Home Team in Caps
NY ISLANDERS 3, New Jersey 2 (SO)
PITTSBURGH 4, Tampa Bay 2
BUFFALO 5, Ottawa 4 (SO)
PENGUINS DEFEAT LIGHTNING, REMAIN ATOP EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS
Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lighting. The Penguins improved to 20-6-4 (44 points) to remain first in the Eastern Conference; they have earned at least one point in 13 of their last 16 games (10-3-3). The Penguins also improved to 9-0-1 against Atlantic Division opponents and 17-1-4 when scoring three or more goals.
* The Penguins have won 10 consecutive games against the Lightning, the longest winning streak in the series between the clubs. Pittsburgh's last loss to Tampa Bay was a 4-1 defeat on Nov. 17, 2011. At home, the Penguins have won eight consecutive games against the Lightning, which is the club's second-longest active home winning streak behind a 13-game streak against the Winnipeg Jets.
* Fleury stopped 28 of 30 shots and is 17-4-2 with a 2.10 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage. He's tied for second among goaltenders in wins and has lost just once in regulation in his last 11 starts (8-1-2). Fleury also improved to 8-1-0 in his last nine home starts against the Lightning.
* Steve Downie (1-1—2) scored the game-winning goal on a power-play and earned his 10th assist of the season. It was Downie's first game-winning goal and second power-play goal of the season. The performance was also Downie's fifth multiple-point game this season.
* Brandon Sutter (1-0—1) opened the scoring while shorthanded with his seventh goal of the season. The marker is Sutter's team-leading second shorthanded goal of the season and the eighth of his career.
ISLANDERS REMAIN UNDEFEATED IN SHOOTOUTS THIS SEASON
Josh Bailey (1-0—1) scored the shootout winner to lift the New York Islanders to a 3-2 victory against the New Jersey Devils. The Islanders improved to 21-10-0 (42 points) and are alone in second place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Islanders set a franchise record by winning 12 of their first 15 home games and extended their franchise record by winning 21 of their first 31 games to begin a season.
* The Islanders improved to 6-0 in the shootout this season and have set a franchise record by winning eight consecutive tiebreakers, dating to a 3-2 victory on April 11, also against the Devils. The Islanders are the only NHL club without an overtime (3-0) or shootout loss this season and have set a franchise record by playing the first 31 games of the season without an overtime or shootout loss.
* Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves through regulation and overtime and stopped four of five shooters in the shootout to improve to 16-6-0 with a 2.35 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. Halak is tied for first among League goaltenders with four shootout victories.
* The Islanders trailed 2-0 after one period, but Bailey scored his fifth goal of the season in the second period and Matt Martin (1-0—1) had his fourth goal in the third period.
BUFFALO WINS SIXTH CONSECUTIVE HOME GAME
In a game that saw each team score three unanswered goals, the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-4 in a shootout. Matt Moulson (1-0—1) scored the winner in the tiebreaker and the Sabres improved to 13-16-2 (28 points). Buffalo is 10-3-0 in its past 13 games and has won six consecutive home games for the first time since Jan. 17-Feb. 15, 2007.
* The Sabres trailed 1-0 but scored three consecutive second-period goals within a span of 3:21, with the final two coming 32 seconds apart. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time Buffalo scored three goals within a span of 3:21 in the same period was in an 8-4 loss to the New York Rangers on April 19, 2013, when they had three in a span of 2:29.
* Jhonas Enroth stopped 29 of 33 shots through regulation and overtime and additionally stopped all three shooters in the shootout. He is 10-10-1 with a 2.96 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. Enroth has won nine of his past 11 games.
* Marcus Foligno (1-1—2) and Brian Flynn (1-1—2) each recorded his second multiple-point performances of the season. Foligno has scored in a career-high three consecutive games.
* Tyler Ennis (0-1—1) has 15 points (4-11—15) in his past 15 games.
Pittsburgh forward Bryan Rust (1-0—1) and defenseman Brian Dumoulin (1-0—1) each scored his first career NHL goal while skating in his second and 10th career games, respectively. Rust and Dumoulin became the first Pittsburgh skaters to score their first career NHL goals in the same game since Kris Letang and Jordan Staal did so on Oct. 12, 2006. ...Tampa Bay forward Nikita Kucherov (1-1—2) posted his sixth multiple-point performance of the season. ... New Jersey defenseman Marek Zidlicky (1-1—2) recorded his fifth multi-point game of the season, and forward Scott Gomez (1-1—2) posted his second since being signed on Dec. 1. Gomez's assist is the 338th of his Devils' career, moving him past Scott Stevens into sole possession of fourth on the franchise's all-time assists list. ... New Jersey forward Jaromir Jagr (0-2—2) recorded two assists and brought his career total to 1,065, passing Steve Yzerman (1,063) for sole possession of seventh on the NHL's all-time list. ... Ottawa forward Alex Chiasson (1-1—2) recorded his first multiple-point game of the season. ... Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish will take over as interim coach for the club as a transition for Todd Nelson, who eventually will take over on an interim basis until the end of the season. ... Buffalo Sabres center Tyler Ennis, Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter and New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist were named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending Dec. 14.