NHL mourns the loss of Dale Hawerchuk

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Michael Finewax
·8 min read
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Sad news today from the world of hockey as the great Dale Hawerchuk passed away from cancer at the age of 57.

Hawerchuk was a stud in the NHL for the original Winnipeg Jets and the Buffalo Sabres, ending his career with St. Louis for a season and finally the Philadelphia Flyers.

But it was his Winnipeg years that sealed his Hall-of-Fame career. He became the youngest player ever to get 100 points in a season, a mark that would stand for 24 years until Sidney Crosby (who was almost four months younger when he broke the record) surpassed him.

Hawerchuk was the face of the Jets who drafted him first overall in 1981 after Winnipeg finished the 1980-81 season with only 32 points as they were 9-57-14 and 24 points behind the second-last place Detroit Red Wings.

But Hawerchuk changed the fortunes of the Jets as he had 100-plus points in six of his first seven seasons in the NHL and added another four 90-plus point seasons. The problem the Jets had were that they were in the same division as the Wayne Gretzky led Edmonton Oilers as well as the Calgary Flames. The Jets could never get out of their division in the 1980’s as the two Alberta teams dominated.

The highlight of his career was the 1987 Canada Cup where he played on the same team as Gretzky and Mario Lemieux and actually took the faceoff on the winning Lemieux goal with Team Canada defeating the Soviet Union two games to one with all three games ending 6-5.

Hawerchuk had some big years with the Buffalo Sabres as he was dealt there after the 1990 season with a first-round pick who turned out to be Brad May, for Phil Housley, Scott Arniel and Jeff Parker as well as the Sabres first round pick who turned out to be Keith Tkachuk.

Hawerchuk returned to his home province of Ontario after he retired and coached the Barrie Colts. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer which he thought he had beaten but it returned a few months ago and he finally succumbed Tuesday.

Hawerchuk had 1,409 points which is 20th all-time in the NHL and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2001.

Our condolences to the Hawerchuk family on their terrible loss. He will be missed.

Don’t forget, for everything NHL, check out Rotoworld’s Player News, and follow @Rotoworld_ HK and @mfinewaxhockey on Twitter.

PHILADELPHIA 2 MONTREAL 0 (Flyers lead the series 3-1)

Carter Hart is looking awfully good these days. After being chased on Friday, when he gave up four goals, Hart has come back and shutout the Montreal Canadiens in back-to-back games, becoming the youngest to do so since Harry Lumley in 1945 for the Detroit Red Wings as an 18-year-old.

Hart stopped 29 shots and is 5-1in the post-season with a 1.24 GAA and a .958 save percentage.

The Habs are on the brink of elimination as the Flyers lead the best-of-seven series 3-1.

Carey Price was solid in the Montreal net as he stopped 20 shots. Price is 4-4 this season with a 1.48 GAA and a .949 save percentage.

The problem is that it is impossible to win without scoring. The Flyers have scored only three times in the last two games but it has been enough to claim victory.

Michael Raffl scored the only goal the Flyers would need when he ripped a shot from just inside the circle and picked the top corner, past the blocker of Price.

There was no scoring the rest of the period and for much of the second, until Philippe Myers made it 2-0 when his shot went off the stick of Brett Kulak and handcuffed Price.

And that was it for the scoring. The Canadiens have not scored since Friday and that has to bother Hab fans.

Nick Suzuki had six shots on net.

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DALLAS 2 CALGARY 1 (Stars lead the series 3-2)

John Klingberg scored the winner early in the third period to give the Dallas Stars a 2-1 win and a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Jamie Benn gave the Stars the early 1-0 lead as he tapped in a Tyler Seguin pass and scored a shorthanded goal.

The Flames tied it at one with just 46 seconds to go when Mikael Backlund faked defenseman Esa Lindell out and then shot it through a screen and past Anton Khudobin.

Khudobin, who has replaced the injured Ben Bishop as the Dallas starting goaltender, made 28 saves for his second win of the series.

