6 things we learned in the NHL: Sharks’ Brent Burns getting better with age

San Jose Sharks defenceman Brent Burns, centre, celebrates a goal with teammates Kevin Labanc (62) and Joonas Donskoi (27). (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

Alex Ovechkin scored a pair of milestone goals against the Boston Bruins, John Tavares had a memorable night in New Jersey and Brent Burns just gets better with age.

Here are six things we learned in the NHL.

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Ovechkin moves past the Rocket and Golden Jet in the record books

Going into Thursday’s game against the Bruins, Alex Ovechkin only had a goal over his past 10 games, which is very unlike him, so he made sure to break out of his slump in a big way.

The NHL’s leading goal scorer had a pair in the Capitals’ 4-2 win over the Bruins, reaching two milestones in the process. Ovechkin passed Maurice Richard for 18th all-time in even-strength goals and Bobby Hull for 50th on the NHL’s all-time points list. Joe Thornton is the only other active player to be on the top-50 points list.

Ovechkin also scored the game-winner which moved him past Mike Bossy and Jaromir Jagr for ninth-most in NHL history. The 33-year-old has 32 goals, 17 assists and 49 points in 43 games this season as the Capitals extended their lead in the Metropolitan Division to four points over rival Pittsburgh.

Washington also picked up their 14th consecutive win against the Bruins and improved to 21-0 against Boston when Nicklas Backstrom records a point.

The Bruins get another chance to end that slump when the two teams meet on Feb. 3 in Washington.

Tavares scores 300th career goal

The 2009 draft produced many great players but John Tavares continues to separate himself as the top goal scorer from the group.

Against the New Jersey Devils, the 28-year-old scored twice, including his 300th career goal, becoming the first player from that draft class to accomplish the milestone.

Tavares has 301 goals, 370 assists and 671 points in 712 career games since being selected first overall by the New York Islanders. The closest player to Tavares on the list is Matt Duchene (selected third overall) who has 219 goals, 300 assists and 519 points in 691 career games.

Through 43 games with his new team, Tavares has 29 goals, 21 assists and 50 points. With his big game Thursday, he joined Mitch Marner as the only Maple Leafs players with 50 or more points this season.

Tortorella picks up 600th win

Artemi Panarin scored in overtime to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators, giving head coach John Tortorella his 600th career win. The Boston native also becomes the first American-born coach to reach the milestone.

Tortorella is the 19th coach to reach 600 wins and is closing in on Canadiens coach Claude Julien, who is 18th all-time with 606 wins and counting. Predators coach Peter Laviolette needs only two more wins to become the 20th coach and second American to reach the milestone.

Lightning continue dominant stretch

No team has been more dominant in the NHL than the Tampa Bay Lightning who have only lost one game in regulation since Nov. 28 going 17-1-1 over that stretch. They lead the NHL in wins (43), points (70), goals (18) and power play percentage (30 per cent) this season with a pace that has not been seen since the San Jose Sharks in the 2008-09 season.

The Sharks would go on to the President’s Trophy that season with a league-best 53-18-11 record and 117 points. The Lightning had a franchise-best 113 points in the standings last season.

A big part of their winning streak should be credited to play of Nikita Kucherov who has 12 goals, 27 assists and 39 points over the past 19 games.

Tampa’s top line of Kucherov, Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson have been one of the more dominant lines in the league since Nov. 21, according to Sportsnet Stats, outscoring opponents 105-64 and helping the Lightning go 20-2-1 during that stretch.

Lehner continues dominant stretch for Islanders

Robin Lehner has been a great signing for the New York Islanders and he was instrumental in their 4-3 win over the New York Rangers Thursday. The 27-year-old picked up his eighth straight win, becoming just the fourth goalie in franchise history with eight or more consecutive victories.

The win was not an easy one for Lehner as the Islanders were outshot 30-20 and they only had one shot on goal in the third period, which ended up being the game-winning goal by Josh Bailey.

During his eight-game winning streak, Lehner has a 1.45 goals-against average and a .951 save percentage. In 22 games this season, the 27-year-old has a 12-6-3 record with a 2.22 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage.

Burns getting better with age

With his assist on Melker Karlsson’s goal in the third period, Brent Burns notched his 50th point of the season, becoming the first defenceman to do so. He also becomes the fourth defenceman 33 or older to do so in 46 or fewer games, joining an impressive group of hall-of-famers.

In 46 games this season, Burns leads the Sharks in scoring with eight goals, 42 assists and 50 points.

Since the 2013-14 season, Burns is second in the league in scoring by a defenceman with 115 goals, 260 assists and 375 trailing teammate Erik Karlsson for the top spot. During that stretch, he had three seasons with 20-plus goals which are the most among active defencemen.

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