2021 NHL Season Update

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Vincent Cavaniola, Sportswriter

March 3, 2021: The 2021 NHL season is well underway, as most teams have played at least 20 games so far this season out of 56. Some teams had their games postponed due to multiple members on each team being diagnosed with COVID-19, including the New Jersey Devils, the Buffalo Sabres, the Dallas Stars, and the Colorado Avalanche. As of now, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the league’s best record-wise with a 17-4-2 record and the Ottawa Senators are the league’s worst team with a 8-16-1 record. 

Conor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers is having yet another MVP-caliber season so far as he leads the league with 40 points. Conor’s teammate Leon Draisaitl, who won the MVP last year, is also having a great season, as are Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks), Mitch Marner (Toronto Maple Leafs), and Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs). Auston Matthews leads the league in goals with 18 through 23 games (Conor McDavid is second in that category, with 14 goals). Some goalies are doing extremely well also; Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay Lightning) leads the league in save percentage (.935%) and GAA (1.77). Andrei is looking to get his second Vezina Trophy, as he also leads the league in wins with 13.

Some NHL teams have been allowing fans into their arenas. On March 2, there were fans at the New Jersey Devils vs. New York Islanders game in New Jersey. That was the first time fans were allowed in the Prudential Center this year. The Arizona Coyotes (25% capacity), the Carolina Hurricanes (13% capacity), the Columbus Blue Jackets (10% capacity), the Dallas Stars (27.5% capacity), the Florida Panthers (25% capacity), the Nashville Predators (15% capacity), the New Jersey Devils (10% capacity), the New York Rangers (10% capacity), the St. Louis Blues (7.5% capacity), the Tampa Bay Lightning (23% capacity), and the Vegas Golden Knights (15% capacity) are all allowing fans at their home games this season. The New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, and Boston Bruins will all start allowing 10% capacity at home games later this month. 

As for an update for New York Islanders fans: they are currently tied for 1st place in the division with a 12-6-4 record. Forwards Mat Barzal, Anders Lee, and JG Pageau are all producing very well and goalie Semyon Varlamov is having an incredible season, as he leads the league with 3 shutouts. Ever since Barry Trotz took over as head coach, he’s done nothing but help make this team become a contender. Hopefully the Islanders can keep up the way they’re playing so they can make the playoffs for the 3rd straight year and bring home a Stanley Cup to the Island. Although, the Islanders have to play 19 games in the next 33 days. The top 4 teams with the most points from each division will make the playoffs this year. It should be a fun/intense rest of the season.