The Vancouver Canucks return from the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend with eyes on their first Stanley Cup Playoff appearance since 2014-15. They will have to survive the tightest division race in the NHL to get there.
The Canucks (27-18-4) are first in the Pacific Division, where the top five teams are separated by one point. It's the first time in the NHL expansion era (since 1967-68) that five teams have been within one point of each other past the halfway mark of the regular season. Three of those teams (Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Arizona Coyotes) are looking to make the playoffs after missing it in at least each of the past two seasons.
Vancouver plays the St. Louis Blues at Rogers Arena on Monday (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SNP, FS-MW, NHL.TV) with wins in eight straight home games. It's a stretch that trails St. Louis (9-0-0 from Dec. 12 to Jan. 13) for the longest winning streak at home this season and is the third-longest in Canucks history (11 games in 2008-09, nine in 1992-93).
Pastrnak set to resume Richard Trophy chase with Bruins
David Pastrnak will continue his quest to win his first Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy given to the leading goal scorer in the NHL when the Boston Bruins play the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place on Friday.
The forward leads the NHL with 37 goals and was selected as MVP of the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game through a fan vote on social media after he had six points (four goals, two assists) in two games during the 3-on-3 tournament. Pastrnak is trying to become the fifth Bruins player to lead the NHL goals and first since Phil Esposito in 1974-75, the last of his six-season reign. The others are Cooney Weiland (1929-30), Roy Conacher (1938-39) and Bronco Horvath (tied for first in 1959-60).
Pastrnak's competition for the Richard Trophy include three players who have each scored at least 30 goals: Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin (34), Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) and Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (30).
Video: Pastrnak wins MVP award at 2020 NHL All-Star Game
McDavid pursuing third Art Ross Trophy in four seasons with Oilers
Connor McDavid takes an NHL-high 76 points (27 goals, 49 assists) into the post-break schedule beginning with the Edmonton Oilers playing the Calgary Flames at Rogers Place on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; SN360, SNE, SNO, SNW, TVAS, NHL.TV). The 23-year-old center is trying to win the Art Ross Trophy, given to the leading scorer in the NHL, for the third time in four seasons and can join Wayne Gretzky (1980-81, 1981-82, 1982-83, 1983-84) as the second NHL player to win the award at least three times before their 24th birthday.
Trailing McDavid is 24-year-old teammate Leon Draisaitl (75 points), the 24-year-old MacKinnon (72 points) and the 23-year-old Pastrnak (70 points), each of whom reached 70 points before the break. This season could be the first to conclude with the League's top four scorers all under the age of 25.
Video: Best highlights of Connor McDavid's season thus far