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

Home Team in Caps
Buffalo 4, WINNIPEG 2
WASHINGTON 7, Ottawa 1
CHICAGO 6, Colorado 3
New Jersey 2, MINNESOTA 1
Detroit 2, ANAHEIM 1
Florida 2, EDMONTON


Alex Ovechkin scored twice, including his 500th and 501st career goals, to become the fifth-fastest player in NHL history to reach the milestone and lift the Capitals to their fourth consecutive victory.

* At 32-7-3 (67 points), the League-leading Capitals continued their best start to a season – in terms of wins and points – in the franchise’s 41-year history. They improved to 20-2-2 in their last 24 games dating to Nov. 21, including 10 straight wins at Verizon Center.
* Ovechkin became the 43rd player in NHL history to reach the 500-goal milestone, doing so in his 801st career game (501-433—934). Only four players have achieved the milestone in fewer contests: Wayne Gretzky (575), Mario Lemieux (605), Mike Bossy (647) and Brett Hull (693).
* Since entering the NHL in 2005-06, Ovechkin (501) has 184 more goals than the next-closest player (Patrick Marleau: 317). Ovechkin (934) also has 50 more points than anyone else in that span (Sidney Crosby: 884).
* Overall, Ovechkin’s average of 0.625 goals per game ranks fourth in NHL history among players with a minimum of 300 games played, behind Bossy (0.762), Cy Denneny (0.755) and Lemieux (0.754).
* Ovechkin, who registered his second multi-goal game in as many days (also Saturday at NYR: 2-0—2), has scored in three consecutive outings (5-0—5) to move into first place in the NHL with 26 goals this season.
* “It is a special moment,” Ovechkin said. “It is nice to be in that category. It is really hard to score in this league right now, system-wise . . . Without my teammates’ help, without the system, how we play, it is very hard to do.”

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 10: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals poses with the puck commemorating his 500th career NHL goal that he scored in the second period during an NHL game against the Ottawa Senators at Verizon Center on January 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)


Al Montoya made 24 saves, including 21 over the final two periods, to help the Panthers extend their franchise-record winning streak to 12 games and establish another club record with their sixth consecutive road victory.

* At 26-12-4 (56 points), the Panthers maintained a five-point cushion atop the Atlantic Division. The team ranked sixth in the division and was 11 points out of first place when its streak began on Dec. 15.
* The Panthers improved to 13-6-2 (28 points) as visitors this season. Their 13 road wins and 28 road points rank second in the NHL, behind only the Capitals (16-4-2, 34 points).
* Montoya earned his career-high fifth consecutive victory to improve to 7-1-1 this season (1.62 GAA, .940 SV%). That includes a 5-1-0 record on the road (1.65 GAA, .935 SV%).
* Jaromir Jagr scored 3:22 after the opening face-off, his team-leading 15th goal of the season and fourth in his past four games (4-1—5). With 737 career goals, Jagr is four shy of tying Brett Hull (741) for third place in NHL history.
* ICYMI: The Panthers’ neighbors, the NBA’s Miami Heat, celebrated the team’s 12th straight win with a special tweet:


Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa each scored twice to power the Blackhawks to their seventh consecutive victory, their longest winning streak since Nov. 26 – Dec. 11, 2014 (8-0-0).

* At 27-13-4 (58 points), the Blackhawks climbed within four points of the idle Stars (29-11-4, 62 points) for first place in the Central Division. The team ranked fourth in the division and was 13 points out of first place when its streak began on Dec. 29.
* Via Elias, Kane and Hossa became the first set of Blackhawks teammates to each score twice in the same game since March 17, 2015 vs. NYI (Hossa: 2-0—2, Jonathan Toews: 2-2—4).
* Kane registered his second multi-goal game of the season (also Oct. 9 at NYI: 2-0—2) to maintain a share of second place in the NHL with 25 goals overall (w/ Jamie Benn). He has posted at least one point in 38 of 44 outings, pacing the League in assists (37) and points (62).
* Hossa notched his first multi-goal game since March 17, 2015 vs. NYI (2-0—2). He has 7-12—19 overall in 2015-16 (39 GP).
* Toews added 1-2—3 for his second three-point game of the season (also Dec. 17 vs. EDM: 1-2—3). He has 5-5—10 in his past eight outings.


