Elias Says: February 19, 2018

James wins MVP in 14th ASG

LeBron James, who turned 33 years old in December, played in the NBA All-Star game for the 14th time in his career. The only other player in the four major North American professional sports leagues who appeared in his league’s All-Star game in 14 seasons prior to turning 34 years old was Wayne Gretzky (14).

James scored 29 points as his team, literally his team, won the NBA All-Star Game. It was the eighth time in his career that James scored at least 25 points in an NBA All-Star Game, three more than any other player in league history did. Bob Pettit and Kobe Bryant both scored at least 25 points in an NBA All-Star Game five times in their career.

James won the MVP of the NBA All-Star Game for the third time in his career, having also done so in 2006 and 2008. He is the sixth player to win the MVP of the NBA All-Star Game three or more times. The others to do it were Kobe Bryant (four times), Bob Pettit (four), Oscar Robertson (three), Michael Jordan (three), Shaquille O’Neal (three). The only players in the other three major North American professional sports leagues to win the All-Star Game MVP three times were Jim Brown (three), Gale Sayers (three) and Johnny Unitas (three) in the NFL; and Wayne Gretzky (three) and Mario Lemieux (three) in the NHL. No player won the MVP in the MLB All-Star Game three times.

Aldridge extends Spurs’ streak

LaMarcus Aldridge’s selection to this year’s NBA All-Star Game extends the Spurs’ streak of consecutive seasons with an All-Star (in years in which the game was played) to 20, dating back to 1997-98 (no All-Star game was played in 1998-99). That is by far the longest current streak of that kind for any NBA team (the second longest is nine straight years by the Knicks and Thunder). It is the longest such streak for any NBA team since the Pistons had at least one All-Star selection in 29 straight seasons from 1950-51 through 1978-79.

Lyon roars and saves Flyers

Alex Lyon earned his first career NHL win by stopping 25 shots in relief of Michal Neuvirth in the Flyers’ win over the Rangers on Sunday afternoon. Lyon became the third goaltender in Flyers’ history whose first career win came in a game he did not start, joining Bruce Hoffort (1989) and Dominic Roussel (1991). Hoffort went on to win only three more games in his NHL career.

Lyon, who is one of seven active goaltenders whose first career win came in relief, made the most saves for a goaltender whose first career win came in a game he did not start since Matt Hackett stopped all 34 shots he faced for the Wild against the Sharks on Dec. 6, 2011. Like Hoffort listed above, Hackett went on to win only three more games in his NHL career.

Among the other six active goaltenders whose first career win in the NHL came in relief are Braden Holtby (who like Lyon, did it in relief of Michal Neuvirth) and Frederik Andersen.

Matthews late goal gives the Leafs a win

Auston Matthews’ goal with 31 seconds left in the third period gave the Maple Leafs a 3-2 win over the Red Wings. It was the 664th regular-season game between these original six teams, the fifth in which the Maple Leafs scored the game-winning goal in the final minute of the third period. The other players to do this in a Maple Leafs win over the Red Wings were Darryl Sittler (1975), Peter Ihnacak (1985), Eddie Olczyk (1989) and Brian Bradley (1992).

McDavid is hot

Connor McDavid recorded his third hat trick of the season in the Oilers’ win over the Avalanche on Sunday. McDavid is the seventh Oilers player to have three or more hat tricks in a season, the first since Petr Klima did it in 1990-91. Other Oilers with three or more hat tricks in a season since the franchised joined the NHL were Wayne Gretzky (six times), Glenn Anderson (four times), Jari Kurri (four), Mark Messier and Blair MacDonald.

McDavid has scored 11 goals in nine games this month. The last Oilers player to score 11 or more goals over a nine-game span was Petr Klima, who did it late in 1990-91 season.

H and H win it for the Devils

Nico Hischier, who has scored a goal in four straight games, gave the Devils a 1-0 lead and Taylor Hall scored in overtime in the Devils’ win over the Hurricanes on Sunday night. Hischier is the second Devils rookie to score a goal in four consecutive team games since the franchise moved to New Jersey in 1982. Greg Adams had a four-game streak as a rookie for the Devils in 1984-85.

Hall’s goal extended his personal streak to 18 consecutive games with a point. (Hall missed three Devils games in January.) Only two players over the last eight seasons recorded points in 18 or more consecutive personal games: Sidney Crosby had a 25-game streak for the Penguins in 2010-11 and Patrick Kane had a 26-game streak for the Blackhawks in 2015-16.

Two for 200

Claude Giroux scored career goal #200 in the Flyers’ win over the Rangers while Jeff Skinner scored the 200th goal of his NHL career in the Hurricanes’ overtime loss to the Devils. It’s the first time since December 3, 1991 that two players scored career goal #200 on the same day. Calgary’s Joe Nieuwendyk and Edmonton’s Petr Klima each scored their 200th NHL goal on that date.

Sheahan scores twice

Riley Sheahan scored two goals, both in the first period, in the Penguins’ win over the Blue Jackets on Sunday night. Sheahan has scored four goals over his last six games, dating back for Feb. 9, after scoring only four goals in his first 54 games of the season (8 games with the Red Wings, 46 with the Penguins). Sheahan is tied for the Penguins’ team lead with four goals since Feb. 9. Zach Aston-Reese, who also scored a goal Sunday night, has also scored four goals since that date.

Three helpers for Myers and Wheeler

Tyler Myers and Blake Wheeler each had three assists in the Jets’ win over the Panthers on Sunday night. It was the fifth time in Jets franchise history that two players had three or more assists in the same game, the first since the franchise moved to Winnipeg. It last happened when Ilya Kovalchuk and Toby Enstrom did it for the Thrashers against the Islanders in a shootout loss on January 2, 2010.

Boedker scores twice in the first period

Mikkel Boedker scored two goals in the four-goal first period for the Sharks in their win over the Stars. It was the fifth time that Boedker scored two goals in a period, the first time he did that in the first period of a game.