* History is but one goal away for Alex Ovechkin, who scored career marker No. 699 on Thursday.
* The Golden Knights snapped the Lightning’s franchise-record win streak and became the first team to hand Andrei Vasilevskiy a regulation loss since Dec. 14, 2019.
* Jordan Binnington recorded back-to-back shutouts for the second time in his NHL career – with the first instance occurring just over a year ago when the Blues were in the midst of their historic turnaround.
HISTORY IS BUT ONE GOAL AWAY FOR OVECHKIN
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin recorded the 699th regular-season goal of his NHL career (699-570—1,269 in 1,143 GP) 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 scored his 41st goal of the season (41-17—58 in 59 GP) to climb within two of Bruins forward David Pastrnak (43-41—84 in 61 GP) and Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (43-30—73 in 62 GP), who pace the 2019-20 Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy race. Pastrnak (age 23) and Matthews (age 22) are 11 and 12 years younger than Ovechkin (age 34), respectively.
* Washington is set to visit New Jersey in its next game, a Saturday matinee 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).
* 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.
GOLDEN KNIGHTS MOVE INTO FIRST PLACE IN PACIFIC DIVISION STANDINGS
Alec Martinez, who was acquired by Vegas on Wednesday, collected 1-1—2 in his team debut to help the Golden Knights snap the Lightning’s franchise-record win streak at 11 games. Vegas improved to 32-22-8 (72 points) this season and moved past idle Edmonton (32-21-7, 71 points) and Vancouver (32-22-6, 70 points) for first place in the tightly-contested Pacific Division standings.
DID YOU KNOW?
Max Pacioretty (1-1—2) leads the Golden Knights with 28 goals in 2019-20 (28-30—58 in 62 GP) and can become the third player to conclude a season pacing the team in tallies, following William Karlsson during the franchise’s inaugural campaign in 2017-18 (43-35—78 in 82 GP) and Jonathan Marchessault in 2018-19 (25-34—59 in 82 GP).
* Three expansion teams after 1979-80 when four franchises merged from the WHA have had a different leading goal scorer in each of its first three NHL seasons: San Jose, Nashville and Atlanta.
Sergei Krivokrasov (above) scored a team-leading 25 goals during the Predators’ inaugural season (25-23—48 in 70 GP)
BINNINGTON RECORDS SECOND STRAIGHT SHUTOUT, REACHES 50 CAREER WINS
Jordan Binnington (14 saves) recorded his second shutout in as many appearances (also Feb. 18: 3-0 W vs. NJD) to help the Blues (34-17-10, 78 points) re-establish a two-point lead atop the Western Conference standings.
* Binnington, who posted back-to-back shutouts for the second time in his NHL career (also Feb. 14-17, 2019), improved to 50-16-8 through 77 regular-season appearances (2.30 GAA, .917 SV%, 8 SO). He became the 10th goaltender in League history to reach 50 career regular-season wins in 77 appearances or fewer.
* St. Louis moved two points ahead of idle Dallas (35-19-6, 76 points), which occupies second place in the Western Conference standings. The Blues and Stars square off tonight at American Airlines Center.
MORE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THURSDAY
* Travis Konecny (1-2—3) registered his second straight three-point game (also Feb. 18: 1-2—3 vs. CBJ) as the Flyers (34-20-7, 75 points) rallied from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to sweep their home-and-home set with the Blue Jackets, strengthening its grip on third place in the Metropolitan Division standings. Konecny became the fourth player in franchise history to collect three-plus points in consecutive regular-season games with each contest occurring versus the same opponent, joining Bill Barber against the Rangers from Feb. 12-13, 1976, Rick Tocchet against the Red Wings from Feb. 21-23, 1988 and Claude Giroux against the Capitals from March 2-5, 2014.
* Frederik Andersen turned aside all 24 shots he faced as the Maple Leafs (32-22-8, 72 points) moved past the Panthers (32-23-6, 70 points) – who were defeated by the Kings Thursday – to reclaim third place in the Atlantic Division standings. Andersen improved to 25-12-6 in 46 appearances this season (2.91 GAA, .908 SV%, 2 SO), trailing only three goaltenders for the most wins in 2019-20.
* Mark Scheifele (3-1—4) scored the third hat trick of his NHL career as the Jets (32-25-5, 69 points) leapfrogged a pair of teams for the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference standings. Scheifele leads Winnipeg with 65 points this season (26-39—65 in 62 GP), while Kyle Connor (1-1—2) – who reached the 30-goal mark for a third straight campaign (30-33—63 in 62 GP) – paces the team in tallies.