Cam Talbot was great once again, keeping the Flames in the game, but took the loss despite making 30 saves with plenty of Dallas chances being turned aside by Talbot.

Klingberg’s goal was the game winner, two nights after he thought he had the winner in Game 4, but it was eventually changed to Alexander Radulov who tipped it in. This time it finally was the game winner.

Zac Rinaldo had seven hits.

Jamie Benn had six shots on goal.

WASHINGTON 3 NEW YORK ISLANDERS 2 (The Islanders lead the best-of-seven series 3-1)

The Washington Capitals staved off elimination with a come from behind victory over the New York Islanders.

The Islanders struck early and often, scoring twice in the first period as Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored just 3:50 into the contest and then Mathew Barzal made it 2-0 with a pretty goal as he re-directed a shot from Nick Leddy and into the net, past Braden Holtby.

It sure looked like the Capitals were done as New York dominated the first period and seemed to be on their way to a four-game sweep.

But Evgeny Kuznetsov cut the lead in half at the 3:35 mark as he went wide on the Islanders defense, cut around Adam Pelech and skated past Semyon Varlamov, tucking the puck into the far side of the net. It was his third goal of the post-season.

The Great 8, Alex Ovechkin, tied it on the power play as he one-timed a pass from John Carlson and slapped the puck past Varlamov at the 5:29 mark of the middle period.

It remained that way until the 3:40 mark of the third when Ovechkin picked up his second goal of the game and fourth of the series. Ovie ripped a shot from the top of the right circle and cleanly beat Varlamov for the eventual game winner.

Holtby won his first game of the series as he stopped 24 Islander shots including all 13 in the final two periods. He became the 21st goaltender in NHL history to have 50 playoff wins.

Varlamov, who spent parts of his first three seasons with the Capitals, lost his first of the series as he stopped 26-of-29 shots. He is now 6-2 in the post-season with a 1.87 GAA and a .927 save percentage.

Carlson had two assists in the game.

Cal Clutterbuck was injured in the second period after absorbing a hard hit, courtesy of Radko Gudas. He did not return and consider him day-to-day for now.

VEGAS 4 CHICAGO 3 (Vegas wins the best-of-seven series 4-1)

The Vegas Golden Knights became the first team to qualify for Round 2 as they defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 to take the series in five games.

The Blackhawks got of to a quick start as Jonathan Toews scored his fifth of the post-season at 10:32 of the first and then Alex DeBrincat scored his second of the playoffs and first with the netminder in, as Chicago took a 2-0 lead.

The Golden Knights scored late in the first as Max Pacioretty potted his first since March 8 with only 31 seconds remaining as he rifled a shot past Corey Crawford.

Mark Stone evened the score at two, just 57 seconds into the second period but Patrick Kane made it 3-2 Chicago just 3:05 later.

Alec Martinez evened the score once again as he scored his first of the playoffs. It was a power play effort.

Alex Tuch scored the winner at the 1:34 mark to send Vegas to the next round.

Robin Lehner once again beat his former teammates as he turned aside 23 shots for his fifth win of the post-season including the round-robin tourney.

Crawford made 35 saves in taking the loss. He is a UFA at the end of the season and you have to wonder if this could be the last time anyone sees Crawford in a Chicago uniform.

William Karlsson had a pair of assists.

Shea Theodore had seven shots on goal.

It was an interesting year for Chicago as they were the 12th seed in the West when play began, but they upset the fifth seeded Edmonton Oilers to gain valuable playoff experience against the Golden Knights.

NIGHTLY LEADERS

Goals

Alex Ovechkin - 2

Assists

John Carlson – 2

William Karlsson - 2

Shots on Goal

Shea Theodore – 7

Nick Suzuki – 6

Jamie Benn - 6

Hits

Zac Rinaldo – 7

Leo Komarov - 7

Elias Lindholm – 6

Blake Comeau – 6

Penalty Minutes

Garnet Hathaway – 4

Brenden Dillon – 4

Scott Mayfield – 4

Mathew Barzal - 4