* With chants of ‘Ovi, Ovi’ raining down at Canadian Tire Centre, Alex Ovechkin surpassed Mark Messier for sole possession of eighth place on the NHL’s all-time goals list.
* Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby each collected three points as the Penguins edged the Flyers in overtime. The duo are the highest-scoring teammates since 2005-06.
* Andrei Vasilevskiy made 23 saves to extend his overall point streak and road point streak to 15 and 11 games, respectively, as the Lightning kept pace with the Bruins in the Atlantic Division standings.
OVECHKIN PASSES MESSIER, NOW FIVE GOALS SHY OF 700. . .
With chants of ‘Ovi, Ovi’ raining down in the final seconds of Friday’s contest at Canadian Tire Centre, Alex Ovechkin scored the 694th and 695th goals of his regular-season career to surpass Mark Messier (694) for sole possession of eighth place on the NHL’s all-time goals list.
* Ovechkin has 11 goals in his past five games, a first in his NHL career and the second such instance by any player age 34 or older (also Joe Mullen: Dec. 17-26, 1991 w/ PIT). It also is the first time that he has recorded four multi-goal performances in a span of five appearances.
* The 34-year-old Capitals captain has leapfrogged four members of the Hockey Hall of Fame in the past 19 days – Teemu Selanne, Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman and Messier – in his pursuit of becoming the eighth player in NHL history to reach the 700-goal milestone.
* Ovechkin now needs only 200 goals to surpass Wayne Gretzky for the most in League history.
* Ovechkin is on pace to go from 600 to 700 goals in only 154 games, which would mark the fewest games to make that leap for any member of the 700-goal club. It also would be the second-fewest games to get from one 100-goal milestone to another in his career.
* Already a record eight-time winner of the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, Ovechkin shares the League lead with 37 goals – tied with 23-year-old David Pastrnak – as he aims to become the third-oldest player to lead the NHL in goals (behind Bill Cook in 1932-33 and Gordie Howe in 1962-63).
* Ovechkin has 11 career goals on Jan. 31 (11 GP), his “favorite date” on the hockey calendar ahead of March 1 (9 G in 8 GP). It could be argued – based on goals-per-game – that his favorite day of the week is either Monday or Thursday (0.67 G/GP each) and that his favorite month is October (0.70 G/GP).
* The NHL Stats & Information team will be tracking Ovechkin’s pursuit of 700 goals with a “By the Numbers” document each time he passes someone on the all-time list, with the fourth now available.
. . . WHILE SAMSONOV JOINS RARE COMPANY WITH 11TH STRAIGHT WIN
Ilya Samsonov turned aside 25 shots to help the League-leading Capitals (35-12-5, 75 points) capture their NHL-best 20th road win of the season and extend his personal win streak to 11 straight decisions. He joined Ross Brooks (14-0-0 in 1973-74) and George Hainsworth (11-0-0 in 1926-27) as just the third rookie goaltender in NHL history to string together wins in 11 consecutive decisions.
* The 22-year-old, who boasts a 16-2-1 record through 20 contests (2.11 GAA, .925 SV% and 1 SO), also improved to 10-0-0 as the visitor this season and sits one win shy of joining Brent Johnson (11-0-0 from Feb. 26, 1999 to Jan. 13, 2001 w/ STL) as the second goaltender in NHL history to win each of his first 11 road decisions to begin his career.
CROSBY, MALKIN POST THREE POINTS, LEAD PENGUINS TO OVERTIME VICTORY
Evgeni Malkin (1-2—3) collected three points in regulation and captain Sidney Crosby (1-2—3) scored in overtime as the Penguins (32-14-5, 69 points) kept pace with the Capitals in the Metropolitan Division standings.
* Crosby, who netted his 16th career regular-season overtime goal, has found the score sheet in five of six contests since returning to the lineup on Jan. 14 (4-7—11 in 6 GP). Meanwhile, Crosby (455-789—1,244 in 966 GP) and Malkin (407-648—1,055 in 890 GP) stand as the highest-scoring teammates since the Penguins captain made his NHL debut in 2005-06
* Meanwhile, Malkin (16-37—53) leads the Penguins in scoring this season, despite playing only 38 games. The 33-year-old is one of seven players to produce at a point-per-game pace of at least 1.30 in 2019-20 (min. 30 GP).
