A Shark and ex-Shark hit impressive milestones, the Ottawa Senators might as well have played with four skaters on the ice, Lundqvist got the hook again and two Toronto clubs are headed in opposite directions. Here are six things we learned in the NHL Saturday.
Crosby enters the Top 100 all-time scorers
Where would the Pittsburgh Penguins be without Sidney Crosby this season? Probably not in a playoff spot, that’s for sure.
Crosby registered two assists in a 4-1 win over the Flyers and extended his point streak to 11 games, his second 11-game point streak of the calendar year.
The Penguins captain now sits third in league scoring, six points back of Jamie Benn for second, which is impressive considering he had a mere three points in his first nine games.
He also picked up career point 927 to leapfrog Brad Richards and move into the top 100 scorers in NHL history (he hit the 927-point mark in 418 fewer games than Richards, mind you). His 1.329 points per game ranks fifth in NHL history behind only Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Mike Bossy and Bobby Orr.
With the Stanley Cup playoffs right around the corner, Crosby and his Penguins – even without an injured Evgeni Malkin — will be a difficult test for whomever they end up facing in the opening round (assuming they avoid a terrible collapse and miss the playoffs). Pittsburgh is the hottest team in the league at the moment, having won five straight.
They’re even getting some help on divisive calls as evidenced by what happened on Kris Letang’s goal.
Boyle, Marleau complete impressive accomplishments
Dan Boyle scored the lone goal for the Rangers in a 4-1 loss to the Sharks, and in doing so, filled out his NHL goal-scoring BINGO card. Boyle played six seasons with San Jose from 2008-2014, and until Saturday afternoon, the Sharks were the only team he hadn’t scored a goal against. The Sharks dominated the game but it was a nice moment for Boyle in what was potentially the last game the 39-year-old will ever play in San Jose.
This is how #NYR Dan Boyle tied it up! #LGR pic.twitter.com/KhGgcwkGpV
Boyle’s former teammate Patrick Marleau recorded an assist in what was his 1,400th career game. Jaromir Jagr, Jarome Iginla and Shane Doan are the only active players with more games played than Marleau. He became the 36th player in NHL history to hit that milestone.
Pageau a shorthanded, goal-scoring machine
Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored his league-leading sixth shorthanded goal of season in a 5-0 win over the Canadiens. Pageau’s teammates Curtis Lazar and Alex Chiasson added two more shorthanded goals later in the game as the Senators became the first team to score three shorties in a single game in six years.
The Senators record for most shorthanded goals in a single season is seven, which was set by Daniel Alfredsson in 2007-08.
Keep in mind Montreal only had four power plays in this game and Ottawa scored on three of them. Yikes.
Lundqvist gets the yank yet again
The New York Rangers are having another solid season, but star netminder Henrik Lundqvist has had a number of disappointing outings. He was hung out to dry in a loss to the Sharks in which the Rangers were outshot 52-26. Lundqvist performed admirably, stopping 43 of 47 shots but didn’t see the end of the game.
Tortorella becomes 1st American-born coach to reach 1000 games
When the Columbus Blue Jackets played the New Jersey Devils Saturday, it was head coach John Tortorella’s 1000th game behind the bench. He’s the first American-born coach to reach that milestone.
Ron Wilson, of course, is an American coach who reached game 1401 but was born in Windsor, ON.
Tortorella took over the Blue Jackets job early in the season when the club struggled out of the gate. He sports a respectable 29-27-8 record with his new team. His all-time record is 475-402-37-86, having spent time with the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks.
He won a Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004.
Meanwhile, it was a milestone night for Blue Jackets’ rookie Oliver Bjorkstrand who scored his first NHL goal…and then added another in a 6-3 win.
Portrait of a Maple Leafs’ organization
Or, “A tale of two clubs in the same city.”
While the Toronto Maple Leafs were officially eliminated from playoff contention Saturday night — despite winning 4-1 over the Buffalo Sabres — the Toronto Marlies, their affiliate in the AHL, clinched a playoff spot.
It was the kids who led the way in the Leafs’ victory. William Nylander and Connor Carrick each scored a goal and added an assist.
The Marlies have had a remarkable year, going 45-15-5 — a winning percentage of .731. Now, some of those very same Marlies are contributing at the NHL level.
In other words, there will be playoff hockey in Toronto this spring.