Around the NHL: The Eastern Conference Wild Card Race will come down to game 82, Connor McDavid hit 100 assists, and more!

Photo credit:© Perry Nelson - USA Today
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
It is shaping up to be a fantastic finish to the 2023-24 season.
As we’ve been doing in recent Around the NHL articles, we’ll look at the Eastern Conference playoff race. Moreover, the best player of our generation has done something only three other players have done, and an NCAA Division I champion has been crowned.
Let’s dig into the latest edition of Around the NHL!

The final Eastern Conference Wild Card will come down to game 82

On Monday evening, three of the four teams fighting for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference were in action, and oh my, was it ever action packed.
Coming into the evening, the Washington Capitals held the final Wild Card spot with 87 points. The Capitals  shut out the Boston Bruins, moving to a record of 39-31-11 with 89 points in 81 games. They play a back-to-back against the Philadelphia Flyers (more on them later), and if they win, they are in. The Flyers have two days of rest.
However, the Detroit Red Wings came into Tuesday with the same number of points and left with the same number of points. Down 4-2 with half of the third period left, an octopus was thrown on the ice, seemingly sparking the Red Wings as they scored just over a minute later. With the net empty, Lucas Raymond tied the game after a fantastic leaping catch by Shayne Gostisbehere, before Raymond ended the game in overtime.
Like the Capitals, the Wings play a back-to-back, but will play against the Montréal Canadiens once again. They need the Capitals to lose in any fashion and need to win this game, as the Capitals have the tiebreaker. Another scenario is if the Wings lose in overtime, with the Capitals losing in regulation and Penguins picking up a point or less.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were also in action on Monday, defeating the Nashville Predators 4-2 to move them to a 38-31-12 record with 88 points. By the time they play their next game on Wednesday, it could be all over as the Capitals or Red Wings could clinch on Tuesday evening.  
There is some good news for the Penguins though, as they have the tiebreaker on every team in the race, as they have 32 regulation wins to the Capitals’ 31 regulation wins. They have two scenarios to get in, they can win and both the Red Wings and Capitals lose in overtime, or the Penguins lose in overtime and both the Wings and Capitals lose in regulation. It’s all very confusing.
As for the Flyers, they need to win their game against the Capitals on Tuesday. Moreover, they need both the Penguins and Red Wings to lose in regulation to make the playoffs.The Flyers can get a maximum of 89 points, so it’s incredibly unlikely they’ll make it, but they can still spoil Washington’s chances.

Connor McDavid got his 100th assist of the season

In a 9-1 drubbing of the San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid picked up his 100th assist of the season and is just the fourth player in the history to do so. He joins Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux, and Wayne Gretzky, who did it 11 times from 1980-81 until 1990-91 as the only players to hit the mark.
Interestingly, there’s a good chance that he’s not the only player to do so this season, as Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov currently has 99 assists with a single game remaining against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.
This is a good segue into the Art Ross race. Nikita Kucherov leads the way with 142 points and will more than likely be the winner of the trophy, the first player not named Connor McDavid to do it since the 2018-19 season. Nathan MacKinnon still has an outside chance, as he trails Kucherov by four points and a game remaining.
It looks like McDavid’s four-season streak of Art Ross trophies will come to an end, as he has 132 points with two games remaining. He would have had a chance to win it if he hadn’t sat for two games against the Arizona Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks, but 10 points in two games is a little bit to make up, even for McDavid.

Denver University wins the 2024 NCAA title

On April 13, the Denver Pioneers defeated the Boston College Eagles 2-0 to capture their 10th title and their second title in three seasons.
In their run, they were able to defeat the UMass Minutemen 2-1 in double overtime, before defeating Cornell Big Red 2-1 to book their ticket to the Frozen Four. In their game in the National Semifinals, they defeated Macklin Celebrini and the Boston University Terriers 2-1 in overtime, before their win against Boston College.
With their 10th title, they have surpassed the Michigan Wolverines for the most NCAA titles.
Thanks for reading! You can follow me on Twitter @Ryley_L_D.
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