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Around the League notebook for Saturday, Dec. 20

by NHL Public Relations / NHL.com

SATURDAY'S RESULTS

Home Team in Caps

LOS ANGELES 4, Arizona 2

Colorado 5, BUFFALO 1

Philadelphia 7, TORONTO 4

MONTREAL 4, Ottawa 1

Washington 4, NEW JERSEY 0

NY ISLANDERS 3, Tampa Bay 1

PITTSBURGH 3, Florida 1

NY Rangers 3, CAROLINA 2 (SO)

COLUMBUS 3, Chicago 2 (SO)

Nashville 6, MINNESOTA 5 (OT)

VANCOUVER 3, Calgary 2 (OT)

SAN JOSE 3, St. Louis 2 (OT)

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

Of the 12 games played Saturday:

* Nine were tied or within one goal to start the third period (ARI-LAK, OTT-MTL, TBL-NYI, FLA-PIT, NYR-CAR, CHI-CBJ, NSH-MIN, CGY-VAN, STL-SJS).

* Two featured a game-tying goal in the final minute of regulation: the San Jose Sharks' Marc-Edouard Vlasic (19:39) and the Minnesota Wild's Thomas Vanek (19:12)

* Five required overtime, including three that were decided in the extra frame (NSH-MIN, CGY-VAN, STL-SJS).

* Three defensemen scored overtime goals to lift their teams to victory: Christopher Tanev (Vancouver Canucks), Brent Burns (Sharks) and Mattias Ekholm (Nashville Predators). In addition, defenseman Jack Johnson scored the game-deciding goal in the shootout for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

PENGUINS MAINTAIN TOP SPOT IN EAST . . .

Nick Spaling (1-1—2) and Steve Downie (0-2—2) each scored two points, including assists on Derrick Pouliot's first NHL goal, to guide the Pittsburgh Penguins to theuir season-high fifth consecutive victory at CONSOL Energy Center.

* Overall, the Penguins have a point in each of their past seven games (5-0-2). At 22-6-4 (48 points), the Penguins hold a two-point lead over the New York Islanders (23-10-0, 46 points) for first place in the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference, and sit one point behind the Anaheim Ducks (22-8-5, 49 points) for the top spot in the League.

* Marc-Andre Fleury made 45 saves – two shy of his regular-season career high – for the first time since Dec. 23, 2009 (45 saves in 8-2 win against the Ottawa Senators). He is 3-1-1 in his career when making at least 45 saves.

* Fleury improved to 13-3-1 with a 1.92 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in 17 starts at CONSOL Energy Center this season. Overall, Fleury ranks second in the League in wins (19), fifth in goals-against average (1.97) and fourth in save percentage (.933).

* Pouliot is the fifth Penguin to make his NHL debut this season, following Scott Wilson, Bobby Farnham, Bryan Rust and Scott Harrington. Prior to be recalled, Pouliot led Pittsburgh's American Hockey League affiliate with 13 assists and 20 points.

* Pittsburgh has won 12 of its past 14 home games against the Florida Panthers dating to Jan. 30, 2007.

. . . ISLANDERS, CANADIENS RALLY TO KEEP PACE

The Islanders and Montreal Canadiens reeled off a string of unanswered goals to keep pace in the Eastern Conference standings:

* After falling behind 1-0 midway through the third period, the Islanders scored three unanswered goals to stretch their winning streak to four games.

* The Islanders also extended their franchise record by winning the 23rd of their first 33 games of a season. At 23-10-0 (46 points), the Islanders lead the League in wins and are two points behind the Penguins (22-6-4, 48 points) for top spot in the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference.

* Per Elias, New York has won 10 of 11 games at Nassau Coliseum (10-1-0) for the first time since an equal stretch from Oct. 16 to Nov. 24, 1984.

* John Tavares tied the game with his 13th goal of the season. Anders Lee scored his second straight game-winning goal (third this season).

* Down 1-0 before the three-minute mark of the first period, the Canadiens scored four unanswered goals – highlighted by multi-point performances by Alex Galchenyuk (1-1—2) and Max Pacioretty (0-2—2) – to win their fourth straight game against the Ottawa Senators.

* With the victory, the Canadiens (21-11-2, 44 points) leapfrogged the Tampa Bay Lightning (20-11-4, 44 points) into first place in the Atlantic Division and maintained a four-point gap behind the Penguins (22-6-4, 48 points) for top spot in the Eastern Conference.

* Galchenyuk has points in each of his past three games (4-2—6) and ranks second on the Canadiens with 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists), behind only Pacioretty (13-14—27).

* The Senators and Canadiens faced off 97 years and one day after the Canadiens topped the original Senators 7-4 on opening night of the NHL's inaugural season on Dec. 19, 1917.

PREDATORS, CANUCKS EMERGE WITH OT WINS . . .

