* Metropolitan Division teams earned wins in all three games contested on Super Bowl Sunday, with each club – Pittsburgh, Columbus and Carolina – currently occupying a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
* A pair of 25-year-old goaltenders stole the show Sunday to continue recent strings of success, while 21-year-old Elias Pettersson joined several elite lists by eclipsing 50 career goals.
* Six teams are in action tonight, highlighted by Toronto hosting Florida in a pivotal clash between intradivision opponents.
GOALTENDERS MURRAY, MERZLIKINS EXTEND WIN STREAKS
Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray and Columbus’ Elvis Merzlikins each extended their win streak on Sunday:
* Murray made 29 saves to improve to 6-0-0 in his last six appearances dating to Dec. 28, 2019 (2.63 GAA, .922 SV%). Murray, 25, matched the longest win streak recorded by a Penguins goaltender this season – a mark set by 24-year-old Tristan Jarry from Dec. 12-30, 2019 (1.80 GAA, .939 SV%, 1 SO).
* The Penguins (33-14-5, 71 points) occupy second place in the Metropolitan Division standings and moved within four points of the League-leading Capitals (35-13-5, 75 points) for first. Washington will host Pittsburgh at Capital One Arena again on Feb. 23, while the Penguins welcome the Capitals to PPG Paints Arena on March 7 and March 22.
* Merzlikins, meanwhile, made 27 saves to improve to 6-0-0 in his last six appearances dating to Jan. 11 (1.34 GAA, .959 SV%, 3 SO) – extending the franchise record for longest win streak by a rookie goaltender.
* The 25-year-old native of Riga, Latvia improved to 10-2-0 in 12 appearances since earning the first win of his NHL career on Dec. 31, 2019 (1.76 GAA, .947 SV%, 3 SO). His 10 wins since New Year’s Eve are tied for the most among all goaltenders over that span (w/ Andrei Vasilevskiy).
* Columbus extended its point steak to eight games (7-0-1) and improved to 28-16-9 (65 points) overall this season – including a 12-0-4 mark in their last 16 contests versus Eastern Conference opponents. The Blue Jackets leapfrogged the idle Islanders (29-15-6, 64 points) for third place in the Metropolitan Division standings.
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
The Penguins earned their sixth all-time win in games taking place on Super Bowl Sunday (6-9-3, 15 points) to move into a tie for the sixth-most in NHL history.
PETTERSSON SCORES 50TH AND 51ST GOALS OF NHL CAREER
Canucks forward Elias Pettersson scored twice to record the 50th and 51st goals of his NHL career (51-70—121 in 124 GP). Among players to debut with the Canucks, only two others required 124 games or fewer to score their first 50 career regular-season goals (all w/ VAN): Pavel Bure on Nov. 14, 1992 (82 GP) and Brock Boeser exactly one year ago on Feb. 2, 2019 (110 GP).
* Pettersson, a 21-year-old native of Sundsvall, Sweden, became the seventh Swedish-born player in NHL history to reach 50 career regular-season goals in 124 games or fewer.
* The five highest goal-scoring Swedish-born players in NHL history – a cohort which features a pair of Canucks icons – all required more games than Pettersson to record their first 50 career regular-season tallies: Mats Sundin (1st; 145 GP), Daniel Alfredsson (2nd; 151 GP), Markus Naslund (3rd; 247 GP), Daniel Sedin (4th; 285 GP) and Henrik Zetterberg (5th; 170 GP).
PREVIEW OF TODAY’S ACTION
MAPLE LEAFS HOST PANTHERS IN PIVOTAL INTRADIVISION CLASH
The Maple Leafs (28-17-7, 63 points) host the Panthers (28-17-5, 61 points) at Scotiabank Arena in a pivotal clash between two of the top four teams in the Atlantic Division standings. Separated by just two points, Toronto occupies third place in the division while Florida currently sits just outside of the playoff picture.
* The Maple Leafs and Panthers have combined for exactly 12 goals in each of their last two head-to-head meetings (Jan. 12: FLA 8 vs. TOR 4; March 25, 2019: TOR 7 vs. FLA 5). The last set of teams to combine for as many goals in three consecutive head-to-head regular-season games was Los Angeles and Detroit nearly 27 years ago (Feb. 11, 1993: LAK 6 vs. DET 6; March 29, 1993: LAK 9 at DET 3; Oct. 9, 1993: LAK 10 vs. DET).