CLUBS EARN VALUABLE POINTS IN EASTERN CONFERENCE WILD CARD RACE
The Lightning (38-29-9, 85 points), Hurricanes (35-27-14, 84 points) and Flyers (37-32-8, 82 points) each earned wins to keep pace in the race for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference:
Five different skaters scored to power the Lightning to their fourth consecutive win.Victor Hedman (15-51—66) collected an assist to establish a single-season franchise record for points by a defenseman, besting the mark set by Roman Hamrlik in 1995-96 (16-49—65). The Lightning remained three points back of the Bruins for the last Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference.
Jeff Skinner (1-1—2) tied the game with 4:20 remaining in regulation and assisted onNoah Hanifin’s overtime winner as the Hurricanes extended their point streak to a franchise-record 13 games (9-0-4). Skinner has scored nine goals in his last eight outings (9-2—11).
The Flyers raced to a 5-0 lead in the first period and held off an Islanders rally to improve to 4-1-0 in their last five games. Wayne Simmonds (1-2—3) reached the 30-goal mark for the second straight season (32 G in 2015-16).
MAPLE LEAFS, BRUINS IMPROVE CHANCES OF CLINCHING PLAYOFF BERTHS
The Maple Leafs (37-24-15, 89 points) and Bruins (41-30-6, 88 points) each secured victories to improve their chances of clinching a berth in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs:
Auston Matthews scored his seventh game-winning goal of the season to extend his point streak to seven games (5-3—8) and guide the Maple Leafs to a 6-1-1 record in their last eight outings. Elias notes that Matthews moved within one game-winning goal of matching the single-season franchise rookie record, set by Howie Meeker in 1946-47 (8). Toronto maintained its hold on third place in the Atlantic Division and climbed within two points of Ottawa (41-26-9, 91 points), who lost in regulation.
Tuukka Rask (27 saves) picked up his seventh shutout of 2016-17 to match his single-season career high set in 2013-14 and backstop the Bruins to their third consecutive win.Brad Marchand (1-1—2) scored his 38th goal of 2016-17 to eclipse his single-season career high of 37 set in 2015-16. Boston kept pace with Toronto and reinforced its hold on the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Alex Stalock made 18 saves to earn a win in his team debut and help the Wild (45-24-8, 98 points) snap a four-game slide (0-2-2) . . . Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner (0-1—1) leads all rookies with 41 assists this season; Elias notes that Marner established a single-season franchise rookie record for assists, besting the mark set by Gus Bodnar in 1943-44 (40) . . . Mark Scheifele reached the 30-goal plateau for the first time in his NHL career, while Filip Forsberg hit the mark for the second straight season (33 G in 2015-16) . . . Nashville’s Peter Laviolette served his 1,000th career game as an NHL head coach . . . Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg (0-1—1) reached the 900-point milestone (325-575—900) . . . Leon Draisaitl (4-12—16 in 9 GP), Ondrej Palat (2-8—10 in 6 GP) andEric Staal (3-3—6 in 6 GP) extended their point streaks . . . Jason Pominville (900), David Krejci (700) and Jason Demers (500) skated in milestone games .
* Information provided via NHL Press Release