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NHL Rink Wrap: Larkin hat trick leads Red Wings; Flyers win again

NHL Scores

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 18: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings pounds gloves with teammates on the bench after scoring his third goal of the game and first career hat-trick during the second period an NHL game against the New Jersey Devils at Little Caesars Arena on December 18, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

Top player from Saturday in the NHL

Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings are sticking around in the Eastern Conference playoff race and after Saturday’s 5-2 win against the New Jersey Devils still have a nice hold on the second Wild Card spot. There are some games in hand to consider, but the fact this team is in playoff contention after so many down years is still a huge step forward. Dylan Larkin was the big star on Saturday, continuing his strong season with a four point effort that included his first career hat trick. He now has 15 goals and 14 assists so far this season (for 29 total points) and is on track for a career year. Combined with a strong season from Tyler Bertuzzi (two goals on Saturday) as well as the arrivals of top rookies Lucas Raymond (forward) and Mortiz Seider (defense) the Red Wings have a lot of reasons for optimism in the short-term and long-term.

Highlights from Saturday in the NHL

John Klingberg finishes a nice tic-tac-toe play in overtime to give the Dallas Stars a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Larkin’s first goal started the scoring for Detroit thanks to a friendly bounce off the boards.

Travis Sanheim gives the Philadelphia Flyers another overtime win.

Three Takeaways from Saturday in the NHL

Flyers starting a new streak

The Flyers were winners again on Saturday night, extending their current point streak to five consecutive games with a 4-0-1 mark that has seen them earn nine out of a possible 10 points. That stretch of games comes after they ended their 10-game losing streak. That losing streak may have been enough to crush their playoff chances this season, but if there is one thing we know about the Flyers it is that they are capable of winning or losing 10 games in a row at any moment. No team is prone to extreme streaks like this group. The schedule gets a little more difficult this week with the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins on the schedule.

Potential suspensions for Connolly, Lauzon?

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety could have a busy Sunday for a couple of hits in Saturday’s game. Chicago Blackhawks forward Brett Connolly was ejected for interference on Dallas Stars forward Tanner Kero, resulting in the latter being stretchered off the ice. It is the third time in two weeks an NHL player had to leave a game on a stretcher. In Seattle, Kraken defender Jeremy Lauzon got away with a blatant hit from behind on Colton Sceviour that was a textbook boarding play that went uncalled. Both play should be worthy of some additional discipline (or in Lauzon’s case, any discipline) so we will see if the Department Of Player Safety issues some punishments.

Draisaitl, McDavid reclaim top spot in points race

The Edmonton Oilers picked up a convincing 5-3 win over the Seattle Kraken on Saturday, erasing an early two-goal deficit in the process. A quick look at the box score shows a lot of unexpected names scoring the goals (Colton Sceviour, Evan Bouchard, Warren Foegele) but all of those goals came with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the ice with them, with that duo combining for a goal and four assists in the win. Draisaitl finished with three assists while McDavid had a goal and an assist. Those performances helped them reclaim the top spot in the scoring race ahead of Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin. They are now both tied in the top spot with 49 points.

Sunday’s big story

Alex Ovechkin has another chance to set the NHL record for most power play goals when the Washington Capitals host the Los Angeles Kings. He also enters the game just one goal behind Leon Draisaitl for the league lead this season and just two points behind Draisaitl and Connor McDavid for the league scoring lead.

Saturday’s NHL Scores

Philadelphia Flyers 4, Ottawa Senators 3 (OT)
Carolina Hurricanes 5, Los Angeles Kings 1
Dallas Stars 4, Chicago Blackhawks 3
Detroit Red Wings 5, New Jersey Devils 2
Edmonton Oilers 5, Seattle Kraken 3
Florida Panthers vs. Minnesota Wild (Postponed)
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Vancouver Canucks (Postponed)
Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens (Postponed)
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche (Postponed)
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Calgary Flames (Postponed)