ANTICIPATION MOUNTS FOR STADIUM SERIES IN MINNESOTA
Anticipation is mounting in Minnesota ahead of the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at TCF Bank Stadium between the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks:
* Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk unveiled the mask he will wear during Sunday's outdoor game. The design tells the story of a hockey player, a father, a son and a newly minted Minnesotan. It features paintings of his two children wearing Viking helmets, "MOM" written in cursive alongside the breast cancer ribbon and a giraffe - a constant character on Dubnyk's mask for his childhood nickname - atop a forest green backdrop.
Click here to view more photos of the mask.
* ICYMI: Mark Dayton, Governor of Minnesota, proclaimed Feb. 20-21, 2016 "NHL Stadium Series Weekend" in the State of Minnesota.
Home Team in Caps
NY Islanders 1, NEW JERSEY 0
CAROLINA 5, San Jose 2
Buffalo 4, COLUMBUS 0
MONTREAL 3, Philadelphia 2 (SO)
CALGARY 5, Vancouver 2
Video: PHI@MTL: Byron goes top-shelf to beat Neuvrith
SKINNER'S TWO GOALS LEAD HURRICANES CLOSER TO WILD-CARD SPOT
Jeff Skinner (2-0-2) scored twice in the third period, including the game-winner at the 39-second mark, to help the Carolina Hurricanes defeat the San Jose Sharks. The Hurricanes are 11-4-3 in their past 18 games and 4-1-2 in their past seven.
* At 27-22-10 (64 points), the Hurricanes moved within two points of the idle Pittsburgh Penguins (29-19-8, 66 points) and Tampa Bay Lightning (31-22-4, 66 points), who hold the two wild cards into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
Video: SJS@CAR: Skinner shoots off rebound, scores
* The Hurricanes improved to 13-4-3 in their past 20 games at PNC Arena, dating to Nov. 22, after going 2-5-3 in their first 10 home games. Their 13 home wins in that span are one off the League lead, behind the Washington Capitals, Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks, each of whom has 14.
* Skinner registered his fourth multigoal game of the season; it was his first since doing it feat three times during a 10-day span in December (Dec. 5 vs. the Montreal Canadiens: 2-0-2, Dec. 11 at the Anaheim Ducks: 3-0-3 and Dec. 15 at the Philadelphia Flyers: 3-0-3).
* Skinner leads the Hurricanes with 21 goals (59 GP) and has reached the 20-goal mark for the fourth time in six seasons. That includes a career-high seven game-winning goals, one more than he had in 2013-14 (71 GP) and one behind League leaders Joe Pavelski and Jonathan Toews .
CANADIENS, FLAMES GAIN GROUND IN WILD CARD CHASES
The Montreal Canadiens and Calgary Flames both earned wins to improve their positions in their respective playoff races:
* Max Pacioretty tied the game at 8:35 of the third period and scored in the shootout to help the Canadiens end a three-game losing streak (0-3-0) and earn their fourth consecutive victory at Bell Centre. Mike Condon made 35 saves through overtime and stopped four of five shots in the tiebreaker to halt a personal five-game losing streak. At 28-27-4 (60 points), the Canadiens are one of seven clubs separated by six points in the chase for a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Video: PHI@MTL: Pacioretty ties it up with a power-play goal
* Trailing 2-1 after 20 minutes, the Flames scored four unanswered goals to snap a three-game losing streak (0-3-0) and improve to 3-1-0 against the Vancouver Canucks this season (Vancouver is 1-2-1). Prior to 2015-16, the Flames had three victories in their previous 14 regular-season meetings in this head-to-head series dating to Jan. 23, 2013 (CGY: 3-7-4, VAN: 11-3-0). Linemates Michael Frolik , Mikael Backlund and Joe Colborne each had 1-1-2 for the Flames (26-28-3, 55 points), who moved within nine points of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
STRONG BETWEEN THE PIPES
The New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres each had a shutout victory on the road:
* Jaroslav Halak made 27 saves and Casey Cizikas scored 1:59 into the game against the New Jersey Devils. The islanders are 5-1-1 in their past seven games overall and 13-3-1 in their past 17 games against the Devils dating to Jan. 31, 2013 (NJD: 4-7-6). Halak had his 39th career shutout and ninth since joining the Islanders (90 GP), including three this season (also Oct. 20 at the Columbus Blue Jackets and Oct. 26 vs. the Calgary Flames). At 31-19-7 (69 points), the Islanders moved within three points of the idle New York Rangers (33-19-6, 72 points) for second place in the Metropolitan Division.
Video: NYI@NJD: Halak keeps Devils scoreless in final minute
* Robin Lehner made 38 saves, 15 in the third period, to help the Sabres beat the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Sabres are 5-2-3 in their past 10 games, including 3-0-1 in their past four. Lehner earned his third career shutout and first since Jan. 14, 2014, when he played for the Ottawa Senators. He improved to 4-4-2 in 12 appearances this season (2.30 GAA, .932 SV%, 1 SO), his first with the Sabres. David Legwand flipped a shot from the defensive zone that skipped into the Blue Jackets' goal to put the Sabres ahead 2-0 late in the first period.
GOSTISBEHERE PUSHES POINT STREAK TO 14 GAMES
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere had an assist to extend his point streak to 14 games (4-13-17), adding to his NHL record for a rookie defenseman as well as his franchise record for any rookie.
* The Elias Sports Bureau says Gostisbehere became the first defenseman to have a 14-game point streak for any team since Brian Leetch had a 14-game streak with the Rangers from Oct. 30 - Dec. 1, 1996 (6-14-20).
* Gostisbehere also became the first Flyers player (forward or defenseman) to have points in at least 14 consecutive games since Eric Lindros had an 18-game streak from Jan. 7 - Feb. 18, 1999 (14-21-35).
* Gostisbehere leads first-year defensemen and is tied for fifth among all rookies with 11-22-33 this season (39 GP). Via Elias, his 14-game point streak is tied for the third-longest by any rookie since the start of the 1987-88 season:
Video: PHI@MTL: Gostisbehere finds Raffl with a pretty pass
Longest Rookie Point Streaks, Since 1987-88
20 - Paul Stastny (COL) from Feb. 3 - March 17, 2007 (11-18-29)
17 - Teemu Selanne (WPG) from March 9 - April 15, 1993 (20-14-34)
14 - Joe Nieuwendyk (CGY) from Dec. 20, 1987 - Jan. 21, 1988 (15-14-29)
14 - Joe Juneau (BOS) from Oct. 8 - Nov. 12, 1992 (7-15-22)
14 - Shayne Gostisbehere (PHI) from Jan. 19 - Feb. 16, 2016 (4-13-17)
Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward made 22 saves and is 6-0-4 in his last 10 games (1.90 GAA, .930 SV%), tying his career-high point streak established from March 14-April 7, 2009 (9-0-1). … Flames captain Mark Giordano scored his 14th goal of the season (57 GP) to equal the career high he set in 2013-14 (64 GP). … Sabres forward Sam Reinhart scored his 18th goal of the season to take sole possession of the team lead and move into third place among all rookies, behind Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin (22) and Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin (19) . … Sharks defenseman Brent Burns scored his 19th goal of the season, tops among defensemen. He is three goals shy of his career-high, established in 2013-14 (22 goals in 69 GP). … Flames defenseman TJ Brodie had three assists to match a career-high established at Montreal on Nov. 2, 2014 (also 0-3-3). … Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy had an assist to extend his point streak to five games (1-4-5). … The Department of Player Safety suspended Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov for three games for elbowing Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh on Thursday.