NHL MORNING SKATE – JAN. 8, 2016

NHL MORNING SKATE – JAN. 8, 2016

Welcome to the “NHL Morning Skate,” a daily collection of the latest news and notes from around the League.

THURSDAY’S RESULTS

Home Team in Caps
Washington 4, NY ISLANDERS 1
Florida 3, OTTAWA 2
Philadelphia 4, MINNESOTA 3 (OT)
DALLAS 2, Winnipeg 1 (SO)
Arizona 2, CALGARY 1
LOS ANGELES 2, Toronto 1
Detroit 2, SAN JOSE 1

LUONGO, PANTHERS EXTEND FRANCHISE RECORDS IN 11TH STRAIGHT WIN

Roberto Luongo made 30 saves, including 11 in the third period, to backstop the Panthers to their franchise-record 11th consecutive victory, the longest such run in the NHL since March 2-22, 2014 (BOS: 12-0-0).

* At 25-12-4 (54 points), the Panthers maintained a five-point lead over the Red Wings (21-13-7, 49 points) and Canadiens (23-16-3, 49 points) for first place in the Atlantic Division. They also improved to 8-4-0 against divisional foes this season.
* The Panthers equaled a franchise record with their fifth straight road win, the second time they have achieved that feat this season (also Nov. 14 – Dec. 4). Their 26 road points rank fifth in the League (12-6-2).
* Luongo extended his franchise record and established a career high with his ninth consecutive personal victory (1.31 GAA, .954 SV%, 2 SO), the longest such run in the NHL this season.
* Luongo also earned his 420th career win to move within three of tying Tony Esposito (423) for seventh place in NHL history.
* ICYMI: The Panthers rewarded Luongo by giving him their celebratory ‘#SpaceyInSpace’ shirt:

DID YOU KNOW?

Panthers teammates Reilly Smith (12:01) and Vincent Trocheck (12:09) scored eight seconds apart in the first period – one second shy of equaling the record for the fastest two goals in franchise history, set on Feb. 10, 2004, by Viktor Kozlov (1:43 and 1:50 of the second period vs. MTL).

HOLTBY, OVECHKIN LIFT CAPITALS TO 30TH VICTORY . . .

Braden Holtby made 34 saves and Alex Ovechkin scored what stood as the game-winning goal to lift the Capitals past the Islanders in their first meeting since opening round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, a seven-game victory by Washington.

* At 30-7-3 (63 points), the Capitals continued their best start to a season – in terms of wins and points – in the franchise’s 41-year history. They also improved to 18-2-2 in their last 22 games dating to Nov. 21.
* Via Elias, the Capitals became the first team to win at least 30 of their opening 40 games of a season since 2012-13, when both the Blackhawks (31-5-4) and Penguins (30-10-0) did so. Washington didn’t pick up its 30th victory until its 57th game last season.
* Holtby, who leads the League with 26 wins this season, extended his personal point streak to 20 consecutive decisions dating to Nov. 12 (18-0-2) – the longest such run by any goaltender since 2010-11 (Roberto Luongo: 16-0-5).
* Ovechkin, who ranks fifth in the NHL 22 goals this season, moved within three of reaching 500 for his career (497-433—930 in 799 GP):

FASTEST TO 500 GOALS (IN GP), NHL HISTORY
1. Wayne Gretzky: 575 GP
2. Mario Lemieux: 605 GP
3. Mike Bossy: 647 GP
4. Brett Hull: 693 GP
5. Phil Esposito: 803 GP

. . . STARS SNAP SKID TO KEEP PACE ATOP NHL STANDINGS

Patrick Sharp (0-1—1) provided the decisive goal in the shootout and Kari Lehtonen made 32 saves – plus another two in the tiebreaker – to help the Stars snap a three-game skid overall (0-2-1) and pick up their fifth straight win at home.

* At 29-10-4 (62 points), the Stars continued their best start to a season – in terms of wins and points – in the franchise’s 49-year history. They also improved to 17-4-0 (34 points) this season at American Airlines Center – their 17 home victories and 34 home points both pace the NHL (and equal their home win total from last season: 17-16-8, 42 points).
* Sharp extended his point streak to a career-high 11 games (6-8—14), the second-longest such run in the NHL this season behind Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane (16-24—40 in 26 GP). Sharp has 16-20—36 overall in 2015-16, his first campaign with the Stars.
* Lehtonen, the second overall selection (by ATL) in the 2002 NHL Draft, improved to 7-1-1 in nine career appearances vs. WPG/ATL (1.95 GAA, .944 SV%). He also improved to 13-3-0 in 20 outings this season (2.72 GAA, .911 SV%, 1 SO).
* Tyler Seguin scored in regulation and the shootout. His 24 goals are tied for first in the NHL this season with teammate Jamie Benn and Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko.

