NHL COMMUNITY MOURNS THE LOSS OF RED WINGS OWNER MIKE ILITCH
Mike Ilitch, owner of the Detroit Red Wings since 1982, passed away Friday at age 87. Members of the hockey community shared their condolences, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman released the following statement:
"With the passing of Mike Ilitch, the Red Wings have lost the consummate owner, the National Hockey League has lost a cherished friend and passionate builder, Detroit sports has lost a legend and the city of Detroit has lost not only a devoted native son but a visionary and driving force in the rebirth of downtown.
"Mike's commitment to excellence and to winning were unparalleled and his commitment to the community was unrivaled, as was his boundless support of youth hockey. He was a prolific philanthropist, and, above all, a devoted partner and husband to his wife of 62 years, Marian. At this moment of heartbreaking sorrow, we send deepest condolences to the entire Ilitch family and to all who were privileged to know him, play for him or work for him."
Home Team in Caps
MINNESOTA 2, Tampa Bay 1 (SO)
Chicago 5, WINNIPEG 2
WILD, BLACKHAWKS CONTINUE BATTLE FOR TOP SPOT IN WEST
The top two teams in the Central Division and Western Conference - the Minnesota Wild (36-12-6, 78 points) and Chicago Blackhawks (34-17-5, 73 points) - earned wins on Friday. The Wild lead the Blackhawks by five points; Minnesota also holds two games in hand and leads the season series (MIN: 1-0-1; CHI: 1-1-0), which includes two more games: Feb. 21 at Minnesota and March 12 at Chicago.
* Devan Dubnyk made 26 saves through overtime and Mikko Koivu scored the game-deciding goal in the shootout to help the Wild improve to 13-3-2 in 2017. Dubnyk, who had 32 victories in 2015-16, earned his League-leading 30th win to become the second goaltender in franchise history with multiple 30-win seasons. The other: Niklas Backstrom, who had 33 wins in 2007-08 and set a franchise record with 37 victories in 2008-09.
* The line of Artemi Panarin (1-2-3), Patrick Kane (1-1-2) and Artem Anisimov (1-1-2) combined for seven points as the Blackhawks won their fourth consecutive game, all on the road. Panarin recorded at least three points in a game for the 14th time in his career. The Elias Sports Bureau notes that Kane (15) is the only NHL player with more such outings since the start of last season.
Video: CHI@WPG: Kane nets one-timer off Panarin's nice dish
The Wild have won 25 of their past 31 games dating to Dec. 4 (25-4-2). … Patrick Kane scored his 269th career goal (18th this season) to surpass Tony Amonte and move into sole possession of sixth place on the Blackhawks' all-time goals list. … Marian Hossa reached the 20-goal mark for the 15th time in 19 NHL seasons. … The Jets and Washington Capitals continued initiatives in support of Hockey Is For Everyone month.
SNEAK PEEK AT SATURDAY'S ACTION
All Times Eastern
NY Islanders @ Ottawa, 1 p.m., TSN5, RDS, MSG+
Vancouver @ Boston, 1 p.m., SN, NESN
San Jose @ Philadelphia, 1 p.m., NHLN, CSN-PH, CSN-CA
Carolina @ Dallas, 2 p.m., FS-SW, FS-CR
Florida @ Nashville, 2 p.m., FS-TN, FS-F
Detroit @ Columbus, 5 p.m., FS-O, FS-D
Tampa Bay @ Winnipeg, 7 p.m., SN, SUN
Buffalo @ Toronto, 7 p.m., CBC, MSG-B
St. Louis @ Montreal, 7 p.m., CITY, TVA Sports, NHLN, FS-MW
Colorado @ NY Rangers, 7 p.m., MSG, ALT2
Anaheim @ Washington, 7:30 p.m., CSN-DC, FS-W
Pittsburgh @ Arizona, 8 p.m., FS-A PLUS, ROOT
Chicago @ Edmonton, 10 p.m., CBC, SN, WGN
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH ON 13-GAME SATURDAY
A look at career milestones within reach on a 13-game Saturday:
* The Pittsburgh Penguins (34-13-6, 74 points) take their five-game point streak (4-0-1) into Gila River Arena to face the Arizona Coyotes (17-28-7, 41 points). Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby is two points shy of becoming the 86th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 career points (368-630-998 in 754 GP).
* The Nashville Predators (26-20-8, 60 points) welcome the Florida Panthers (23-20-10, 56 points) to Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, where the NHL Centennial Fan Arena is set up for the team's weekend doubleheader. Florida's Jaromir Jagr needs two points to become the second player in NHL history to reach the 1,900 points (758-1,140-1,898 in 1,682 GP).
* The New York Rangers (35-18-1, 71 points) will try for their fifth consecutive victory when they host the Colorado Avalanche (15-34-2, 32 points) at Madison Square Garden. New York's Henrik Lundqvist is one victory shy of becoming the 12th goaltender in NHL history with 400 career wins.
* The League-leading Washington Capitals (38-11-6, 82 points), who are 18-2-1 since New Year's Eve, will try for their 12th consecutive home win when they host the Anaheim Ducks (29-17-10, 68 points). Washington's Nicklas Backstrom , who shares is tied for third in the NHL in scoring with 16-41-57 this season, is one point shy of 700 in his NHL career (181-518-699 in 707 GP).
Video: WSH@MTL: Backstrom nets PPG through traffic
FOUR-GAME SLATE HIGHLIGHTS HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA SCHEDULE
Hockey Night in Canada will feature five games, beginning with a matinee between the Vancouver Canucks (24-24-6, 54 points) and Boston Bruins (27-23-6, 60 points). The game marks the return to Boston for Vancouver forward Loui Eriksson .
Coverage resumes with three games at 7 p.m. ET: The Tampa Bay Lightning (24-24-7, 55 points) and Winnipeg Jets (25-28-4, 54 points) meet in MTS Centre; the Buffalo Sabres (22-22-10, 54 points) and Toronto Maple Leafs (25-17-11, 61 points) clash at Air Canada Centre; and the St. Louis Blues (28-22-5, 61 points) visit the Montreal Canadiens (31-17-8, 70 points). At 10 p.m. ET, Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers (29-18-8, 66 points), who return from their bye week, host the Blackhawks (34-17-5, 73 points), who've won four in a row.