4 things we learned in the NHL: Thornton reaches another milestone


San Jose Sharks centre Joe Thornton. (Jeffrey McWhorter/AP)

Joe Thornton continues to solidify his status as one of the NHL’s top playmakers, Rasmus Dahlin hits another milestone during his strong rookie season and Carter Hart continues to ride his hot streak.

Here are four things we learned in the NHL.

Thornton moves up the all-time assists list

Throughout his 21-year career, Thornton has had a lot of accomplishments and on Saturday night he had another one to add to the list as he tied Gordie Howe on the all-time assists list.

The 39-year-old recorded two helpers in San Jose’s 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers pushing his career total to 1,049 in 1,540 games while Howe had that many over 1,767 games.

Thornton has been known throughout his career as a top playmaker in the NHL, winning the Art Ross and Hart trophies during the 2005-06 season when he put up 29 goals, 96 assists and 125 points over 81 games. Looking back at past winners of the Art Ross Trophy since the 1947-48 season, only seven had won it after scoring less than 30 goals, with three of those players posting 100 points or more — Thornton, Henrik Sedin and Peter Forsberg.

On top of the league MVP and scoring title, the London, Ont., native also has been to six all-star games, and has a gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics, two World Cup gold medals, a gold medal at the World Juniors and a silver medal at the World Championship.

Not bad for someone who was not named on the NHL’s Top 100 Greatest Players list.

Dahlin puts himself in rare company

With an assist in the Sabres 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings, Dahlin became just the fifth defenceman in history to score 30 points before his 19th birthday.

Dahlin is currently on pace for nine goals, 36 assists and 45 points if he plays out the rest of the season. Since he doesn’t turn 19 until Apr. 13, Dahlin should be able to move up second on the list and pass Bobby Orr.

The 2018 No. 1 pick has six goals, 24 assists and 30 points in 54 games this season for Buffalo, good for second in scoring among rookies this season.

Hart continues unbeaten streak

There aren’t many goalies who have accomplished what Hart has done in his rookie season as the Flyers goalie improved to 8-0 since Jan. 14. Hart’s win streak matched Jocelyn Thibault for the longest personal win streak by an NHL goaltender before turning 21.

Over this streak, Hart’s eight wins are the most among goalies while also sporting a .934 save percentage and a 2.35 goals-against average. Only Andrei Vasilevskiy has a better combined goals-against average (1.86) and save percentage (.934) during that stretch.

The 20-year-old improved to 11-5-1 with a 2.45 goals-against average, and a .926 save percentage through 17 starts for Philadelphia. The Flyers look to be making a push for a wild-card spot as they are only six points out, going 9-0-1 over their past 10 games.

Leafs continue to have Canadiens’ number

With second place in the Atlantic Division on the line, it was no surprise the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens needed more than 60 minutes.

John Tavares scored the overtime winner, securing the Leafs their fourth straight win on the season and their sixth consecutive victory over the Canadiens dating back to Oct. 2017.

Looking back at the six games, three of them have been decided in overtime, leaving many wondering if this could be a potential first-round playoff series. Safe to say, if both teams end up meeting in the post-season for the first time since 1979, both fanbases could be in for a treat.

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