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Weekly Primer

Ovechkin going for 700th goal with Capitals highlights week ahead

Hockey Day in Canada among can't-miss events

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / Staff Writer

Alex Ovechkin is closing in on 700 goals in the NHL and Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada will be celebrated Saturday. But there are more stories to watch this week. Here are the top five along with fantasy can't-miss players.


1. Ovechkin approaching 700 goals for Capitals

Alex Ovechkin continues his quest to become the eighth member of the 700-goal club in the NHL when the Washington Capitals play the Los Angeles Kings at Capital One Arena on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSWA, FS-W, NHL.TV).

The forward has scored at least one goal in five of his past six games (12 points; 11 goals, one assist) to give him 695 in 1,136 games, eighth in NHL history. He's five goals from joining Wayne Gretzky as the only players in NHL history with at least 11 40-goal seasons. Gretzky scored at least 40 goals 12 times in 20 NHL seasons before retiring in 1999.

Ovechkin is second in the NHL with 37 goals this season, one behind Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak.

Video: WSH@OTT: Ovechkin scores twice to pass Messier


2. Pastrnak, Matthews eye 40 goals for Bruins, Maple Leafs

Pastrnak is two goals from his first 40-goal season in the NHL for the Bruins, who play three games this week beginning against the Vancouver Canucks in a matchup of two division-leading teams at TD Garden on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NESN, SNP, NHL.TV).

The forward has five points (one goal, four assists) in two games after he was named the most valuable player of the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Enterprise Center on Jan. 25. He scored his 30th goal in his 42nd game of the season Jan. 2 to become the fastest player in Bruins history to that mark since Cam Neely (27 games) in 1993-94. 

Matthews will try to score 40 goals for the second time in his NHL career when the Maple Leafs play the first of four games this week against the Florida Panthers at Scotiabank Center on Monday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, TVAS, TSN4, FS-F, NHL.TV). The No. 1 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft is four from tying his NHL career high set as a rookie in 2016-17.

Video: BOS@MIN: Pastrnak buries loose puck with quick shot


3. Hart Trophy contenders go head to head for Avalanche, Sabres

Nathan MacKinnon and Jack Eichel, two contenders for the Hart Trophy, given to the player voted as most valuable player in the NHL, face off for the first time this season when the Colorado Avalanche play the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, ALT, NHL.TV).

Each player is putting together what could be his finest seasons in the NHL. There is a good chance MacKinnon will be a Hart finalist for the second time after he was runner-up to Taylor Hall in 2017-18. The center is fifth in scoring with 72 points (30 goals, 42 assists), which has helped the Avalanche (28-16-6) keep pace behind the St. Louis Blues (31-14-8) for first place in the Central Division. 

Eichel has scored an NHL career-high 31 goals and has 65 points. He's projected for 49 goals and 103 points, the highest totals by a Sabres player since Alexander Mogilny (76 goals, 127 points) and Pat LaFontaine (53 goals, 148 points) in 1992-93. 

Buffalo (23-22-7) is 10 points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

Video: CBJ@BUF: Eichel rips overtime winner from circle


4. Wild forward Parise set for 1,000th NHL game

Zach Parise is expected to skate in his 1,000th NHL game when the Minnesota Wild play the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on Friday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-SW+, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV).

The forward signed a 13-year contract with the Wild on July 4, 2012 to play near his native Minneapolis after seven seasons with the New Jersey Devils. Parise has 368 points (186 goals, 182 points) for Minnesota, including 32 (19 goals, 13 assists) this season.

Video: FLA@MIN: Parise beats Bobrovsky five-hole for PPG


5. Hockey Day in Canada

The 20th anniversary of Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada will be celebrated in Yellowknife, the capital city of Canada's Northwest Territories, with a four-day festival culminating Saturday with Sportsnet's coverage of four games beginning with the Ottawa Senators against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place (2 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, TVAS, NHL.TV).

The 12-hour broadcast also includes the Nashville Predators at the Edmonton Oilers (7 p.m. ET; SN360, CITY, SNW, FS-TN, NHL.TV), the Toronto Maple Leafs visiting the Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. ET; CBC, SN1, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS, NHL.TV) and the Calgary Flames facing the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena (10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, SN360, SN1, CITY, NHL.TV).


Fantasy can't-miss picks

Denis Gurianov, DAL: The rookie wing has scored goals in four of his past seven games and is tied for second on the Dallas Stars in power-play goals (five) behind Alexander Radulov (seven). Gurianov has been playing in a top-six role lately and the Stars have four games this week, including favorable matchups against the New York Rangers on Monday and Wild on Friday. -- Pete Jensen

Jake DeBrusk, BOS: He has nine points (four goals, five assists) and 24 shots on goal in his past eight games skating on the second line with David Krejci and Anders Bjork. DeBrusk has added value this week with four games against the Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks, Arizona Coyotes and Detroit Red Wings. -- Rob Reese

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