NHL Morning Skate: Avalanche and Canucks Clinch Playoff Spots

NHL Morning Skate March 31

In NHL action yesterday, the Colorado Avalanche and the Vancouver Canucks secured their spots in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs, joining the ranks of postseason contenders.

Connor McDavid briefly took the lead in the Art Ross Trophy race on Saturday before Nathan MacKinnon and Nikita Kucherov regained their positions atop the leaderboard. With only a few points separating them, the race promises excitement as the regular season enters its final stretch.

A highlight of the day was Auston Matthews’ 60th goal of the season, marking his second such achievement and placing him among elite company in NHL history. Notably, Matthews joins a select group of players with multiple 60-goal seasons for Original Six teams.

In their matchup against the Predators, the Avalanche showcased their offensive prowess with strong performances from Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, and Mikko Rantanen, securing their 10th 100-point season in franchise history and clinching a playoff berth.

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Similarly, the Canucks sealed their playoff berth while sitting out a game, benefiting from losses by other teams. Their potential for a significant turnaround from missing the playoffs to contending for the Stanley Cup mirrors impressive historical precedents.

Additional standout performances included Steven Stamkos reaching the 30-goal mark for the ninth time in his career, and Jonathan Quick surpassing Ryan Miller for the most career wins by a U.S.-born goaltender.

Looking ahead, Sunday’s spotlight shines on a Pacific Division clash between the Ducks and the Canucks, with the latter aiming to reach the 100-point mark for the 10th time in franchise history.

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