NHL Recap January 2 2020
THORNTON PASSES OATES FOR SEVENTH-MOST ASSISTS IN LEAGUE HISTORY
Sharks forward Joe Thornton provided the primary helper on the overtime winner by Brent Burns (1-1—2) to collect his 1,080th career regular-season assist and pass Adam Oates (1,079) for sole possession of seventh place on the NHL’s all-time list.
Thornton has registered 179 of his career regular-season assists on game-winning goals, the fourth-highest such total in League annals behind Wayne Gretzky (239), Ron Francis (196) and Jaromir Jagr (180).
Thornton, Sharks forward Patrick Marleau (0-1—1) and Bruins captain Zdeno Chara – the only active NHL players to contest a game in the 1990s – each suited up Thursday. They became the 12th, 13th and 14th players in League history to play at least one contest in four or more different decades.
The 40-year-old wasn’t the only Sharks player to ascend an all-time NHL list Thursday, with Burns scoring his 39th career game-winning goal in the regular season to pass Brian Leetch (38) and tie Scott Niedermayer for the eighth-most in League history among players listed as defensemen. Burns recorded his 15th career regular-season overtime goal to move two ahead of Niedermayer (13) for the most-ever by an NHL blueliner.
EICHEL SCORES PENALTY-SHOT GOAL IN OVERTIME
Buffalo erased a 2-0 deficit and Jack Eichel scored a penalty-shot goal at 1:09 of overtime as the Sabres rallied past the Oilers to snap a four-game slide (0-4-0). Eichel became the first player in franchise history to score a penalty-shot goal in overtime.
Eichel (26-28—54 in 41 GP) is on pace to score 51 goals this season, which would be 23 more than his 2018-19 total (28-54—82 in 77 GP). Only six different players in franchise history have concluded a regular season with a +15 improvement in goals immediately following a campaign where they scored 20 or more.
PASTRNAK OPENS SCORING WITH NHL-LEADING 30TH GOAL OF 2019-20
Bruins forward David Pastrnak opened the scoring with his League-leading 30th goal of the season (30-30—60 in 42 GP) before Columbus defeated Boston in overtime to extend its point streak to 12 games (8-0-4). Pastrnak became the first Bruins player to reach the 30-goal mark in 42 games or fewer since Cam Neely in 1993-94 (30-10—40 in 27 GP) and the second player in franchise history achieve the feat at age 23 or younger, joining Dit Clapper in 1929-30 (31-13—44 in 34 GP).
Pastrnak, who extended his point streak to nine games (4-10—14), has opened the scoring in an NHL-best 11 contests this season. That’s already tied for the franchise’s third-highest such total in an entire regular season, trailing only Phil Esposito in 1973-74 (15 in 78 GP) and Neely in 1989-90 (12 in 76 GP).
Pastrnak reached 60 points on the season, becoming the first Bruins skater to hit the mark in 42 games or fewer since 1993-94 when Neely (44-17—61 in 40 GP) and Adam Oates (17-44—61 in 41 GP) combined for the feat.
Tuukka Rask (31 saves) fell to 10-0-6 in 16 games at TD Garden this season (2.20 GAA, .926 SV%, 2 SO). Rask moved within one appearance of matching the franchise record for longest season-opening home point streak by a Bruins goaltender, a mark set by Gilles Gilbert in 1973-74 (16-0-1).
Rask became the sixth different goaltender in franchise history to record at least one point in 16 or more consecutive home appearances at any point within a regular season – a feat last accomplished by Pete Peeters in 1982-83.
OTHER SURGING PLAYERS, TEAMS CONTINUE TO ROLL
William Nylander (2-1—3) extended his career-high goal streak to five games (6-5—11) to help the Maple Leafs improve to 8-0-1 in their last nine contests – scoring at least four times in each outing. Toronto, the NHL’s highest-scoring team since Dec. 1, 2019 (59 GF), recorded at least four goals in nine or more consecutive games for the third time in franchise history following Oct. 12 – Nov. 1, 1980 (10 GP) and Feb. 11-27, 1993 (9 GP).
J.T. Miller (1-3—4) matched a season high with four points (also Oct. 9, 2019: 1-3—4 vs. LAK) to help the Canucks defeat the Blackhawks and improve to 6-0-0 in their last six games, the longest active win streak in the NHL and their longest since Dec. 28, 2016 – Jan. 6, 2017 (6-0-0). Vancouver (22-15-4, 48 points) occupies third place in the Pacific Division standings.
The Lightning defeated the Canadiens to extend their season-high win streak to five games, a run which includes two victories versus Montreal (also Dec. 28, 2019: 5-4 W). Tampa Bay (22-13-4, 48 points) occupies third place in the Atlantic Division standings, three points back of Toronto (23-14-5, 51 points) for second.
Cale Makar collected 1-1—2 to eclipse 30 career regular-season points (9-22—31 in 33 GP) and help the Avalanche defeat the defending Stanley Cup champions. Makar became the eighth defenseman in NHL history to record his first 30 career regular-season points in 33 games or fewer – and second to do so with a Colorado-based team.
All 12 Coyotes forwards in the lineup Thursday collected at least one point in their win over the Ducks. Arizona matched its single-game franchise record for most forwards with at least one point, a mark set as the Winnipeg Jets on March 25, 1987 (10-1 W vs. CGY).
Huberdeau, Jarry and Panarin Named NHL ‘Three Stars’ for December
Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau, Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry and New York Rangers right wing Artemi Panarin have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the month of December.
