Home Team in Caps
NY ISLANDERS 3, NY Rangers 1
WASHINGTON 4, Vancouver 1
Chicago 2, MONTREAL 1
Carolina 4, ST. LOUIS 1
WINNIPEG 5, Nashville 4 (OT)
COLORADO 3, New Jersey 0
Detroit 3, ARIZONA 2 (OT)
SAN JOSE 2, Edmonton 1 (SO)
CAPITALS EXTEND STREAKS, HONOR OVECHKIN AT VERIZON CENTER
Braden Holtby made 29 saves, including 14 in the second period, to lead the Washington Capitals past the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 for their fifth straight win and their 11th consecutive victory at Verizon Center, their longest such run since Jan. 5-March 6, 2010 (13-0-0, a franchise record).
* At 33-7-3 (69 points), the League-leading Capitals continued their best start to a season (in terms of wins and points) in the franchise's 41-year history. They are 21-2-2 in their past 25 games dating to Nov. 21.
* The Capitals became the second team to have an 11-game home winning streak this season, joining the Calgary Flames (Nov. 5 – Dec. 27, 2015: 11-0-0). At 17-3-1 (35 points), the Capitals rank second in the League in home wins (tied w/ the Dallas Stars) and home points, trailing only the Chicago Blackhawks (19-5-1, 39 points) in each category.
* Holtby extended his personal point streak to 22 consecutive decisions dating to Nov. 12 (20-0-2). Via the Elias Sports Bureau, the only goaltender to record a longer point streak since 2005-06 is Jose Theodore, who established a Capitals franchise record with a 23-game run from Jan. 13-April 9, 2010 (20-0-3).
* Holtby is 28-4-2 in 35 appearances this season (1.90 goals-against average, .933 save percentage, two shutouts). He leads the League in wins and also ranks in the top three in goals-against average (2nd) and save percentage (3rd).
* Holtby, who has spent his entire career with the Capitals, earned his 129th career victory to pass Don Beaupre (128) for sole possession of second place on the franchise wins list behind leader Olie Kolzig (301).
* ICYMI: The Capitals and Verizon Center fans honored Alex Ovechkin for becoming the fifth-fastest player in NHL history to score 500 goals (801 GP). The pregame ceremony included video messages from other members of the NHL's 500-goal club and the presentation of a gold stick.
BLACKHAWKS KEEP WINNING AS QUENNEVILLE CLIMBS ALL-TIME LIST
Corey Crawford made 39 saves, including 17 in the third period, to backstop the Blackhawks to a 2-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens, their ninth consecutive victory, and propel coach Joel Quenneville into sole possession of second place on the NHL's all-time wins list. The Blackhawks' nine-game winning streak is their longest since they won 11 in a row from Feb. 15-March 6, 2013.
* At 29-13-4 (62 points), the Blackhawks pulled even in points with the idle Stars (29-11-4) for first place in the Central Division and Western Conference. Dallas holds the tiebreaker by virtue of playing two fewer games, but Chicago has one more ROW (28-27).
* Quenneville picked up his 783rd career win to pass Al Arbour (782) for second place on the NHL's all-time wins list, behind only Scotty Bowman (1,244).
* Crawford extended his personal winning streak to seven games, his longest such run since a career-high eight-game stretch from Feb. 20-March 5, 2011. His 25 wins rank second in the NHL behind Braden Holtby (28).
* Crawford, a native of Montreal, is 4-0-2 in six career appearances against the Canadiens (1.32 GAA, .958 save percentage, one shutout). The Blackhawks have at least one point in eight consecutive games against Montreal dating to Oct. 30, 2009 (6-0-2), including four straight wins.
DOWN TO THE WIRE
Two of the eight games Thursday required overtime after teams mounted multigoal comebacks in the third period:
* The Detroit Red Wings scored twice in the final 8:10 of regulation before Danny DeKeyser scored at 2:08 of overtime to complete a 3-2 comeback win against the Arizona Coyotes and lift Detroit to its fifth win in six games. Via Elias, the Red Wings won a game in which they faced a multigoal deficit in the final 10:00 of regulation for the first time since Feb. 21, 2015 at Dallas (7-6 OT W).
* Petr Mrazek made 27 saves to extend his winning streak to five games, matching his career high established from Jan. 13-27, 2015. Pavel Datsyuk (1-2—3), Gustav Nyquist (1-1—2) and Mike Green (0-2—2) all had multiple points.
* The Nashville Predators scored three unanswered goals in the final 11 minutes of regulation, including the tying goal with 13.5 seconds left in the third period, before Blake Wheeler (1-1—2) scored 51 seconds into overtime to lift the Winnipeg Jets to a 5-4 win, their seventh in their past 10 games at MTS Centre. Via Elias, the Jets/Atlanta Thrashers won a game in which they surrendered a three-goal lead in the third period for the first time since Feb. 16, 2009, at the Los Angeles Kings (7-6 SO W).