The Predators and Canucks each surrendered multi-goal leads before earning overtime victories:

* Nashville took a 5-3 lead with two goals in the opening 9:05 of the third period but required an overtime winner from Mattias Ekholm after yielding two goals in the final 10 minutes of regulation, including Thomas Vanek's tying goal with 47.8 seconds left on the clock.

* Ekholm's goal was the second of his NHL career (also Jan. 7 against San Jose). He has a goal and seven points, and a plus-8 rating this season (31 GP) after scoring nine points (goal, eight assists) in his first 65 games.

* Pekka Rinne earned his League-leading 21st win of the season. He holds a 6-1 record past regulation and has yet to allow an overtime goal this season (one shootout loss). He improved to 10-4-2 with 2.20 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and three shutouts in 17 career games against the Wild.

* Matt Cullen (1-1—2), Craig Smith (1-1—2), Roman Josi (1-1—2), Shea Weber (0-2—2) and Victor Bartley (0-2—2) each had two-point performances. Filip Forsberg contributed his NHL rookie-leading 13th goal and 31st point to move within seven points of breaking Alexander Radulov's franchise record for points by a rookie.

* The Canucks opened a 2-0 lead before the 10-minute mark of the opening period but Johnny Gaudreau tied the score at 7:05 of the third to force overtime, where Christopher Tanev scored the game-winner 18 seconds into the extra frame. Vancouver has won each of the past nine games against Calgary, and earned its first victory since Dec. 4 at Pittsburgh, snapping a five-game skid (0-4-1).

* Four of Tanev's 10 career goals have been game-winners, including his first NHL goal on Feb. 4, 2013 when he found the back of the net with 19.3 seconds left in the extra frame to lift the Canucks past the Edmonton Oilers.

* Daniel Sedin (0-2—2) and Henrik Sedin (0-1—1) each had an assist on the overtime goal; they have 79 points (27 goals, 52 assists in 77 games) and 73 points (13 goals, 60 assists in 73 games) in their careers against Calgary, respectively.

. . . SHARKS RALLY TO KEEP STREAK ALIVE

Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored with 20.6 seconds remaining in regulation and Brent Burns had the overtime winner with 37.5 seconds left to rally the Sharks to their fifth straight win and eighth consecutive victory at SAP Center.

* The Sharks (19-11-4, 42 points) maintain the No. 2 seed in the Pacific Division and their five-game winning streak is the longest active stretch in the NHL (tied with the New York Rangers).

* Burns scored his seventh career regular-season overtime goal (last: Oct. 29, 2011 at the Islanders); he scored his first five overtime goals with the Wild and holds Minnesota's franchise record.

* Antti Niemi made 18 saves to improve to 14-7-3 with a 2.42 goals-against average and .917 save percentage this season.

CAPITALS, BLUE JACKETS AND RANGERS ALSO EXTEND STREAKS

The Washington Capitals, Blue Jackets and Rangers each earned victories to keep their respective streaks alive:

* Braden Holtby made 21 saves to backstop the Capitals to a 4-0 win against the New Jersey Devils and extend Washington's point streak to eight games (6-0-2). Nicklas Backstrom (2-1—3) had his third three-point game of the season to stretch his team-leading points total to 34 points (10 goals, 24 assists); he has five goals in his past four games to equal his total from his first 28. Holtby earned his second shutout of the season and 13th of his career; he has started all eight games during the Capitals' current point streak with a 1.83 goals-against average and .934 save percentage during that span.

* Playing past regulation for the sixth straight game, Jack Johnson scored the game-deciding goal in the ninth round of the shootout to guide the Blue Jackets to their first win against the Chicago Blackhawks since Feb. 18, 2011 (0-10-3 in that span). Columbus improved to 8-0-1 in its past nine games, with seven of those games requiring extra time. Sergei Bobrovsky made 39 saves to improve to 13-8-2 this season; he has started each game during the Blue Jackets' nine-game point streak with a 2.01 goals-against average, .940 save percentage and one shutout in that span.

* J.T. Miller and Kevin Klein rallied the Rangers from separate one-goal deficits in the third period, and Mats Zuccarello scored the lone shootout goal to lift New York to its fifth straight win. New York has won 13 of the last 15 games against the Carolina Hurricanes dating to Feb. 22, 2011. The Rangers (16-10-4, 36 points) improved to 8-0-1 in their past nine games against Metropolitan Division opponents and remain two points behind the Capitals (16-10-6, 38 points) for third place in the division (with two games in hand). Goalie Henrik Lundqvist has started each game on New York's winning streak. He has a 1.55 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in that span.

KOPITAR-GABORIK-CARTER LINE (AGAIN) POWERS KINGS

After combining for 12 points (four goals, eight assists) Thursday, the line of Anze Kopitar (0-3—3), Marian Gaborik (1-1—2) and Jeff Carter (1-0—1) again powered the Los Angeles Kings to victory, with at least one member of the trio factoring on each goal in the Kings' 4-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes.

