Home Team in Caps
Buffalo 4, WINNIPEG 2
WASHINGTON 7, Ottawa 1
CHICAGO 6, Colorado 3
New Jersey 2, MINNESOTA 1
Detroit 2, ANAHEIM 1
Florida 2, EDMONTON 1
OVECHKIN ECLIPSES 500-GOAL MILESTONE
Alex Ovechkin (2-0—2) scored his 500th and 501st career goals to lead the Washington Capitals to their fourth consecutive victory.
* Ovechkin became the 43rd player in NHL history and the first in Capitals history to reach the 500-goal milestone.
* Per Elias, Ovechkin (801 GP) became the fifth-fastest player in NHL history – in terms of games played – to score 500 goals. The fastest: Wayne Gretzky (575 GP), Mario Lemieux (605), Mike Bossy (647) and Brett Hull (693).
* Ovechkin has scored in three straight games (5-0—5), a stretch which includes consecutive two-goal games. He took sole possession of the NHL lead with 26 goals this season (41 GP).
* At 32-7-3 (67 points), the League-leading Capitals continued their best start to a season – in terms of wins and points – in their 41-year history. They are 20-2-2 in their past 24 games dating to Nov. 21.
* The Capitals have won 10 consecutive games at Verizon Center dating to Nov. 21, their longest home winning streak since a franchise-record 13 consecutive games from Jan. 5 – March 6, 2010.
PANTHERS PUSH FRANCHISE-RECORD WIN STREAK TO 12 GAMES
Al Montoya turned aside 24 of 25 shots to help the Florida Panthers extend their franchise-record win streak to 12 consecutive games, the longest such run in the NHL since March 2-22, 2014 (Boston Bruins: 12-0-0).
* Per Elias, the Panthers' 12-game winning streak is the longest in NHL history among teams who did not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the previous season. The Panthers eclipsed the previous records held by the 1926-27 Montreal Canadiens and 2009-10 Ottawa Senators, who each had 11-game win streaks following a season when they failed to reach the playoffs.
* At 26-12-4 (56 points), the Panthers maintained their five-point lead over the Detroit Red Wings (22-13-7, 51 points) for first place in the Atlantic Division.
* The Panthers established a franchise record with their sixth straight road win. Their 13 road victories and 28 road points rank tied for second in the NHL (13-6-2).
* Montoya picked up his fifth consecutive victory and improved to 7-1-1 (1.62 GAA, .940 SV%).
* Jaromir Jagr opened the scoring and has four goals in his past four games (4-1—5). The 43-year-old leads the Panthers in goals (15) and points (31) this season (39 GP).
* ICYMI: The NBA’s Miami Heat took to Twitter to congratulate the Panthers on their 12 consecutive wins, paying homage to an old team tradition:
AROUND THE RINKS
* Patrick Kane (2-0—2) and Marian Hossa (2-0—2) each scored twice to lead the Chicago Blackhawks past the Colorado Avalanche for their seventh consecutive victory. At 27-13-4 (58 points), the Blackhawks moved within four points of the idle Dallas Stars (29-11-4, 62 points) for first place in the Central Division. Kane has at least one point in 38 of 44 games this season (including 17 multi-point games) – and continues to pace the NHL with 25-37—62. Hossa posted his first multi-goal game of the season (39 GP).
* Tomas Tatar opened the scoring 16 seconds into the contest and Riley Sheahan scored the game-winning goal with 3:44 left in the final period to lead the Red Wings to their fourth straight victory, all of which have been earned on the road. Per Elias, Tatar was the first Red Wings player to open the scoring in 16 seconds or faster since Kirk Maltby (0:16) on Dec. 27, 2006 vs. the Minnesota Wild. Petr Mrazek (30 saves) has been in net for all four games during the current streak and is 15-8-3 (2.16 GAA, .930 SV%, 2 SO).
* Tied 1-1, Jon Merrill scored the go-ahead goal at 6:26 of the third period, his first goal of the season (33 GP), to help the New Jersey Devils end a three-game losing streak (0-3-0). Cory Schneider (17 saves) halted a three-game personal losing skid and is 18-13-5 (2.09 GAA, .926 SV%, 3 SO).
* Sam Reinhart (3-0—3) recorded the first hat trick of his NHL career (51 GP) to help the Sabres end a six-game losing streak (0-6-0). Per Elias, Reinhart was the first Sabres rookie to get a hat trick since Jason Pominville on Jan. 14, 2006 vs. the Los Angeles Kings (3-0—3). Elias adds that at 20 years, 65 days old, Reinhart became the fifth-youngest player in Sabres history to get a hat trick:
Youngest Players to Record a Hat Trick, Sabres History
Phil Housley (18 years, 320 days) on Jan. 23, 1983 vs. WPG (3-0—3)
Paul Cyr (19 years, 123 days) on March 3, 1983 at BOS (3-0—3)
John Tucker (19 years, 185 days) on April 1, 1984 vs. TOR (3-0—3)
Hannu Virta (19 years, 362 days) on March 19, 1983 at MTL (3-0—3)
Sam Reinhart (20 years, 65 days) on Jan. 10, 2016 at WPG (3-0—3)
MILESTONES & BENCHMARKS
* Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr scored the 737th goal of his NHL career and moved within four of tying Brett Hull (741) for third on the NHL's all-time list.
* Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith skated in the 800th game of his NHL career (all w/ CHI).
* Forward Zach Sill scored his first goal in a Capitals uniform (5 GP).
The Sabres earned their first road win vs. Winnipeg/Atlanta since Oct. 20, 2010 (4-1 W in Atlanta), ending a six-game skid as visitors (0-5-1). ... The Sabres earned their first victory in Winnipeg since Feb. 10, 1993, a 6-2 win against the original Jets. ... Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark matched a career high with 42 saves (Dec. 1, 2015 at DET). ... Jets forward Blake Wheeler (1-1—2) recorded his 10th multi-point game of 2015-16 and leads the club in assists (31) and points (42) this season (42 GP). ... Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom (0-3—3) stretched his point streak to six games (3-6—9) via his fourth three-point game of the season (39 GP). ... Capitals forward Jason Chimera (0-3—3) had his third three-point game of the season (42 GP). ... Capitals forward T.J. Oshie (1-1—2) picked up his seventh multi-point game of the season. ... Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer (32 saves) is 5-3-1 this season (2.23 GAA, .922 SV%). ... The Capitals are 14-2-2 in their past 18 home games vs. OTT dating to Nov. 6, 2006. ... Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews (1-2—3) had his second three-point game of the season (44 GP) and has 2-3—5 in his past two games. ... Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin (0-1—1) has 4-1—5 in his past three games and continues to pace all rookies with 15-24—39 this season (44 GP). ... Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (32 saves) picked up his fifth straight win and is 23-10-2 this season (2.21 GAA, .926 SV%, 6 SO). ... The Blackhawks earned their first home win vs. COL since Dec. 27, 2013 (7-2 W), ending a five-game skid at United Center (0-4-1). ... Avalanche forward Matt Duchene (2-1—3) had his fourth three-point game of the season (43 GP) and leads the club in goals (21). ... Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon (1-1—2) had his ninth multi-point game of the season (43 GP) and shares the team-lead in assists (22) and points (37). ... With a goal against his former club, Wild forward Zach Parise has scored at least one goal against all 30 NHL teams. He has scored five goals in his past four games (5-0—5). ... Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin (0-1—1) stretched his point streak to five games (1-4—5).