Ovechkin, Kuznetsov lift Capitals; Thornton has big night
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OVECHKIN, KUZNETSOV LIFT CAPITALS PAST COYOTES
Alex Ovechkin (1-1-2) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (1-1-2) each had a goal and an assist to help the Washington Capitals to their fourth consecutive victory overall and fifth straight win at Verizon Center.
* At 44-10-4 (92 points), the League-leading Capitals became the first team in NHL history to win 44 of its first 58 games in one season. Washington's 44 victories (through 58 GP) are one shy of equaling its total from 2014-15 (45-26-11).
* The Capitals are 17-1-1 in their past 19 home games dating to Nov. 21 and 23-4-2 (48 points) in 29 home games overall. They rank first in the NHL in home wins (23) and home points (48) this season.
* Ovechkin had his third consecutive multi-point game (4-2-6) and his 15th such performance of the season (58 GP). He has scored 18 times in his past 18 games (18-3-21) and continues to pace the NHL with 39 goals in 2015-16, four more than the next-closest player (Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane: 35).
* Kuznetsov had his 18th multi-point game of the season (58 GP) and extended his point streak to a career-high five games (3-5-8). He ranks fifth among NHL leaders with 18-44-62 in 2015-16, including 5-20-25 in his past 17 games.
* Braden Holtby (25 saves) picked up his third consecutive victory and is 38-6-3 overall (2.17 GAA, .924 SV%, 2 SO). Holtby leads the NHL with 38 wins this season, six more than the next-closest goaltender (Corey Crawford, Blackhawks: 32). Holtby also leads the League with 21 victories on home ice (21-2-1).
Video: ARI@WSH: Ovechkin scores to give Capitals the lead
JUMBO JOE'S BIG NIGHT HELPS SHARKS DEFEAT BLUES
Joe Thornton (2-2-4) factored on four of six goals to help the San Jose Sharks improve to 5-1-1 in their past seven games.
* At 32-21-5 (69 points), the Sharks increased their lead to nine points over the Arizona Coyotes (27-26-6, 60 points) - who lost in regulation Monday - for third place in the Pacific Division. They also climbed within a point of the idle Anaheim Ducks (31-19-8, 70 points) for second.
* The Sharks have nine wins in their past 12 road games dating to Dec. 22 (9-3-0) and are 21-9-2 (44 points) in 32 road games overall. They lead the Western Conference in road wins (21) and road points (44) this season.
* Thornton registered his first multi-goal and first four-point game of the season, one point shy of his career high most recently achieved on Oct. 27, 2010 against the New Jersey Devils (3-2-5). He has at least one point in eight of his past nine games (5-9-14) and leads the Sharks in assists (41 in 58 GP).
* Logan Couture (2-1-3) had his first multi-goal and second three-point game of the season (also Feb. 11 against the Calgary Flames: 1-3-4). Tomas Hertl (2-0-2) had his second multi-goal game of the season (also Jan. 9 against the Toronto Maple Leafs: 2-1-3).
* Martin Jones (25 saves) is 5-1-0 in his past six games and 29-16-3 overall (2.35 GAA, .916 SV%, 5 SO). Jones leads all goaltenders with 19 road wins this season (19-6-2) and ranks tied for third in the NHL with 29 victories overall.
Video: SJS@STL: Thornton beats Allen with a backhanded shot
PREDATORS EXTEND POINT STREAKS IN WIN AGAINST CANADIENS
Pekka Rinne (28 saves) denied all three shooters in the shootout and Craig Smith scored the decisive marker in the third round to help the Nashville Predators extend their overall point streak to six games (3-0-3) and their road point streak to eight (6-0-2).
* At 28-21-11 (67 points), the Predators leapfrogged the idle Colorado Avalanche (31-27-4, 66 points) for sole possession of the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.
* Rinne stretched his personal road point streak to six games (4-0-2) dating to Jan. 14 and is 22-18-9 overall (2.47 GAA, .906 SV%, 3 SO).
* The Predators are 6-0-3 in their past nine games vs. MTL dating to Nov. 14, 2009 (MTL: 3-4-2), including three straight wins.
Video: NSH@MTL: Smith wins it for Predators with SO goal
BLUE JACKETS EARN THIRD STRAIGHT ROAD WIN
Boone Jenner (2-0-2) and Scott Hartnell (1-1-2) had two points apiece and Brandon Saad scored the go-ahead goal with 5:31 left for the Columbus Blue Jackets, who are 5-1-2 in their past eight games, including wins in their past three road games.
* Jenner had his third multi-goal game of the season (60 GP) and reached the 20-goal mark for the first time in his NHL career (21-13-34).
* Hartnell had his seventh multi-point game of the season (58 GP) and leads the Blue Jackets with 19-20-39. Hartnell also moved within three goals of the 300-goal milestone (297-339-636).
* Saad scored his team-leading sixth game-winning goal of the season (59 GP), equaling his career high from 2014-15 w/ CHI (82 GP). He leads the Blue Jackets with 22 goals, one shy of his career high (23), also from last season.
* Joonas Korpisalo (26 saves) is 5-1-2 in his past eight games and 10-7-4 overall (2.69 GAA, .918 SV%).
Video: CBJ@BOS: Hartnell deflects PPG past Gustavsson
MILESTONES & BENCHMARKS
* Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored his 514th career goal to pass Jeremy Roenick (513) for sole possession of 37th place in NHL history. Ovechkin moved within one goal of Pierre Turgeon (515) for 36th.
* Blues captain David Backes scored the 200th goal of his NHL career (all w/ STL), becoming the seventh player in their history to reach the milestone.
* Forward Mike Richards scored his first goal in a Capitals uniform (15 GP), which stood as the game-winner.
Video: ARI@WSH: Richards scores first goal of the season
Boston Bruins forward Loui Eriksson (2-0-2) had his fourth multi-goal game of the season and has scored in six of his past seven games (7-1-8). ... Bruins forward Matt Beleskey (2-0-2) had his second multi-goal game of the season and the third of his NHL career (also Dec. 29, 2015 against the Ottawa Senators: 2-0-2 and April 9, 2010 at STL: 2-0-2 w/ ANA). ... Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko (1-2-3) had his third three-point game of the season and ranks sixth in the NHL with 29 goals (60 GP). ... The NHL and its corporate partners will celebrate the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game between the Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings at Coors Field with the NHL Stadium Series Spectator Plaza. ... The NHL and the NHLPA have retained Lagardère Sports for the World Cup of Hockey 2016 tournament. ... In support of the NHL's Hockey Is For Everyone initiative, the film Soul On Ice: Past, Present, and Future will make its national television debut on the NHL Network this Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. ET. ... The Sharks acquired defenseman Roman Polak and forward Nick Spaling from the Maple Leafs for forward Raffi Torres as well as second-round selections in the 2017 and 2018 NHL Drafts. ... The Calgary Flames traded forward Markus Granlund to the Vancouver Canucks for forward Hunter Shinkaruk. ... Forward Colton Sissons signed a three-year, $1.875 million contract with the Predators. ... Florida Panthers right wing Jaromir Jagr, Minnesota Wild center Erik Haula and Senators goaltender Craig Anderson were named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending Feb. 21. ... Sgt. Richard Donohue dropped the ceremonial puck at TD Garden as part of the Bruins' First Responder Night.