Home Team in Caps
St. Louis 3, BUFFALO 0
NY Islanders 3, PHILADELPHIA 2 (SO)
Washington 2, OTTAWA 1
FLORIDA 3, Los Angeles 2
Anaheim 5, NASHVILLE 2
Tampa Bay 5, DALLAS 3
Detroit 3, COLORADO 0
Carolina 2, ARIZONA 1 (SO)
San Jose 5, VANCOUVER 1
ANDERSEN GUIDES DUCKS TO VICTORY IN BATTLE OF TOP TEAMS
The Anaheim Ducks opened a four-goal lead before the five-minute mark of the second period and Frederik Andersen made a season-high 44 saves to help Anaheim defeat the Nashville Predators 5-2 and improve to 8-2-0 in its past 10 games.
* With the victory, the Ducks (34-12-6, 74 points) passed the Predators (33-12-6, 72 points) into first place in the NHL standings; the St. Louis Blues (34-13-4, 72 points) also have 72 points. Nashville and St. Louis each hold one game in hand and hold the ROW tiebreaker over Anaheim (NSH: 29, STL: 28, ANA: 27).
* The Ducks handed the Predators their first home loss since Dec. 6, halting Nashville's home winning streak at a franchise-record nine games. Anaheim is 7-1-0 in its past eight games against Nashville dating to Jan. 26, 2013, including wins in their two games this season.
* Andersen registered his 29th win of the season to tie Pekka Rinne for the NHL lead. He has compiled a record of 49-12-5 in his first 71 games.
* Matt Beleskey scored his 20th goal and seventh game-winner of the season to extend career highs in both categories. His seven game-winning goals share the League lead.
* Jakob Silfverberg scored twice, including his fourth career shorthanded goal, while Corey Perry scored an empty-net goal for his team-leading 22nd goal of the season.
BLUES SET FRANCHISE RECORD TO KEEP PACE
Jake Allen stopped all 23 shots he faced to backstop the Blues to their seventh straight win, 3-0 against the Buffalo Sabres. St. Louis extended its point streak to 13 games, setting a franchise record (12-0-1 since Jan. 3).
* With the victory, the Blues (34-13-4, 72 points) kept pace with the Ducks (34-12-6, 74 points) in the race for top spot in the NHL. They are tied in terms of points with the Predators (33-12-6, 72 points), but continue to occupy the No. 3 seed in the League as Nashville holds the ROW tiebreaker (NSH: 29, STL: 28).
* Allen leads rookie goaltenders with 15 wins and three shutouts this season (tied with the Los Angeles Kings' Martin Jones). The single-season Blues record for shutouts by a rookie goalie is four, established by Ernie Wakely in 1969-70 and equaled by Brent Johnson in 2000-01. The last Blues rookie to record three shutouts in a season was Curtis Sanford in 2005-06.
* Allen had his second career assist, marking the second straight game a Blues goaltender has recorded an assist (Brian Elliott in OT, Tuesday vs. TBL). Per the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the first time Blues goaltenders have recorded assists in consecutive team games.
* Dmitrij Jaskin, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz scored for the Blues. Jaskin has three game-winning goals this season (six overall goals). Tarasenko has scored in three straight games, one shy of his career high last achieved from Nov. 1-6.
* The Blues won their sixth straight game against the Sabres and are 16-2-2 in their past 20 games against Buffalo dating to Jan. 27, 1998.
SHARKS DEFEAT CANUCKS TO RISE IN PACIFIC DIVISION
The San Jose Sharks defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-1. Chris Tierney (1-1—2) gave the Sharks a 4-0 lead early in the third period with his first NHL goal to help them improve to 6-2-2 in their past 10 games. San Jose won its fourth straight visit to Rogers Arena and improved to 6-1-0 in Vancouver since Jan. 20, 2011.
* The Sharks (28-18-7, 63 points) passed the idle Calgary Flames (29-20-3, 61 points) into second place in the Pacific Division and moved four points ahead of the fourth-place Canucks (28-19-3, 59 points). Vancouver, however, has played three fewer games than San Jose and two fewer than Calgary; all three clubs have 26 ROW.
* Melker Karlsson (GWG) and Joe Pavelski (PPG) each scored in the second period for the Sharks. Karlsson scored the game-winner in the Sharks' last victory on Jan. 31 vs. CHI. Pavelski leads the NHL with 15 power-play goals and is tied for third in the League with 28 goals.
* Tierney also had his first multipoint game in his 16th game. Fellow rookie Daniil Tarasov had an assist in his NHL debut while Logan Couture and Brent Burns each had two assists.
