A big reason why the Washington Capitals are in first place in the Metropolitan Division is their success against divisional opponents. Three players scored to help Washington (44-24-8) to a 3-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers at Capital One Arena on Sunday to sweep the season series (4-0-0) and remain atop the division, one point ahead of the New York Islanders (44-25-7).
The Capitals, who also swept their season series with the New York Rangers (4-0-0), are 17-6-2 against Metropolitan opponents, tied with the Islanders (17-8-1) for most wins against teams in the division. They swept the Flyers for the second time in their history (4-0-0 in 2006-07) and multiple season series against a divisional opponent in one season for the second time (6-0-0 against the Atlanta Thrashers and Florida Panthers in 2009-10).
Video: Capitals defeat Flyers, 3-1, extend Metropolitan lead
The reigning Stanley Cup champions are one win from their fifth consecutive season with at least 45. Four teams have had longer stretches: The Montreal Canadiens, (11, 1971-72 to 1981-82), Detroit Red Wings (nine from 1999-00 to 2008-09), Pittsburgh Penguins (six from 2006-07 to 2011-12) and Edmonton Oilers (six from 1981-82 to 1986-87). But there's more work to do for Washington to win the Metropolitan Division, where three teams (Capitals, Islanders, Penguins) are separated by three points.
Islanders keep pace by winning Trotz's 1,600th game
Robin Lehner made 31 saves for the Islanders in a 2-0 win against the Arizona Coyotes at Nassau Coliseum. Lehner's fifth shutout trails Jaroslav Halak (six in 2014-15) for most by a goalie in his first season with the Islanders.
Video: ARI@NYI: Lehner preserves lead with flurry of saves
New York has allowed 179 goals, fewest in the NHL, after giving up the most (293) last season. The Ottawa Senators are the only team to give up the least amount of goals in one season (53 in 1918-19) after allowing the most the previous season (114 in 1917-18).
Islanders coach Barry Trotz (806-593-141, 60 ties) joined Scotty Bowman (1,244-573-10, 314 ties), Joel Quenneville (890-532-137, 77 ties) and Al Arbour (782-577, 248 ties) as the fourth coach in NHL history to work 1,600 regular-season games.
Svechnikov sparkles for Hurricanes
Andrei Svechnikov scored with 1:45 remaining in overtime to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 2-1 win against the Canadiens at PNC Arena and help them maintain the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Carolina (42-26-7) leads Montreal (40-28-8) by three points, with a game in hand.
Svechnikov, the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, became the 12th 18-year-old skater in League history to score a regular-season overtime goal, and first for the Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers; he turns 19 on Tuesday.
Video: MTL@CAR: Svechnikov goes five-hole to win it in OT
Bobrovsky, Blue Jackets shut down Canucks
Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves for the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 5-0 win against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. The victory moved the Blue Jackets (41-30-4) two points behind the Canadiens for the second wild card from the East.
Bobrovsky got his seventh shutout of the season, matching his single-season NHL high set in 2016-17. Two Blue Jackets goalies had more: Steve Mason with 10 in 2008-09, and Pascal Leclaire with nine in 2007-08.
Video: CBJ@VAN: Bobrovsky robs Pearson from the doorstep