* The 2019-20 trend of players scoring highlight-reel lacrosse-style goals continued, with Tuesday’s marker being the first one netted by a player not named Andrei Svechnikov.
* Sidney Crosby, who missed the Penguins’ last 28 games, had another memorable return to the Pittsburgh lineup.
* Dominik Kubalik extended his goal streak to five games and paces a new crop of rookies leading the way in 2020.
MUST SEE: FORSBERG SCORES NHL’S LATEST LACROSSE-STYLE GOAL
We have another lacrosse-style goal! Predators forward Filip Forsberg pulled it off this time, joining Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov (2x) as the second player in NHL history to achieve the feat.
CROSBY COLLECTS FOUR POINTS IN RETURN TO PITTSBURGH LINEUP
In his first game since Nov. 9, 2019, Sidney Crosby (1-3—4) factored on four of seven goals to help the Penguins extend their win streak to four contests. Tuesday marked the fourth time Crosby returned to the Pittsburgh lineup after missing 20-plus consecutive games (spanning regular seasons), with the longtime captain finding the score sheet in each outing.
A look back at the three previous instances:
March 4, 2008 (0-1—1 at TBL)
* After missing 21 games, Crosby assisted on the winning goal by Max Talbot (1-1—2) as Pittsburgh blanked Tampa Bay. The Penguins would go 9-4-1 in their remaining 14 regular-season contests en route to reaching the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1992.
Nov. 21, 2011 (2-2—4 vs. NYI)
* In his most noteworthy return prior to Tuesday, Crosby factored on four of five Pittsburgh goals following an absence of 61 regular-season contests – drawing several comparisons to Mario Lemieux’s historic comeback game on Dec. 27, 2000 after nearly a four-year hiatus (1-2—3 vs. TOR).
March 15, 2012 (0-2—2 at NYR)
* Crosby returned after missing 40 games to help the Penguins extend their win streak to 10 contests. Pittsburgh earned a victory in its next game to extend the run to 11, marking the longest win streak by any team during the 2011-12 season.
ISLANDERS, MAPLE LEAFS ALSO SECURE WINS IN HIGH-SCORING AFFAIRS
In addition to the Penguins, the Islanders and Maple Leafs each scored at least seven goals to secure wins:
* Seven New York players found the score sheet multiple times as the Islanders scored eight goals in a game for the first time since Feb. 7, 2016 (8-1 W vs. EDM). New York (28-13-4, 60 points), which occupies third place in the Metropolitan Division standings, scored eight goals in a game versus Detroit for the first time since Jan. 11, 1986 (8-2 W).
* Toronto tallied seven times to triumph over New Jersey in a game which featured hat tricks by Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (3-0—3) and Devils forward Blake Coleman (3-0—3). It marked the first game involving Toronto to feature dueling hat tricks since April 11, 2006, when Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin (4-2—6) and Panthers forward Joe Nieuwendyk (3-1—4) combined for the feat.
A LOOK AT THE 2019-20 MAURICE “ROCKET” RICHARD TROPHY RACE
Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34-23—57 in 47 GP), who registered the second hat trick of his NHL career and first since his historic four-goal League debut on Oct. 12, 2016, moved within two tallies of matching Bruins forward David Pastrnak (36-30—66 in 48 GP) in the 2019-20 Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy race.
* Did You Know? Only two regular seasons since the end of the 1970s have concluded with players from Original Six franchises ranking first and second place in goals (outright or tied): 1990-91 (Cam Neely and Steve Yzerman) as well as 2001-02 (Bill Guerin and Mats Sundin).
KUBALIK EXTENDS GOAL STREAK TO FIVE GAMES
Blackhawks forward Dominik Kubalik scored twice for a second straight game (also Jan. 11: 2-0—2 vs. ANA) to extend his goal streak to five contests (7-0—7), tied for the second-longest by a rookie in franchise history. Kubalik (Plzen, Czech Republic) became the 17th different NHL rookie born outside North America to record a goal streak of five-plus outings – a list topped by Teemu Selanne (Helsinki, Finland), who posted a nine-game run during his historic debut season in 1992-93.
* Kubalik leads all rookies with 10 points since Jan. 1 (7-3—10 in 6 GP), edging Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (1-6—7 in 6 GP), Lightning forward Carter Verhaeghe (4-1—5 in 8 GP), Maple Leafs forward Pierre Engvall (3-2—5 in 6 GP) and Penguins defenseman John Marino (0-5—5 in 7 GP).
* The rookie scoring leaders from the start of the season until Dec. 31, 2019 were Sabres forward Victor Olofsson (16-18—34 in 41 GP), Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (8-21—29 in 32 GP) and Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (3-25—28 in 39 GP).
OTHER NOTABLE #NHLSTATS FROM TUESDAY
* Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins turned aside all 34 shots he faced to record his second straight shutout (also Jan. 11: 3-0 W at VGK). The native of Riga, Latvia became the second rookie in franchise history to record a shutout in consecutive appearances, joining Steve Mason from Dec. 27-31, 2008 (3 GP).
* Sabres captain Jack Eichel posted 1-1—2 to extend his point streak to eight games (4-6—10), tied for the longest active run in the NHL (w/ Mitch Marner). Eichel (28-33—61 in 46 GP) became the first Buffalo player to reach the 60-point mark in 46 games or fewer since 1992-93, when Alexander Mogilny (38-22—60 in 33 GP) and Pat LaFontaine (24-36—60 in 34 GP) combined for the feat.
* The Stars rallied from a 3-2 third-period deficit to sweep its four-game season series with the Avalanche (COL: 0-2-2). Dallas recorded their League-leading eighth third-period comeback win in 2019-20 – seven shy of the franchise record for most in a single regular season set in 2006-07 (15).
* Connor Hellebuyck (41 saves) recorded the 18th regular-season shutout of his NHL career to pass Ondrej Pavelec (17) for the most by a Jets/Thrashers goaltender. Winnipeg improved to 10-0-0 in its last 10 games versus Vancouver dating to Dec. 22, 2016 (VAN: 0-10-0) – extending the longest regular-season win streak against one opponent in franchise history.
* Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (1-2—3) scored his 15th career regular-season overtime goal to move into a tie for the sixth-most in League history, trailing only Alex Ovechkin (23), Jaromir Jagr (19), Ilya Kovalchuk (16), Patrik Elias (16) and Daniel Sedin (16).
PREVIEW OF TODAY’S ACTION
BLUES LOOK TO SET FRANCHISE RECORD FOR LONGEST HOME WIN STREAK
The League-leading Blues (30-10-7, 67 points) look to improve to 10-0-0 in their last 10 games as hosts and set a franchise record for longest home win streak when they welcome the Flyers (24-16-6, 54 points) to Enterprise Center. St. Louis defeated Anaheim on Monday to improve to 9-0-0 in its last nine home games dating to Dec. 12, 2019, matching the previous mark set from Jan. 26 – Feb. 26, 1991.
* The Blues can also sweep a five-game homestand for the first time in franchise history. They would eclipse the previous mark of four contests, which has been achieved eight times in club history with the last instance occurring from Dec. 12-18, 2019.