(Toronto) Even during the NHL All-Star weekend break, Nathan MacKinnon continued to think about the second half of the season.
“You try not to eat too much,” MacKinnon said. You look in the mirror and you find yourself fat. »
Maybe MacKinnon and other players gained weight during this weekend’s festivities, but the Avalanche center has other things on his mind.
Many matches remain to be played over the next two and a half months, and several notable moments are to come in this period.
There’s the March 8 trade deadline, two outdoor games in two days and the race for MVP, with MacKinnon and Connor McDavid among the potential candidates.
The playoffs will begin on April 22.
In recent days, the Canucks acquired Elias Lindholm from the Flames and the Jets got Sean Monahan from the Canadiens. Many more exchanges are expected between now and March 8.
“The teams are definitely active,” MacKinnon said. I don’t know what we’re going to do, but I love our team, that’s for sure. »
Among those who could change addresses are Marc-André Fleury of the Wild, Adam Henrique of the Ducks, Sean Walker of the Flyers, Nic Dowd of the Capitals and Jakob Chychrun of the Senators.
MetLife Stadium will host games on February 17 and 18: the Devils against the Flyers, then the Rangers against the Islanders.
This will be the first time that the league will present two outdoor games on two consecutive days.
“We’re really looking forward to it,” said Flyers forward Travis Konecny. It’s a date you circle on the calendar. »
The Devils, Islanders and Kraken are among the teams that made the playoffs last year but are not currently in the playoff picture.
“Everyone is going to be playing a lot in the next few months, so consistency is going to be a big factor,” said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, whose club missed spring ball last year.
In the West, among the top 4 teams not being in the first three of their section, there are only four points difference. The Blues, Kings, Kraken and Predators are in this fight.
McDavid and the Oilers have won their last 16 games, one win shy of tying the NHL record.
Winner of the Hart last year, McDavid could have the honor of the most valuable player for the fourth time in nine seasons in the circuit.
McDavid is 17 points behind MacKinnon, and 18 points behind Nikita Kucherov in the race for the top scorer on the circuit.
“It may not be the most elegant season offensively, but I think we’re doing a lot of good things offensively,” McDavid said. I feel good about my game and about our team. »