John Carlson made another case for being the top defenseman in the NHL by becoming the first at the position to reach 40 points (nine goals, 31 assists) in his team's first 29 games since Al MacInnis had 41 (11 goals, 30 assists) for the Calgary Flames in 1990-91. Carlson's sixth three-point game of the season (one goal, two assists) helped the Washington Capitals to a 5-2 win against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Tuesday.
Carlson and MacInnis are two of five NHL defensemen with 40 points in 29 or fewer games to begin a season (Bobby Orr, six times; Denis Potvin, twice; Paul Coffey, once). He's also the sixth player to 40 this season, one of two since the 1990s ended with that many through the first 433 games (Jaromir Jagr, Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, Peter Forsberg, Dany Heatley, Eric Staal and Joe Thornton did so in 2005-06).
Carlson is one three-point game from tying Orr's NHL record for most by a defenseman through 30 games in one season, set in 1971-72 and 1974-75. He's also the first at the position in the NHL with 30 assists after 29 games since Brian Leetch of the New York Rangers in 2000-01.
The Capitals (20-4-5) have won four in a row, are 13-2-2 since Oct. 25 and earned 20 wins in 29 or fewer games for the third time in their history (20-8-0 in 1991-92; 20-6-2 in 2015-16). They visit the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SN, FS-W, NBCSWA, NHL.TV).
Bruins win eighth straight, get to 20 victories
The Boston Bruins extended their winning streak to eight games with a 2-0 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden. Jaroslav Halak made 24 saves playing in his 500th NHL game for his second shutout of the season and 49th of his NHL career.
The Bruins (20-3-5) are 9-0-3 in their past 12 games and the only NHL team without a regulation home loss this season (12-0-4). Their eight-game run is their longest since winning 12 in a row from March 2-22, 2014. Their 16-game home point streak is the longest to begin a season since a 21-game run (19-0 with two ties) in 1973-74.
Boston can continue each streak when it hosts the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS, NESN, NBCSCH, NHL.TV).
Kahkonen sparks Wild to point in 10th consecutive game
Kaapo Kahkonen made 44 saves in his second NHL start and the Minnesota Wild (13-11-4) won their fourth straight game and stretched their point streak to 10 (7-0-3) with a 4-2 victory against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. It ties the second-longest run in Wild history; the Minnesota record for longest point streak is 13 games (12-0-1) from Dec. 2-27, 2016.
Kahkonen broke the Wild record for saves by a rookie goalie, set when Matt Hackett made 42 in a 4-2 win against the Kings on Dec. 8, 2011. Kahkonen is also the fifth goalie in Minnesota istory to win each of his first two NHL games (Josh Harding, Niklas Backstrom, Anton Khudobin and Hackett).
Chris Driedger went 89:26 without allowing a goal for the Panthers, the eighth-longest shutout streak from the first start of a goalie's NHL career and longest since Michael Leighton of the Blackhawks went 91:42 from Jan. 8-13, 2003.