VASILEVSKIY CONTINUES STREAKING IN LIGHTNING WIN
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 23 saves to extend his overall point streak and road point streak to 15 and 11 games, respectively. Vasilevskiy, who earned his 150th career win, completed the month of January with a League-leading nine wins and helped the Lightning (31-15-5, 67 points) collect an NHL-best 10 victories since the turn of the calendar.
* Vasilevskiy’s 15-game point streak dating to Dec. 17, 2019 (13-0-2; 2.10 GAA, .930 SV%, 2 SO) stands as the second-longest such run in franchise history behind Nikolai Khabibulin’s 16-game stretch from Feb. 15 – April 2, 2003 (12-0-4). Additionally, only two goaltenders in the last five years have posted longer streaks: Tuukka Rask (19 GP in 2017-18 w/ BOS) and Sergei Bobrovsky (16 GP in 2016-17 w/ CBJ).
* The 25-year-old netminder has yet to lose in regulation on the road since Nov. 19, 2019, boasting a 9-0-2 record through the past 11 such contests – extending the longest streak in franchise history.
THIS AND THAT, HERE AND THERE
* Leon Draisaitl (29-50—79) scored twice to register his second point streak of at least 10 games this season and open up a two-point lead over teammate Connor McDavid (27-50—77) in the Art Ross Trophy race. Draisaitl became the first Oilers player in 31 years to record multiple such stretches in a single season since Jimmy Carson (11 GP from Nov. 23 – Dec. 14, 1988 and 10 GP from Jan. 28 – Feb. 17, 1989).
* Artemi Panarin (1-1—2) collected multiple points for the fifth time in his last six home games and became the fifth player to reach the 70-point mark in 2019-20 (27-43—70). Panarin, who reached the benchmark while skating in his 48th contest of the season, is on pace for 118 points – the seventh 100-point season in franchise history and first since Jaromir Jagr in 2005-06 (54-69—123 in 82 GP).
* In a contest that witnessed the Hurricanes score a game-tying goal with 3:39 left in the third period, Paul Stastny and Jonathan Marchessault each collected 1-1—2 and Alex Tuch registered the go-ahead marker with 2:28 remaining in regulation as the Golden Knights (26-20-7, 59 points) moved into the Western Conference’s first Wild Card spot.
PREVIEW OF TODAY’S ACTION
BATTLES OF ONTARIO, ALBERTA HIGHLIGHT HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
The latest renditions of the Battle of Ontario and Battle of Alberta highlight Saturday’s 14-game slate when the Maple Leafs (27-17-7, 61 points) host the Senators (18-24-9, 45 points) and the Flames (27-19-6, 60 points) welcome the Oilers (27-18-6, 60 points), respectively.
* The Maple Leafs enter the contest with each of their top three-point producers under the age of 23: Auston Matthews (age 22), Mitch Marner (age 22) and William Nylander (age 23). The only other team this season with each of its top three scorers age 23 or younger is the Coyotes: Nick Schmaltz (age 23), Clayton Keller (age 21) and Christian Dvorak (age 23).
* Matthews (36-24—60 in 51 GP) is four goals from recording his second career 40-goal season (2016-17; 40-29—69 in 82 GP). He can become the fifth active player to record multiple 40-goal seasons before celebrating his 23rd birthday joining Steven Stamkos (3x), Alex Ovechkin (3x), Connor McDavid (2x) and Ilya Kovalchuk (2x).
* The Flames and Oilers are both chasing the Canucks in the tightly-contested Pacific Division where the top five teams are all separated by four points. The last time three Canadian teams finished 1-2-3 in any division at season’s end was 1989-90 when Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg took the top three spots in the Smythe Division.
* Draisaitl (29-50—79 in 51 GP) holds a two-point advantage over McDavid (27-50—77 in 51 GP) in the Art Ross Trophy race. The last time teammates both reached the 80-point mark within their first 52 games played of a season was Mario Lemieux (30-50—80 in 45 GP) and Jaromir Jagr (44-38—82 in 52 GP) in 1996-97.