Home Team in Caps
Chicago 3, BOSTON 2
BUFFALO 4, Calgary 3
PHILADELPHIA 4, New Jersey 1
Columbus 3, WASHINGTON 2 (OT)
Los Angeles 5, OTTAWA 3
TAMPA BAY 2, Carolina 1
ST. LOUIS 6, NY Islanders 3
COLORADO 4, Winnipeg 3 (SO)
Nashville 5, ARIZONA 1
SAN JOSE 2, Minnesota 1
BLACKHAWKS RECORD EIGHTH STRAIGHT WIN
Patrick Kane scored his team-leading 13th goal and both Ben Smith (1-1—2) and Marcus Kruger (0-2—2) had two points as the Chicago Blackhawks opened a 3-0 lead en route to their eighth consecutive victory, 3-2 against the Boston Bruins. Chicago's winning streak is the longest in the NHL this season and the club's best stretch since it won 11 straight from Feb. 15 to March 6, 2013. The Blackhawks also have posted five straight road wins for the first time since a six-game stretch from Nov. 21-30, 2013.
* The Blackhawks are the first team to reach 20 wins this season. They sit alone atop the Central Division standings with 41 points (20-8-1) and are within two of the Anaheim Ducks (19-6-5, 43 points) for first place in the entire NHL, with a game in hand.
* Kane picked up his fourth game-winning goal of the season to move into a share of the League lead. He has tallied 5-4—9 during Chicago's winning streak and leads the club with 27 points (13-14—27) in 29 games.
* Making his third consecutive shot, rookie goaltender Scott Darling stopped 32 shots to improve to 5-1-0 with a 1.80 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in his career.
* Chicago earned its first regular-season win in Boston since Jan. 7, 2010 (5-2 win). However, the Blackhawks earned victories in two of three visits to TD Garden during the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, including a 3-2 win in Game 6 when Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland scored twice in the final 1:16 of regulation to rally the Blackhawks to their second championship in four years.
PREDATORS, BLUES KEEP PACE IN CENTRAL
The Nashville Predators (19-7-2, 40 points) and St. Louis Blues (19-8-2, 40 points) also won Thursday to keep pace with the Blackhawks (20-8-1, 41 points) in the Central Division standings:
* James Neal (1-1—2), Mike Fisher (1-1—2), Filip Forsberg (0-2—2) and Shea Weber (0-2—2) each registered two points as the Predators scored five unanswered goals to win for the third time in their past four games, 5-1 against the Arizona Coyotes. Forsberg leads all rookies in goals, assists and points and is tied for ninth in the NHL with 29 points (12-17—29); his plus-25 rating paces all players. Pekka Rinne stopped 31 shots and continues to lead all goaltenders with 19 wins this season and also ranks in the top five in GAA (second, 1.81), save percentage (second, .934) and shutouts (tied for third, 3).
* Alexander Steen (2-1—3) broke a 2-2 early in the third period and T.J. Oshie (1-2—3) scored the eventual game-winner as the Blues scored four goals in the final frame to win their third straight game, 6-3 against the New York Islanders. Steen had his second three-point game of the season (also Nov. 11 vs. BUF) and first multigoal game since March 29 vs. DAL. Oshie had three points in one period for the first time in his career to pick up his second three-point performance of the season (also 1-2—3 on Nov. 28 vs. EDM).
* Barret Jackman (1-1—2) scored his first goal since Jan. 20 (GWG at DET) and had his first multipoint game since Mar. 12, 2013 (0-2—2 vs. SJ); he now has 1-3—4 in his past three contests. Kevin Shattenkirk (0-2—2) also had multiple points to push his point-streak to four games (1-5—6). He shares sixth in the League with 21 assists and is tied for second on the Blues with 24 points.
* The Blues have earned points in each of their past seven games at Scottrade Center (6-0-1) and pace all Western Conference clubs with 11 wins on home ice (tied with NSH and LAK). Overall the Blues are 7-2-1 in their past 10 games.
* The Blues have won six of the past seven games against the Islanders (6-1-0), including four straight victories; they have not lost a head-to-head matchup on home ice since Dec. 6, 2005 (4-0-0 since).
KUCHEROV'S LAST-MINUTE GOAL LIFTS LIGHTNING INTO TOP SPOT
Nikita Kucherov scored twice, including the game-winning goal at 19:29 of the third period, and the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1. The Lightning improved to 19-8-3 (41 points) to leapfrog the idle Red Wings (17-6-6, 40 points) into the top spot in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.
* Per Elias, the Lightning last scored a game-winning goal in the final minute of regulation on Dec. 20, 2007 when Vincent Lecavalier scored at 19:18 of a 2-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kucherov is the ninth player to record a game-winning goal in the final minute of regulation this season; Chicago's Brandon Saad (19:33, Dec. 5 vs. MTL) and San Jose's Matt Nieto (19:48, Dec. 2 vs. PHI) are the only others to do so at home.
