Kukla's Korner

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NHL Short Notes

Playing in his 500th NHL game, captain Sidney Crosby recorded a trio of assists to lift the Penguins to their fifth consecutive victory overall and fifth straight win at CONSOL Energy Center. Crosby has 253-453—706, including 31 game-winning goals, in his NHL career. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the sixth-highest point total by any player in League history through his first 500 regular-season games:
1. Wayne Gretzky: 1,186
2. Mario Lemieux: 971
3. Peter Stastny: 759
4. Mike Bossy: 757
5. Jari Kurri: 730
6. Sidney Crosby: 706

* Crosby leads the NHL with 15-26—41 in 30 games this season, including 3-8—11 in his past six outings. He has 6-9—15 during a nine-game point streak at CONSOL Energy Center.

* Crosby has recorded multiple points in each of his five century-milestone games: Nos. 100 (1-1—2), 200 (0-2—2), 300 (2-0—2), 400 (1-1—2) and 500 (0-3—3).

* Chris Kunitz scored twice to extend his point streak to six games (5-4—9). He is tied for third in the NHL with 16 goals in 30 games this season.

* Marc-Andre Fleury made a season-high 44 saves to pick up his 16th win of the season, the most in the Eastern Conference and tied for second in the NHL.

* Head coach Dan Bylsma recorded his first victory over the Sharks (1-1-2). He now has wins against every NHL club (except the Penguins).

* The Penguins improved to 16-1-0 when scoring first and 11-0-0 when registering four or more goals this season.

In a back-and-forth affair that saw the Wild surrender a two-goal lead and the Blackhawks take a one-goal advantage in the third period, Marco Scandella scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:48 remaining in regulation to lead Minnesota to its second straight win and second victory over Chicago this season.

* Scandella’s goal ended a 28-game drought dating to last season (Feb. 1). He has recorded one other winner in his 116-game NHL career: Dec. 8, 2011, versus the Kings.

* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Thursday marked only the second time in franchise history that a Wild defenseman scored a go-ahead goal in the final two minutes of regulation. The other Wild blueliner to do so was Marek Zidlicky, who potted the game-winning goal at 19:21 of the third period in a 2-1 victory over the Blue Jackets on Dec. 15, 2009.

* Josh Harding made 16 saves to improve to 15-4-3, including a 12-1-0 mark at home, in 23 appearances this season. He stretched his shutout streak to 131:36, a personal best, before allowing a goal with 17 seconds left in the second period.

* Five of the Wild’s past seven victories have seen the game-winning goal scored in the final five minutes of regulation.

* The Wild improved to 10-1-5 in one-goal games this season, with seven of their last eight wins decided by one goal. Only the Kings have more one-goal victories this season (11-3-4).

Carey Price made 32 saves and the Canadiens overcame an early one-goal deficit to defeat the Bruins and jump into first place in the Atlantic Division (18-9-3, 39 points). The Canadiens have won eight of their past nine games (8-0-1), including four straight. They also are 10-1-2 in their last 13 contests following an 8-8-1 start to the season.

* Price has won his past six starts, posting a 1.67 goals-against average and .945 save percentage in that span. He has allowed two or fewer goals in nine consecutive outings.

* Max Pacioretty scored his team-leading 11th goal of the season, the game-winner. He has nine goals, including three winners, in his past nine games after totaling two goals in his first 12 contests of the season.

* Pacioretty also has scored in each of Montreal’s last five home games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first Canadien to record a goal in five consecutive team home games since Alex Kovalev in March-April 2009.

The Blues scored four unanswered goals to improve to 12-1-2 (26 points) at Scottrade Center, tied for the most wins and points at home this season. The team is 8-0-2 in its past 10 home games, its longest point streak since a record-setting 21-game stretch from Dec. 6, 2011-Feb. 8, 2012.

* The Blues have a +27 goal differential on home ice this season, tops in the League. They have scored at least four goals in four of their past five home games (all wins) and are 46-0-1 in their last 47 contests at Scottrade Center when scoring four or more times.

* Dating to last season, the Blues have recorded at least one point in 20 of their past 21 home contests (18-1-2).

* The Blues improved to 33-9-5 versus the Eastern Conference since 2010-11, the best inter-conference record in the NHL.

* Jay Bouwmeester posted 1-1—2, his fourth multi-point game of the season, and is tied for fifth among defensemen with 2-19—21 in 27 contests. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the fastest Bouwmeester has reached the 20-point mark in a single season. His previous career best came in 2008-09, when he hit 20 points in his 39th game (with the Panthers).

* Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves to record his 15th win of the season. He improved to 6-1-1 with a 1.36 goals-against average, .955 save percentage and two shutouts in eight career appearances versus the Islanders.

Jonathan Bernier made a career-high 48 saves and Trevor Smith scored his first career overtime goal to help the Maple Leafs stop a five-game losing streak (0-3-2).

* The Maple Leafs were outshot by a 50-24 margin, marking the second time this season they have won when yielding 50 or more shots on goal. They also picked up a 2-1 shootout victory over the Capitals on Nov. 23 despite being outshot 50-28.

* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 2010-11 Thrashers were the last team to win two games in one season when allowing 50 or more shots on goal.

* Elias also says that Bernier is just the third Maple Leafs goaltender in the past 22 years to win a game (excluding shootouts) in which he faced 50 or more shots on goal. The others to do so: Ed Belfour (50 saves on 51 shots in a 2-1 victory over the Devils Jan. 4, 2003) and James Reimer (49 saves on 50 shots in a 4-1 win over the Senators April 20, 2013).

* The Maple Leafs have been outshot in 25 of their 29 games this season (including 10 straight), posting a 13-9-3 record in those contests.

Two players recorded hat tricks Thursday:

* Jeff Skinner (3-0—3) notched his first career three-goal game to lead the Hurricanes to their second consecutive victory. Skinner has five goals in his past two games; he had four goals through his first 16 outings of the season.

* Taylor Hall (3-1—4) posted his fourth career hat trick to help the Oilers improve to 6-3-0 in their last nine games. Hall has recorded one three-goal game in each of his four NHL seasons. All four of those performances have come on home ice.

The Rangers picked up their 10th road victory of the season, the most in the Eastern Conference and tied for second in the NHL . . . Lightning forward Martin St. Louis scored two goals, including the game-winner, on two shots. He has 12 goals this season, 10 of which have come at home . . . Sharks captain Joe Thornton recorded an assist to extend his point streak to seven games (3-6—9) . . . Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel collected a pair of assists to stretch his point streak to five games (3-3—6) . . . Rangers forward Brad Richards posted 1-1—2 to push his point streak to five games (2-4—6) . . . Panthers forward Scottie Upshall registered two assists, including the 100th of his NHL career, to extend his point streak to a career-long five games (2-4—6) . . . Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh recorded two assists to stretch his point streak to five games (1-5—6) . . . Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop made 33 saves to defeat his former club and pick up his 15th victory of the season, the second-most in the Eastern Conference . . . Panthers defenseman Dylan Olsen recorded his first NHL goal and first multi-point game (1-1—2)

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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