Welcome to the “NHL Morning Skate,” a daily collection of the latest news and notes from around the League.
STADIUM SERIES CONTINUES STRONG VIEWERSHIP
Wednesday’s 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game between the Islanders and Rangers at Yankee Stadium produced a 3.58 household rating on NBCSN in New York, making it the highest-rated regular-season NHL game ever on NBCSN in the New York market.
Nationally, the game averaged 682,000 viewers and produced a 0.41 household rating. The telecast peaked from 9:00-9:30 p.m. ET, drawing 748,000 viewers and a 0.47 household rating.
The numbers follow strong viewership from the first two games of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series:
* Sunday’s game between the Devils and Rangers at Yankee Stadium averaged 2.091 million viewers and produced a 1.3 household rating, making it the most-watched and highest-rated regular-season NHL game on NBC (excluding Winter Classics).
* The game also drew a 5.1 rating in New York, the highest-ever rating in the New York market for a regular-season NHL game on NBC and tied for the best New York game ever (with Game 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final).
* NBC was the No. 1 network in the New York market within the 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. ET time period.
* Saturday’s game between the Kings and Ducks at Dodger Stadium drew a 2.38 rating in Los Angeles, the highest-ever rating in the Los Angeles market for a regular-season NHL game on NBCSN.
* NBCSN was the No. 1 cable network in the Los Angeles market and the No. 2 network overall within the 10:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. ET time period.
* The game also averaged 622,000 viewers and produced a 0.35 household rating, up 139% against the average viewership of the NHL’s 2013 10:00 p.m. ET telecasts.
Montreal 4, Boston 1
Toronto 6, Florida 3
Columbus 5, Washington 2
Ottawa 5, Tampa Bay 3
New Jersey 3, Dallas 2 (OT)
Colorado 5, Minnesota 4
Calgary 4, San Jose 1
Buffalo 3, Phoenix 2
Anaheim 5, Philadelphia 3
Pittsburgh 4, Los Angeles 1
VARLAMOV SIGNS AND DELIVERS
Fresh off signing a five-year contract extension (through the 2018-19 season), Semyon Varlamov made 31 saves to backstop the Avalanche to their 11th victory in their past 15 games, including a 7-2-0 mark in their last nine.
* Varlamov recorded his 27th win of the season, tying Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi for second in the NHL (two behind Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury) and surpassing his previous career high (2011-12: 26-24-3 in 53 GP).
* Varlamov improved to 14-1-5 in his past 22 appearances, including an 11-1-1 mark in his last 13 decisions.
* At 10-1-1 this month, Varlamov also set a franchise record for wins in January, surpassing the previous high of nine originally established by Clint Malarchuk in 1985-86 and matched by David Aebischer in 2005-06.
* Varlamov improved to 27-9-3 with a 2.47 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and one shutout in 43 total appearances this season. He ranks second in the NHL in saves (1,230) and shots against (1,331).
ELIAS REMAINS CLUTCH FOR DEVILS
Patrik Elias scored the game-winning, power-play goal 40 seconds into overtime to help the Devils snap a two-game skid. The goal was the 16th overtime-winner of Elias’ regular-season career, moving him into sole possession of second place all-time.Jaromir Jagr, who ranks first in NHL history with 18 regular-season overtime goals, earned the secondary assist on Elias’ winner.
MOST REGULAR-SEASON OVERTIME GOALS, NHL HISTORY
1. Jaromir Jagr*: 18
2. Patrik Elias*: 16
t-3. Sergei Fedorov, Mats Sundin: 15
t-5. Ilya Kovalchuk, Alex Ovechkin*: 14
MOST REGULAR-SEASON OVERTIME GOALS FOR ONE TEAM, NHL HISTORY*
1. Patrik Elias (NJ): 16
t-2. Alex Ovechkin (WSH), Mats Sundin (TOR): 14
4. Sergei Fedorov (DET): 12
* Elias Sports Bureau
20 AND COUNTING
Twenty-eight players have scored 20 or more goals this season, including four who reached the milestone Thursday:
* Ryan Johansen (2-0—2) hit the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his three-year career, helping the Blue Jackets snap a three-game skid and jump to third place in the Metropolitan Division (27-23-4, 58 points).
* Coyotes forward Antoine Vermette reached the 20-goal milestone for the fourth time in his 10-season career, extending his point streak to a career-long six games (7-2—9).
* Bobby Ryan (1-1—2) hit the 20-goal mark for the fifth time in his seven NHL campaigns to lead the Senators to their second straight victory.
* Ryan O’Reilly reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his five-season career (51 GP). His previous career high in goals was 18, set in 81 games during the 2011-12 season.
DUCKS RETURN TO FORM AT HOME
Ryan Getzlaf and Saku Koivu each posted 1-1—2 to power the Ducks to their 22nd victory at Honda Center, tying the Penguins for the most home wins this season. At 22-2-2 (46 points), the Ducks have the most points of any NHL club through 26 home games since the 2011-12 Red Wings (23-2-1, 47 points).
