Home Team in Caps
Boston 6, PITTSBURGH 2
WASHINGTON 5, Tampa Bay 3
Florida 2, CAROLINA 0
OTTAWA 4, San Jose 2
Vancouver 4, DETROIT 3 (SO)
WINNIPEG 5, NY Rangers 2
CAPITALS RALLY TO TIE IDLE STARS AT TOP OF LEAGUE STANDINGS
The Washington Capitals scored five unanswered goals to overcome a 3-0 deficit against the Tampa Bay Lightning and improve to 11-1-1 in their past 13 games, which includes four consecutive wins.
* At 23-6-2 (48 points), the Capitals continued their best start to a season (in terms of wins and points) in the franchise’s 41-year history. They also moved into a tie with the idle Dallas Stars (23-7-2, 48 points) for first place in the NHL standings. Washington holds a game in hand.
* Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the Capitals overcame a three-goal deficit and won in regulation for the first time since Oct. 16, 2008 at the Pittsburgh Penguins (4-3 W).
* The Capitals won their seventh in a row at home and are 13-3-1 (27 points) at Verizon Center. Their 13 home victories and 27 home points are tied for first in the NHL with the New York Rangers (13-4-1, 27 points) and the Chicago Blackhawks (13-4-1, 27 points).
* T.J. Oshie (2-2—4) matched a career high with four points last achieved on Jan. 3 at the San Jose Sharks (3-1—4 w/ the St. Louis Blues) and has two games with at least three points in his last three outings (4-3—7).
* Alex Ovechkin (2-2—4) also had four points, a season-high. He has 40-41—81 in 60 career regular-season games vs. Tampa Bay, including 11 power-play goals.
VATRANO (HAT TRICK) HELPS BRUINS INCH CLOSER TO DIVISION LEAD...
Rookie forward Frank Vatrano (3-0—3) had the first hat trick of his NHL career (17 GP) to help the Boston Bruins sweep their home-and-home series with the Pittsburgh Penguins and improve to 10-1-3 in their past 14 games.
* At 18-9-4 (40 points), the Bruins moved within three points of the idle Montreal Canadiens (20-10-3, 43 points), their opponent in the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, for first place in the Atlantic Division. Boston holds two games in hand.
* Per Elias, Vatrano is the first Bruins rookie to record a hat trick since Blake Wheeler
on Nov. 6, 2008, vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs
* Ryan Spooner (0-4—4) registered career highs for assists and points in one game and with 8-14—22 this season (31 GP) eclipsed his single-season career highs for assists and points from 2014-15 (8-10—18 in 29 GP). Spooner has recorded back-to-back multiple-point games and has three such performances in his last four outings (3-5—8).
* Tuukka Rask (30 saves) earned his fifth straight win and extended his point streak to 10 games. He is 8-0-2 after a 5-7-1 start to the season.
... WHILE SENATORS, PANTHERS KEEP PACE
The Ottawa Senators (17-11-5, 39 points) and Florida Panthers (17-12-4, 38 points) earned wins Friday night to remain one and two points back of the Bruins in the Atlantic Division standings, respectively:
* Down 1-0, the Senators scored four consecutive goals en route to their 4-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. It’s their fourth consecutive victory at Canadian Tire Centre. Bobby Ryan (1-1—2) has 3-9—12 in his past 11 games and Craig Anderson (31 saves) improved to 15-9-3 (2.81 GAA, .916 SV%, 2 SO).
* Roberto Luongo made 24 saves to backstop the Panthers to their fifth consecutive win vs. the Carolina Hurricanes, dating to the start of the 2014-15 season (CAR: 0-5-0). Luongo, who leads all active goaltenders with 70 career shutouts, moved within one of tying Harry Lumley and Lorne Chabot (71) for 11th on the NHL’s all-time list.
AROUND THE RINKS
* After the Vancouver Canucks saw their 2-0 and 3-2 leads erased, Linden Vey scored the decisive goal in the seventh round of the shootout to defeat the Detroit Red Wings and snap a three-game losing streak. Ryan Miller (25 saves) turned aside six of seven shooters in the shootout to pick up the victory. His 54 career shootout wins rank first in NHL history (54-31); he is three ahead of the next closest netminder (Henrik Lundqvist: 51).
* Blake Wheeler (0-4—4) assisted on four goals to lead the Winnipeg Jets to their fourth win in their past five games at MTS Centre. Wheeler matched his career-high for assists and points in a game last, achieved on March 16, 2014 vs. Dallas (0-4—4). Bryan Little (2-1—3) and Andrew Ladd (1-1—2) also posted multiple points. Connor Hellebuyck (26 saves) improved to 5-2-0 in seven career appearances (2.14 GAA, .925 SV%).
MILESTONES & BENCHMARKS
* Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom (0-1—1) had his 600th career point (155-445—600, 605 GP) and passed Michal Pivonka (181-418—599, 825 GP) for sole possession of fourth on the franchise’s all-time list. Backstrom, the fourth player taken in the 2006 NHL Draft, became the first player from his draft class to reach 600 points.
* Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg (1-0—1) scored his 302nd career goal (868 GP). Per Elias, he passed Ulf Dahlen (301) for sole possession of fifth place on the NHL’s all-time goals list among Swedish-born players.
* Penguins forward Conor Sheary (1-1—2), a native of Winchester, Mass., scored the first goal of his NHL career (2 GP) in the second half of Pittsburgh’s home-and-home series with Boston.
* Defenseman Trevor Daley (1-0—1) scored his first goal in a Penguins uniform (2 GP). Daley was acquired by Pittsburgh on Dec. 14 from Chicago in exchange for defenseman Rob Scuderi.
* Forward Chris Thorburn played in his 595th career game with the Jets/Atlanta Thrashers; he passed Ilya Kovalchuk (594 GP) for the most games played in franchise history.
* Capitals forward Jason Chimera (0-1—1) skated in the 900th game of his NHL career.
The Bruins improved to 5-0-1 in their last six games vs. Pittsburgh dating to Nov. 25, 2013 (PIT: 1-3-2). ... Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron (2-0—2) scored twice, including his first shorthanded goal of the season, to stretch his point streak to seven games (3-6—9). ... Penguins forward Sidney Crosby (0-2—2) has 11-29—40 in 29 career regular-season games vs. Boston. ... The Capitals swept their three-game season series against the Lightning and improved to 11-0-2 in their last 13 regular-season home games vs. Tampa Bay dating to Nov. 11, 2010 (TBL: 2-7-4). ... Capitals defenseman John Carlson (0-1—1) stretched his point streak to five games (2-4—6). ... Panthers forward Reilly Smith (1-0—1) has scored in a career-high four consecutive games (4-1—5). ... Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson (1-0—1) leads all blueliners and ranks fourth among all skaters with 8-28—36 (33 GP). ... Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (1-1—2) has back-to-back multiple-point games (2-3—5).