* Antti Niemi made 33 saves, including 12 in each of the final two periods, to stretch his personal point streak to eight games (6-0-2) for the second time this season, one shy of his career-high last achieved from Oct. 3-21, 2013 (8-0-1).
JOHNSON PROVIDES SPARK TO HELP LIGHTNING MAINTAIN LEAD IN EAST
Tyler Johnson scored twice in the third period, including his third game-winning goal of the season, to help the Tampa Bay Lightning defeat the Dallas Stars 5-3 and snap a four-game road skid.
* The Lightning (33-15-5, 71 points) continue to hold a two-point advantage on the Detroit Red Wings (30-12-9, 69 points), who won in Colorado, for first place in the Eastern Conference. Detroit has two games in hand, but Tampa Bay holds the ROW tiebreaker (TBL: 31, DET: 28).
* Johnson leads the Lightning with 19-32—51 in 51 GP, marking a new single-season career high; he had 24-26—50 in 82 GP last season. Overall, Johnson ranks 10th in the NHL in points and shares second with a plus-27 rating.
* Steven Stamkos (1-1—2) scored his 28th goal of the season to move into a three-way tie for third in the NHL behind League-leaders Rick Nash and Alex Ovechkin (32). Nikita Kucherov (1-1—2) had his 11th multipoint game of the season. He ranks third on the Lightning with 18-27—45 in 53 GP and leads the NHL with a plus-29 rating.
* Ondrej Palat (0-2—2) had a multipoint game to eclipse 100 career points (36-65—101 in 144 GP). Alex Killorn added an assist to stretch his streak to a career-high four games (0-5—5).
* Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 33 shots, including 15 in the second period, to improve to 4-1-0 in five games.
MRAZEK, RED WINGS BLANK AVALANCHE TO KEEP PACE
Petr Mrazek stopped all 28 shots he faced to record his third career shutout (first this season) and guide the Red Wings to a 3-0 win against the Colorado Avalanche, their eighth win in their past nine games since Jan. 13.
* With the victory, the Red Wings (30-12-9, 69 points) passed the idle Montreal Canadiens (32-15-3, 67 points) into the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and kept pace with the top-ranked Lightning (33-15-5, 71 points).
* Mrazek became the first Red Wings goaltender to post a shutout against the Avalanche since Ty Conklin made 29 saves in a 3-0 win in Denver on Oct. 8, 2011. The rookie improved to 12-4-1 in 18 appearances this season, including a 7-1-0 mark in nine starts since Jimmy Howard was injured against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 10.
* Pavel Datsyuk recorded his 555th career assist to pass Sergei Fedorov for fifth on the Red Wings' all-time list. He ranks third on the club with 15-23—38 despite playing in only 40 games this season.
* Justin Abdelkader ended a nine-game goal drought with his 12th of the season. He also set a career-high with his fourth game-winning goal of 2014-15.
* The Red Wings have won each of their past three visits to Pepsi Center and have earned points in seven straight with the Avalanche since March 5, 2013 (5-0-2).
ISLANDERS RECLAIM TOP SPOT IN METROPOLITAN DIVISION
Cal Clutterbuck scored at 18:47 of the second period to knot the score before scoring the game-deciding goal in the seventh round of the shootout to help the New York Islanders defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 and snap a three-game skid.
* The Islanders (33-17-1, 67 points) leapfrogged the idle Pittsburgh Penguins (29-14-8, 66 points) for first place in the Metropolitan Division and opened a three-point advantage over the New York Rangers (30-15-4, 64 points) and Capitals (27-15-10, 64 points).
* The Islanders' 33 wins through 51 games equals a franchise record set in 1978-79 (33-8-10). They improved to 17-2-0 against Metropolitan Division rivals this season, including 10 consecutive victories. Per Elias, their .895 intradivision point percentage is the second-highest in the NHL since 2005-06 (CHI, .917 in 2012-13).
* Clutterbuck ended a 19-game goal drought with his first goal since Dec. 13 vs. CHI. The shootout goal was his first in four career attempts.
* Jaroslav Halak made 16 saves and denied six shootout attempts to improve to 7-2-0 in nine games against the Flyers. He recorded his 27th win of the season to move within five victories of the Islanders' single-season record shared by Billy Smith, Chris Osgood and Rick DiPietro.
PHILLIPS, MARLEAU REACH GAMES PLAYED MILESTONES
Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips (1,179, franchise record) and Sharks forward Patrick Marleau (1,300) each played in milestone games on Thursday:
* Phillips played in his 1,179th career regular-season game, surpassing Daniel Alfredsson as the Senators' all-time leader in games played. The No. 1 pick in the 1996 NHL Draft, Phillips has spent his entire career with Ottawa, compiling 71-217—288 and a plus-68 rating. He helped the Senators reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2007 and ranks second in franchise history with 114 Stanley Cup Playoff games to his credit, behind only Alfredsson (121).