* Getzlaf set a career high with his 26th goal of the season (52 GP), besting his previous mark of 25 established in 2006-07 (82 GP) and matched in 2008-09 (81 GP). He has recorded at least one point in 11 of his last 12 games (6-10—16) and owns a plus or even rating in all 12 contests (+9).
* Koivu became the fifth Finnish-born player, and 173rd skater overall, to appear in 1,100 NHL games. He has 253-571—824 in his career.
* Corey Perry scored his 29th goal of the season, reclaiming sole possession of second place in the League (one ahead of Joe Pavelski and Patrick Sharp). He has 7-9—16 in his last 13 games and owns a plus or even rating in all 13 contests (+10).
* Frederik Andersen made 27 saves to improve to 14-2-0 this season, including five straight wins (2.00 GAA, .935 SV% in that span).
GIORDANO, FLAMES STAY HOT
Mark Giordano scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in leading the Flames to their fourth consecutive victory, their longest such streak since winning five in a row March 6-15, 2012.
* Giordano recorded his first game-winning goal since April 12, 2013, and the sixth of his NHL career. He has 4-4—8 during an eight-game point streak, a career long.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Giordano’s eight-game run matches the longest point streak by a Flames defenseman over the last 20 years: Al MacInnis had an eight-game point streak for the team in 1993-94, while Phil Housley had two such stretches – one in 1994-95 and another in 1995-96.
* Sean Monahan scored his team-leading 15th goal of the season, tying Sharks forwardTomas Hertl for third among rookies. Monahan also is tied for 11th among first-year players with 22 points in 47 games.
Down 2-0 late in the first period, the Maple Leafs scored six of the game’s final seven goals to pick up their fifth consecutive victory at Air Canada Centre, their second such winning streak this season (also Oct. 22-Nov. 19).
* Nazem Kadri recorded 0-3—3 to eclipse 100 career points (40-61—101 in 151 GP). He has 3-9—12 in his past eight games, including 2-5—7 during a four-game point streak.
* James van Riemsdyk (1-1—2) scored his 22nd goal of the season (54 GP), surpassing his previous career high of 21 in 2010-11 (75 GP).
* Phil Kessel collected two assists to finish January with 7-13—20 in 15 games, a career high for points in a single month. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other Maple Leafs player to record 20 or more points in a single month since 1995 is Mats Sundin, who posted 10-10—20 in 10 games in April 2006.
NEWEST EPISODE OF “NHL LIFE” FEATURES WEEKES
The latest episode of the “NHL Life” series features Kevin Weekes, taking viewers behind the camera of NHL Network and Hockey Night in Canada’s notoriously well-dressed on-air personality. Click here  to watch.
Peter Budaj made a season-high 34 saves to lead the Canadiens to their fifth consecutive victory over the Bruins, their second such streak in the past five seasons (also March 2, 2010-Jan. 8, 2011) . . . Penguins forward Chris Kunitz scored his 27th goal of the season, the game-winner, to establish a career high (54 GP). His previous best of 26 came in 82 games during the 2011-12 season . . . Zemgus Girgensons (1-1—2) tallied the game-winning, shorthanded goal to help the Sabres pick up points for the third time in their last four games (2-1-1) . . . Wild forward Zach Parise (2-2—4) recorded his eighth career four-point game . . . Senators defenseman Erik Karlssonscored his 13th goal of the season, tying Zdeno Chara and Shea Weber for the most among NHL blueliners . . . Stars captain Jamie Benn (4-5—9), Lightning forwardOndrej Palat (2-7—9) and Panthers forward Sean Bergenheim (3-2—5) extended their point streaks to five games . . . Lightning captain Martin St. Louis recorded his 600th NHL assist . . . Sharks forward Eriah Hayes scored his first career goal . . . Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau played in his 100th NHL game.
SNEAK PEEK AT FRIDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
NY Islanders @ NY Rangers, 7:00 p.m., NHLN-US, MSG PLUS 2, MSG
St. Louis @ Carolina, 7:00 p.m., FS-MW, FS-CR
Washington @ Detroit, 7:30 p.m., RDS2, CSN-DC, FS-D
New Jersey @ Nashville, 8:00 p.m., MSG PLUS, FS-TN
Vancouver @ Winnipeg, 8:30 p.m., TSN
LONG TIME COMING
The Canucks make their first regular-season visit to Winnipeg since Feb. 21, 1996, a 5-3 victory highlighted by three-point performances from Alexander Mogilny (2-1—3) andTrevor Linden (1-2—3). Vancouver has lost three of its past four contests, but is 8-2-2 in its last 12 road games versus the Jets/Thrashers franchise dating to Nov. 22, 1999. Winnipeg, meanwhile, has won six of its first eight games under head coach Paul Maurice and six of its last nine at MTS Centre dating to Dec. 20.
Source: NHL MediaNHL Diary: Jan 31, 2014 - Stadium Series Continues Strong Viewership by Sports Talk Florida