* The recent trend of teams putting together noteworthy performances immediately following a jersey retirement ceremony continued Friday, with Jordan Eberle scoring a hat trick after the Islanders honored John Tonelli.
* Jared Spurgeon also tallied three times and joined a rare list of NHL defensemen to score a natural hat trick.
* After falling behind 3-1 in the opening 3:23, the League-leading Bruins rallied to pull off a comeback win seen just six other times in NHL history.
EBERLE SCORES HAT TRICK AFTER ISLANDERS RETIRE TONELLI’S No. 27
Jordan Eberle scored the third hat trick of his NHL career to help the Islanders defeat the Red Wings after they retired former forward and perennial fan favorite John Tonelli’s No. 27 in a pre-game ceremony at NYCB Live/Nassau Coliseum.
* Tonelli, who skated each of his first eight NHL seasons with New York from 1978-79 to 1985-86 (206-338—544 in 594 GP), was part of the franchise’s four Stanley Cup-winning teams which were won in consecutive fashion from 1980 to 1983. He assisted on Bobby Nystrom’s famous series-clinching overtime winner in Game 6 of the 1980 Final to help the Islanders capture their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
* Tonelli became the seventh player in franchise history to have his number retired, joining
Denis Potvin (No. 5), Clark Gillies (No. 9), Bryan Trottier (No. 19), Mike Bossy (No. 22), Nystrom (No. 23) and Billy Smith (No. 31). Butch Goring (No. 91) will also receive the honor later this month on Feb. 29.
* New York (34-20-6, 74 points), which snapped a four-game slide (0-4-0), moved into the first Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference standings and within one point of idle Philadelphia (34-20-7, 75 points) – which occupies third place in the Metropolitan Division.
WILD DEFENSEMAN SPURGEON SCORES NATURAL HAT TRICK
Jared Spurgeon scored three consecutive goals to become the 12th different player in NHL history listed as a defenseman to score a natural hat trick in either the regular season or Stanley Cup Playoffs.
* Spurgeon became the third blueliner in NHL history to score a regular-season hat trick against Edmonton, joining Calgary’s Paul Reinhart on Nov. 24, 1986 (3-0—3) and Dallas’ Kevin Hatcher on Jan. 24, 1996 (3-1—4). Reinhart (3-0—3; Game 1 of 1983 DF) is also one of two defensemen in League history to accomplish the feat versus the Oilers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with the other being Islanders icon Denis Potvin (3-2—5; Game 2 of 1981 QF).
* Minnesota improved to 29-24-7 (65 points) this season and moved within three points of the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference standings.
PANARIN ECLIPSES PAIR OF BENCHMARKS AS RANGERS EXTEND ROAD STREAK
Artemi Panarin (1-1—2) simultaneously eclipsed 80 points on the season (31-50—81 in 59 GP) and 400 in his NHL career (147-254—401 in 381 GP) to help the Rangers extend their road win streak to seven games, matching the franchise record set Jan. 12 – Feb. 12, 1935 and equaled Oct. 28 – Nov. 29, 1978.
* New York (32-24-4, 68 points), which recorded the longest road win streak by any team this season, moved within five points of the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Entering play Feb. 1, the Rangers were 24-21-4 (52 points) and sat nine points back of a playoff position but have reeled off an 8-3-0 (16 points) record since then to narrow the margin.
* Panarin, who was signed by New York on July 1, 2019, became the fifth player to reach the 80-point mark this season. His 81 points in 2019-20 are tied for the sixth-most by a player skating in their first season with the Rangers.
* Panarin became the sixth undrafted player to reach 400 career regular-season points in 381 games or fewer (among skaters to debut since 1963-64 after the first NHL Draft took place), joining Wayne Gretzky (197 GP), Peter Stastny (247 GP), Bobby Orr (333 GP), Joe Mullen (359 GP) and Adam Oates (378 GP).