* Wheeler scored his 25th career game-winning goal and third in overtime (Dec. 29, 2013 at the Colorado Avalanche and March 19, 2014 vs. Colorado). He leads the Jets and is tied for sixth in the NHL with 12-31—43 (44 GP). Dustin Byfuglien (2-0—2) had his first multigoal game since March 29, 2015 (vs. Chicago), and Andrew Ladd (0-3—3) and Bryan Little (1-1—2) also had multiple points.
DID YOU KNOW?
* Per Elias, teams have overcome a multigoal deficit to earn at least one point on 86 occasions this season, including 49 wins by teams that trailed by two or more goals during the contest. Of those clubs, 21 earned wins following multigoal third-period comebacks.
* James Neal (Nashville) scored the 18th game-tying goal in the final minute of regulation this season. The team that surrendered the late tying goal has won six of those games.
STORMING UP THE STANDINGS
The New York Islanders, Colorado Avalanche and Carolina Hurricanes all earned wins to improve their respective positions in the standings:
* The Islanders scored three unanswered goals in the third period, including the go-ahead power-play goal by Nick Leddy, to defeat the New York Rangers 3-1 and improve to 9-3-0 in their past 12 games at Barclays Center. With the win, the Islanders (24-15-5, 53 points) passed the Rangers (23-15-5, 51 points) for second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Rangers have played one fewer game and own the ROW tiebreaker (22-21), but the Islanders lead the season series 2-0-0 (NYR: 0-1-1). They meet twice more in 2015-16: March 6 and April 7, each at Madison Square Garden.
* Calvin Pickard made 27 saves and Matt Duchene scored 51 seconds after the opening faceoff to lead the Avalanche to a 3-0 win against the New Jersey Devils, their fourth in their past five games at Pepsi Center. Pickard, who had his first career shutout (22 GP), improved to 2-0-0 in two starts this season. At 22-20-3 (47 points), the Avalanche climbed past the Predators (19-17-8, 46 points), who lost in overtime, and into the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.
* Eddie Lack made 23 saves and Jeff Skinner (1-1—2) had two points to lead the Hurricanes to a 4-1 win against the St. Louis Blues. The Hurricanes have won four straight and are 5-1-2 in their past eight. Lack is 5-1-2 in his past eight games and 6-0-0 in six career appearances against the Blues (1.62 GAA, .938 save percentage, one shutout). The Hurricanes (20-18-7, 47 points) passed four teams and pulled even in points with the idle Boston Bruins (21-16-5, 47 points) for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference, though they trail the Bruins because Boston has three games in hand.
MILESTONES & BENCHMARKS
* Avalanche defenseman Chris Bigras (13:43 TOI), a second-round selection (No. 32) in the 2013 NHL Draft, made his NHL debut. Blues goaltenders Brian Elliott (300 GP) and Jordan Binnington (NHL debut), Jets forward Bryan Little (600) and Canadiens forward Lars Eller (400) also played in milestone games.
* Predators forward Kevin Fiala, the 11th player taken in the 2014 draft, scored his first career goal 59 seconds into his season debut. It was his second NHL game.
* Predators forward James Neal (1-1—2) scored his 200th career goal.
* Coyotes captain Shane Doan scored his 121st career power-play goal (all with the Coyotes/Jets franchise) to move within one of tying Dale Hawerchuk (122) for the most in franchise history.
Martin Jones made 24 saves through regulation and denied both attempts in the shootout to backstop the San Jose Sharks to their fourth straight victory, 2-1 against the Edmonton Oilers. The game also marked the return to San Jose for Oilers coach Todd McLellan, who compiled a 311-163-66 record in winning three division titles and one Presidents' Trophy during his tenure with the Sharks (2008-15). … The Avalanche improved to 9-0-1 in their past 10 games against the Devils dating to Jan. 16, 2010 (NJD: 1-6-3), including six straight wins. … Despite their overtime loss, the Coyotes extended their point streak to seven games (5-0-2). Goaltender Louis Domingue (22 saves) is 7-0-3 in 10 starts this season. … Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov (2-1—3) and Predators forward Ryan Johansen (1-2—3) each had three-point games. … Sharks center Joe Thornton had an assist on San Jose's lone goal in regulation. He has at least one point in 12 of his past 13 games (5-12—17). … Canucks forward Bo Horvat (0-1—1) extended his point streak to five games (4-3—7). … Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller made 36 saves in his first start since Dec. 20. … The NHL fined Devils forward Jordin Tootoo $2,000 as supplemental discipline under NHL Rule 64 (Diving/Embellishment). … ICYMI: Grammy-award winning artists Vince Gill and Jennifer Nettles, CMA- and ACM-winning artist Lee Brice, and music duo and real-life sisters Lennon & Maisy will lead the entertainment for the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game. … Predators defenseman and NHL All-Stars Shea Weber and Roman Josi went undercover to interview fans outside Bridgestone Arena.