BOSTON - Brad Marchand had his first career hat trick and a career-high five points to help Boston beat the Florida Panthers 8-0 on Friday night, giving the Bruins their sixth consecutive victory and their most lopsided of the season.
It was a matchup of division leaders and teams fighting for the lead in the Eastern Conference. And it was never close.
Marchand scored a short-handed goal to start things off, then added two more and a pair of assists to lead the defending Stanley Cup champions to their 20th win in 23 games. After his third goal, midway through the third period to make it 8-0, fans showered the ice with all kinds of headwear, including a fair number of Santa hats.
Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists, and Tuukka Rask made 30 saves for Boston. Milan Lucic, Benoit Pouliot, Dennis Seidenberg and Gregory Campbell also scored.
Jose Theodore allowed four goals on 14 shots in the first period and was replaced by Scott Clemmensen.
DEVILS 4, CAPITALS 3, SO
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) ??? Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias scored in the shootout and Martin Brodeur made an outstanding glove save on Alex Ovechkin as New Jersey, after blowing a three-goal lead in the third period, regrouped to beat Washington.
Kovalchuk had a goal and an assist in regulation and Alexander Urbom and Adam Henrique scored the other goals for the Devils, who won for the fifth time in six games.
Jason Chimera scored twice and Brooks Laich once for the Capitals.
RANGERS 4, FLYERS 2
NEW YORK (AP) ??? Henrik Lundqvist made 28 saves in his second win over Philadelphia this season and rookie defenceman Stu Bickel had two more assists as New York beat the Flyers to move into first place in the Atlantic Division.
Bickel, in his third NHL game, helped set up goals by Derek Stepan and Ruslan Fedotenko in the second period. He has four assists since being recalled from the AHL, hitting the score sheet in every game.
Marian Gaborik added his NHL-leading 21st goal early in the third period and Ryan Callahan also scored for the Rangers (21-8-4), who jumped over the Flyers (21-9-4) with their fourth straight win ??? including three in four days over division foes.
Andrej Meszaros and James van Riemsdyk scored in the third for Philadelphia, which played without injured centre Danny Briere.
HURRICANES 2, SENATORS 1, OT
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) ??? Tuomo Ruutu tipped in Jay Harrison's slap shot in overtime to lift Carolina over Ottawa.
Andreas Nodl also scored and Cam Ward made 22 saves for Carolina, which won its first overtime game of the season. The Hurricanes outshot the Senators 38-23.
Filip Kuba had the Ottawa goal and Craig Anderson stopped 36 shots.
MAPLE LEAFS 5, ISLANDERS 3
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) ??? Clarke MacArthur had a goal and an assist and James Reimer stopped 30 shots to lead Toronto past New York.
Nazem Kadri, Carl Gunnarsson, Joey Crabb and Joffrey Lupul also had goals for the Maple Leafs, who have won two straight.
Kyle Okposo, Franz Neilsen and John Tavares scored for the Islanders in their second straight loss. Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves.
STARS 6, PREDATORS 3
DALLAS (AP) ????????? Vernon Fiddler, Loui Eriksson and Steve Ott scored during a span of 3:05 in the first period and Dallas went on to beat Nashville.
Stars rookie Richard Bachman stopped 34 shots in his seventh consecutive start in place of Kari Lehtonen, who is out with a groin injury but is expected back within a week.
Mike Ribeiro and Jamie Benn also scored for the Stars, 5-2 in their last seven games. Michael Ryder had an empty-net goal and two assists.
Matt Halischuk, Martin Erat and David Legwand scored for the Predators.
PENGUINS 4, JETS 1
WINNIPEG (AP) ????????? James Neal got the go-ahead goal 22 seconds into the third period and Pittsburgh scored twice more in the next five minutes to beat Winnipeg.
Neal's team-leading 20th of the season was followed by goals from Jordan Staal and Pascal Dupuis. Joe Vitale also scored, Chris Kunitz had two assists and Marc-Andre Fleury made 18 saves for the Penguins, who won their third straight.
Alexander Burmistrov scored midway through the second and Ondrej Pavelec stopped 35 shots for the Jets. Winnipeg finished a 3-2-1 homestand.
AVALANCHE 2, LIGHTNING 1, OT
DENVER (AP) ????????? Matt Duchene scored late in overtime and Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 29 shots to lead Colorado over Tampa Bay.
Ryan O'Reilly also scored for the Avalanche, who have won a team-record eight straight home games.
Mathieu Garon had 27 saves and Pavel Kubina scored for Tampa Bay.
Duchene got the winner when he sent a shot past Garon from the left side with 1:22 left in the extra session for his team-leading 12th goal of the season.
BLUES 3, COYOTES 2
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) ????????? Alexander Steen scored his team-leading 12th goal and Brian Elliott made 24 saves to help the streaking St. Louis Blues beat Phoenix.
Matt D'Agostini and Jason Arnott also scored for the Blues, who have won six of eight. St. Louis has points in 18 of its last 21 games (14-3-4) since Ken Hitchcock took over as coach after David Payne was fired Nov. 8.
Shane Doan and Keith Yandle scored for the Coyotes, who had won two in a row.
Before the game, the Coyotes inducted former captain Keith Tkachuk into the team's Ring of Honor.
FLAMES 3, CANUCKS 1
VANCOUVER (AP) ??????????????????????????? Leland Irving made 29 saves for his first NHL victory in Calgary's win over Vancouver.
Curtis Glencross, Mikael Backlund and Olli Jokinen, with an empty-netter in the final minute, scored to help the Flames win their third straight.
Irving preserved the victory with a diving save against Daniel Sedin before Jokinen scored the insurance goal. Irving was making his second NHL start after an earlier call-up this month from Abbotsford of the AHL.
Dan Hamhuis scored for the Canucks, who lost for the fourth time in 16 games.
Both goalies kept it scoreless through the first 40 minutes.
SHARKS 2, KINGS 1, SO
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) ??????????????????????????? Ryane Clowe scored the lone shootout goal in the fourth round and Antti Niemi stopped Mike Richards to lead San Jose past Los Angeles for its fourth straight win.
Logan Couture scored in regulation for the Sharks, who matched their longest winning streak of the season following a stretch of five losses in six games. Niemi made 28 saves.
Richards scored the lone goal for the Kings, who had won their previous two games in a shootout. Los Angeles has scored fewer than three goals in regulation for 14 straight games ??????????????????????????? the longest such streak in franchise history.