* Igor Shesterkin (27 saves) improved to 8-1-0 through the first nine appearances of his NHL career (2.25 GAA, .938 SV%), including six straight wins. He became the third rookie goaltender in franchise history to record a win in six or more consecutive appearances within a regular season, joining Jim Henry from Jan. 18 – Feb. 5, 1942 (7-0-0) and Steve Weeks from March 8-26, 1982 (6-0-0).
CONFERENCE LEADERS PICK UP WINS
* After falling behind 3-1 in the opening 3:23, the Bruins (39-11-12, 90 points) responded by scoring three unanswered goals to rally past the Flames and open a five-point lead atop the NHL standings. Boston extended its win streak to five games, the longest active run in the NHL.
* The Bruins’ victory Friday marked the seventh instance in League history of a team winning a game after allowing three goals in the opening four minutes and the fifth to occur in the regular season.
* Five different skaters scored as the Blues (35-17-10, 80 points) defeated the Stars in a pivotal intradivision matchup to open a three-point lead atop the Western Conference standings. St. Louis and Dallas (35-20-6, 76 points) – which now owns the third-best record in the conference after Colorado (35-18-7, 77 points) blanked Anaheim on Friday – are set to meet once more this season on Feb. 29 at Enterprise Center.
* The Blues built a 5-0 lead before allowing the Stars’ only goal at 16:27 of the third period. It was St. Louis’ first goal against since Nashville tallied with 2:12 remaining in regulation on Feb. 16 (2-1 L), ending its team shutout streak at 178:39 – the longest in the NHL this season.
PREVIEW OF TODAY’S ACTION
HISTORY IS BUT ONE GOAL AWAY FOR OVECHKIN
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (699-570—1,269 in 1,143 GP) recorded the 699th regular-season goal of his NHL career versus the Canadiens on Thursday to snap a season-high five-game scoring drought and move within one of becoming the eighth player in League history to reach 700. Ovechkin, who has tallied in at least two consecutive games played four times this season, can hit the illustrious milestone when Washington (37-17-6, 80 points) visits New Jersey (23-27-10, 56 points) at Prudential Center.
* Ovechkin has scored 29 goals in 56 career regular-season games against the Devils (29-34—63 in 56 GP), including 10 on the road (10-15—25 in 25 GP). He has never faced New Jersey in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
* Ovechkin and the Capitals will potentially face rookie goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood, who is 5-0-0 in his last five appearances dating to Feb. 6 – posting a 0.99 goals-against average, .975 save percentage and two shutouts over that span. Ovechkin has scored one career goal on Blackwood (1-2—3 in 3 GP), which occurred on Dec. 20, 2019.
CANUCKS DEFENSEMAN HUGHES CLOSING IN ON 50-POINT MARK
Quinn Hughes (8-39—47 in 59 GP), who maintains an edge on Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (12-33—45 in 52 GP) atop the 2019-20 rookie scoring race, sit three points shy of 50 and can reach the mark when the Canucks (32-22-6, 70 points) welcome the League-leading Bruins (39-11-12, 90 points) to Rogers Arena.
* Hughes can become the third rookie defenseman in franchise history to record 50 points in a season, joining Dale Tallon in 1970-71 (14-42—56 in 78 GP) and Jocelyn Guevremont in 1971-72 (13-38—51 in 75 GP). He can also become just the second Vancouver blueliner – rookie or veteran – to reach the 50-point mark in a season over the last 23 years (since 1996-97), joining Christian Ehrhoff who achieved the feat in 2010-11 (14-36—50 in 79 GP) before the Canucks met the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final during the ensuing spring.
* Did You Know? Like Makar, Hughes also played two seasons in the NCAA – appearing with the University of Michigan from 2017-18 to 2018-19. Among players to skate at least one game with the Wolverines, only three have recorded as many points in a season as a rookie in the NHL: Kyle Connor in 2017-18 (31-26—57 in 76 GP), Kris Manery in 1977-78 (22-27—49 in 78 GP) and Zach Werenski in 2016-17 (11-36—47 in 78 GP).