NHL MORNING SKATE – DEC. 28, 2013
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WINTER CLASSIC QUICK HITS
* The Guinness World Record for attendance at a hockey game is 104,173, set during “The Big Chill at The Big House” – which pitted the University of Michigan versus Michigan State on Dec. 11, 2010. That number is expected to be shattered at the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
* According to the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic and 2013 SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival are expected to translate into $50 to $60 million in direct spending in Detroit and another $15 million to Ann Arbor.
GLI BEGINS AT COMERICA, ICE GETS PAINTED AT THE BIG HOUSE
The 49th annual Great Lakes Invitational  – part of the 2013 SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival – began Friday, with Western Michigan defeating the University of Michigan 3-2 in overtime and Michigan Tech edging Michigan State by the same score in a shootout. The consolation and championship games will be played today at Comerica Park.
Forty-plus miles west, the rink build continued at Michigan Stadium  for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, with a crew working late into the night to paint the ice, including lines, face-off circles and goal creases.
Saturday’s Schedule of Events
2013 Great Lakes Invitational, Comerica Park (Day 2)
Michigan State vs. University of Michigan (Consolation Game) – 3:30 p.m. ET
Michigan Tech vs. Western Michigan (Championship Game) – 7:00 p.m. ET
Reminder: The third episode of “24/7 Red Wings/Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic” debuts in the U.S. on HBO tonight at 10:00 p.m. ET. The episode will air in Canada on Sportsnet tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. ET.
ICYMI: NHL senior director of facilities operations Dan Craig provided an update on the rink build  for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic . . . NHL.com staff writer Corey Masisak snapped a 360-photo of the freshly-painted ice  at The Big House . . . Below, the sun sets over the crew as they paint the ice at Michigan Stadium.
Boston 5, Ottawa 0
Columbus 2, New Jersey 1 (SO)
Washington 3, NY Rangers 2
Pittsburgh 4, Carolina 3 (OT)
Toronto 4, Buffalo 3 (SO)
Chicago 7, Colorado 2
Winnipeg 6, Minnesota 4
Dallas 4, Nashville 1
Edmonton 2, Calgary 0
San Jose 4, Phoenix 3 (SO)
SHARP CELEBRATES BIRTHDAY IN STYLE
Celebrating his 32nd birthday, Patrick Sharp (3-1—4) recorded his third career hat trick to power Chicago to its seventh victory in its past nine games (7-1-1). With the win, the Blackhawks (27-7-6, 60 points) leapfrogged the idle Ducks (27-7-5, 59 points) for the top spot in the NHL standings.
* Sharp is the first Blackhawk to record a hat trick on his birthday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other player in the last 22 seasons to celebrate his birthday in the same fashion was the late Pavol Demitra, who scored three goals on his 28th birthday (Nov. 29, 2002) in a 7-2 St. Louis victory over Calgary. Only one other NHL player has earned a birthday hat trick at age 32 or older: Gilbert Perreault, who found the back of the net three times on his 33rd birthday (Nov. 13, 1983) in an 11-2 Buffalo win over Calgary.
* Sharp ranks ninth in the NHL with 21-19—40 in 40 games this season, including 10-6—16 in his past nine out outings. His four-point performance tied a career high, also achieved once earlier this season (Nov. 9: 0-4—4).
* Patrick Kane recorded an assist to extend his point streak to a career-long 13 games (7-15—22). He ranks second in the League with 22-28—50 in 40 games this season and now has recorded 50 or more points in each of his seven NHL seasons.
* Jonathan Toews (2-2—4) posted his third four-point game of the season (Oct. 29: 3-1—4, Nov. 21: 1-3—4). He ranks third on the team with 15-23—38 in 40 games, including 3-10—13 in his past nine contests.
* Duncan Keith collected a season-high three assists. He leads all defensemen with 33 helpers and ranks second among blueliners with 36 points in 40 games this season.
* The Blackhawks have scored five or more goals in 16 games this season, the most in the NHL. They also lead the League in goals for (148) and goals per game (3.70).
RASK, BRUINS STAY HOT AT HOME
Tuukka Rask made 33 saves for his League-leading fourth shutout of the season – and 20th of his career – to lead the Bruins to their eighth consecutive victory at home. Boston is 13-0-2 in its last 15 games at TD Garden; the franchise record for points in consecutive home games is 27, set during the 1970-71 season (26-0-1).
* Rask is the eighth goaltender in Bruins history to record 20 shutouts, joining Tiny Thompson (74), Frank Brimsek (35), Tim Thomas (31), Eddie Johnston (27), Gerry Cheevers (26), Bryon Dafoe (25) and Jim Henry (24). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other NHL teams with as many 20-shutout goaltenders are the Canadiens (9) and Rangers (8).
