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NHL Star Power Index: Auston Matthews wrapping up historic season, Artemi Panarin continues massive hot streak

Written by on April 11, 2024

Welcome to the NHL Star Power Index: A weekly gauge of the players who are controlling substantial buzz around the league. When a player is included on this list it may not be a good thing — it means that they are capturing a large amount of the hockey world’s attention.

These players are in no particular order when it comes to the amount of buzz that they’re creating. We’ll revisit the Star Power Index every week throughout the regular season.

It’s hard to imagine a player on more of a heater than Auston Matthews right now.

Matthews is riding a 12-game point streak in which he’s registered 11 goals and 11 assists. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the Toronto Maple Leafs star has scored a goal in six consecutive games.

In Tuesday’s 5-2 win against the New Jersey Devils, Matthews kept his scoring streak alive with a goal and an assist. The goal marked his 66th of the season, helping Matthews get closer to becoming the NHL’s first 70-goal scorer in over 30 years.

With the game tied at 2-2 in the second period, Matthews showed just how dangerous of a playmaker he can be. 

With the puck along the boards, Matthews was able to flip it over to Toronto defenseman Mark Giordano, who was camped out by the blue line. Giordano then sent a scorched slap shot past Devils goaltender Jake Allen to give the Maple Leafs the lead.

At the 7:33 mark of the third period, Matthews got into the scoring column.

Maple Leafs forward Max Domi had the puck near the blue line when he attempted to pass the puck over to teammate Tyler Bertuzzi. While the pass was blocked, Domi was able to race to secure possession of the puck, and that’s when he noticed Matthews hanging out in the face-off circle. Matthews then ripped a snap shot from the face-off circle that got past Allen.

It marked the second consecutive game in which Matthews tallied a multi-point performance. He also registered a goal and an assist in a 3-2 overtime win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday.

Matthews needs just four goals over the final four games to reach the 70-goal mark. If Matthews is able to reach that plateau, he’ll become the first player to do so since Brett Hull recorded 70 goals for the St. Louis Blues in 1991-92.

The New York Rangers have looked like an absolute juggernaut this season, and Artemi Panarin is at the heart of the team’s recent success.

The Rangers star winger is currently on a 10-game point streak, racking up eight goals and 14 assists over that span. Panarin has also tallied at least one assist in eight consecutive games dating back to March 26 as a part of that point streak.

Panarin recently recorded a goal and three assists in a 5-2 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday. The Rangers forward got the team’s offense humming out of the gate as he helped set up Mika Zibanejad midway through the second period.

Just 3:59 into the third period, Panarin utilized traffic in front of the net to help create a scoring chance for the Rangers. After receiving the pass from Zibanejad near the blue line, Panarin fired the puck on net, and Chris Kreider was able to deflect the shot past Canadiens goaltender Cayden Primeau.

Just over two minutes later, Panarin found the back of the net on a fantastic give-and-go with fellow Rangers forward Alexis Lafreniere. Panarin dished the puck off to Lafreniere in the face-off circle then made his charge toward the net. Panarin was able to get in front of the defense by the net, received a pass from Lafreniere, and tapped the puck into the net for an easy goal.

Panarin also added an assist on a empty-net goal from Lafreniere late in the third period.

The Rangers are currently leading the Presidents’ Trophy race with 110 points as the regular season winds down. Considering the way Panarin is playing, he certainly is one of the main reasons the Rangers are in such a prominent position.

After tallying a career-high 76 points during the 2022-23 season, star defenseman Josh Morrissey is finishing up another phenomenal campaign in 2023-24.

Morrissey has recorded 64 points (nine goals, 55 assists) in 78 games and has really been playing some of his best hockey of late. The Jets blue-liner has registered a goal and four assists over his last four games, including tallying at least one assist in three of those contests.

Morrissey began a play with some tremendous puck movement, and it ultimately resulted in an opening-period goal for the Jets in a 4-3 win against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.

At the 6:51 mark of the first period, Sean Monahan was able to flip a loose puck over to Morrissey, who was right at the blue line. Morrissey quickly shuffled the puck over to teammate Mark Scheifele, and Scheifele got the puck to Gabriel Vilardi for a highlight reel goal.

Morrissey is second on the team in points (64) this season, behind only Scheifele (69) after his one-assist performance.

The Jets are really benefitting from Morrissey’s play on the offensive end of the ice. As the team attempts to solidify its postseason spot, Morrissey figures to be a huge asset down the stretch.

The Carolina Hurricanes have a luxury most NHL teams don’t with two star-caliber goaltenders on their roster.

Frederik Andersen returned to the ice last month after missing four months due to a blood clotting issue. Even though Andersen is thriving since his return, Hurricanes netminder Pyotr Kochetkov has been sensational of late.

Kochetkov has registered a 22-13-4 record to go along with a 2.34 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in 41 games this season.

The Hurricanes goaltender has really been a solidifying presence in the crease lately. Kochetkov has won his last two starts and has allowed a grand total of three goals in both of those outings. In Tuesday’s 4-1 win against the Atlantic Division-leading Boston Bruins, Kochetkov stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced.

Kochetkov has been a brick wall in recent weeks as he’s recorded a 1.20 goals-against-average across his last four starts.

The Hurricanes have an embarrassment of riches in between the pipes with Andersen and Kochetkov being options that coach Rod Brind’Amour can trust in a playoff series. Kochetkov is developing into one of the NHL’s top goaltenders and is playing with a ton of confidence as the postseason approaches.

The post NHL Star Power Index: Auston Matthews wrapping up historic season, Artemi Panarin continues massive hot streak first appeared on CBS Sports.


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