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Elias Says: November 3, 2017

Forte runs for two scores in win versus Bills

Matt Forte rushed for a pair of touchdowns at MetLife Stadium, snapping his streak of 14 games without a score and helping the Jets end a three-game losing streak with a 34–21 win over the Bills. Thursday’s game marked the second time Forte rushed for more than one touchdown in a game against the Bills; he scored three times on the ground for the Jets at Buffalo in Week 2 last season. No other Jets player has more than one game against the Bills with multiple rushing touchdowns.

Jets D creates havoc for Buffalo

Despite allowing two garbage-time touchdowns with the game well in hand, the Jets defense was terrific on Thursday, registering seven sacks of Tyrod Taylor while also recovering three of the Bills’ four fumbles. It had been nearly 32 years to the day since the last time the Jets defense posted at least seven sacks in a game while also recovering three or more fumbles. On Nov. 3, 1985, New York also recorded seven sacks and recovered three fumbles in a road win over the Colts.

The only other NFL team with a game of that kind this season is the Jaguars, who racked up 10 sacks and recovered three fumbles in their season-opening win over the Texans.

Warriors come back in big way at San Antonio

The Warriors shook off an early 19-point deficit to defeat the Spurs, 112–92, in San Antonio. Golden State became the first team in just over two years to post a winning margin of 20 or more points in a game after overcoming a deficit of at least 19 points. On Nov. 1, 2015, the Heat trailed the Rockets by 21 points early in the third quarter. Miami fought back to tie the score by the end of the period and proceeded to outscore Houston 29–6 over the final nine minutes of the fourth quarter to seal the 20-point win. No other team had fashioned a comeback win of that kind – i.e., winning by 20 or more after trailing by at least 19 – since the start of the 2000-01 season prior to the Warriors on Thursday.

Warriors’ Big Three leads the way

The usual suspects provided the offensive spark for the Warriors: Klay Thompson scored a game-high 27 points, Kevin Durant contributed 24 points, and Stephen Curry chipped in 21 of his own. Each of Golden State’s Big Three also made at least half of their field-goal attempts, marking the seventh time since the start of last season that Durant, Curry, and Thompson scored at least 20 points in the same game with a field-goal percentage of 50 percent or better. That’s the most such games of any trio over that span, and it’s tied for the second-most games by any three Warriors players. The only Warriors threesome to produce more than seven games of that kind was comprised of Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullin, better known in the early 1990’s as “Run TMC.” In the 1989–90 and 1990–91 seasons, those three players had 16 games in which each of them scored 20 or more points and shot 50 percent or better from the floor.

Lillard caps another 30-point night with game-winning three

Damian Lillard capped a 32-point night with a go-ahead three-pointer in the final second of the Blazers’ 113–110 victory over the Lakers. That was the first time Lillard hit a go-ahead three-pointer in the final five seconds of a Portland win since knocking out the Rockets with a buzzer-beating three-pointer in the 2014 playoffs. Lillard had missed his last 10 potential go-ahead three-pointers that occurred in the final five seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime prior to Thursday’s game winner.

Lillard has scored at least 30 points three times over the previous four days (October 30 to November 2). He had a four-day span of that kind earlier in his professional career, producing three 30-point games for Portland over four days spanning February/March 2016. In the last 25 seasons, the only other Blazers player to accomplish that feat was Brandon Roy, who had three 30-point games within four days in December 2008.

Hats off for Scheifele

Mark Scheifele completed the second hat trick of his NHL career when he tallied the empty-net goal which wrapped up the scoring in the Jets’ 5–2 victory over the Stars in Winnipeg. It was the Jets’ third hat trick this season, after three-goal games by Nikolaj Ehlers (Oct. 9 at Edmonton) and Blake Wheeler (Oct. 29 vs. Pittsburgh). Winnipeg had only three hat tricks during the entire 2016–17 season, all by Patrik Laine (including two in Jets home games versus Dallas).

Cullen notches another birthday goal

Matt Cullen became the oldest player in NHL history to score a goal in a game played on his birthday, regular season or playoffs, when he scored the first goal for the Minnesota Wild in its 6–3 win over the Canadiens. Cullen, who turned 41 years old on Thursday, broke the record he tied a year ago when he scored a goal on his 40th birthday for the Penguins in a game at Anaheim. He matched the old mark set by Mark Recchi on Feb. 1, 2008, when he scored for the Atlanta Thrashers against the Sabres on his 40th birthday.

