STARS, BLUES ECLIPSE 100 POINTS IN HUNT FOR CENTRAL DIVISION TITLE
The Dallas Stars (46-22-9, 101 points) and St. Louis Blues (46-22-9, 101 points) each surpassed 100 points on Tuesday as they continue their battle for first place in the Central Division. Though the teams share identical records, Dallas sits in the top spot because it has the ROW tiebreaker (DAL: 44, STL: 41).
* Jamie Benn (2-0-2) scored twice and Jason Spezza (1-0-1) scored the game-winning goal to power the Stars to a victory against the Nashville Predators. Dallas is 8-2-2 in its past 12 games and has its first 100-point season since 2006-07. Benn, who ranks second in the League in points (39-46-85 in 77 GP), also moved into a share of second place with 39 goals (tied w/ Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks). Spezza reached the 30-goal mark for the first time since 2011-12 (34 G, 80 GP w/ the Ottawa Senators) and the fifth time overall. Via the Elias Sports Bureau, the Stars have three 30-goal scorers in one season (also Tyler Seguin: 33) for the first time since 1992-93 (Russ Courtnall: 36, Ulf Dahlen: 35, Dave Gagner: 33 and Mike Modano: 33).
* The Colorado Avalanche scored at 18:12 of the first period to tie the game and halt the Blues' franchise-record shutout streak at 258:30, the third-longest such run in the NHL since 1987, according to Sportsnet, but Troy Brouwer and Vladimir Tarasenko scored in the second period to power St. Louis to its fifth straight win. The Blues, who won for the 11th time in their past 13 games, reached 100 points for the third consecutive season and fourth time in the past five. Brian Elliott (20 SV), who entered with shutouts in each of his past three games, extended his personal winning streak to nine decisions (1.22 GAA, .954 SV%, 3 SO).
Video: Great goaltending by Elliott leads Blues to 3-1 win
Home Team in Caps
Boston 2, NEW JERSEY 1
NY ISLANDERS 2, Carolina 1 (SO)
PITTSBURGH 5, Buffalo 4 (SO)
MONTREAL 4, Detroit 3
Toronto 5, FLORIDA 2
MINNESOTA 4, Chicago 1
ST. LOUIS 3, Colorado 1
DALLAS 5, Nashville 2
San Jose 4, VANCOUVER 1
WILD COMPLETE RARE SEASON SERIES SWEEP
Tied 1-1, the Minnesota Wild scored three unanswered goals in the third period to pick up their sixth consecutive victory and sweep their season series with the Chicago Blackhawks (MIN: 5-0-0, CHI: 0-4-1).
* At 38-28-11 (87 points), the Wild moved five points ahead of the Avalanche (39-34-4, 82 points), who lost in regulation, for the final wild card position into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.
* Via Elias, the Wild became the third team in NHL history to sweep a season series against the defending Stanley Cup champion (minimum: five GP). The others: the Boston Bruins in 1938-39 vs. Chicago (8-0-0) and the New Jersey Devils in 2009-10 vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins (6-0-0). Minnesota also became the first team to win every game in a season series against Chicago since the Bruins in 1938-39 (minimum: five GP).
* Erik Haula (1-1-2) extended his career-high point streak to nine games (4-6-10), and Nino Niederreiter (1-1-2) reached the 20-goal milestone for the second straight season.
Video: Wild complete season sweep of Blackhawks
PENGUINS STAY HOT WITH COMEBACK VICTORY
Down 3-0 to the Buffalo Sabres after 20 minutes, Pittsburgh scored four straight goals in the second period and Kris Letang (0-1-1) had the game-deciding goal in the shootout to lift the Penguins to their ninth victory in 10 games.
* At 43-25-8 (94 points), the Penguins moved within one point of the idle New York Rangers (43-24-9, 95 points) for second place in the Metropolitan Division. Pittsburgh won the head-to-head season series against New York with a 3-1-0 record (NYR: 1-2-1).