* Kopitar has at least three points in consecutive games for the third time in his career (twice in October 2009), and has a goal and nine points in his past three games. Per Elias, the last Kings player with back-to-back three-point performances was Michal Handzus on Feb. 4 and 6, 2010 (1-2—3 against the Ducks; 2-1—3 against the Detroit Red Wings).

* Gaborik has a goal in four straight games and is 6-2—8 during that span. His goal streak is the longest by a Kings player this season and his longest personal streak since a five-game stretch with the Rangers from Dec. 17 to 26, 2011 (7-0—7). He leads the Kings with five power-play goals this season.

* Carter has two goals and six points on his three-game point streak and leads the Kings with 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) this season.

* Alec Martinez broke a 2-2 tie at 1:34 of the third period for his first game-winner since he scored the Stanley Cup-clinching goal at 14:43 of double-overtime in Game 6 against the Rangers. Martinez has three game-winning goals in 230 career regular-season games and four such goals in 59 career Stanley Cup Playoff games.

* Jamie McBain (0-2—2) matched a career high with two assists. The multi-point game was the 11th of his career and first in a Kings uniform (last: Feb. 26 with Buffalo, 0-2—2).

* Jonathan Quick improved to 12-3-1 with a 1.71 goals-against average, .944 save percentage and three shutouts in home games this season.

* The Kings improved to 13-4-1 at Staples Center; their 13 home wins and 27 home-ice points each match franchise records through 18 games (wins – 8th time, last: 2012-13; points – 5th time, last: 2012-13). They have more home-ice wins and points than any team in the Western Conference.

GIROUX, VORACEK POWER FLYERS PAST MAPLE LEAFS

Claude Giroux (2-2—4) and Jakub Voracek (0-4—4) each had four points and the Philadelphia Flyers scored a season-high seven goals to halt the Toronto Maple Leafs' five-game home winning streak. Philadelphia played the first game of an eight-game road trip and has earned a point in seven of its past eight games dating to Dec. 3 at Anaheim (4-1-3).

* Voracek had four assists for the second time in his career (Feb. 18, 2013 at the Islanders) to become the first player to reach 40 points this season. Voracek (12-30—42) and Giroux (10-29—39) rank first and second in the League in assists and points; Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin also has 39 points (23-16—39).

* Giroux had the seventh four-point performance of his career (last: 2-2—4 on Dec. 19, 2013 against the Blue Jackets); he set a career-high with five points (0-5—5) on Feb. 16, 2012 against the Buffalo Sabres. Giroux has three goals and 12 points in his past eight games.

* Nicklas Grossmann (32 GP) scored his third goal of the season to set a new single-season high; before this season, Grossman had five goals through his first 463 games.

* The Flyers and Maple Leafs combined for six goals in the first period, including three in a span of 26 seconds by Sean Couturier (11:18, PHI), David Clarkson (11:33, TOR) and Giroux (11:44, PHI). It marked the fastest combined three goals in Flyers and Maple Leafs history (via PHI and TOR Public Relations).

* The Maple Leafs dropped their first game this season when scoring the first goal (14-1-0); the Canadiens are the only team yet to lose when scoring first this season (12-0-0).

AVALANCHE CONTINUE DOMINANCE OF SABRES

Alex Tanguay (2-1—3) and Jarome Iginla (0-3—3) each scored three points to power the Colorado Avalanche to their eighth straight victory against the Sabres dating to Mar. 7, 2007.

* Making his fifth consecutive start, rookie goalie Calvin Pickard made 28 saves to improve to 5-5-2 with a 2.16 goals-against average and .936 save percentage this season.

* Colorado improved to 2-0-2 in its past four games and halted Buffalo's home winning streak at six games.

LOOSE PUCKS

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 45 saves, in his second NHL game, to set a Lightning franchise record for saves by a rookie goaltender, breaking the previous mark of 44 set by Corey Schwab on March 9, 1997 and equaled by Karri Ramo on Feb. 17, 2009 . . . Aaron Ekblad had his 14th assist to set a new Panthers franchise record for assists by a rookie defenseman and move within three points of setting the franchise record for points by a rookie defenseman . . . Coyotes coach Dave Tippett was behind the bench for his 900th NHL game . . . Zach Parise (2-1—3), Thomas Vanek (1-1—2), Marco Scandella (1-1—2), Jason Pominville (0-2—2), Ryan Suter (0-2—2), Charlie Coyle (0-2—2) each had multi-point performances for the Wild . . . The Blackhawks surrendered a shootout goal for the first time this season while falling to 4-1 in the tiebreaker this season . . . St. Louis Blues forward David Backes (600), Lightning forward Ryan Callahan (500), Sabres forward Tyler Ennis (300) and Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson (200) all played in milestone games . . . Canadiens forward Brandon Prust had his 100th NHL point . . . Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo had an assist to stretch his point streak to seven games (1-6—7) . . . ICYMI: Alex Ovechkin scored a highlight-reel goal for his Capitals-leading 15th goal of the season . . . Sabres forward Johan Larsson scored his first NHL goal (34 GP).

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