CAPITALS DEFEAT FLYERS FOR LEAGUE-LEADING 40TH WIN
Evgeny Kuznetsov (2-0-2), Nicklas Backstrom (1-1-2) and T.J. Oshie (1-1-2) each scored when the NHL-leading Washington Capitals became the first team to reach the 40-win mark in 2016-17.
* Elias notes that the Capitals (40-12-7, 87 points), who played their 59th game Wednesday, reached 40 wins in fewer than 60 games for the third time in their history. The other such instances came in 2009-10 (58 GP) and 2015-16 (53 GP), when the Capitals became the fastest team -- in terms of games played -- in NHL history to reach the 40-win milestone.
* Braden Holtby (30-8-5) earned his 30th win of the season and improved to 15-0-2 in his past 17 decisions. Elias notes that Holtby's current run of consecutive decisions with a point is the third-longest such stretch by a goaltender in Capitals history, behind a 23-decision run by Jose Theodore in 2009-10 (20-0-3) and his own 22-decision stretch 2015-16 (20-0-2).
* Holtby leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.99) and shutouts (7; tied) and ranks second in save percentage (.927) among goaltenders with at least 25 games played, behind Devan Dubnyk (.933) of the Minnesota Wild.
Video: Kuznetsov, Backstrom propel Caps past Flyers, 4-1
Home Team in Caps
Edmonton 4, FLORIDA 3
Washington 4, PHILADELPHIA 1
ANAHEIM 5, Boston 3
OILERS AND DUCKS KEEP PACE IN PACIFIC
The Edmonton Oilers (33-20-8, 74 points) and Anaheim Ducks (32-20-10, 74 points) each earned victories to remain tied -- in terms of points -- for second place in the Pacific Division and gain ground on the division-leading San Jose Sharks (35-18-7, 77 points). Edmonton has one game in hand on Anaheim.
* The Florida Panthers tied the game three times in the second period, but Kris Russell (GWG) scored his first goal in an Oilers uniform midway through the third to help Edmonton halt Florida's winning streak at five games. Cam Talbot (31 saves) improved to 31-16-7 to move within one win of tying Dubnyk for the League lead. Elias notes that four other goaltenders in Oilers history have had at least 31 wins in a season.
* Anaheim overcame two one-goal deficits before Rickard Rakell (2-0-2) scored a tiebreaking goal with 2:34 remaining in the third period to help the Ducks halt the Boston Bruins' winning streak at four games. Rakell leads Anaheim with 24 goals (51 GP), five shy of matching his total from his first 165 NHL games before 2016-17.
Video: Russell's 3rd period strike hands Oilers 4-3 win
PENGUINS VISIT HEINZ FIELD AHEAD OF NHL STADIUM SERIES
Pittsburgh Penguins forwards Conor Sheary and Bryan Rust joined Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Arthur Moats rinkside at Heinz Field as excitement builds for the 2017 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, which will see the Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers play outdoors Saturday (8 p.m. ET, NBC, SN, TVA Sports 2, NHL.TV).
Capitals forward Justin Williams passed the 400-assist milestone . . . Ducks forward Nicolas Kerdiles, who was born in Lewisville, Texas, skated in his first NHL game . . . Capitals forward Lars Eller skated in his 500th NHL game . . . Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle (0-2-2) earned his 400th NHL point . . . The Vegas Golden Knights announced they will participate in the NHL's Hockey Is For Everyone initiative, while the Montreal Canadiens invited 270 children to a skating party as part of the month-long celebration . . . Hockey pioneer Willie O'Ree dropped the ceremonial puck as part of the Ducks' Hockey Is For Everyone night.
SNEAK PEEK AT THURSDAY'S ACTION
All Times Eastern
NY Islanders @ Montreal, 7:30 p.m., SNE, RDS, MSG+
NY Rangers @ Toronto, 7:30 p.m., TVA Sports, SNO, MSG
Calgary @ Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m., SUN, SNW
Colorado @ Nashville, 8 p.m., SN360, SNP, FS-TN, ALT2
Arizona @ Chicago, 8:30 p.m., NBCSN, CSN-CH
Boston @ Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m., SN, FS-W, NESN
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