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NHL Rink Wrap: First shutout for Thompson, Panarin leads Rangers, 100 for McDavid

NHL Scores

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - MARCH 22: Artemi Panarin #10 of the New York Rangers takes the puck during the third period against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on March 22, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. The New Jersey Devils defeated the New York Rangers 7-4. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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Top player in the NHL on Wednesday

Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers

All season the New York Rangers have been relying on their goaltending -- mainly Igor Shesterkin -- to win them games. When Shesterkin has not played, it has been a bit of a struggle. That was the case on Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings when they needed to rely on their offense to get two points in the standings. It was a three-point night from Artemi Panarin that led the way. He scored his 18th goal of the season in the second period, and then assisted on Chris Kreider’s 46th goal of the season to tie the game late in the third period before also assisting on Andrew Copp’s game-winning goal in overtime to give them a little more cushion over the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second place spot in the Metropolitan Division.

Highlights from around the NHL on Wednesday

Conor McDavid is the first player to 100 points this season.

Andrew Copp’s game-winning goal.

Shea Theodore jumps out of the penalty box to open the scoring for the Vegas Golden Knights.

Three takeaways from the NHL on Wednesday

First career shutout for Logan Thompson

The Vegas Golden Knights have almost no margin for error right now, and until Robin Lehner is back healthy they are going to have to rely on players like Logan Thompson in net to help get them to the playoffs. Thompson stopped all 22 shots he faced in a 3-0 win over the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday night for his first career shutout to help the Golden Knights improve their playoff chances.

Inconsistency with the NHL Department Of Player Safety

At this point it is picking at low-hanging fruit to point out the inconsistencies with the NHL’s Department Of Player Safety, but they also make it so easy sometimes. A $5,000 fine for Taylor Hall’s sucker punch on Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Ilya Lybushkin seems extremely light, not only given the context of the fact it was a sucker punch from behind to a player that did not expect it, but also because the Toronto defender also had to leave the game and was injured as a result of the punch. Even going beyond that and pointing out how light that fine is, how does Max Pacioretty of the Vegas Golden Knights not get any suspension for punching Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang in the back of the head a couple of weeks ago? Just complete randomness all the way around in almost every single decision or non-decision.

The Canucks chances might be gone

The combination of Vegas’ win on Wednesday, combined with Vancouver’s 4-3 regulation loss to the St. Louis Blues might have been it for the Canucks’ already slim playoff chances. They are now five points back of the Golden Knights in terms of total points and even further back of a playoff spot based on points percentage. Valiant effort after the coaching change, but that slow start was too much to overcome.

Thursday’s big story

Auston Matthews is going for his 50th goal of the season when the Toronto Maple Leafs play the Winnipeg Jets as he continues his outstanding season. His next goal will give him his first 50-goal season in the NHL. The other big story on Thursday is the Minnesota Wild as they look to extend their current winning streak to eight games when they play the Pittsburgh Penguins. The subplot to that game is new Wild goalie Marc-Andre Fleury playing against his former team.

Wednesday’s NHL Scores

Winnipeg Jets 3, Buffalo Sabres 2 (SO)
New York Rangers 5, Detroit Red Wings.4 (OT)
Edmonton Oilers 4, Los Angeles Kings 3 (SO)
St. Louis Blues 4, Vancouver Canucks 3
Arizona Coyotes 5, San Jose Sharks 2
Vegas Golden Knights 3, Seattle Kraken 0