wings and Capitals, with the latter having a fairly sizable advantage.

New York Rangers clinch a playoff spot

Speaking of New York Metropolitan teams, the New York Rangers are the first team to clinch a playoff spot, as they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in a barn burner by a score of 6-5 in overtime.
The Flyers jumped out to a 2-0 lead, with the Rangers firing right back with three unanswered. Afterwards, it was a seesaw game that saw the Flyers tie it three separate times. Eventually, Calgary Flames draftee Adam Fox scored his 15th of the season to send the Rangers to the post-season.
Although the Eastern Conference is far less competitive than the Western Conference, there are still some contenders in the east, with the Rangers being one, as well as the Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins, and even the Carolina Hurricanes. Moreover, it’s hard to discount the Toronto Maple Leafs and even the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It’s gonna be a fun playoff to watch as a neutral observer.

Trevor Zegras returned

One team that won’t be in the playoffs is the Anaheim Ducks. However, their star player Trevor Zegras returned on Tuesday after a lengthy 31-game absence due to an ankle injury.
It’s been a rough season for Zegras, who has just four goals and seven points in 20 games this season. Last season, he set a career-high with 65 points while tying his career-high 23 goals, so it’s quite a shock to see a promising player have such a poor season.
Obviously, the two injuries he has sustained haven’t helped, but hopefully he can find his game next season.

Juraj Slafkovský breaking out

Speaking of someone who has found their game, Juraj Slafkovský is proving to everyone that he isn’t a bust.
Last season, Slafkovský scored just four goals and 10 points in 39 games, missing significant time due to an injury. However, he has 71 games played this season with 15 goals and 40 points, pretty much shutting down any “bust” talk that he had coming into the season.
The Montréal Canadiens had a big win on Tuesday, defeating the highest-scoring team, the Colorado Avalanche, 2-1. Slafkovský picked up an assist early in that game, giving him an eight-game point streak with nine points in those eight games.
It’ll be fun to watch the 6’3”, 230 lb left winger develop into a premier scoring power forward we haven’t really seen since Rick Nash in his Columbus Blue Jackets days.

Josh Doan scores in his debut

Halkirk, Alberta, is a village about three hours northeast of Calgary. With a population of 92 according to the latest census, you’d expect no one of note to be from there. However, long-time Arizona Coyote captain Shane Doan was born in the town.
Doan, who is the Hall of Very Good, scored 402 goals and 972 points in 1540 career-games, spanning from the final Winnipeg Jets’ season in 1995-96 all the way until 2016-17. His son Josh, was selected 37th-overall in the 2021 draft.
On Tuesday, not only did Josh Doan play in his first National Hockey League game, but he also managed to find the back of the net for his first career goal. The Doans reside in Scottsdale, Arizona, with Josh playing his collegiate hockey with Arizona State University. (Forks up!)
 
Side note: As this was being edited, Doan scored his second goal of the game.
It’s pretty cool he scored his first (and second) goal at Mullett Arena, the same arena where he scored 28 goals in 74 games in two seasons with ASU. This season in the American Hockey League, he had 25 goals and 46 points in 62 games, but he may not be heading back to Tucson again this season.
Thanks for reading! You can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.
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