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The Buzzer: McDavid, Draisaitl, Eichel can’t be stopped

McDavid Draisaitl Eichel

EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 14: Connor McDavid #97 and Leon Draisaitl #29 of the Edmonton Oilers jump over the boards during the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on December 14, 2019, at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

Three Stars

1. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs

Gauging which player was the best of Saturday’s three-point men is difficult. Matthews (two goals, one assist) isn’t a certain choice for the top player on his team, as Zach Hyman also scored two goals and an assist in Toronto’s win.

That said, Matthews presents a worthy argument. He generated a primary assist, and offered up the game-winner.

The 22-year-old extended his multi-point streak to three games (4G, 3A). While Toronto’s been dysfunctional with injuries and inconsistency, Matthews keeps delivering, producing 23 goals and 41 points through 37 games.

Matthews could catch Jimmy Carson for a milestone among U.S.-born snipers if he keeps this up.

2. Jaden Schwartz, St. Louis Blues

The Blues scored two empty-net goals, but Schwartz didn’t feast on either of them. Instead, Schwartz served all steak, no sizzle: two primary assists and the game-winner.

(OK, Schwartz probably dished out at least some sizzle.)

With at least one point in four of five games (2G,4A), Schwartz has 28 points in 37 games. Maintaining such a pace would place at about 62 points over 82 games. Of course, Schwartz must stay healthy to flirt with that type of production.

3. Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets

Hellebuyck came into Saturday as one of the league’s GSAA leaders, bailing out Winnipeg frequently. The netminder bumped that up with a 31-save shutout against Minnesota.

Yes, the Jets winning 6-0 takes some of the shine off of that. Not all, though, and Hellebuyck deserves recognition for saving Winnipeg’s season during certain stretches. Josh Morrissey serves as another Winnipeg option, as he collected three assists.

Highlight of the Night

Connor McDavid failed to make the three stars, but he was great as usual. McDavid scored another highlight reel against the Canadiens, rendering Max Domi and his highlight reel goal just a bit short of the mark.

Oopsie of the Night

Jaroslav Halak ranks as one of the NHL’s best backups, and plenty of teams wouldn’t mind employing him as their starter. After seeing this, I’d argue he should probably not try to evoke Hasek thwarting breakaways again anytime soon, though:

Naughty and nice


  • Nice: the NHL announced the 2020 NHL All-Star Game’s four captains: Nathan MacKinnon, Connor McDavid, Alex Ovechkin, and David Pastrnak.
  • Naughty: Anthony Mantha suffered an upper-body injury in a scuffle with Jake Muzzin. Also, Andreas Athanasiou lost his cool. Click here for the Maple Leafs - Red Wings nastiness.
  • Naughty: Gabriel Landeskog fought Dennis Gilbert, while Duncan Keith leveled Joonas Donskoi. Read more about the Blackhawks and Avalanche mixing it up here.

Factoids


  • McDavid and Leon Draisaitl became the sixth set of teammates during the last 30 years to reach 60+ points prior before hitting 40 games played, via NHL PR. Mario Lemieux dominates that list.
  • Jack Eichel pushed his point streak to 18 games on Saturday, becoming the second Sabre to do it alongside Gilbert Perreault. The Sabres note that his streak is the fifth-longest of the decade.
  • Via the NHL: Patrick Kane became the 11th player in NHL history to begin a career with 13 consecutive 20+ goal seasons.
  • Noel Acciari fell short of three straight hat tricks, the slacker. He managed one goal, however. Acciari scored seven goals over three games, scoring the second-most during such a span in Panthers history, trailing only Pavel Bure’s eight.
  • Anthony Duclair stayed on fire, hitting 11 goals scored since Dec. 1, the most in the NHL.

Scores

BUF 3 - LAK 2
ANA 6 - NYI 5 (SO)
WPG 6 - MIN 0
NSH 4 - BOS 3 (OT)
TOR 4 - DET 1
PHI 5 - OTT 4 (SO)
WSH 3 - TBL 1
FLA 4 - CAR 2
CBJ 5 - NJD 1
EDM 4 - MTL 3
CHI 5 - COL 3
VAN 4 - PIT 1
STL 5 - SJS 2

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.