* Kucherov shares second on the club with 11 goals and ranks third with 25 points in 30 games; he had 9-9—18 in 52 games as a rookie in 2013-14.
* Evgeni Nabokov stopped 29 shots to improve to 3-3-1 this season. He is 9-3-2 with a 2.13 GAA and .922 save percentage in 15 games vs. CAR.
FOLIGNO KEEPS BLUE JACKETS' STREAK ALIVE
Kevin Connauton tied the game with 9:01 left in regulation and Nick Foligno (2-0—2) scored with 19 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Columbus Blue Jackets to their fifth consecutive victory, 3-2 against the Washington Capitals. Connauton, who scored his first goal as a Blue Jacket in overtime vs. PHI on Tuesday, has goals in back-to-back games after posting 1-9—10 in his first 50 NHL games.
* Foligno had his third multigoal game of the season and his first game-winning tally since Feb. 3 at ANA. His only other overtime goal was on April 15, 2013 when he scored with 28.7 seconds left in the extra period to seal a 4-3 win at COL.
* Foligno's last overtime goal also was the last time the Blue Jackets won consecutive overtime games, as they followed up their win in Colorado with a 3-2 OT win at Anaheim two nights later. Those victories also stretched the club's winning streak to five games.
* Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 39 shots to pick up his 10th win of the season. He has started all five games during the Blue Jackets' winning streak, compiling a 1.80 GAA and .949 save percentage. His last streak of at least five wins was from Nov. 29 to Jan. 23 last season when he won nine straight decisions.
* The Blue Jackets earned their first win at Verizon Center since Nov. 1, 2009 and just their third win in 10 all-time visits to Washington (3-4-3). Overall they are 7-8-5 in 20 games between the clubs, including wins in three of the past four head-to-head games.
SABRES STAY HOT VERSUS FLAMES
Down 3-2 in the third period, Zemgus Girgensons (1-1—2) tied the game and Matt Moulson (2-0—2) potted the game-winning goal with 7:29 left in regulation to lift the Buffalo Sabres to their fourth straight win at First Niagara Center, 4-3 against the Calgary Flames. Overall the Sabres have won eight of 11 games for the first time since posting a 8-1-2 mark from March 7-27, 2012.
* Girgensons paces the Sabres with nine goals through 29 games, surpassing his 70-game total from 2013-14. Overall he ranks second on the team with 16 points.
* Moulson posted his first multigoal game since March 18 at NYI while with the Minnesota Wild; he leads the Sabres with two game-winning goals this season.
* Tyler Ennis (0-3—3) matched a career-high for assists and points in a game with his first three-point performance since Feb. 7, 2013 vs. MTL.
* Playing in his 100th NHL game, Jhonas Enroth stopped 42 shots, including 17 stops in the final 20 minutes, to improve to 7-2-0 with a 1.93 GAA and .944 save percentage in his past nine appearances. Enroth faced 40-plus shots fifth time this season and the 11th time in his career, improving to 6-2-3 in those games. He has earned a point in three career appearances vs. CGY (2-0-1).
* The Sabres have earned points in 11 straight home games (9-0-2) against the Flames dating to Feb. 18, 1997.
AVALANCHE STAGE (ANOTHER) RALLY
Trailing 3-1 with less than eight minutes left in the third period, Jarome Iginla and Ryan O’Reilly tied the game with goals 4:23 apart and both Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene scored in the shootout as the Colorado Avalanche rallied for a 4-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets.
* Per Elias, Colorado has overcome at least a one-goal deficit in seven straight wins for the first time in franchise history: 2-1 vs. TOR on Nov. 6 (4-3 SO), 3-2 vs. NYR on Nov. 13 (4-3 SO), 2-1 vs. NJ on Nov. 15 (3-2), 2-0 vs. CAR on Nov. 22 (4-3), 3-0 vs. ARI on Nov. 25 (4-3 OT) and 1-0 vs. DAL on Nov. 29 (5-2). They have faced a third-period deficit in five of those games.
* Iginla surpassed Rod Brind'Amour for sole possession of 47th on the NHL's all-time points list with 567-618—1,185.
* MacKinnon scored his first career game-deciding goal and is now 3-for-3 in shootouts this season (3-for-6, 50 percent in his career). Duchene is now 12-for-33 (36.4 percent).
* Alex Tanguay (0-2—2) posted his second multipoint game of the season; he ranks third on the club with 9-10—19 in 27 games.
* Calvin Pickard stopped 30 shots and both shootout attempts he faced to win in his first-ever NHL shootout.
* Despite the loss, the Jets have recorded at least a point in eight straight games (5-0-3) for the second time this season (also 6-0-2 from Oct. 26 – Nov. 8). Per Elias, this marks the first time in franchise history the Jets have had multiple eight-game point streaks in a season.