* Rask also ranks in the top five in the NHL this season in wins (t-2nd: 20), save percentage (3rd: .938) and goals-against average (4th: 1.81).
* Rask improved to 13-3-2 with a 1.48 goals-against average, .949 save percentage and three shutouts in 18 appearances this season at TD Garden. He is 7-5-0 with a 2.32 goals-against average, .922 save percentage and one shutout in 12 road games.
* Reilly Smith (2-0—2) posted his third consecutive multi-point game, totaling 5-2—7 over that span. He ranks second on the Bruins with 14-16—30 in 38 games this season; he compiled 3-6—9 in 37 contests last season.
* With Smith’s two-goal performance, Boston now has had at least one player record multiple goals in seven consecutive games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marks the first time the Bruins have had a multi-goal scorer in seven straight contests since Dec. 10-26, 1929. The last NHL team to achieve that feat was the Flames in October 2007.
WILD FIRST PERIOD IN WINNIPEG
The Wild and Jets combined for seven first-period goals, with the lead changing three times in the opening 20 minutes. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marked the first time in Wild history that the team combined for seven first-period goals. It was the third such occurrence in Jets/Thrashers history, with the most recent on Jan. 21, 2003, in an 8-4 victory over the Blues.
* The Wild set a team record by scoring two goals 10 seconds apart in the first period (by Justin Fontaine and Stephane Veilleux).
* Blake Wheeler (2-0—2) netted the game-winning goal midway through the third period, his second of the season. He has three multi-goal games in 2013-14, all of which have come in the past three weeks (also Dec. 12 and Dec. 14).
PENGUINS MARCH ON
James Neal (1-2—3) scored the winning goal at 1:03 of overtime to help the Penguins pick up their 13th victory in their past 15 games, including eight in their last nine.
* Marc-Andre Fleury became the ninth active goaltender to appear in 500 NHL games, all with the Penguins. He made 31 saves for his League-leading 22nd win of the season (33 GP).
* Sidney Crosby scored the team’s first goal and now has 21-34—55 in 40 games this season, tops in the NHL.
* Jussi Jokinen collected three assists and now has 5-4—9 in five games against the Hurricanes since they traded him to the Penguins April 3, including a hat trick Oct. 8.
ROOKIES KEEP ROLLING
Blackhawks goaltender Antti Raanta (16 saves) and Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer (38 saves) each recorded victories Friday. The duo is a combined 14-2-3 this season, with Raanta posting a 9-1-2 record and Grubauer at 5-1-1. Three other freshmen goaltenders also are off to hot starts: Anaheim’s Frederik Andersen (9-1-0), Los Angeles’ Martin Jones (8-1-0) and Vancouver’s Eddie Lack (6-2-0). Together, the five rookie netminders are 37-6-3 this season, including a 26-3-3 mark in December.
Sharks captain Joe Thornton collected two assists; he leads the League with 37 helpers in 38 games this season . . . Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk made 27 saves for his second shutout of the season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marked Edmonton’s first shutout ever in Calgary (regular season or playoffs, 120 previous visits) . . . Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom (1-1—2) posted his 13th multi-point game of the season. He has 4-13—17 in his last eight outings . . . Avalanche forward Paul Stastny potted his 11th goal of the season while celebrating his 28th birthday . . . The Stars recorded their 14th consecutive victory when scoring three or more goals . . . Joffrey Lupul posted his fifth career deciding goal to lead the Maple Leafs to a victory in their fourth consecutive shootout (2-0-2) . . . Sharks forward Patrick Marleau netted the decisive goal in the tiebreaker to spoil the Coyotes’ celebration of the 10th anniversary of Jobing.com Arena . . . Rangers forward Benoit Pouliot scored his sixth goal of the season to extend his point streak to a career-long six games (3-3—6) . . . Oilers captain Andrew Ference played in his 800th NHL game . . . Avalanche forward Matt Duchene and Stars captain Jamie Benn both skated in their 300th career contest . . . Sabres forward John Scott scored his first goal since Nov. 15, 2009, while playing in his 200th NHL game . . . Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson recorded the shootout winner while appearing in his 100th career contest.
SNEAK PEEK AT SATURDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Boston @ Ottawa, 7:00 p.m., NHLN-US, CBC, NESN
Montreal @ Tampa Bay, 7:00 p.m., CBC, RDS, SUN
Detroit @ Florida, 7:00 p.m., FS-D, FS-F
New Jersey @ NY Islanders, 7:00 p.m., MSG PLUS 2, MSG PLUS
Chicago @ St. Louis, 8:00 p.m., WGN, FS-MW
Los Angeles @ Nashville, 8:00 p.m., FS-W, FS-TN
Phoenix @ Anaheim, 8:00 p.m., KTVK, KDOC
Philadelphia @ Edmonton, 10:00 p.m., CBC, TCN-PH
Source: NHL Media