NHL Diary: Mar 12 - Playoffs Race Tightens Up
NHL MORNING SKATE ? MAR. 12, 2014
Welcome to the ?NHL Morning Skate,? a daily collection of the latest news and notes from around the League.
TODAY: THE GREAT ONE ANSWERS FAN QUESTIONS WITH A PERSONAL VIDEO
Wayne Gretzky is responding to a few lucky fans today with a personal Vine video. Fans were asked to tweet a question to The Great One (@OfficialGretzky) using #GretzkyCamp. Gretzky?s video responses will be posted on the @NHL twitter feed which can be viewed here.
Nashville 4, BUFFALO 1
New Jersey 2, PHILADELPHIA 1
CAROLINA 3, NY Rangers 1
COLUMBUS 4, Detroit 1
Phoenix 3, FLORIDA 1
PITTSBURGH 2, Washington 0
Dallas 3, ST. LOUIS 2 (OT)
Edmonton 4, MINNESOTA 3 (SO)
SAN JOSE 6, Toronto 2
CAPTAIN LEADS STARS IN EMOTIONAL WIN
One night after their game against Columbus was postponed following a medical emergency involving forward Rich Peverley, Dallas captain Jamie Benn scored at 3:42 of overtime to give the Stars a 3-2 win against the League?s top team. Benn also assisted on the team?s second goal, giving him 3-5--8 in his last five completed games while Tyler Seguin has 4-5--9 in his past three.
METROPOLITAN PLAYOFF RACE HEATS UP
The Blue Jackets scored three times in a span of 5:40 in the third period, triggered by Boone Jenner?s game-winning goal at 10:08, in a 4-1 win over Detroit. Columbus? victory combined with Philadelphia?s loss moved the Blue Jackets into third place in the Metropolitan Division.
Just four points separate the five clubs holding second through sixth place in the Metropolitan Division:
* Wild forward Matt Cooke played in his 1,000th NHL game, becoming the third player to reach the milestone this season after Robyn Regehr and Martin St. Louis. Cooke's teammate Zach Parise played in his 600th NHL contest, tallying two points to give him 4-3--7 in his past seven games.
* Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester played in his 700th consecutive regular-season game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, his streak is the longest active stretch of consecutive games played among athletes in the four major North American sports leagues (NHL, MLB, NBA, and NFL).
* Drew Stafford netted his 12th goal of the season in his 500th NHL game. Buffalo?s first-round pick (13th overall) in 2004, Stafford has played his entire career with the Sabres and became the 30th player in franchise history to play at least 500 games in a Buffalo uniform.
* Stafford?s teammate Matt Ellis and Carolina defenseman Jay Harrison played in their 300th NHL games.
* Oscar Klefbom, Edmonton?s first-round pick (19th overall) in 2011, recorded his first career assist in his NHL debut.
* Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko recorded an assist in his 100th NHL game.
VETERANS LEAD DEVILS
Jaromir Jagr assisted on the Devils? first goal and added to his League record by netting the 124th game-winning goal of his career in New Jersey?s 2-1 win at Philadelphia. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Jagr (42 years, 24 days) is the oldest player to record at least 16 multi-point games in an NHL season. Gordie Howe established the previous mark when he finished the 1969-70 campaign with 17 such games at age 42 years, 15 days.
* Martin Brodeur made 30 saves to earn his 17th win of the season and improve to 4-0-0 in March.
SHARKS FEAST ON MAPLE LEAFS
Joe Pavelski (2-1--3) eclipsed 400 career NHL points (184-217--401) and Joe Thornton recorded his third three-assist game of the season as the Sharks beat the Maple Leafs 6-2. Pavelski recorded his 33rd and 34th goals of the season, moving him into a tie for third on the League goal-scoring list with Toronto?s Phil Kessel.
* Thornton ranks second in the NHL with 55 helpers this season, two fewer than Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, and ranks second among active players with 55 career games with three-or-more assists -- two games back of Jaromir Jagr, who has registered 57 such performances.
* The Sharks improved to 7-1-0 in their past eight games against the Maple Leafs.
PENGUINS SWEEP HOME-AND-HOME
Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside all 32 shots he faced and Sidney Crosby grabbed a share of the team goals lead with his 31st of the season as Pittsburgh swept their home-and-home series against Washington. Fleury earned his League-leading 34th win of 2013-14 and matched a career high with his fifth shutout of the season (also five shutouts in 2006-07).
* The Penguins have defeated the Capitals in each of their past eight meetings, a franchise high against Washington. The previous mark of seven games was established from Feb. 2 - Nov. 30, 1988.
* Pittsburgh has posted a 17-1-2 record in its past 20 home games and a 19-5-1 mark versus Metropolitan Division opponents this season.
* Evgeni Malkin recorded an assist on Pittsburgh?s first goal, extending his point streak to five games (1-5--6). He now has points in each of his last 10 home games against the Capitals, dating to Jan. 21, 2008 (7-14--21).
Cam Ward stopped 24 of 25 shots and Jiri Tlusty (1-1--2) and Jordan Staal (1-1--2) each registered two points in Carolina?s 3-1 win at PNC Arena. The Hurricanes ended a 10-game winless streak against the Rangers, defeating the Blueshirts for the first time since Jan. 20, 2011 (0-7-3).
The Blues set a franchise record by earning a point against a divisional opponent for the 20th consecutive game (18-0-2)? Viktor Fasth registered a victory in his Oilers debut, making 28 saves and stopping two of four shootout attempts as Edmonton rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 at Minnesota? Predators captain Shea Weber netted his 16th goal of the season, breaking a 1-1 tie en route to a 4-1 win at Buffalo. Weber moved to within one goal of Ottawa?s Erik Karlsson for the League lead among defensemen? The Predators are 12-1-2 this season when Weber scores? Phoenix?s Keith Yandle recorded an assist to extend his point streak to four games (0-5--5)? The Blue Jackets won for the sixth time in their past eight contests versus the Red Wings (6-1-1). They hold a 15-4-1 record in their past 20 home games overall? Sergei Bobrovsky (39 saves) faced at least 40 shots for the third time this season and moved within three wins of his career high (28), established during his rookie season with Philadelphia in 2010-11.
ICYMI: Former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice received a warm welcome at Tuesday's Sharks-Maple Leafs game in San Jose.
SNEAK PEEK AT WEDNESDAY'S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Boston @ Montreal, 7:30 p.m., RDS, NBCSN, TSN-HABS
Vancouver @ Winnipeg, 7:30 p.m., TSN
Chicago @ Colorado, 9:30 p.m., CSN-CH, ALT
Anaheim @ Calgary, 10:00 p.m., FS-W, SNET-W
BRUINS-CANADIENS ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT RIVALRY
The Bruins and Canadiens, whose 893 all-time regular-season and playoff meetings rank first among all pairs of League rivals, take the spotlight in this week's Wednesday Night Rivalry game on NBCSN at 7:30 p.m., ET. The Bruins enter the game riding a five-game winning streak and are three points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Canadiens have won both meetings this season, including a 4-1 win in Boston on Jan. 30, but will be without the services of goaltender Carey Price, who will miss his eighth consecutive game since returning from the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.