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Facts and Figures: Sabres are No. 1 in NHL

Buffalo atop League standings after ninth straight win

by NHL.com @NHLdotcom

The Buffalo Sabres, who haven't made the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2011, woke up Sunday in first place in the NHL standings after defeating the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout at Little Caesars Arena for their ninth straight win.

At 16-6-2 after 24 games, the Sabres have 34 points, one more than the Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning (each 16-6-1). It's the first time the Sabres have been atop the NHL standings after October since 2006-07, when they finished 53-22-7 and won the Presidents' Trophy with 113 points.

Buffalo's nine-game winning streak is one shy of the longest in Sabres history, last achieved when they started the 2006-07 season by going 10-0-0. It's also one shy of the longest winning streak in the NHL last season; the Predators, Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets each won 10 in a row.

During their run, the Sabres have defeated five teams who reached the 2018 playoffs. They've won eight one-goal games, including three in overtime and three in shootouts.

Video: BUF@DET: Reinhart roofs backhander to seal SO win

 

Big night for goal-scorers

Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets scored five goals in an 8-4 road win against the St. Louis Blues, but he wasn't the only goal-scorer to have a big night as the NHL's list of players who've scored at least 10 goals this season reached 48.

Video: WPG@STL: Laine's five-goal game makes Jets history

Buffalo's Jeff Skinner scored the opening goal in the Sabres' shootout win at Detroit, giving him 18 goals in 24 games. The forward is the sixth different player in Sabres history to have at least 18 goals in Buffalo's first 24 games of a season. The others: Richard Martin (20 in 1972-73; 18 in 1971-72), Dave Andreychuk (19 in 1992-93), Pat LaFontaine (18 in 1992-93), Danny Gare (18 in 1975-76) and Thomas Vanek (18 in 2008-09).

Forward Alex Ovechkin scored his 17th of the season in the Washington Capitals' 5-3 win against the New York Rangers. Ovechkin has 17 goals and has scored at least once in four of his past five games. It was the 624th goal of his NHL career; he's one behind Joe Sakic and Jarome Iginla for 15th place on the NHL list.

Columbus forward Cam Atkinson had a goal in the Blue Jackets' 4-2 loss at the Pittsburgh Penguins, extending his goal streak to seven games and matching the Blue Jackets record set by Geoff Sanderson in 2002-03. When the Blue Jackets play in Detroit on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-D, FS-O, NHL.TV), Atkinson will try to become the first NHL player to score a goal in eight consecutive team games since Washington's Mike Green in 2008-09. Green's goal streak is the longest by a defenseman in NHL history. No forward has had a streak that long since 1998-99, when Teemu Selanne of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Miroslav Satan of the Sabres each scored in eight consecutive games.

Rookie forward Elias Pettersson scored his 13th of the season in the Vancouver Canucks' 4-2 win at the Los Angeles Kings. Pettersson is the eighth player since 1984-85 to score as many as 13 goals in his first 20 NHL games. He joined Ovechkin (15) and Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins (13) as the only active players to do so.

Video: VAN@LAK: Pettersson steals puck, scores go-ahead goal

 

Hats off to Johnsson, Guentzel

The NHL's hat trick count this season is up to 27 after Laine scored five goals and forwards Andreas Johnsson of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Jake Guentzel of the Penguins each had three goals in a game for the first time in the regular season.

Johnsson scored his three goals in a span of 7:35 of the first period to power the Maple Leafs to a 6-0 win against the Philadelphia Flyers at Scotiabank Arena. Johnsson became the eighth player in Maple Leafs history to have a hat trick in the first period and the first to do so since Wendel Clark on Oct. 11, 1986.

Video: PHI@TOR: Johnsson earns first hatty in the 1st period

Guentzel had two hat tricks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs before scoring three goals in Pittsburgh's win against Columbus. He is one of 33 players to have a playoff hat trick before getting one during the regular season. Flyers forward Claude Giroux last accomplished the feat on April 7, 2018, nearly six years after scoring three goals in a playoff game against Pittsburgh on April 13, 2012.

Video: CBJ@PIT: Guentzel powers Pens with first career hatty

 

Big line powers Avalanche

Linemates Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon each had a goal and an assist to help the Avalanche rally for a 3-2 road win against the Dallas Stars. Rantanen scored the game-winner with 1:56 remaining in the third period, 46 seconds after J.T. Compher's goal tied the game. Colorado has won four in a row and is 6-0-1 in its past seven games.

Rantanen (38 points; 10 goals, 28 assists) and MacKinnon (35 points; 15 goals, 20 assists) are first and second in the NHL scoring race. Each has four consecutive multipoint games and 12 this season. Gabriel Landeskog, the third member of the line, had an assist and has 26 points (14 goals, 12 assists). That line has 99 points (39 goals, 60 assists) and is averaging 4.3 points through Colorado's first 23 games.

Video: Avalanche rally in 3rd for 3-2 win against Stars

 

Fleury joins short list with shutout

Marc-Andre Fleury made 33 saves for his second straight shutout and fifth of the season to help the Vegas Golden Knights defeat the San Jose Sharks 6-0 at T-Mobile Arena.

Fleury leads the NHL with five shutouts and is one of 10 goalies in the NHL's expansion era (since 1967-68) to have five in his team's first 25 games of a season; he also did it with the Penguins in 2014-15. Ed Belfour is the only other goalie to do so multiple times in the expansion era; he had five in 1997-98 and six in 2000-01, each with Dallas.

Video: Fleury earns Saturday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

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