THURSDAY NIGHT NOTABLES
Other highlights from games Thursday:
* Joe Pavelski scored the eventual game-winning goal just 45 seconds after the Wild tied the game to lift the San Jose Sharks to a 2-1 win, their fifth straight win at SAP Center and their sixth win in their past seven games overall. With the goal, Pavelski tied Owen Nolan (206 goals) for second on the franchise's all-time goals list. Joe Thornton (349-871—1,220) had two assists to surpass Jean Béliveau (507-712—1,219) for 39th place on the NHL's all-time points list. The Sharks improved to 10-1-0 in their past 11 games vs. MIN on home ice.
* Making his third straight start, Sharks goalie Alex Stalock stopped 18 shots to improve to 4-3-1 this season. Born in St. Paul, Minn., Stalock is the first Minnesota native to ever earn a win against the Wild and just the second to ever face the club, following Damian Rhodes who did it twice in 2001.
* Sean Couturier (1-1—2) and Matt Read (1-1—2) scored a goal and an assist to power the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-1 win against the New Jersey Devils in their return to Wells Fargo Center following a five-game road trip. Couturier scored the opening goal to stretch his point streak to five games (2-4—6); it was his fourth career shorthanded goal (last: Nov. 29, 2013 vs. WPG). Read snapped an eight-game point drought and 11-game scoring skid with his second game-winning goal of the season and first multipoint game since Apr. 6 vs. BUF. Claude Giroux (1-4—5) and Mark Streit (0-5—5) each had two assists to extend point-streaks to four games.
* Jake Muzzin set a career-high with three assists and five different Los Angeles Kings found the back of the net as Los Angeles recorded a 5-3 win in Dave Cameron's NHL coaching debut for the Ottawa Senators. Muzzin is the second Kings defenseman with three assists in a game this season (also Alec Martinez on Nov. 8 vs. VAN) and now has 1-13—14 in his past 16 games. The Kings have won each of the past four games between the clubs. Drew Doughty had two assists while Trevor Lewis had his first regular-season game-winning goal since March 22 vs. FLA.
* ICYMI: Senators forward Bobby Ryan scored a highlight-reel goal to push his point streak to three games (1-4—5).
EPIX AND NHL ANNOUNCE "KEVIN SMITH'S PENALTY BOX"
Premium entertainment network EPIX and the NHL announced that film director, author, and avid hockey fan Kevin Smith (Tusk, Clerks) will host weekly recaps of the EPIX Original Series EPIX Presents Road To The NHL Winter Classic and EPIX Presents Road To The NHL Stadium Series, produced by 52-time Emmy Award winner Ross Greenburg. The series is narrated by Bill Camp (12 Years a Slave, Lincoln).
Kevin Smith's Penalty Box, two-minute episodes that capture Smith's distinctive perspective on highlights each week, will run on air and across EPIX and NHL digital platforms the Wednesday following the Tuesday night premiere. Encores of Kevin Smith's Penalty Box will air leading into the premiere of the following week's episode.
Click here to see a first look at Kevin Smith's Penalty Box.
EPIX Presents Road To The NHL Winter Classic will make its U.S. Television Premiere on EPIX Dec. 16 at 10pm ET/PT, 9CT. Click here for the complete broadcast schedule for each four-episode series.
Flyers forward Jakub Voracek (10-25—35) scored into the empty net to move within one point of Tyler Seguin (22-14—36) for the League scoring lead . . . Flames defenseman Mark Giordano scored his eighth goal to push his point streak to six games (2-4—6). He continues to lead all defensemen and ranks eighth in the NHL with 8-22—30 in 30 games this season . . . Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara played his first game since Oct. 23 (19-game absence). Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester also returned to the lineup following an eight-game absence which ended his streak of 737 consecutive games played . . . Jets forward Mark Scheifele (1-2—3) registered his first career three-point game. Teammate Andrew Ladd scored to push his point streak to four games (3-4—7) . . . Arizona's Keith Yandle had his 17th assist of the season to tie Randy Carlyle (226) for fourth place on the franchise's all-time assists list among defensemen . . . Sabres forward Drew Stafford has a point in three straight games since returning from a lower-body injury (1-2—3) . . . Blues forwards Vladimir Tarasenko (3-2—5) and Paul Stastny (4-1—5) each stretched point streaks to four games . . . Senators forward David Legwand extended his point streak to four games (2-2—4) . . . Defensemen Christian Folin (MIN, 12 GP) and Klas Dahlbeck (CHI, 3 GP) each scored their first NHL goal . . . Hurricanes defenseman Ron Hainsey (700) and forward Alexander Semin (600), Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky (500), Predators defenseman Roman Josi (200) and Capitals forward Tom Wilson (100) each played in milestone games . . . The NHL announced that the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Ice Plant Presented by York will arrive at Nationals Park on Monday, Dec. 15 to begin the ice-making process for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.