Wild 5, Kraken 1
Matt Boldy had his second hat trick in the last five games for Minnesota, Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves, and the surging Wild beat the Seattle Kraken 5-1 on Monday night.
Jake Middleton had a rare goal, Ryan Hartman scored late and Jared Spurgeon, Marcus Johansson and Joel Eriksson Ek each had two assists as the Wild stayed in first place in the Central Division. They took a one-point lead on Colorado into the day, with a critical road game against the Avalanche coming next. Dallas is three points behind.
Boldy is a big reason why the Wild are in the lead, with 11 goals in the nine games they've played since superstar Kirill Kaprizov was sidelined by a lower-body injury. The Wild are 6-1-2 without Kaprizov, who's still 10th in the NHL with 39 goals.
“It just works like that sometimes. I wish I had a better reason for you, but it just seems to be going in,” said Boldy, who is second on the team with 28 goals.
Since the Wild entered the league in the 2000-01 season, only five NHL players have had more hat tricks at age 21 or younger than Boldy with three: Patrik Laine (eight), Marian Gaborik (five), Steven Stamkos (five), Alex DeBrincat (four) and Connor McDavid (four). Boldy, who turns 22 next week, had a hat trick in a 5-3 win over Washington here just eight days ago.
“It looks like he’s trying to throw it through the net, which is great,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “He has such a gifted shot.”
Jaden Schwartz ended Fleury's shutout bid with 9 minutes left, scoring on a bouncing rebound that banked in off the goalie and into the net.
“It didn’t feel like a 5-1 game. It felt closer than that,” Schwartz said. “Fleury made some big timely saves, and we just weren’t quite there for the second chances.”
The Kraken, who wrapped up a four-game road swing with their first regulation loss on the trip, control the first wild card spot in the Western Conference. They lead Winnipeg by three points.
Boldly flashed a wide grin when he notched the natural hat trick 50 seconds into the third period, prompting a shower of ballcaps onto the ice and an exit for Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer.
The fans were fired up for this potential preview of a first-round playoff series, chanting Fleury's name a few minutes later after a sliding pad save to deny another prime scoring opportunity.
“It definitely feels good to win knowing we might see them again. I think right now it’s trying to get the most points and trying to get on top of our division,” Fleury said. “I think that’s the focus right now.”
The Wild were outshot 36-20 by the Kraken and had only five on-target attempts in the first period. Middleton created a spark after Spurgeon faked a slap shot, passed the puck to his left and set up his blue-line partner for just his seventh career goal in 151 games in the NHL.
Boldy brought a lagging power play to life with his first goal off the setup from Johansson, the first time the Wild scored on the man advantage in five games. They were on a 3-for-22 skid until then.
Boldy, who has 17 points in 13 games this month since Johansson — the former Kraken left wing — was acquired in a trade with the Capitals and placed on his line, sneaked his second goal through traffic with 5:01 remaining in the second period.
Canadiens 4, Sabres 3 (SO)
Michael Pezzetta scored the decisive shootout goal and Montreal avoided playoff elimination.
Brendan Gallagher forced overtime by scoring his 200th career goal in capping a 3-on-2 rush with a shot from the right circle 8:35 into the third period. Jordan Harris and Alex Belzile also scored for Montreal, and Jake Allen stopped 30 shots through overtime, while allowing one goal on six shootout attempts.
Montreal would have been eliminated from playoff contention for a second straight season — and two years removed from reaching the Stanley Cup Final — with any type of loss.
Lukas Rousek scored a goal and added an assist in his NHL debut for Buffalo, which dropped to 3-6-3 in its past 12 and blew a chance to move to within four points of the Pittsburgh for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. Defenseman Riley Stillman and JJ Peterka also scored for Buffalo, while Eric Comrie stopped 38 shots through overtime, and allowed two goals on six shootout attempts.
Senators 5, Panthers 2
Brady Tkachuk had a goal and an assist, Mads Sogaard stopped 32 shots and Ottawa beat Florida.
Alex DeBrincat, Tim Stützle, Erik Brannstrom and Shane Pinto also scored for the Senators, who won for just the third time in 10 games (3-6-1).
Gustav Forsling scored twice for the Panthers in their fourth straight loss. Sergei Bobrovsky finished with 21 saves as Florida remained three points behind Pittsburgh for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.
Oilers 5, Coyotes 4
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the tiebreaking goal with 7:55 remaining to lead Edmonton.
Zack Hyman, Bouchard, Darnell Nurse and Leon Draisaitl also scored for the Oilers, who extended their points streak to seven (6-0-1). Jack Campbell stopped 29 shots.
Connor McDavid picked up an assist for his 140th point of the season, becoming the first player to reach the mark since Pittsburgh’s Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr both achieved it in 1995-96. The last Oilers player to do it was Wayne Gretzky in 1987-88.
Matias Maccelli and Barrett Hayton scored two goals each for the Coyotes, who lost their fifth straight overall and snapped their eight-game home points streak. Lawson Crouse had three assists and Karel Vejmelka finished with 24 saves.
Avalanche 5, Ducks 1
Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist in his 700th NHL game and Colorado won its third straight.
Bowen Byram also had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who are one point behind Dallas for the Central Division lead. Jack Johnson, Valeri Nichushkin and Samuel Girard also scored for Colorado, and Cale Makar had two assists. Jonas Johansson stopped 29 shots.
Anaheim, which went 1-6-1 on its eight-game homestand, got its lone goal from Derek Grant. John Gibson made 39 saves. Trevor Zegras suffered a lower-body injury during the second period and did not return
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