* Sam Reinhart recorded his first career hat trick to help the Sabres snap a six-game losing streak (0-6-0). Per Elias, Reinhart became the first Sabres rookie to post a hat trick since Jan. 14, 2006 vs. LAK (Jason Pominville: 3-0—3). At 20 years, 65 days, he also became the fifth-youngest player in franchise history to collect a hat trick.
* Riley Sheahan scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:44 remaining in regulation to propel the Red Wings to their fourth consecutive win (all on the road). Petr Mrazek, who has been in net for all four games during the streak, made 30 saves to improve to 15-8-3 in 28 appearances this season (2.16 GAA, .930 SV%, 2 SO).
* Jon Merrill recorded the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period – his first goal since Dec. 13, 2014 at DAL – to help the Devils snap a three-game skid (0-3-0). Merrill has tallied five goals in his NHL career (151 GP), three of which have stood as game-winners (also Feb. 7, 2014 vs. EDM and March 23, 2014 vs. TOR).


* Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith played in his 800th NHL game.
* Forward Zach Sill scored his first goal with the Capitals (5 GP) – and second goal in 88 career NHL appearances (also Jan. 21, 2015 w/ PIT vs. CHI).


Avalanche forward Matt Duchene (2-1—3) recorded his fourth three-point game of the season. He shares sixth in the NHL with 21 goals in 2015-16 (w/ Joe Pavelski) . . . Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom collected three assists to extend his point streak to six games (3-6—9) . . . Teammate Jason Chimera also posted three assists, equaling a career high for the second time this season (also Nov. 21 vs. COL: 0-3—3) . . . Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin registered one assist to extend his point streak to five games (1-4—5). He ranks second among rookies with 14-15—29 overall . . . Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (34 SV) earned his fifth consecutive victory. He shares second in the NHL with 23 wins this season (w/ Jonathan Quick) . . . Sabres forward Evander Kane collected one assist in his return to Winnipeg. Kane, the fourth overall selection by the Thrashers in the 2009 NHL Draft, totaled 109-113—222 over six seasons with the Jets/Thrashers (361 GP) . . . Teammate Zach Bogosian logged 23:23 in his return to Winnipeg. Bogosian, the third overall selection by the Thrashers in the 2008 NHL Draft, totaled 40-87—127 over seven seasons with the Jets/Thrashers (393 GP) . . . Wild forward Zach Parise registered his first goal against his former team, the Devils. Parise, who compiled 194-216—410 over seven seasons with New Jersey (502 GP), now has scored against every NHL team.


All Times Eastern
Boston @ NY Rangers, 7:00 p.m., NHLN-US, SN, TVAS, NESN, MSG
San Jose @ Calgary, 9:00 p.m., CSN-CA, SNW
Florida @ Vancouver, 10:00 p.m., FS-F, SNP
Detroit @ Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m., SNE, SNO, SNP, FS-D, FS-W


The Panthers (26-12-4, 56 points), who have won a franchise-record 12 consecutive games overall as well as six straight on the road, look to extend those marks when they visit the Canucks (16-16-10, 42 points) at Rogers Arena.

Florida’s 12-game winning streak equals the longest such run in the NHL since the 2013-14 season, when Boston also went 12-0-0 from March 2-22. No team has won 13 straight since the 2012-13 campaign, when the Penguins reeled off 15 consecutive victories from March 2-30 to match the 1981-82 Islanders for the second-longest winning streak in NHL history.

Roberto Luongo, who compiled a 252-137-50 record over eight seasons with the Canucks (448 GP), is expected to get the start for the Panthers. Luongo has won a career-high and franchise-record nine consecutive games dating to Dec. 15 (1.31 GAA, .954 SV%, 2 SO), the longest such run in the NHL this season.

With 420 career victories, he also is three wins shy of tying Tony Esposito (423) for seventh place in League history.

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