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Weekly Primer

Eichel point streak for Sabres highlights week ahead

Anniversary of first games played in NHL among can't-miss events

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / Staff Writer

Jack Eichel looks to extend the longest point streak this season and Thursday marks the 102nd anniversary of the first games played in the NHL. But there are more stories to watch this week. Here are the top five along with fantasy can't-miss players.


1. Eichel riding longest point streak of season for Sabres

Jack Eichel can extend his NHL career-high point streak to 17 games when the Buffalo Sabres visit the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN. TVAS, TSN4, NHL.TV).

The center has 29 points (15 goals, 14 assists) in 16 games and passed Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane (24 points; 11 goals, 13 assists in 15 games) for the longest point streak of the NHL season with one goal and one assist in a 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday. Two players have had longer point streaks in Sabres history: Gilbert Perreault (18 from Oct. 24 to Dec. 4, 1971) and Dave Andreychuk (17 from Dec. 31, 1991 to Feb. 4, 1992 and Oct. 8 to Nov. 14, 1992).


2. 102nd anniversary of first games in NHL

A 10-game schedule Thursday highlighted by the Islanders facing the Boston Bruins at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS, NESN, NHL.TV) will take place on the 102nd anniversary of the first games played in the NHL

The NHL started its first season when the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators 7-4 and the Montreal Wanderers earned a 10-9 win against the Toronto Arenas on Dec. 19, 1917.

The Islanders (22-7-2) and Bruins (21-7-6) are among the top teams in the NHL this season. New York had a season-long and team-record 17-game point streak (15-0-2) from Oct. 12 to Nov. 23 and is 6-2-0 in its past eight. The Bruins are 12-1-5 at TD Garden, the only regulation loss coming when they were defeated 4-1 by the Colorado Avalanche on Dec. 7.


3. Avalanche eye point in 10 straight

The Colorado Avalanche will try to extend their point streak to 10 games when they visit the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS, FS-MW, ALT, NHL.TV). 

The Avalanche (21-8-3) have climbed up the Western Conference standings thanks to an 8-0-1 run since a 4-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Nov. 27. They have outscored opponents 36-17 during the run and second in the conference behind the Blues (20-8-6).

Center Nathan MacKinnon reached 50 points (20 goals, 30 assists) in his 32nd game of the season, one game fewer than when he did in 2018-19. He is the second player in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history to need 33 or fewer games to get 50 points in consecutive seasons. Peter Stastny did it three times (31 games in 1981-82; 29 games in 1982-83; 31 games in 1983-84). MacKinnon has 32 points (12 goals, 20 assists) in his past 17 games, the most in the NHL since Nov. 7.

Video: Which team has more staying power Stars or Avalanche


4. Malkin resumes journey to 400 goals for Penguins

Evgeni Malkin will try to become the eighth active player in the NHL to score 400 goals when the Pittsburgh Penguins face the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SNW, ATTSN-PIT, NHL.TV)

The center, who has missed two games with an illness, is one goal from joining Alex Ovechkin (679), Patrick Marleau (557), Sidney Crosby (451), Ilya Kovalchuk (436), Eric Staal (428), Joe Thornton (413) and Steven Stamkos (406) as current NHL skaters to reach the milestone. Malkin would also become the fourth player to score 400 as a member of the Penguins (Mario Lemieux, 690; Crosby; Jaromir Jagr, 439).


5. Pavelski to play 1,000th NHL game

Joe Pavelski will likely play his 1,000th game in the NHL when the Dallas Stars take on the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET; FS-F, FS-SW, NHL.TV). The 35-year-old center has 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 34 games after signing a three-year contract with Dallas on July 1. He played his first 13 NHL seasons for the San Jose Sharks, where he was captain from 2015-19.

Video: WPG@DAL: Pavelski pots quick shot for overtime winner


Fantasy can't-miss picks

Anthony Duclair, OTT -- He has 10 points (eight goals, two assists) and 25 shots on goal in a six-game stretch from Dec. 3-14. Duclair, who joined's top 200 rankings this week, is first on the Ottawa Senators in goals (18) and points (25), and second in SOG (104) through 33 games. He gains fantasy appeal from having four games this week. - Pete Jensen

Ryan Getzlaf, ANA -- He has 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) and 24 shots on goal in his past 13 games. Getlzaf has additional value with four games this week against the Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils, Islanders and New York Rangers. -- Rob Reese

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