AROUND THE RINKS

* Michael Del Zotto scored twice, including the winning tally with 37.0 seconds remaining in overtime, to propel the Flyers to their second straight victory. Del Zotto recorded his second career multi-goal game and first since March 30, 2012 vs. MTL (2-1—3 w/ NYR). Defensemen have accounted for 23 of the 92 overtime goals scored this season (25.0%), including three by Del Zotto’s teammate Shayne Gostisbehere.
* Jonathan Quick turned aside 25 shots, including 10 in the third period, to lead the Kings to their sixth victory in their past seven games. Quick, who ranks second in the NHL with 23 wins this season, earned his sixth consecutive personal victory (1.33 GAA, .955 SV%, 1 SO) – his third such run of the campaign (also Oct. 16-31 and Nov. 28 – Dec. 11, both 6-0-0).
* Petr Mrazek made 35 saves, including an acrobatic stop that led to the winning goal, to lift the Red Wings to their third straight victory on the heels of a three-game skid (0-3-0). Mrazek, who has been in net for all three games during the current streak, improved to 14-8-3 in 27 appearances this season – his .928 save percentage ranks seventh in the NHL.
* Louis Domingue denied 25 shots and Stefan Elliott scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period to help the Coyotes pick up points for the 10th time in their past 12 games (7-2-3). Domingue improved to 5-0-2 in seven starts this season, including a 1.97 goals-against average, .941 save percentage and one shutout in those contests.

MILESTONES & BENCHMARKS

* Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr (0-1—1) moved within four assists of becoming the sixth player in NHL history to record 1,100 in his career.
* Coyotes captain Shane Doan played in his 1,425th career game to move past Pat Verbeek (1,424) and into sole possession of 28th place on the NHL’s all-time games played list.
* Senators forward Max McCormick, a sixth-round selection (171st overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft, scored his first career goal (10 GP).

LOOSE PUCKS

Kings forward Jeff Carter notched the winning goal in his return from a five-game absence . . . Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau recorded his 18th goal of the season, including his 16th on home ice – that ranks second in the NHL behind Stars captain Jamie Benn, who has 18 goals at American Airlines Center . . . Sharks defenseman Brent Burns collected one assist to extend his point streak to five games (4-3—7). He places third among defensemen with 16-19—35 overall this season . . . Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer made 39 saves in his first start since Dec. 3 . . . Forward Vincent Lecavalier (0-1—1) and defenseman Luke Schenn (15:59 TOI) both made their Kings debuts . . . The Ducks acquired goaltender Dustin Tokarski from the Canadiens in exchange for forward Max Friberg . . . The NHL fined Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers and Devils forward Bobby Farnham $2,000 as supplementary discipline under NHL Rule 64 (Diving/Embellishment) . . . ICYMI: University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh attended the Red Wings-Sharks game . . . Actor Will Ferrell met several Kings players, including forward Milan Lucic, following their victory over the Maple Leafs.

SNEAK PEEK AT FRIDAY’S ACTION

All Times Eastern
Boston @ New Jersey, 7:00 p.m., NESN, MSG+
Columbus @ Carolina, 7:00 p.m., FS-O, FS-CR
Buffalo @ Chicago, 8:30 p.m., NHLN-US, MSG-B, BELL TV, CSN-CH
Nashville @ Colorado, 9:00 p.m., FS-TN, ALT
Tampa Bay @ Edmonton, 9:00 p.m., SUN, SNW
St. Louis @ Anaheim, 10:00 p.m., SN, FS-MW, PRIME, FS-SD

JOHANSEN, JONES MAKE DEBUTS WITH NEW TEAMS

Predators forward Ryan Johansen and Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones both make their debuts with their new teams following Wednesday’s trade:

* Johansen, who has 6-20—26 in 38 games this season, makes his Nashville debut when he and the Predators (19-14-7, 45 points) visit the division rival Avalanche (20-18-3, 43 points) at Pepsi Center. These clubs are separated by two points in the Western Conference, where Nashville currently occupies the second and final Wild Card spot. The Avalanche won the first of five meetings between these teams in 2015-16, a 3-2 decision on Dec. 12 at NSH. They will face off three more times this season: March 5 at COL, March 28 at NSH and April 5 at NSH.
* Jones, who has 1-10—11 in 40 games this season, makes his Columbus debut when he and the Blue Jackets (15-23-3, 33 points) play the Hurricanes (16-18-7, 39 points) at PNC Arena in the first half of a back-to-back, home-and-home series. Columbus has won two of its past three contests, while Carolina has collected points in five of its last seven (3-2-2). These Metropolitan Division foes will face off two more times in 2015-16 following the conclusion of their home-and-home set: March 24 at CBJ and April 2 at CAR.
* ICYMI: Johansen and Jones crossed paths at the airport following their trade on Wednesday (courtesy of @ryanjohansen19):

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