This past weekend in the NHL was an entertaining one. There was a goal-scoring bonanza, and that was just at Madison Square Garden alone.
Elsewhere, Jack Eichel broke out of a scoring slump against the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Carolina Hurricanes scored a buzzer-beater in the spirit of March Madness.
Let's take a look back at some of the biggest storylines and best highlights from an action-packed weekend in the NHL.
Goal of the weekend: Sebastian Aho schools Tony DeAngelo
Sebastian Aho put on a superhuman performance against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, and he capped it off with one of the filthiest game-winning goals of the season.
Less than a minute into overtime, Aho got the puck in the neutral zone and started to pick up speed. Aho noticed that the Flyers were giving him a lot of room, and he took it. The Hurricanes' star hit the offensive blue line and went right at Flyers defenseman Tony DeAngelo. Aho put the puck between DeAngelo's legs, slipped around him, and finished the play with a perfect shot that hit the iron and the twine.
FISHY CALLED GAME 😤 pic.twitter.com/vO3wEO8uDV— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) March 18, 2023
Not only did that win the game for Carolina, but it also sealed a hat trick for Aho.
Robbery of the weekend: Igor Shesterkin brings MSG to its feet
The Rangers did a lot of scoring over the weekend, and there will be more on that later, but goaltender Igor Shesterkin deserves a lot of credit too. In Saturday's 6-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, Shesterkin put on a show. He stopped 33 shots in a shutout effort, and one of those saves was of the jaw-dropping variety.
Due to some brilliant passing by the Penguins, they created a mini 2-on-1 in the offensive zone, and it left Mikael Granlund with a glorious scoring chance. That's when Shesterkin dove for the pokecheck, missed, and then kicked up his pad for a desperation save.
WAKE UP, IGOR SHESTERKIN MADE ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL SAVE! 👀 pic.twitter.com/oPEZZm8OKz— NHL (@NHL) March 19, 2023
Outside of when Marc-Andre Fleury is feeling himself, you don't really see these types of saves in the NHL anymore. That's probably because goaltending coaches teach things like fundamentals and sound technique, but thankfully Shesterkin threw out the textbook on this stop.
Rangers go on record-tying scoring binge
There are some games in which every shot seems to go in for one team. That happened to the New York Rangers against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. Then it happened again on Sunday against the Nashville Predators.
The Rangers hammered the Penguins, 6-0, on Saturday before mauling the Predators, 7-0, just one day later. Between those two games -- and Thursday night's 4-2 win over Pittsburgh -- New York has tied a franchise record with 15 consecutive goals.
That Kaner-Breadman connection. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/n7ceQT1Uo3— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) March 19, 2023
If the Rangers can get on the board first against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night, they will hit 16 consecutive goals, which will be the second-longest consecutive goals streak in franchise history. The Rangers own the NHL record with 25 straight goals from Feb. 3-11 in 1973.
The Rangers' historic weekend didn't stop there. In Sunday's win over Nashville, New York tied a franchise record with six goals in the first period. The player who scored the record-tying goal, K'Andre Miller, set a new franchise record for most points in a single period by a defenseman, with four.
WE GOT KEY pic.twitter.com/33nfXnp0Zu— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) March 19, 2023
The Rangers were stuck in the mud for a bit following their big trade deadline moves to acquire Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane, but they are clearly firing on all cylinders now.
Sebastian Aho, Hurricanes pull out thrilling comeback win in Philly
March is for buzzer-beater -- and they aren't limited to the basketball court. The Carolina Hurricanes beat the horn against the Philadelphia Flyers in a dramatic comeback on Saturday.
In the third period, Canes goaltender Frederik Andersen misplayed the puck behind the net, and it wound up on the stick of Flyers' forward Brendan Lemieux. He flicked it into a wide open net to give Philadelphia a 4-3 lead, and Carolina needed a hero.
It got one in Martin Necas, who picked up a loose puck in front of the net and scored with just 0.2 seconds left in the third period. Necas, who is in the middle of a breakout season, came up big with his 27th goal of the season.
