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NHL Rink Wrap: Ovechkin ties Jagr; Tons of goals, big upsets

NHL Rink Wrap: Ovechkin ties Jagr; Tons of goals, big upsets

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 26: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals looks on during warm-ups prior to his game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on February 26, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

Tuesday’s top NHL players

Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome, Blackhawks

There were some eye-popping performances (and upsets) around the NHL on Tuesday. Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome factored into one of the more significant ones.

Kane stood out the most with a whopping six points (1G, 5A), while Strome managed a hat trick and an assist. The Blackhawks scored five goals during the first period alone to downgrade the Ducks’ playoff chances 8-3.

That six-point outburst leaves Kane with 64 points in 54 points this season, lining up closely to last year’s 66 points in 56 games. Strome now has 30 points in 45 contests, with a strong chance to set a new career-high for goals (at 15 now, his peak was 17 in 2018-19).

There were plenty of honorable mentions for NHL player of the night on Tuesday. Nick Schmaltz remains red-hot with four points after his historic seven-point explosion. Carter Hart made 47 saves to help the Flyers narrowly upset the Golden Knights. Mark Scheifele scored four points (1G, 3A) as the Jets generated a medium-sized upset against the Lightning.

Oh, right. And Auston Matthews produced a hat trick, giving him 43 goals on the season (and helping the Maple Leafs avoid being part of that upset trend).

Tuesday NHL highlights

Watch that Auston Matthews hat trick:

Soak in those performances from Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome in what could serve as a painful loss for the Ducks. Could that shove them more fully into selling at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline?

Might as well soak in the absurdity of the Coyotes’ output, too.

Roman Josi winning this for the Predators over the Stars in regulation could end up being important:

Usually, an empty-netter only warrants a highlight mention if a goalie is involved. Alex Ovechkin tying Jaromir Jagr for third all-time with 766 goals does the trick, though:

Tuesday NHL Takeaways

Ovechkin ties Jagr at 766 career goals, good for third all-time in NHL history.

Read more about Ovechkin tying Jagr at 766 goals here. Note that this game was interesting because it also represented the 1,000th game Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom played together.

Plenty of NHL upsets on Tuesday; Coyotes pumping up that trade deadline value?

Let’s run down some surprising results.

  • Tough way for the Ducks to start a five-game road trip. They’ve lost four of their last six games, and are 4-7-1 in their last 12. Thursday’s game against the Predators in Nashville figures to be a real test for the Ducks.
  • Break up the Arizona Coyotes. They’ve now won three in a row (beginning with an upset of the Avalanche), and scored an absurd 17 goals in their last two games. Nick Schmaltz now has 11 points in his last two games, and 21 points in his past 10 contests.

[Look back at Nick Schmaltz’s seven-point night]

For NHL trade deadline purposes, it may be most notable that Jakob Chychrun had a strong game, too. Chychrun scored two goals and one assist, hammering eight shots on goal. This gives the coveted defenseman eight points in his last five games.

  • Whenever it seems like the Golden Knights may build more of a buffer for their playoff hopes, they seem to stumble. In this case, Carter Hart snuck out his leg, making 47 saves. Jack Eichel generated an assist and nine SOG, while Max Pacioretty fired seven. Ouch.
  • When Cale Makar put the Avalanche up 3-0 early in the second, the question seemed to be if the Devils could save face. Instead, they rallied, scoring five unanswered goals to stun the Avs. Jesper Bratt generated three assists in that comeback-upset.
  • Uh oh, is it time to worry about the Blues now? They fell to the Senators pretty decisively, and now St. Louis has dropped four straight losses.
  • Finally, the Jets may seem a bit listless, but they burned the Lightning 7-4. Two Winnipeg empty-netters exaggerate the difference, yet that’s still unexpected.

Kraken extend Jared McCann: five years, $5M cap hit

Between a timid expansion draft and some borderline-reckless free agent signings, the Seattle Kraken left a lot to be desired when putting together some of their early building blocks. At least the first contract extension in franchise history makes plenty of sense.

The Kraken handed Jared McCann a five-year contract that carries a reasonable $5M cap hit on Tuesday.

Between the expansion draft (Jordan Eberle, 31) and free agency, the Kraken took on quite a bit of older talent before they played their first game. Most of those players are good-to-very-good now, but it seemed a bit hasty.

Such concerns don’t really apply to the Kraken’s extension with Jared McCann. He’s merely 25, so the aging curve isn’t much of a worry.

Now, there’s still a feeling that the Kraken are a fairly pricey team without overwhelming confidence that they’ll be worth the money next season. Cap Friendly projects the Kraken to allot $59M in salary cap space to just 13 players.

At least McCann stands a nice chance of being worth his contract, and possibly a healthy bit more.

Wednesday’s big story

Can Alex Ovechkin break his tie with Jaromir Jagr, and stand alone at third all-time in goals?

Again, Alex Ovechkin ended the night tied with Jaromir Jagr at 766 goals. The Capitals close a back-to-back set by facing the Oilers on Wednesday.

Considering the state of the Oilers’ goaltending, this could be a prime opportunity for Ovechkin to score goal 767. That said, the Oilers badly need to make up ground in the West, so they’ll be keyed-in on grabbing this win.

Not that wanting to stop Alex Ovechkin’s really helped teams actually slow him down.

Tuesday NHL scores

Devils 5, Avalanche 3
Flyers 2, Golden Knights 1
Panthers 4, Penguins 3
Maple Leafs 6, Kraken 4
Coyotes 9, Red Wings 2
Senators 4, Blues 1
Predators 2, Stars 1
Wild 5, Rangers 2
Jets 7, Lightning 4
Blackhawks 8, Ducks 3
Capitals 5, Flames 4

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