FIRST STAR – JONATHAN HUBERDEAU, LW, FLORIDA PANTHERS
Huberdeau tied for the most points in the NHL in December, posting 6-16—22 in 13 contests for an average of 1.69 points-per-game – tops in the League – as the Panthers (20-14-5, 45 points) had a 7-6-0 record for the month. There have been two instances of a Florida player with more points in a calendar month: Aleksander Barkov (7-17—24) and Huberdeau (9-14—23) in March 2019 (16 GP). Huberdeau had points in 10 of 13 games, including back-to-back four-point showings and three four-point outings overall. Huberdeau recorded his seventh career four-point game Dec. 29 to surpass Pavel Bure (6) for the most in franchise history – he also tallied his 50th point of the season that day. The 26-year-old native of Saint-Jerome, Que., moved into second place on the club’s all-time points list with 0-2—2 Dec. 8 vs. SJS. Huberdeau (141-271—412 in 506 GP) now needs seven points to tie Olli Jokinen (188-231—419 in 567 GP) for the most in franchise history. Huberdeau ranks eighth in the League with 16-37—53 (39 GP) and was named to his first NHL All-Star Game, which will be played Jan. 25 in St. Louis.
SECOND STAR – TRISTAN JARRY, G, PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Jarry led all goaltenders in wins (8; tied), shutouts (3) and goals-against average (1.54) across nine appearances in December – and ranked second in save percentage (.947) – to help the Penguins post the League’s best record of the month (10-2-0, 20 points) and improve to 24-11-4 overall (52 points), third in the Metropolitan Division. His 1.54 goals-against average in December was the second-best in a calendar month by a Penguins goaltender behind Marc-Andre Fleury (1.44) in March 2008 (min. 9 GS). Jarry allowed two or fewer goals in seven games, including back-to-back shutouts and three clean sheets overall. He established a franchise record with a shutout streak of 177:15 from Nov. 29 to Dec. 10, besting the previous mark of 173:06 set by Tomas Vokoun (March 22–April 2, 2013). The 24-year-old native of Surrey, B.C., also joined Vokoun and Fleury (2x) as the only Penguins to post consecutive shutouts and later followed Fleury as the second Pittsburgh netminder with three shutouts in a span of four appearances. In his third NHL season, Jarry owns a 13-5-0 record in 18 games and leads the League in shutouts (3; tied), goals-against average (1.88) and save percentage (.938).
THIRD STAR – ARTEMI PANARIN, RW, NEW YORK RANGERS
Panarin tied for the most points in the NHL in December and finished one back of the League lead in goals, posting 10-12—22 in 14 games to help the Rangers (19-16-4, 42 points) to a 6-7-1 record in the month. In his first season with New York, Panarin has had at least 20 points in each of the past two calendar months (7-16—23 in November) – a first by a Rangers player since Jaromir Jagr in November and December 2005. Panarin became the ninth different Rangers player to record three straight three-point games; John Ogrodnick (Feb. 21-26, 1990: 3 GP) was the last before him, while only Andy Bathgate (Nov. 8-19, 1961: 4 GP) and Frank Boucher (Dec. 8-17, 1929: 4 GP) had a longer such run. Panarin scored a goal in eight of 14 games – including his third NHL hat trick – as he and Mika Zibanejad (10-7—17 in 14 GP) became the second set of Rangers teammates in the last 40 years to each score 10 goals in the same calendar month (also Pat Verbeek and Mark Messier in December 1995).
Sabres’ Olofsson Named NHL ‘Rookie of the Month’ for December
Buffalo Sabres right wing Victor Olofsson, who led all rookies in goals (6), points (14), power-play goals (3), power-play points (5) and game-winning goals (2; tied) in 14 games, has been named the NHL’s “Rookie of the Month” for December.
Olofsson edged Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (1-9—10 in 14 GP), Columbus Blue Jackets center Alexandre Texier (3-6—9 in 14 GP), Chicago Blackhawks left wing Dominik Kubalik (5-3—8 in 15 GP), Minnesota Wild defenseman Carson Soucy (4-4—8 in 15 GP), Detroit Red Wings left wing Filip Zadina (3-5—8 in 12 GP) and Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov (4-0-0, 1.71 GAA, .927 SV%) for the honor.
Olofsson started December with three straight multi-point games (2-4—6 in 3 GP), marking the eighth time in franchise history that a rookie posted multiple points in three or more consecutive games. It was the first such instance by a Buffalo rookie since Tyler Ennis from Jan. 15-20, 2011 (2-4—6 in 3 GP); Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson (Dec. 6-11, 2018: 3-6—9 in 3 GP) was the last NHL rookie to accomplish the feat prior to Olofsson.
Olofsson, who led rookie forwards in average time on ice (20:31) in December, became the first Sabres rookie with 14 or more points in a calendar month since Tyler Myers had 3-11—14 in March 2010 (16 GP) en route to claiming the Calder Memorial Trophy.
Olofsson (1.00 P/GP) is one of three Sabres rookies in the past 27 years to average at least one point-per-game in a calendar month (min. 10 GP), joining Marcus Foligno (March 2012: 1.00) and Richard Smehlik (December 1992: 1.17).
The 24-year-old native of Ornskoldsvik, Sweden leads all rookies in goals (16) and points (34) across 41 contests overall in 2019-20. Buffalo’s ninth and final choice in the 2014 NHL Draft (181st overall), Olofsson also was the October winner of the “Rookie of the Month” Award, while Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar was the winner for November.