* ICYMI: Alfredsson and former defensive partner Wade Redden joined Senators general manager Bryan Murray to present Phillips with a special jersey before the game.
* Marleau (0-1—1) became the 56th player in NHL history to play in 1,300 career regular-season games. Elias says Marleau (35 years, 143 days) is the youngest player in NHL history to suit up for his 1,300th career contest, besting the previous mark set by Scott Stevens (35 years, 247 days).
* The No. 2 pick in the 1997 NHL Draft, Marleau is the 11th player in NHL history to play 1,300 games for one franchise. He is the Sharks' all-time leader in games played, goals (447) and points (968).
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Highlights from the rest of action Thursday:
* The Capitals scored two goals in a span of 49 seconds, including Alex Ovechkin's baseball-style game-winning goal, to defeat the Senators 2-1 and earn their second straight win. With the victory, the Capitals (27-15-10, 64 points) moved into a tie in points with the idle Rangers (30-15-4, 64 points) for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Washington, though, has played two more games than New York and continues to occupy the first wild-card spot. Ovechkin moved into a share of the League lead in goals (32) and game-winning goals (seven). Braden Holtby made 25 saves to improve to 25-10-9 with a 2.14 goals-against average (fifth), .925 save percentage (fifth) and six shutouts (second) in 45 appearances.
* Nick Bjugstad and Brandon Pirri scored to help the Florida Panthers defeat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2, their first win against the Kings since Feb. 9, 2012, ending a three-game skid. Bjugstad scored his career-high and team-leading 17th goal of the season. Pirri scored his first career game-winning goal to extend his goal streak to four games (4-1—5), the longest on the Panthers this season. Roberto Luongo made 29 saves, including 13 in the first period, to improve to 19-13-8 this season. The Panthers (23-17-10, 56 points) climbed within five points of the idle Boston Bruins (27-17-7, 61 points) for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
* Cam Ward made 28 saves and did not allow a goal in the shootout as the Carolina Hurricanes defeat the Arizona Coyotes 2-1, their fourth consecutive road win against the Coyotes (since Feb. 7, 2009). Elias Lindholm scored his first career game-deciding goal (2-for-4, 50 percent). The Hurricanes improved to 4-1-2 in their past seven games.
DID YOU KNOW?
Washington's Alex Ovechkin and Anaheim's Matt Beleskey each scored their seventh game-winning goal of the season to tie Arizona's Oliver Ekman-Larsson and New Jersey's Mike Cammalleri for the League lead. No other player has more than five game-winning goals.
* Ovechkin's goal was the 76th game-winning goal of his career. Since he entered the NHL in 2005-06, no other player has more than 60 (Daniel Sedin).
* Through 52 games, Ekman-Larsson has equaled the NHL's single-season record for game-winning goals by a defenseman. Tim Horton set the record in 70 GP in 1963-64 before it was matched by Ray Bourque (1992-93, 78 GP), Al MacInnis (1999-00, 61 GP), Derek Morris (2002-03, 75 GP), Dion Phaneuf (2005-06, 82 GP) and Ekman-Larsson.
Predators forward Colin Wilson scored his 17th goal of the season to set a career high for goals and points (36) in a season (49 GP), surpassing his previous marks set in 2010-11 (82 GP) and 2011-12 (68 GP), respectively . . . Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle stretched his assist/point streak to five games (0-7—7). He paces all defensemen with 33 assists in 52 GP . . . Canucks forward Radim Vrbata (47 GP) scored his 20th goal of the season to match his 80-game total from 2013-14. This marks Vrbata's fifth career 20-goal season and the first time he has reached the mark in back-to-back seasons . . . Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski (1-1—2) had his ninth multipoint game of the season . . . Ducks rookie Rickard Rakell (0-2—2) had his third career multipoint game . . . Stars forward Jamie Benn had an assist to extend his point streak to five games (3-4—7) . . . Flyers forward Chris VandeVelde scored for the fifth time in his past seven games . . . Islanders forward Michael Grabner played in his 300th NHL game . . . Predators goalie Pekka Rinne made 21 saves in his return from an eight-game absence . . . Kings defenseman Jamie McBain and Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist each had his 100th NHL point . . . The Flyers announced defenseman Kimmo Timonen will resume skating on Friday in hopes of playing at some point in 2014-15 . . . NASCAR driver Kyle Busch met Coyotes captain Shane Doan before attending the CAR-ARI game.