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Around the NHL: The Art Ross race is coming down to the wire, Macklin Celebrini broke a record, and more!

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Photo credit:© Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
21 days ago
It’s a busy time around the league with less than three weeks remaining in the National Hockey League season.
The Art Ross race is coming down to the wire, the best player in the game today did something that hadn’t been done since Wayne Gretzky, and Thursday’s slate of games had some interesting playoff matchups.
Let’s take a look at this edition of Around the NHL!

Results from Thursday’s games with playoff implications

Thursday, Mar. 28 was a busy day for the hockey schedule. There were a ton of interesting games on the slate which included several potential playoff matchups, as well as some games with playoff implications.
The Eastern Wild Card race is a fun one, as the Washington Capitals occupy the final spot with 81 points. There are also a few teams sniffing around the spot, such as the Detroit Red Wings (79 points), New York Islanders (77 points), and New Jersey Devils (76 points).
Well, every team mentioned above except for the Devils were in action on Thursday. The Capitals were blown out by the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 5-1, with Alexander Ovechkin failing to score. Thankfully for them, the Red Wings also suffered a pretty big loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, being shutout 4-0. Bad news for both those teams, as the Islanders defeated the Florida Panthers 3-2 to move within two points of the Red Wings and four points of the Capitals.
The Devils will play the lone game on Friday against the Buffalo Sabres, a win will move them within three points of the Wild Card spot.
Moreover, there were four games between playoff teams. The Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Winnipeg Jets in a first-round rematch by a score of 4-1, moving into the third spot in the Pacific Division. This was because the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Los Angeles Kings by the same score, moving them within six points of the Vancouver Canucks with two games in hand.
The Dallas Stars defeated the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 in what was a battle between the two teams that lead their respective division. Moreover, the Colorado Avalanche fell 3-2 in a shootout to the New York Rangers.
It’s also worth noting that the Nashville Predators’ 18-game point streak came to an end on Thursday, as the Arizona Coyotes defeated the Predators 8-4. Jason Zucker scored the first two goals in his return to Mullet Arena, but Clayton Keller’s four points and Logan Cooley’s hat trick were too much for the Predators. Josh Doan picked up two assists, moving him to two goals and four points in his first two games.

The Art Ross race

On Thursday, the Art Ross race continued to heat up, with Connor McDavid (more on him in the next section) picking up a goal and two assists to bring him to 122 points. Nathan MacKinnon (also more on him later) was held pointless, while the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nikita Kucherov were idle.
With McDavid gaining three points, he now sits just two points behind Nikita Kucherov and one point behind MacKinnon, while the Oilers have 11 games remaining to the Lightning’s 10 games and the Avalanche’s nine games.
McDavid is looking for his sixth Art Ross of his career, as he failed to win it just three times since entering the league. Can Kucherov (winner in the 2019 season) or MacKinnon stop him from doing so?

Connor McDavid hit 120 points for the third consecutive season

It sucks that he plays for the Calgary Flames’ provincial rival, but the Edmonton Oilers’ captain Connor McDavid is incredible. On Thursday evening, the centre hit 120 points for the third consecutive season, which hadn’t been done since the 1991-92 season by Wayne Gretzky.
Now, the 1991-92 season was the 13th consecutive season that Gretzky hit 120 points, but it was a different era, and one could argue that McDavid is just as dominant in the 2020’s as Gretzky was during his prime.
It also appears that McDavid will hit 100 assists, being only the fourth player in the history of the National Hockey League to do so. Of course, Gretzky did it 11 of the 13 times, with Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr filling in the other two spots.
Interestingly, McDavid’s 64 goals and 153 points in 2022-23 was an accomplishment of its own, as the last time a player hit at least 150 points was when Lemieux did it in 1995-96, before McDavid was even born. The 64 goals were the most since Alex Ovechkin scored 65 goals in the 2007-08 season.
McDavid is an incredible player, but hopefully he will leave the Pacific Division and especially the Edmonton Oilers when his contract expires after the 2025-26 season.

MacKinnon’s home point streak ends

Back in 1988-89, Wayne Gretzky set the National Hockey League record with 40 consecutive home games with a point at the start of the season. Well, Nathan MacKinnon came close to matching that as he had a point in 35 straight home games since the start of the season.
Unfortunately for him, that streak came to an end on Thursday as he failed to register a point in the Colorado Avalanche’s 3-2 shootout loss to the New York Rangers.
Still, MacKinnon is in the thick of the Art Ross race and has a good chance of winning his first Hart Trophy.

Macklin Celebrini breaks a record

Speaking about records, Macklin Celebrini broke a longstanding record in the NCAA, as he scored a goal for his 32nd of the season in a Boston University win. This broke Craig Simpson’s 1984-85 record for an u18 player where he scored 31 goals (and 84 points).
Celebrini is the consensus first overall pick in the upcoming 2024 Entry Draft, as the 17-year-old centre has been terrific for Boston University this season. On top of scoring 32 goals and 61 points, Celebrini is a 2024 Hobey Baker finalist and could very well win the thing. He also made a good impression on the big stage with Canada during the 2024 World Junior Championship, scoring four goals and eight points in five games.
The Calgary Flames currently have a 6% chance of moving up to the first overall pick as they have the eighth-fewest points this season. Just imagine Celebrini in Flames colours.
Thanks for reading! You can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.
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