Elvis Merzlikins ran his winning streak to eight games, including five shutouts, by making 16 saves for the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 2-0 victory against the Detroit Red Wings at Nationwide Arena on Friday.
It's the longest winning streak by a rookie goalie in Blue Jackets history and longest by any rookie this season; Ilya Samsonov of the Washington Capitals won seven in a row from Dec. 27-Jan. 31. Merzlikins is one of nine rookie goalies who have won at least eight consecutive appearances; that list includes Jordan Binnington, who won nine in a row for the St. Louis Blues last season.
Merzlikins is the sixth goalie in NHL history to have five shutouts in a span of eight appearances since 1929-30, when forward passing was permitted inside all three zones. That feat was last achieved by Brian Boucher of the Phoenix Coyotes, who had five consecutive shutouts from Dec. 31, 2003-Jan. 9, 2004. The only other rookie to do so since 1929-30 was Frank Brimsek of the Boston Bruins in 1938-39.
The 25-year-old is the fifth rookie goalie since 1929-30 to have a shutout in consecutive appearances multiple times in the regular season, joining Brimsek (three times in 1938-39), Tony Esposito of the Chicago Black Hawks (three times in 1969-70), Terry Sawchuk of the Detroit Red Wings (twice in 1950-51) and Jacques Plante of the Montreal Canadiens (twice in 1953-54).
Columbus (30-16-9) is 9-0-1 in its past 10 games and moved back into third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Blue Jackets host the Colorado Avalanche at Nationwide Arena on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, ALT2, NHL.TV).
Matthews joins 40-goal club in Maple Leafs' win
Auston Matthews became the NHL's second 40-goal scorer this season when he scored for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 5-4 overtime victory against the Anaheim Ducks at Scotiabank Arena.
The fourth-year center matched his NHL career high, set as a rookie in 2016-17, and tied Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead. He also became the fifth player in Maple Leafs history with multiple 40-goal seasons, joining Darryl Sittler (four), Lanny McDonald (three), Rick Vaive (three) and Mats Sundin (two).
Matthews became the fourth Toronto player to reach the 40-goal mark in 55 games or fewer, joining Frank Mahovlich in 1960-61 (48 games), Vaive in 1983-84 (49 games) and Dave Andreychuk in 1993-94 (51 games). He's on pace to score 59 goals; the Maple Leafs record is 54, set by Vaive in 1981-82.
Toronto, in third place in the Atlantic Division, visits the Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, SN1, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS, NHL.TV).
Wild rally for win in Parise's 1,000th game
The Minnesota Wild made Zach Parise a winner in his 1,000th NHL game by rallying from two goals down to defeat the Dallas Stars 3-2 at American Airlines Center.
Forward Joel Eriksson Ek scored his second goal of the game with 26 seconds remining to give the Wild (26-22-6) their third consecutive victory. Minnesota moved within two points of the Calgary Flames (27-22-6) for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.
Parise, a forward and native of Minneapolis, became the second Minnesota-born player to reach the 1,000-game milestone with the Wild, joining Matt Cullen (Jan. 10, 2012), as well as the 12th player selected in the first round of the 2003 NHL Draft to do so. That eclipses the 1979 draft class (11) for the most first-round picks to skate in at least 1,000 regular-season games; 1979 was the first year when the minimum age of players subject to the NHL Draft was lowered from 20 to 18, resulting in three years' worth of players eligible to be selected.
Ovechkin set to continue push for 700th goal
The Capitals forward will try to become the eighth player in NHL history to score 700 goals in his career when Washington hosts the Philadelphia Flyers at Capital One Arena on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, NBCSWA, NBCSP, NHL.TV).
Ovechkin had his third hat trick in a six-game span on Tuesday, scoring his 696th, 697th and 698th goals during a 4:24 span of the third period to give the Capitals a 4-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings. He has scored multiple goals in five of the Capitals' past seven games and would get No. 700 if he becomes the fifth player in NHL history to do so six times in a span of eight games. Ovechkin would join a modern-era (since 1943-44) group that includes Washington's Dennis Maruk (1981-82), Jari Kurri of the Edmonton Oilers (1985-86), Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins (1988-89) and Alexander Mogilny of the Buffalo Sabres (1992-93).