Daily Morning Face-Off Report — 4/23/22
The Daily Faceoff Morning Report will be published on weekdays, summarizing the main news and events of the previous day.
We’ll highlight injuries that will affect today’s games, hot streaks, cold streaks, and everything for everyone from the casual hockey fan to the fantasy hockey grinder.
Oilers beat Avalanche to clinch playoff berth
The Edmonton Oilers won for the fourth straight game and the 10th time in their last 12 games (10-1-1) with a 6-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Mike Smith (G) saved 34 of 37 shots in the win and has become Mr. Reliable lately, posting a .949 SV% and two shutouts in his last eight games (8-0-0). Before that, Smith had an .885 SV% in his previous 17 games (5-9-2). Evander Kane (LW, RW) led the way for the Oilers with four points (3G/1A) and, despite playing just 39 games this season, has a career-best points-per-game pace (0 ,92). Connor McDavid (C) had three assists to give him sole possession of the top spot in the scoring race with 116 points (43G/73A).
The Avalance haven’t been their usual dominant lately and, for the first time in what seems like forever, don’t seem to want to win the Presidents’ Trophy. The Avalanche will likely finish second to the Florida Panthers as they have two more points and played one less game. The Avalanche are now on a three-game losing streak (0-3-0) for the first time since the first week of the season. Darcy Kuemper (L) also came down to earth with a 0.873 SV% in his last four games (2-2-0) after posting a screaming 0.956 SV% in his previous 10 (7-2-1).
Senators beat Blue Jackets 2-1 (SO)
The Columbus Blue Jackets lost for the 12th time in their last 15 games (3-8-4) with a 2-1 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators. Jack Roslovic (C, RW) scored the only goal in the Blue Jackets loss to reach the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career. Roslovic has 10 points (8G/2A) in his last six games. Filip Gustavsson (L) saved 33 of 34 shots in the win to record back-to-back wins and quality starts for the first time this season. Brady Tkachuk (LW) sent the game into overtime with the equalizer midway through the third period on a magnificent tic-tac-toe goal. Tkachuk has 61 points (29G/32A) in 75 games this season for a pace of 0.81 points per game, significantly higher than his previous high of 0.64.
Savage Victory; Kaprizov joins the 100 point club
The Seattle Kraken entered the game against the Minnesota Wild on their first-ever three-game winning streak and looked to extend it to four games as they took a two-goal lead. However, their lead didn’t last long as the Minnesota Wild exploded for a five-goal second period en route to an eventual 6-3 victory. Kiril Kaprizov (LW, RW) scored four points (1G/3A) to give him 101 points (45G/56A) and became the seventh player this season to hit the 100-point mark. Kaprizov has 16 points (6G/10A) in his last 10 games and, even so, isn’t the Wild’s hottest player lately. Kevin Fiala (LW, RW) had a monstrous five-point (0G/5A) night to continue his torrid pace in which he has 21 points (9G/12A) on a nine-game point streak. No player in the league has more points than Fiala during this streak. Matthew Beniers (C) scored in the Kraken loss and now has just one point in the first five games of his NHL career (3G/2A).
The capitals keep rolling
The Washington Capitals won for the seventh time in their last nine games (7-1-1) with a 2-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Vitek Vanecek (L) stopped all 19 shots he faced for his fourth shutout of the season. Conor Sheary (LW, RW) had two points (1G/1A) to give him 41 points on the season (18G/23A) and top the 40-point mark for the first time since his sophomore season in 2016-17 as a than Pittsburgh Penguin. Since Clayton Keller (C, LW) was injured, the Coyotes have gone 1-9-1 and have been held to one goal or less in seven of those games.
What to watch this weekend
The Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights both have winnable games that could set things up nicely for a colossal matchup between the two teams on Tuesday. On Saturday, the Stars host the Seattle Kraken while the Golden Knights host the San Jose Sharks on Sunday. If the Stars and Golden Knights win those games, their meeting on Tuesday could potentially decide their seasons.
The Nashville Predators, who play back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Minnesota Wild, are lost in the race for the last Wild Card spot. With a good weekend, the Predators can potentially secure their top Wild Card position and book a trip to a first-round game against the Calgary Flames. A bad weekend can leave them in the mix with the Stars and Golden Knights. Monday morning, the Predators, Stars and Golden Knights will only have three games left to play.
Other news and notes: