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NHL Rink Wrap: Chris Kreider hat trick; Draisaitl helps Oilers end streak

NHL Rink Wrap: Chris Kreider hat trick; Draisaitl helps Oilers end streak

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 22: Chris Kreider #20 of the New York Rangers is named the first star of the game after a 3 goal performance in a 7-3 win against the Arizona Coyotes at Madison Square Garden on January 22, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

Top players from Saturday in the NHL

Chris Kreider, Rangers

Following the NHL action on Saturday, Chris Kreider has played 42 games this season for the Rangers. He’s already set a new career-high with 29 goals.

In the case of the Rangers’ win over the Coyotes, Kreider generated a hat trick and added an assist (not unlike Sidney Crosby on Friday). That four-point output put Kreider at exactly a point-per-game (42 in 42) this season.

Kreider’s already extended his 20+ goal streak to four consecutive seasons, a level he’s reached in seven of his past eight campaigns.

Ultimately, Igor Shesterkin ranks as the most important part of the Rangers performing better than expected. Enjoying career years from Kreider and Ryan Strome helps, too, alongside usual suspects such as Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox.

Jacob Trouba wasn’t far behind Kreider, scoring two goals and one assist.

(If you’re wondering where Leon Draisaitl is, considering him 1B to Kreider’s 1A. Scroll for more.)

NHL highlights from Saturday

Watch Kreider collect that hat trick, the fifth of his career, and third since Feb. 24, 2021.

Lately, the Avalanche have been winning, but winning somewhat ugly. Maybe that’s a good thing, being that the playoffs often seem all about eschewing style points? Gabriel Landeskog notched the OTGWG:

Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom also found the net for an overtime goal:

Watch the highlights of the Sabres extending the Flyers’ losing streak to 11 games to watch Peyton Krebs score his first two NHL goals:

Absolutely beautiful game-winner from Leon Draisaitl:

Saturday NHL Takeaways

Oilers end losing streak; Koskinen, Draisaitl make difference vs. Flames

Heading into a huge game for the Oilers on Saturday, people around the NHL were laying the blame on plenty of different members of the organization.

Listen to certain pundits, and you’d feel like the mistakes start and stop with Mikko Koskinen. No doubt, Koskinen’s struggled, but blaming him for the edginess growing in Edmonton makes little sense. Either way, on Saturday, Koskinen mostly came up huge to help end the Oilers’ losing streak at seven games.

Koskinen allowed three goals, but made 44 saves.

If you want to go “old school,” you could also blame the team’s best players.

Of course, beating up on Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl for Edmonton’s larger problems is pretty absurd, but the two have been cold during the latter part of this cold streak. During Saturday’s game, McDavid and Draisaitl broke their own slumps, along with the Oilers ending their losing streak.

[The same old questions plague the Oilers]

McDavid made plenty of plays, collecting two assists. Draisaitl was especially impressive, though, capping a four-point night (2G, 2A) with an empty-netter.

Draisaitl’s game-winning goal is a reminder that wins often come from a mixture of hard work and good luck. Draisaitl’s great move made the goal happen. Yet officials also missed that Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington was taken out of the play in what should have been an interference penalty.

That went uncalled, and the Oilers get to breathe a sigh of relief.

They also have at least one tweak to think of. After scoring two power-play goals, should the Oilers turn to Evan Bouchard more often? The young defenseman got that chance due to a Tyson Barrie injury, but perhaps he deserves more reps.

By no means are the Oilers out of the woods, but they desperately needed to end this losing streak. For all we know, the Oilers saved someone’s job by beating the Flames. (At least for now?)

Flyers lose to Sabres, see streak grow to 11 games

The Flyers are already the first team in more than a decade to suffer two 10-game losing streaks during the same season. (And they’re only halfway through their season, yikes.)

Now the Flyers are just one defeat short of tying their franchise record for a losing streak (12 games) after the Sabres pushed Philly’s skid to 11 games on Saturday.

[What went wrong for the Flyers this season?]

“We got outworked from the first shift of the game,” Rasmus Ristolainen said, via the Associated Press. “When you have a lot of losses coming in a row, I think it should hurt more every time. And when you get outworked like this, it obviously hurts even more.”

That’s already disturbing stuff. It gets a little worse when you add context. Philly’s last two losses come against the lowly Sabres and Blue Jackets. Before that, the Flyers dropped two losses to an Islanders team enduring a disappointing season of their own.

Sunday’s big story

Jets need to win games like Sunday’s vs. the Penguins

How strong are the Winnipeg Jets’ chances at making the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs? Truly, it depends where you look.

The Penguins are enjoying another strong season, with especially impressive play lately (four-game winning streak, 8-2-0 in their last 10). Combine the Penguins’ play and their place outside of the Jets’ division and conference, and it wouldn’t be the end of the world if Winnipeg lost.

But if you really want to be a playoff team -- particularly if you don’t just want to be playoff fodder -- then you have to win games like these every now and then.

NHL scores from Saturday

Sabres 6, Flyers 3 Bruins 3, Jets 2 Devils 7, Hurricanes 4 Rangers 7, Coyotes 3 Capitals 3, Senators 2 (OT) Avalanche 3, Canadiens 2 (OT) Maple Leafs 3, Islanders 1 Predators 4, Red Wings 1 Wild 4, Blackhawks 3 (OT) Oilers 5, Flames 3 Lightning 7, Sharks 1

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.