All thirty NHL teams played on Saturday night to close out the 2014-15 regular season. With the end of the regular season came the distribution of the Art Ross Trophy, Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, and William M. Jennings Trophy. While the “Rocket” Richard Trophy’s winner had been a foregone conclusion before night’s end, the other two trophies depended on Saturday’s results and came down to the wire.
Jamie Benn earned two of his four points in the final 2:05 of Saturday night’s game against the Nashville Predators to capture his first career Art Ross Trophy for the NHL’s scoring champion. Benn had a hat trick and an assist in the Dallas Stars‘ 4-1 victory and final game of the 2014-15 season. He passed New York Islanders forward John Tavares with his final point of the night, tallying a league-high 87 (35 goals, 52 assists). Benn had been behind both Tavares and Sidney Crosby going into Saturday’s game, and he became the first player in Stars history to win the scoring title with his four-point effort. With ten points in his final three games, Benn established new career highs in goals, assists, and points, surpassing last year’s season totals of 34, 45, and 79, respectively.
Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin finished the regular season as the NHL’s leading goal scorer with a total of 53, earning him his third consecutive Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy and his fifth overall. Ovechkin’s push for the goal-scoring title came in the second half of the season; he scored 41 of his 53 goals in the final 55 games of the season, including two on April 2 to become the leading goal-scorer in Capitals history; he surpassed Peter Bondra (472). This is Ovechkin’s sixth 50+ goal season, and he joins Mike Bossy (9), Wayne Gretzky (9), Marcel Dionne (6), Guy Lafleur (6), and Mario Lemieux (6) in reaching this milestone. In addition, Ovechkin set a franchise and career record with 25 power play goals on the season as the Capitals put up the best power play numbers in the entire NHL. Steven Stamkos finished second in this season’s goal-scoring race with 43, followed by Rick Nash (42).
The William M. Jennings Trophy went to two goaltenders this season: Chicago‘s Corey Crawford and Montreal‘s Carey Price. This trophy is awarded to the goaltender(s) of the team which allows the fewest goals through the regular season; the winning goaltender(s) must play at least 25 games for their team. The Blackhawks and the Canadiens tied for the fewest goals allowed (189), and Crawford and Price saw the most time in net for their respective clubs. As the Blackhawks and Canadiens both played on Saturday, the award could not be awarded until both games’ conclusions, in case one team gave up an extra goal and fell out of contention for the trophy. This is Crawford’s second Jennings Trophy in three seasons and Price’s first in his career. Crawford posted a 32-20-5 record with a 2.27 GAA, a .924 SV%, and two shutouts in 57 appearances; he missed time with a foot injury midway through the season. Price put up a record of 44-16-6 with a 1.96 GAA, .933 SV%, and nine shutouts in 66 appearances. He made franchise history by surpassing the previous record of 42 wins in one season, achieved twice by Jacques Plante and once by Ken Dryden. The last time two goaltenders on two different teams shared the Jennings Trophy was in 2002-03 (Martin Brodeur for New Jersey, Roman Cechmanek and Robert Esche for Philadelphia).