* Via Elias, the Penguins overcame a three-goal deficit to win for the first time since Nov. 27, 2013 vs. Toronto (trailed 4-1, won 6-5 SO).
* Letang played a career-high 35:14, the third-highest single-game total in the NHL this season (Erik Karlsson: 36:34 and Drew Doughty: 35:16). Letang, who has career highs in goals (15) and points (59) in a season, established a career high with his 44th assist.
* Tom Kuhnhackl and Nick Bonino scored shorthanded goals 24 seconds apart in the second period, the fastest such goals by any team since April 10, 2010, when the Boston Bruins had two in 15 seconds against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Video: BUF@PIT: Pens net two shorthanded goals in 24 seconds
HAT TRICKS GUIDE SHARKS, MAPLE LEAFS
The San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs were powered to victory by hat tricks:
* Logan Couture scored three straight goals for his first NHL hat trick (426 GP) and lead the Sharks to a victory in the first half of their home-and-home set against the Vancouver Canucks, their second such series of the season (also March 3-5). Couture, who had his third three-point game of 2015-16, has 13-19-32 in 47 games.
* Nazem Kadri (3-0-3) had his third career hat trick (the first two came in 2012-13) and Connor Brown (0-3-3) had career highs for assists and points to lead the Maple Leafs past the Florida Panthers. Kadri had his eighth career multiple-goal game and second in the past week (also March 24 vs. the Anaheim Ducks: 2-2-4).
Video: SJS@VAN: Couture's hat trick leads Sharks to 4-1 win
AROUND THE RINKS
* Thomas Greiss made 26 saves and stopped all three shootout attempts to reach 20 wins for the first time (20-11-4) in his NHL career and lift the New York Islanders to an 8-1-1 record in their past 10 games at Barclays Center. Anders Lee evened the score at 12:08 of the third period and Kyle Okposo had the lone goal in the shootout.
* Keith Kinkaid made a career-high 39 saves, including 16 in the third period, to help the New Jersey Devils defeat the Bruins. New Jersey is 6-3-1 in its past 10 games. Travis Zajac (1-1-2) and Reid Boucher (1-1-2) scored the goals for the Devils, who moved within five points of the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card spot in the East.
* Mike Condon made a career-high 39 saves, including 23 in the third period, to help the Montreal Canadiens defeat the Detroit Red Wings. The Canadiens yielded three straight goals in the second period to fall behind 3-2, but Sven Andrighetto (1-1-2) tied the game and Max Pacioretty (2-0-2) got the game-winning goal to spoil Detroit's opportunity to move into a playoff position.
MILESTONES & BENCHMARKS
* Sharks forward Joe Thornton was credited with his 957th career assist, moving him past Mark Recchi (956) into sole possession of 14th place in NHL history. Doug Gilmour (964) is 13th.
* Sabres forward Ryan O'Reilly (1-1-2) and Panthers forward Teddy Purcell (0-1-1) each had their 300th career point. Purcell also had his 200th career assist.
* Islanders center Frans Nielsen played in his 600th NHL game.
Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk (18 SV) extended his personal point streak to 7-0-1, including six straight wins. … Penguins center Sidney Crosby (0-1-1) has at least one point in 15 of his past 16 games (7-16-23). He also has points in 28 of 31 career games vs. Buffalo (14-35-49). …Boston forward Brad Marchand scored a second-period goal to set a career high for points in a season (35-21-56 in 72 GP), one more than he had in 2011-12 (28-27-55 in 76 GP). … Blues captain David Backes (1-0-1) reached the 20-goal mark for the third consecutive season and sixth time in his career . . . Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa scored his 33rd career shorthanded goal, tops among active skaters, to move within one of 500 career goals. … Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha (Longueuil, Quebec), whose grandfather Andre Pronovost won four Stanley Cup championships with the Canadiens, scored in his first visit to the Bell Centre. Each of his two career goals have come vs. Montreal. … Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr (0-1-1) has 4-7-11 in his past 11 games. … Stars forward Ales Hemsky (0-1-1) extended his point streak to five games (2-3-5).