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Facts and Figures: Three teams try to clinch playoff berths

Penguins, Hurricanes, Avalanche have opportunity to qualify for postseason

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

The Pittsburgh Penguins (43-26-11), Carolina Hurricanes (44-29-7) and Colorado Avalanche (37-29-14) all enter Thursday with the chance to clinch berths in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Penguins are third in the Metropolitan Division, two points behind the second-place New York Islanders (46-27-7), who have already clinched a playoff berth. Pittsburgh can assure itself of a 13th straight trip to the postseason, which would extend the longest active streak in the NHL, by defeating the Detroit Red Wings at PPG Paints Arena (7 p.m. ET; ATTSN-PT, FS-D, NHL.TV).

Penguins center Sidney Crosby (95 points; 33 goals, 62 assists) is five points shy of his sixth 100-point season in the NHL entering the second game of a home-and-home series. The Red Wings extended their winning streak to six games by defeating the Penguins 4-1 at Little Caesars Arena on Tuesday. Detroit forward Todd Bertuzzi has three points in each of his past four games and will try to become the 10th player in NHL history with at least five consecutive three-point games. The most recent was Jari Kurri of the Los Angeles Kings, who had a six-game streak in 1992-93.

The Hurricanes, who haven't qualified for the playoffs since 2008-09, lead the Columbus Blue Jackets (45-31-4) by one point for the first wild card from the Eastern Conference entering their game against the New Jersey Devils at PNC Arena (7 p.m. ET; TVAS, FS-CR, MSG, NHL.TV). The Montreal Canadiens (43-29-8) are tied in points with the Blue Jackets for the second wild card but trail them 44-41 in regulation/overtime wins (ROW). The Canadiens visit the Washington Capitals (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NBCSWA, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV), and a loss by Montreal and a regulation win by Carolina will put the Hurricanes into the postseason.

The Avalanche enter their game against Winnipeg Jets at Pepsi Center (9 p.m. ET; ALT, TSN3, NHL.TV) with a four-point lead over the Arizona Coyotes for the second wild card and last remaining playoff berth in the West. They can clinch by getting one point against the Jets or if the Coyotes (38-34-8) lose in any fashion to the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena (10 p.m. ET; ATTSN, FS-A, NHL.TV). Colorado is trying to qualify for the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since making it for 10 straight seasons from 1994-95 (as the Quebec Nordiques) through 2003-04.

 

Blues move within one point of Central Division lead

Tyler Bozak scored the game-tying goal with 38.9 seconds remaining in the third period to give the St. Louis Blues a point before Jonathan Toews scored in the shootout to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 win at United Center. Bozak scored the 37th game-tying goal in the final minute of the third period this season, and the first by the Blues. The last time there were more game-tying goals in the final minute of the third was 2013-14 (46), which matched the NHL record set in 2005-06.

The Blues (43-28-9) moved within one point of the Jets (46-30-4) and Nashville Predators (45-29-6), who are even in points in the race for the Central Division lead with Winnipeg leading Nashville 44-41 in ROW differential. All three teams play Thursday; the Jets are in Colorado, the Predators host the Vancouver Canucks (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN; SNP, NHL.TV) and the Blues host the Philadelphia Flyers (8 p.m. ET; FS-MW+, NBCSP+, NHL.TV).

Video: STL@CHI: Bozak ties the game in the final minute

 

Kane, Toews set NHL career highs with Blackhawks

Patrick Kane and Toews each reached NHL career highs in the win against St. Louis.

Kane had a goal and an assist, giving him 107 points (42 goals, 65 assists), one more than his previous best of 106 (46 goals, 60 assists) in 2015-16, when he led the NHL in scoring. Kane is the fourth different player in Blackhawks history to have more than 106 points in a season and first since Jeremy Roenick had 107 (46 goals, 61 assists) in 1993-94. 

Before scoring the deciding goal in the shootout, Toews scored his 35th goal of the season, surpassing his previous NHL career high of 34 set in 2008-09, and is one point from reaching 80 for the first time since coming to the NHL with Chicago in 2007. The Blackhawks haven't had two players with at least 80 points since 1990-91, when Steve Larmer (101 points) and Roenick (94) did it.

Kane, Toews and Alex DeBrincat (74 points; 41 goals, 33 assists) have combined to score 118 of Chicago's 259 goals this season (45 percent, excluding shootout-deciding goals). Only Edmonton Oilers forwards Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (116 of 224, 51.8 percent) have scored a higher percentage of their team's goals.

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