MARTIN NECAS BEATS THE CLOCK! 🤯 pic.twitter.com/S6RGAt1jly— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 18, 2023
As we saw above, Aho didn't waste any time ending the game once it got to overtime. He torched DeAngelo and sent the Hurricanes home with an entertaining win.
Jack Eichel nets hat trick against Blue Jackets
The Vegas Golden Knights are going to need Jack Eichel at his best if they want to reach the Stanley Cup Final. On Sunday, Eichel broke out of a scoring slump in a big way (thanks, Columbus Blue Jackets).
Eichel got on the board midway through the second period when he fired a bullet past Daniil Tarasov to give Vegas a 2-1 lead.
This shot was a jackpot 🎰 pic.twitter.com/qqeTNpbB4v— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) March 19, 2023
About seven minutes later, Eichel finally got a favorable bounce after weeks of missed chances. Eichel spun and threw the puck on goal from a poor angle, and it kicked off Tarasov before finding the back of the net.
the goals keep comin and they don't stop comin pic.twitter.com/r2ti8aU0FS— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) March 19, 2023
Eichel completed the hat trick with a brilliant piece of forechecking in which he forced Columbus defenseman Adam Boqvist to cough up the puck at the blue line. Eichel simply swiped it and cruised in to beat his second goalie of the day, Michael Hutchinson.
Heck of a one-two punch 🥊 pic.twitter.com/asJcv4KBXQ— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) March 18, 2023
Eichel is having a good season for the Golden Knights, but he has been a bit streaky. Vegas needs him to hit his stride before the playoffs, and this game could serve as a spark for him.
Winnipeg Jets create breathing room in Western Conference playoff race
Going into Saturday, the Jets didn't have much room to breathe in the race for the final wild card spot. The Nashville Predators were just four points behind them with three games in hand, so Winnipeg's weekend tilt in the Music City had massive implications.
It didn't get off to a great start for the Jets either. Despite Winnipeg controlling play for much of the first period, Cody Glass struck first to give the Predators a 1-0 lead.
That score held until early in the third period, when Nikolaj Ehlers blasted a laser past Juuse Saros to tie the game.
Also how could we have forgotten this one from Nikolaj 🚀 pic.twitter.com/YLfRgmfX3I— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) March 18, 2023
The score was 1-1 for just a matter of seconds. Nashville rookie Luke Evangelista buried a slot shot to restore his team's one-goal lead, but Winnipeg wouldn't go away quietly. With under 10 minutes left in the third period, Adam Lowry started and finished the game-tying goal. Lowry won an offensive-zone faceoff from his knees and drove straight to the net, where he was rewarded with a rebound and a goal.
An all-around effort from Lows 💪 pic.twitter.com/6msRAowguS— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) March 18, 2023
The game went to overtime, and the Jets got a valuable point, but they needed another to really distance themselves from Nashville. That's when Pierre-Luc Dubois and Neal Pionk combined to beat Saros and give a big boost to Winnipeg's playoff chances.
Now, the Jets are have put a good amount of space between themselves and the Predators with fewer than 15 games remaining in the regular season.
Appointment viewing this week
Hurricanes at Rangers | Tuesday, Mar. 21: The Rangers may have finally found their groove. New York has won four straight games and are looking like one of the top teams in the East. They'll look to keep it up.
Lightning at Senators | Thursday, Mar. 23: The Senators got back in the win column on Monday, but have a tough road ahead of them if they want to qualify for the postseason. A win over the Lightning would go a long way towards cementing that they belong in the playoff conversation.
Devils at Sabres | Friday, Mar. 24: The Devils are in an absolute battle with the Hurricanes atop the Metropolitan Division as we come down the home stretch. Meanwhile, the Sabres are attempting to avoid falling completely out of the playoff race as they've dropped seven of their last eight contests.
Lightning at Bruins | Saturday, Mar. 25: This is a matchup between two teams that possess an abundance of playoff experience. It won't be a huge surprise if they square off in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but there's wrong with a little preview.
Golden Knights at Oilers | Saturday, Mar. 25: The Golden Knights currently lead the Pacific Division, but the Oilers have entered the chat. The Oilers are winners of four straight, including six of their last seven, and will be looking to gain some ground on the Golden Knights in this matchup.