Semyon Varlamov turned aside all 28 shots he faced as the Islanders blanked the Rangers to clinch a berth in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Islanders are headed to the postseason for the third consecutive season and 27th time in franchise history.
* Varlamov extended his career-high shutout sequence to 213:56 and established a new franchise record, eclipsing the previous mark set by Glenn Resch in 1975-76 (178:29). Varlamov is no stranger to lengthy shutout streaks – he also owns the longest by an Islanders goaltender in the postseason (138:17), a mark set during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
* Varlamov earned his League-leading seventh shutout in 2020-21 to match the single-season franchise record also set by Resch in 1975-76. Varlamov recorded four of his seven shutouts against the Rangers.
FLEURY TIES LUONGO FOR THIRD-MOST WINS IN LEAGUE HISTORY
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (19 saves) earned the 489th win of his NHL career and moved into a tie with Roberto Luongo for third place on the League’s all-time list. Fleury now trails only Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy for the most in NHL history.
* Vegas (36-12-2, 74 points) leads the Honda West Division and maintained its four- and six-point edge over second-place Colorado (33-12-4, 70 points) and third-ranked Minnesota (32-14-4, 68 points), which also earned wins on Saturday.
OTHER DIVISION-LEADING TEAMS EARN WINS; PENGUINS LEAPFROG CAPITALS
The League-leading Hurricanes (34-10-7, 75 points) and Scotia North Division-leading Maple Leafs (33-13-5, 71 points) also earned wins on Saturday, while the Penguins (34-15-3, 71 points) posted a pivotal head-to-head victory over the Capitals (32-14-5, 69 points) to leapfrog them for first place in the MassMutual East Division. The top seven teams in the NHL standings are separated by no more than five points, including four clubs looking to win their first Presidents’ Trophy.
* Alex Nedeljkovic provided the primary assist on Dougie Hamilton’s winner with 52.1 seconds remaining in overtime as Carolina extended its point streak to 10 games (7-0-3) and maintained a two-point edge over Florida (34-14-5, 73 points), which occupies second place in the Discover Central Division and earned a victory over Chicago on Saturday.
* Auston Matthews tallied twice – including his third straight game winner – as Toronto extended its winning streak to five contests and maintained a nine-point lead over Edmonton (30-17-2, 62 points), which ranks second in the Scotia North Division. Matthews (38-24—62 in 47 GP) moved two goals shy of 40 on the season.
* Tristan Jarry made 24 saves and Bryan Rust (2-0—2) reached 100 career regular-season goals as Pittsburgh blanked Washington and concluded its eight-game season series with a 6-2-0 record (WSH: 2-2-4). Jarry improved to 23-9-3 in 36 appearances this season (2.67 GAA, .912 SV%, 2 SO) – his 23 wins trail only Andrei Vasilevskiy (30) and Philipp Grubauer (26) for the most in the NHL.
TRIO OF CLUBS STRENGTHEN GRIP ON FOURTH IN RESPECTIVE DIVISIONS
The Bruins (30-14-6, 66 points), Predators (28-22-2, 58 points) and Canadiens (23-18-9, 55 points) picked up victories to strengthen their grip on fourth place in their respective divisions:
* Craig Smith scored the second hat trick of his NHL career and first with Boston as the Bruins earned their sixth straight home win to remain one point back of the playoff-bound Islanders in the MassMutual East Division. Smith became the fourth different Boston player with at least one hat trick in 2020-21 (also David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand & Patrice Bergeron) – the Bruins joined the Coyotes and Panthers as the third team this season to feature four different players with a three-goal outing.
* Erik Haula scored the first regular-season overtime goal of his NHL career and Juuse Saros turned aside all 28 shots he faced as Nashville earned a crucial win against Dallas (21-17-13, 55 points), opening a three-point lead over them in the Discover Central Division.
* Cole Caufield scored at 2:25 of overtime to record the first goal of his NHL career and lift Montreal to its second multi-goal comeback win in as many days. The Canadiens climbed within two points of the idle Jets (27-20-3, 57 points), who occupy third place in the Scotia North Division, and moved eight points ahead of the fifth-ranked Flames (22-25-3, 47 points).
McDAVID HITS 400 GAMES; MILLER MAKES FINAL APPEARANCE AT HONDA CENTER
* Connor McDavid (1-2—3), who skated in the 400th regular-season game of his NHL career, boosted his League-leading totals to 29-58—87 this season (49 GP) as the Oilers earned a win in the 10th and final “Battle of Alberta” instalment slated for the 2020-21 regular season.
* Ryan Miller made 23 saves to backstop the Ducks to a 6-2 win in the final appearance of his NHL career at Honda Center. Miller (East Lansing, Mich.) earned his 391st career regular-season victory, the most in League history among U.S.-born goaltenders.
* ICYMI: After the game, Los Angeles players – including Jonathan Quick (Milford, Conn.), who was teammates with Miller at both the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics, congratulated the 40-year-old goaltender.