Joe Thornton took the ice having reached one NHL milestone Thursday and left it with another.
The San Jose Sharks center, along with Sharks forward Patrick Marleau and Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, already had become the 12th, 13th and 14th players in League history to play at least one game in four decades. Thornton then upped the ante with an assist in the Sharks' 3-2 overtime win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena, which gave him 1,080 in his NHL career and moved him past Adam Oates for seventh place on the NHL all-time list.
The 40-year-old assisted on defenseman Brent Burns' overtime goal, giving him 179 assists on game-winners, the fourth-most in NHL history, behind Wayne Gretzky (239), Ron Francis (196) and Jaromir Jagr (180).
Burns climbed an NHL list as well. It was his 39th game-winning regular-season goal to tie Scott Niedermayer for eighth place in League history among players listed as defensemen. Burns' 15 regular-season overtime goals are the most in NHL history by a defenseman; Niedermayer is second with 13.
Eichel makes history for Sabres
Jack Eichel became the first Buffalo Sabres player to score on a penalty shot in overtime when the center accomplished the feat 1:09 into 3-on-3 play in the Sabres' 3-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers at KeyBank Center.
The Buffalo captain, who has 54 points (26 goals, 28 assists) in 41 games this season, is on pace to score 51 goals, which would be 23 more than the 28 he scored last season. He is on track to become the seventh Sabres player to complete a regular season with at least a 15-goal improvement following a season scoring at least 20 goals. Alexander Mogilny had the biggest such increase; he had an NHL career-high 76 goals in 1992-93 after scoring 39 the season before, a difference of 37 goals.
Pastrnak, Rask each make mark for Bruins
David Pastrnak scored his NHL-leading 30th goal of the season in the Boston Bruins' 2-1 overtime loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets at TD Garden, which not only extended the Bruins' point streak to 12 games (8-0-4) but made the forward the first Boston player to reach the 30-goal mark in 42 games or fewer since Cam Neely in 1993-94 (30 in 27 games) and the second in Bruins history to do it at age 23 or younger, joining Dit Clapper in 1929-30 (31 goals in 34 games).
With 60 points this season (30 assists), Pastrnak become the first Boston player to reach that mark in 42 games or fewer since 1993-94, when Neely (44 goals, 17 assists) and Oates (17 goals, 44 assists) each had 61 points; Neely got there in 40 games, Oates in 41.
The overtime loss gave goalie Tuukka Rask a 10-0-6 record in 16 games at TD Garden this season, moving him within one game of equaling the Bruins record for longest season-opening home point streak by a goalie, held by Gilles Gilbert in 1973-74 (16-0 with one tie).
Rask became the sixth Bruins goalie with at least one point in at least 16 consecutive home games at any point within a regular season, a feat last accomplished by Pete Peeters, who had a 19-game point streak (16 games, three times) in 1982-83. Tiny Thompson holds the Bruins record with a 20-game home point streak (20-0) in 1929-30.
Makar piling up points for Avalanche
Rookie defenseman Cale Makar had a goal and an assist not only to help the Colorado Avalanche to a 7-3 win against the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues at Pepsi Center, but also become the eighth defenseman in NHL history with his first 30 regular-season points in 33 games or fewer. Makar, who has 31 points (nine goals, 22 assists) in 33 games, is the first to accomplish the feat since Nicklas Lidstrom, who had 30 points (six goals, 24 assists) in 33 games with the Detroit Red Wings in 1991-92. The NHL record is held by Harry Cameron, who 31 points (21 goals, 10 assists) in 24 games spanning the 1917-18 and 1918-19 seasons for the Toronto Arenas.
Nylander, Maple Leafs keep lighting lamp
Forward William Nylander had two goals and an assist and extended his goal streak to an NHL-career best five games for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 6-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place. The victory extended the Maple Leafs' point streak to nine games (8-0-1), with Toronto scoring at least four goals in each game.
The Maple Leafs, the highest-scoring team in the NHL since Dec. 1 (59 goals) have scored at least four goals in at least nine straight games for the third time in their history; they also did it from Oct. 12-Nov. 1, 1980 (10 games) and from Feb. 11-27, 1993 (nine games).