Avalanche of shots stopped by Varlamov

Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov stopped 57 of the Hurricanes’ 60 shots on goal in his 5–3 win against Carolina. It was the fourth time that Varlamov made 50 or more saves in a regular-season game in his NHL career, which ranks him second among active goaltenders to Roberto Luongo, who’s had six such games. The only other active NHL netminders with more than one 50-save game are Ondrej Pavelec and Mike Smith with two each.

Another OT-winner for Giordano

Mark Giordano’s goal at the 2:19 mark of overtime earned the Flames a 2–1 win against the Penguins. It was Giordano’s first OT goal this season and the sixth regular-season overtime goal in his 12-season NHL career, all with Calgary. Giordano is the all-time leader in regular-season overtime goals among Flames defensemen and he’s now tied with Jarome Iginla and Mikael Backlund for second place overall in franchise history, two behind Sean Monahan with eight.

No luck for Tavares or Stamkos in their 600th games

John Tavares, playing in the 600th game of his NHL career, scored one goal and assisted on another for the Islanders in their 4–3 loss in Washington. Tavares has been red hot for the last two weeks, scoring 10 goals in six games over that span. Since 1997, the only other Islanders player to score as many as 10 goals over a six-game stretch in one season was Michael Grabner in 2011 (Feb. 5–15).

Steven Stamkos also played the 600th game of his NHL career when the Lightning took on the Rangers in Tampa on Thursday, though he was held without a point in New York’s 2–1 overtime victory. Stamkos has scored 327 goals, second-most of any active NHL player through his first 600 games, behind Alex Ovechkin (371). Stamkos ranks sixth in points at the 600-game mark among active players (606), behind Sidney Crosby (825), Jaromir Jagr (763), Ovechkin (733), Evgeni Malkin (712) and Jason Spezza (608).

Blue Jackets pair goes two for two

Josh Anderson and Oliver Bjorkstrand each scored a pair of goals for the Blue Jackets in their 7–3 road win against the Panthers. Anderson scored both of his goals in the first period, and Bjorkstrand notched his two goals in the second stanza. This was the third time in Blue Jackets history that they had two multiple-goal periods by individual players in the same game. That first happened in a 6–2 win versus Ottawa on Dec. 10, 2006, with Rick Nash scoring twice in the first period and Dan Fritsche doing the same in the second period, and most recently in Columbus’ 4–0 victory at Anaheim on Oct. 28, 2016. In that game just over a year ago, Sam Gagner and Brandon Saad each scored two first-period goals.

Flyers post first goose egg of season

Michael Neuvirth posted the Flyers’ first shutout of the season by making 33 saves in a 2–0 win against the Blues in St. Louis. It was the 11th regular-season shutout of his NHL career and first since Nov. 7, 2015, when he led the Flyers to a 3–0 victory at Winnipeg. Neuvirth has never really had an “easy” shutout in the NHL. All 11 of his NHL “clean sheets” have been 1–0, 2–0 or 3–0 wins.

Just a regular old goal for Kuraly

Sean Kuraly’s first regular-season NHL goal snapped a 1–1 tie in the middle of the third period and the Bruins nursed their one-goal lead the rest of the way for a 2–1 win over the Golden Knights. Kuraly made his NHL debut with the Bruins last season, playing eight games without registering a goal, but he did score two goals in four games for Boston in the 2017 playoffs. Over the last 25 years, the only other player to score their first regular-season NHL goal while playing for the Bruins after scoring a playoff goal for Boston is Torey Krug. Krug scored four goals for the Bruins in the 2013 playoffs, then scored his first regular-season goal on Oct. 5, 2013, in a Boston victory against the Red Wings.

Stone skips to 200th point for Senators

Mark Stone recorded a goal and an assist in the Senators’ 3–1 victory over the Red Wings. The points were the 200th and 201st for Stone in an NHL career spent entirely with Ottawa. Stone reached the 200-point mark in his 262nd game, sixth-fastest for any player in team history, behind Dany Heatley (159 games), Jason Spezza (207), Alexei Yashin (221), Daniel Alfredsson (254) and Martin Havlat (261). Heatley is the only one of those players who started his NHL career with another club.