Westbrook records triple-double in Miami
Russell Westbrook’s 29 points, 17 rebounds and 11 assists were all game highs in the Thunder’s victory over the Heat. It was the first triple-double for a visiting player in a regular-season game at Miami since Andre Miller had one for the Cavaliers in November 2001. Miami’s streak of 621 games without allowing a triple-double on its home court ranks as the second-longest in NBA history. The Spurs went 679 home games without permitting one from December 1999 to November 2016, with that record span bracketed by triples-double performances at San Antonio by Jason Kidd and James Harden.
Harden’s back-to-back nights with 30 points in a win
James Harden scored 32 points in the Rockets’ win against the Suns on Monday night and he came through with a 34-point effort to help Houston win at Dallas on Tuesday night. The only other NBA players to score at least 30 points in each of two wins––over two consecutive days––this season are Anthony Davis and DeMar DeRozan. Harden had done that twice before in his NBA career, both times last season.
Thomas extends streak
Isaiah Thomas scored 21 points in the Celtics’ victory against the Grizzlies. It was Thomas’s 16th consecutive game with at least 20 points, the longest such streak for any NBA player this season. Since the end of the Bird/McHale era, the only other times that a Boston player fashioned a streak of at least 16 games scoring 20 or more points were in February-March 2006 when Paul Pierce had a 16-game run of that kind and last season, when Thomas himself scored at least 20 points in 18 straight games.
Milestone for Malkin
Evgeni Malkin recorded the 800th point of his NHL career when he scored the Penguins’ first goal in their win against the Devils on Tuesday. Malkin, who added an assist later in the game, reached the 800-point mark in his 680th game, fourth-quickest among active players, behind Sidney Crosby (571), Jaromir Jagr (626) and Alex Ovechkin (658). The only other active player to do that in fewer than 800 games is Joe Thornton, who hit the 800-point plateau in his 791st game.
December 27 is Johnny Hockey Day
Johnny Gaudreau scored two goals and assisted on one for the Flames in their 6–3 win at Colorado on Tuesday. It was Gaudreau’s second multiple-goal game this season and the 14th multi-goal game of his career. Gaudreau, who made his NHL debut with Calgary in April 2014, has played a game on December 27 in each of his three full seasons with the Flames and he scored two goals in each of those games! In fact, seven of his 14 multiple-goal games in the NHL have come in the month of December (two in 2014, four in 2015 and one this year).
Ladd loves facing the Capitals
Andrew Ladd scored two goals for the Islanders in their 4–3 win over the Capitals in Brooklyn. It was Ladd’s first two-goal game for the Islanders, who signed the veteran forward as a free agent last summer. Ladd has tallied more goals (16), assists (20) and points (36) against Washington than any other team in his 12-season NHL career. The only other active NHL players who’ve scored as many goals versus the Capitals since 2005–06 as Ladd are Eric Staal (26), Sidney Crosby (19) and Claude Giroux (16).
Holden and Stepan power Rangers at MSG
Derek Stepan and Nick Holden each scored two goals for the Rangers in their come-from-behind 4–3 victory against the Senators at Madison Square Garden. This was the second time that the Rangers had a pair of multiple-goal scorers in one game this season, after Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller tallied two goals apiece in the Blueshirts’ 7–2 win at Vancouver on November 15. Holden’s two-goal game was only the fourth by a Rangers defenseman on home ice over the last 15 seasons. The others were by Dan Girardi in October 2009, Matt Gilroy in December 2010 and Michael Del Zotto in March 2012.
Blue Jackets squander early lead but preserve winning streak
The Blue Jackets squandered an early 3–0 lead but Nick Foligno’s tiebreaking goal in the third period enabled Columbus to extend its winning streak to 13 games with a 4–3 victory over the Bruins. The Blue Jackets’ winning streak is the third-longest by an NHL team within one season since the league introduced the shootout to its playing rules. (The 3rd and 10th wins in Columbus’ streak were gained via shootouts.) The two longer winning streaks in the NHL since 2005 were by the Penguins in March 2013 (15 games) and the Capitals in January/February 2010 (14 games).
Sweet December for Kane
The Sabres’ Evander Kane scored the first goal and the last goal in Buffalo’s 4–3 win over the Red Wings in Detroit. Kane, who was sidelined for nearly four weeks with a rib injury suffered in the Sabres’ opening game, has scored a team-high eight goals in Buffalo’s 12 games this month, after entering December with no goals in 11 games this season. Kane’s eight goals tie his career high for a calendar month during his eight seasons in the NHL. He scored eight times for Winnipeg in November 2011.
Spurgeon scores his first OT goal
Jared Spurgeon’s first overtime goal in the NHL earned the Wild a 3–2 victory at Nashville and extended Minnesota’s winning streak to 11 games. Spurgeon has scored 40 goals in his seven seasons in the NHL (all with the Wild) and 10 of his goals have been game-winners, including at least one decisive goal in each season. The only other NHL defenseman who’ve scored at least one game-winning goal in each season since 2010–11 are Shea Weber, Erik Karlsson and Kris Letang.
Hellebuyck bests Blackhawks again
The Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck earned a first-star selection by making 34 saves in his 3–1 victory at Chicago. Hellebucyk has won all three of his games against the Blackhawks this season and held them to two goals in the process, including a shutout in Winnipeg on November 15. He’s the first goaltender to win three consecutive games against the Blackhawks in one season while allowing no more than one goal in each game since Evgeni Nabokov did that for San Jose in 2006–07.