* David Pastrnak scored his fourth hat trick of 2019-20 and retook the lead in the NHL’s Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy race.
* On the night Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin had their numbers raised to the rafters at Rogers Arena, fellow countryman Jacob Markstrom recorded a franchise first with a 49-save shutout.
* Captain Anze Kopitar led the way as the Kings won their final contest before the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo.
PASTRNAK RETAKES LEAD IN “ROCKET” RACE WITH FOURTH HAT TRICK OF 2019-20
David Pastrnak (3-0—3) scored his 39th, 40th and 41st goals of the season to register his fourth hat trick of 2019-20 and retake the lead in the NHL’s Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy race from Washington’s Alex Ovechkin (40) and Toronto’s Auston Matthews (40).
* The Bruins forward, who scored the game’s opening tally for the 14th time this season, sits atop the League in goals for the first time since Feb. 3. He has sat tied or led outright in that category for 110 days in 2019-20 – while only three players have done so for at least 10: Ovechkin (11), Matthews (13) and Edmonton’s James Neal (14).
* Pastrnak netted his fourth performance with three-plus goals this season – and second against the Canadiens (also Nov. 26 at MTL) – to join Ovechkin as the second skater to score four hat tricks in 2019-20. While only one player in Bruins history has registered more in a single season, the last skater with more in any campaign was Jonathan Cheechoo in 2005-06 (5 w/ SJS).
* Pastrnak (23 years, 263 days), who will complete the 2019-20 regular season at 23 years old, also joined eight-time “Rocket” winner Ovechkin as just the second active player to score nine hat tricks prior to his 24th birthday (including regular season and playoffs). Wayne Gretzky paces all skaters with 36.
* The native of Havirov, Czech Republic (41-40—81 in 58 GP), on pace to shatter his career high by over 30 points (58-57—115), became the fourth Bruins player in the last 40 years to require 58 games or fewer to reach the 80-point mark. The others: Adam Oates (54 GP in 1993-94 and 48 GP in 1992-93), Barry Pederson (57 GP in 1983-84) and Rick Middleton (57 GP in 1980-81).
MARKSTROM SHINES ON THE NIGHT CANUCKS HONOR SEDINS
On the night Vancouver welcomed franchise icons Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin back to Rogers Arena to watch their No. 33 and No. 22 lifted to the rafters, fellow countryman Jacob Markstrom posted a 49-save shutout to help the Canucks (32-21-5, 69 points) strengthen their grip on the Pacific Division lead.
* Markstrom, who recorded the most saves in a shutout performance by a Canucks netminder, posted his second 40-save shutout of the season (also 43 saves on Dec. 12, 2019 vs. CAR). He became the first goaltender in Canucks history to register multiple such outings.
* Since shots on goal officially began being tracked in 1955-56, only three netminders have collected more such outings in a single season: Bill Ranford (3 w/ BOS in 1986-87), Mike Smith (3 w/ PHX in 2011-12) and Semyon Varlamov (3 w/ COL in 2014-15).
KINGS WIN FINAL GAME BEFORE STADIUM SERIES
Calgary, Alta. native Austin Wagner scored the second of two Kings goals in span of 29 seconds and captain Anze Kopitar collected two assists as Los Angeles edged Calgary in its final contest before the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo.
* The Kings will head to Colorado for their third regular-season outdoor game, with a roster that remains somewhat intact from its last outdoor experience. Seven Los Angeles players skated in the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series: forwards Kopitar, Trevor Lewis, Dustin Brown, Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter; defenseman Drew Doughty; and goaltender Jonathan Quick.
* Kopitar, who paces the Kings with 17-32—49 this season (58 GP), has led the Kings in points in 11 of his 13 campaigns entering 2019-20 – the exceptions being his rookie season of 2006-07 (third behind Michael Cammalleri and Alexander Frolov) and then 2016-17 (second behind Carter). His 11 seasons as the team’s scoring leader are the most in franchise history.
PREVIEW OF TODAY’S ACTION
AVALANCHE HOST CAPITALS IN FINAL GAME BEFORE STADIUM SERIES
The surging Avalanche (33-16-6, 72 points) put their five-game winning streak on the line against the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals (36-15-5, 77 points) in Colorado’s final game before hosting the Kings in the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo.
* The Avalanche, who own an 8-1-1 mark over their last 10 games, have strung together a five-game winning streak for the third time this season (also 5-0-0 from Oct. 3-14, 2019 and 6-0-0 from Nov. 27 – Dec. 7, 2019). Should they extend the current streak to six games, it would mark the fifth time in franchise history they have had multiple six-game winning streaks in one season. The most recent occurrence was three such streaks in 2013-14.
* Colorado is led offensively by Nathan MacKinnon (32-46—78 in 55 GP). If MacKinnon were able to record a multi-point outing on Thursday, he would be the first Avalanche/Nordiques player to reach 80 points in a season within his first 56 games played since franchise icon and current general manager Joe Sakic did so in 1995-96 (37-44—81 in 55 GP).
* Standing across from MacKinnon and the Avalanche will be Alex Ovechkin (40-17—57 in 55 GP) and the Capitals. Ovechkin, who sits two goals shy of becoming the eighth member of the NHL’s 700-goal club, has reached the 40-goal mark for the 11th time in his career – only Wayne Gretzky (12) has more 40-goal campaigns.
* When the 2019-20 season started, Ovechkin ranked 13th all-time in goals and 42 tallies away from 700 – in 55 appearances since then, he has leapfrogged Hall of Famers Luc Robitaille (668), Teemu Selanne (684), Mario Lemieux (690), Steve Yzerman (692) and Mark Messier (694) to move into eighth place on the all-time list in his pursuit of 700 goals.
* ICYMI: The NHL, Avalanche, USA Hockey and Athletica Sport Systems unveiled a revolutionary on-ice sled bench prototype as a legacy of the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series. Click here for more information.