Panthers, Oilers Forwards Just Joined NHL Royalty

Edmonton Oilers winger Zach Hyman celebrates 50th goal

Getty Zach Hyman of the Edmonton Oilers celebrates his 50th goal this season

If you weren’t alive in 2001 then you had never witnessed anything similar to what happened in the NHL on Sunday, March 24, in a span of a few hours and inside two entirely different venues.

Florida Panthers center Sam Reinhart and Edmonton Oilers winger Zach Hyman both scored their 50th goal of the season on the same day, something that had not happened since 2001 according to ESPN Stats & Information research. It has only happened five times over the last 30 seasons.

Reinhart scored his 49th and 50th goals in the Panthers’ 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Hyman scored his 50th goal in a losing effort by the Oilers, who dropped Sunday’s game 5-3 to the lowly Ottawa Senators.

It took Reinhart 1,438 minutes of ice time through 71 games this season to reach that milestone while Hyman did it in 1,337 TOI through 68 games, per NHL stats. That being said, Reinhart leads the league with 27 power-play goals while Hyman only has 15 PPG, making his achievement tougher.

Following Reinhart and Hyman’s goals, the group of NHL players with at least one 50-goal (or more) season now features exactly 100 players, according to data tracked by Stathead. Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (58 goals) is the only other player in the NHL with 50-plus goals scored this season through games played on March 24.

Sam Reinhart Becomes Second Panther Ever to Score 50 Goals

Not only did Reinhart join a very exclusive group of historic NHL players, but he also made franchise history by becoming just the second Florida Panther to score 50-plus goals in a single season.

By doing it, Reinhart joined former All-Star forward and Hall of Fame inductee Pavel Bure. Bure scored 59 goals in the 2001 season, more than 20 years ago, and paired that goalscoring with 33 assists for points. Bure had a 58-goal season one year earlier, also with the Panthers.

“Such a rare thing (scoring 50 goals) in a player’s career,” Panthers head coach Paul Maurice told reporters after the game. “That puts you in elite class. We’re just so fortunate to have him.”

Reinhart opened the score for Florida 10:34 into the first period of their game against the Flyers, making it 1-0 in favor of the Panthers. He scored his second goal of the day and 50th overall at 18:48 in the final frame on an empty-net shot wrapping up the final 4-1 score.

“It’s pretty cool,” Reinhart told reporters in his postgame press conference, via Bally Sports Florida. “That’s obviously a number I’ve never really thought about.

“It’s been fun.”

Zach Hyman Becomes Seventh-Oldest Player With 50-Goal Season

Hyman scored his 50th goal of the season in an Oilers’ loss, although reaching that milestone can be considered one of the most improbable achievements of the year in the case of the veteran winger.

For one, Hyman is already 31 years old. For two, he entered the league getting drafted in the fifth round (123rd-overall pick of the 2010 NHL Draft; didn’t debut until 2016). And finally, he had never topped 36 goals in a single season.

Hyman became just the seventh player in Oilers history to score 50 goals in a single season, a group that includes current teammates Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, not to mention the greatest hockey player of all time Wayne Gretzky (who did it eight times donning Edmonton’s uniform).

The Oilers took a 3-1 lead thanks to Hyman’s goal on Sunday by the Senators pulled off the comeback victory scoring four unanswered goals to snatch the victory from Edmonton.

“(Scoring the 50th goal was) pretty cool,” Hyman told Sportsnet’s Gene Principe during the second intermission. “It was fitting Connor found me on the backside. We run that play a lot. I figured it was going to be him with an assist on it, so that’s pretty special.”

“[Hyman] has worked for everything he’s got,” McDavid told reporters in his postgame press conference. “He’s a 50-goal scorer at the age of 31. That’s pretty impressive.”

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