* With Wayne Gretzky in attendance, Connor McDavid posted his 11th career four-point game to pad his lead in the 2019-20 Art Ross Trophy race. The Great One recorded four-plus points in a franchise-record 158 regular-season games – amounting to nearly one in every four times he suited up for Edmonton (696 GP; 22.7%).
* A goaltender very familiar with The Mile-High City blanked Colorado as the Islanders improved to 6-0-0 in their last six home games against the Avalanche dating to Nov. 11, 2014 (COL: 0-5-1).
* Columbus extended its road point streak to eight games (5-0-3), the longest active run in the NHL.
AN EARLY LOOK AT THE 2019-20 ART ROSS TROPHY RACE
Three of the NHL’s top five scorers this season were in action Monday, with the Oilers tandem of Connor McDavid (1-3—4) and Leon Draisaitl (1-1—2) tallying multiple points to pad their shared lead on Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon – who was held off the score sheet.
McDAVID HELPS OILERS SNAP MAPLE LEAFS’ POINT STREAK
After recording three assists, Connor McDavid scored a highlight-reel third-period goal to boost his League-leading point total to 69 (24-45—69 in 45 GP) and help Edmonton snap Toronto’s point streak at 10 games (9-0-1).
* McDavid, who is set to celebrate his 23rd birthday next Monday, posted three-plus assists in a regular-season game for the 20th time in his NHL career. That’s tied with Bobby Orr and Denis Savard for the fifth-most in League history by a player before age 23.
* McDavid scored the 152nd regular-season goal of his NHL career (152-289—441 in 332 GP) and tied Mark Messier for the second-most by an Oilers player before age 23, trailing only Wayne Gretzky (329).
* McDavid enters Thursday’s contest against the Canadiens one point shy of 70, a mark he reached in his 46th game last season on Jan. 16, 2019 (29-41—70). Prior to 2018-19, the last Edmonton player to reach the 70-point mark in 46 games or fewer was Gretzky in 1987-88 (25-45—70 in 29 GP).
DID YOU KNOW?
Connor McDavid earned his first win in seven career head-to-head matchups versus fellow No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews, with Edmonton improving to 1-5-1 in those contests (TOR: 6-1-0). McDavid (3-7—10) owns a five-point edge over Matthews (3-2—5) in the seven head-to-head games.
* Since the NHL Draft was introduced in 1963, only one No. 1 overall pick owns an undefeated regular-season record in six or more head-to-head matchups against another No. 1 overall pick: Alexandre Daigle versus Patrik Stefan (6-0-0).
VARLAMOV EARNS SHUTOUT IN FIRST GAME VERSUS FORMER TEAM
Semyon Varlamov, who played for Colorado from 2011-12 to 2018-19 before signing with New York on July 1, 2019, turned aside all 32 shots he faced as the Islanders blanked the Avalanche in their goaltender’s first game versus his former team.
* The Islanders, who recorded the fewest goals against among all teams in 2018-19 (196), own the second-lowest total this season with 105 – trailing only the Stars (104). New York has concluded consecutive campaigns with the fewest goals against in its conference on two occasions (since 1974-75 when teams realigned), doing so from 1975-76 (190) to 1976-77 (193) and 1978-79 (214) to 1979-80 (247) when they competed in the Clarence Campbell Conference.
* Varlamov became the first former Avalanche/Nordiques goaltender to record a shutout in his first contest against his old team. Only three netminders under the aforesaid criteria allowed one goal against in their first appearance versus the franchise: Stephane Fiset on Dec. 7, 1996 (w/ LAK), Craig Billington on Feb. 7, 2001 (w/ WSH) and Reto Berra on Oct. 13, 2017 (w/ ANA).
WHEELER PASSES KOVALCHUK FOR MOST MULTI-POINT GAMES IN CLUB HISTORY
Blake Wheeler (0-2—2) recorded his 156th regular-season multi-point game since joining the Jets/Thrashers and passed Ilya Kovalchuk (155) for the most in club history.
* Skating across from Wheeler was Kovalchuk, who collected an assist in his first game since signing with Montreal on Jan. 3. Kovalchuk (36 years, 266 days) became the third-oldest player in franchise history to record a point in his team debut.
PREVIEW OF TODAY’S ACTION
LIGHTNING, CANUCKS COLLIDE WITH 7-GAME WINNING STREAKS
The Lightning (24-13-4, 52 points) and Canucks (23-15-4, 50 points) will each put their respective seven-game winning streaks on the line when they face off at AMALIE Arena in Tampa Bay. The matchup is set to be the second in NHL history to feature two teams with an active win streak of at least seven games; Columbus doubled up Minnesota 4-2 on Dec. 31, 2016, when the clubs entered the contest with 14- and 12-game win streaks, respectively.
* The Lightning, who have earned all seven of their victories in regulation, look to push their winning streak to eight games for the fifth time in franchise history – two of the previous four instances occurred in 2018-19 en route to tying the NHL record for wins in a season. The longest winning streak in franchise history was a 10-game run last season (10-0-0 from Feb. 9-27, 2019).
* When the Lightning’s current seven-game stretch began on Dec. 23, 2019, they were in sixth place in the Atlantic Division and three points outside a playoff position. Entering Tuesday’s game, they occupy third place in the Atlantic Division standings – one point back of second and seven points back of first with multiple games in hand on both clubs ahead of them in the standings.
* If the Canucks are able to stretch their winning streak to eight games, it would mark the second-longest in franchise history (also 8-0-0 from Dec. 23, 2010 to Jan. 7, 2011) behind only a 10-game run in 2002-03 (10-0-0 from Nov. 9-30, 2002).
* When the Canucks began their seven-game run on Dec. 19, 2019, they ranked fifth in the Pacific Division and four points outside of a playoff position. Today, they rank fourth in the Pacific Division – four points out of first – with multiple games in hand on the three clubs ahead of them in the standings.