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NHL Rink Wrap: DeBrusk’s first hat trick; Maple Leafs’ stars deliver

NHL Rink Wrap: DeBrusk's first hat trick; Maple Leafs' stars deliver

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 28: Jake DeBrusk #74 of the Boston Bruins celebrates after scoring a goal against the Los Angeles Kings in the first period at Arena on February 28, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Monday’s top NHL player

Jake DeBrusk, Bruins

Less than a minute into the second period of Bruins - Kings, Jake DeBrusk already recorded his first career hat trick. That also happened to be the first three goals of the game, making it a natural hat trick.

DeBrusk factored into what was a long night (figuratively) for Jonathan Quick, whose start literally got cut short after the Bruins piled two more goals on the Kings. Quick would end up getting the hook with 7:18 remaining in the second period.

Despite a tough overall night, Jonathan Quick made two stupendous saves.

One with his skate:

The other with his glove:

From Feb. 1-Feb. 17, Jake DeBrusk slogged through a six-game pointless streak. He also only managed an assist over eight games.

This hat trick pushes DeBrusk’s point streak to five games, however. He’s now at 23 points in 48 games, with 14 goals. A night like this might not stop the Bruins from eventually trading DeBrusk, yet if they can’t find a partner, he might just find his groove and give them that crucial secondary scoring.

Jeremy Swayman warrants an honorable mention with 34-save shutout, his third this season. Naturally, in a 7-0 win, other top Bruins scorers feasted against the Kings, too.

Monday NHL highlights

Three NHL games on Monday sets the stage to enjoy full highlights from each one.

Special teams helped the Capitals claw back into their game against the Maple Leafs, but Toronto made enough plays to win (more on that in the takeaways).

Well, maybe future Jack Hughes vs. Quinn Hughes matchups can be a little, uh, closer and more relevant? If not, at least get Luke Hughes involved?

One night shouldn’t discourage Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings too much, but the Bruins sure took it to L.A.

Monday NHL Takeaways

NHL, IIHF react to Russian invasion of Ukraine

Both the IIHF and NHL addressed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine recently.

The IIHF announced it has banned Russian and Belarusian national teams and clubs from participation “in every age category” and in IIHF competitions “until further notice.” Meanwhile, the NHL released a statement condemning the actions, and also suspended relationships with business partners in Russia.

PHT’s Sean Leahy detailed the IIHF and NHL’s reactions, including which international competitions will be affected.

Follow NBC News for up-to-date coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Marner, Matthews, other key Maple Leafs come through

Could this be the way it works out for Toronto in the postseason? Maybe they just need to win ugly, with their big-money players leading the way.

Consider some of the key factors in the Maple Leafs’ 5-3 over the Capitals.

Add this to Auston Matthews’ Selke candidate reel

If you pay attention to the nerdy stuff, you may already know this, but Auston Matthews is woefully underrated as a two-way player. You can say similar things about Mitch Marner, though not to the same extreme.

For a wider view, Auston Matthews is almost off the charts on Evolving Hockey’s handy RAPM charts.


Sometimes people crave a moment to really cement these charts and numbers, though. Auston Matthews likely authored that moment when he saved a goal by the most narrow of margins:

Actually, you probably need all of the replays here.

And maybe a frame to hammer it home.

Screen Shot 2022-03-01 at 1.24.05 AM

Mitch Marner remains red-hot

While Matthews produced the highlight-reel moment of Maple Leafs - Capitals, Mitch Marner made more of a difference on the scoreboard.

Marner collected two assists, collecting his 12th multi-point game in his last 18 contests. He’s scored a ridiculous 35 points in his past 17 games. Overall, Mitch Marner sits at 56 points in 44 games. Over an 82-game season, that would translate to about 104 points.

Marner missed some time this season, but he could still surpass his previous career-high of 94 points. Other than that 2018-19 campaign, Marner’s never scored more than 69 points. That feels like a quirk of COVID-shortened seasons, and he’s well on his way to finishing this season with huge numbers.

Of course, the key is to make sure that he produces (and wins) when it matters the most.

Maybe the John Tavares goal drought talk is tired?

Follow hockey coverage long enough, and you’ll pile up grumbles almost as often as Auston Matthews piles up goals.

One beef that didn’t broil for quite some time: cherry-picking a goal drought without noting overall play. Yes, it’s true that John Tavares hasn’t scored a goal since Jan. 29, a span of 13 games. Mentioning that seems unfair when you realize Tavares generated 10 assists during that 13-game goal drought.

Ideally, you want a top scorer to be a dual threat. Generally, Tavares is still shooting, and he’s facilitating on a high level. Both of his assists from Maple Leafs - Capitals were the sort of alert, hard-working plays that could make a difference in the postseason pressure-cooker.

Tuesday’s big story

Can Wild avenge 7-3 loss to the Flames?

Maybe the Calgary Flames channeled the shock and rage of seeing their 10-game winning streak go up in smoke in a 7-1 loss to the Canucks. Perhaps Calgary’s just this good. Whatever the case may be, the Flames mashed the Wild 7-3 in their last meeting on Saturday.

Now it’s time to see if the Wild will respond.

These are two teams who have really been rising up the West ranks recently, making this home-and-home set a fascinating barometer for each squad. From Kirill Kaprizov to Johnny Gaudreau, there should be no shortage of firepower.

There also might be some bad blood, being that Oliver Kylington suffered a scary injury in that last Flames - Wild game.

Monday NHL scores

Maple Leafs 5, Capitals 3 Devils 7, Canucks 2 Bruins 7, Kings 0

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