Unprecedented top two in NL MVP race
Giancarlo Stanton edged Joey Votto by two votes for the National League MVP award. It is the first time that the top two finishers in the MVP voting––in either league––came from teams that had losing records that season.
There were two years in which two of the top three finishers were from losing teams. That happened in 1944, when Marty Marion of the pennant-winning Cardinals captured the award, while Bill Nicholson (Cubs) and Dixie Walker (Dodgers) placed second and third, respectively. And also in 2015, when Bryce Harper won the NL MVP for a Nationals team that finished 83–79; Paul Goldschmidt and Votto ranked next-highest in the balloting that year.
Jose Altuve won the batting title and World Series in October, and was named the American League MVP yesterday. Seven other players––but only one in the past 50 years––fashioned a batting crown/world championship/MVP trifecta: Joe DiMaggio (1939) Mickey Mantle (1956) and Frank Robinson (1966) in the AL, along with Stan Musial (1946), Willie Mays (1954), Dick Groat (1960) and Buster Posey (2012) in the NL.
Celtics extend winning streak with victory over defending champs
The Celtics put their 13-game winning streak on the line when they hosted the Warriors. Boston was the 10th team to enter a game against the reigning NBA champion on a (single-season) winning streak of at least 13 games.
With their 92–88 victory on Thursday night, the Celtics became the fourth of those 10 teams to extend their streak. In December 1948 the Washington Capitols improved to 15–0 that season with a win over the Baltimore Bullets; in March 1973 the Bucks increased their winning streak to 14 games by defeating the Lakers, and in January 1996 the Bulls’ 16 straight win was a triumph over the Rockets.
Celtics score 19 straight points
The Celtics overcame a 17-point deficit thanks to a run of 19 consecutive points during the third quarter. That is the longest streak of points allowed by the Warriors in any game in the last three seasons. During the 2014–15 season they gave up 20 straight points at Memphis in the regular season and 19 unanswered points at New Orleans in the playoffs.
Brown’s second Thursday night with three TD catches
Antonio Brown tied his career high with three TD catches in the Steelers’ rout of the Titans. Brown had three scoring catches on Thanksgiving night last year against the Colts. The only other player in NFL history to have multiple games with three TD receptions on a Thursday was Cloyce Box for the Lions on Thanksgiving Day in 1950 and 1952.
Boychuk scores decisive goal
Johnny Boychuk’s goal with 4:25 remaining in the third period snapped a 4–4 tie and proved decisive as the Islanders recorded a 6–4 win over the Hurricanes. The veteran defenseman also posted a plus-five rating in Thursday’s game in Brooklyn. He’s the first Islanders player to register a plus-five rating in a game since Nov. 21, 2002, when forwards Dave Scatchard and Jason Wiemer both did so in a 7–2 win at Tampa Bay. Boychuk is the first Islander to score the winning goal and finish plus-five or higher in the same game since Mike Bossy on Oct. 20, 1984 in an 8–3 win over the Kings at Nassau Coliseum. Bossy tallied seven points (four goals, three assists) and was plus-five that night.
Nylander scores late in OT
William Nylander’s goal at the 4:57 mark of overtime earned the Maple Leafs a 1–0 victory against the Devils on Thursday. Nylander tied the NHL record for the latest regular-season overtime goal in a 1–0 game since the five-minute OT format was introduced in 1983. That mark was set by Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne in the Sharks’ overtime win at Colorado on Jan. 15, 2002.
Andersen makes 42 saves
Frederik Andersen made 42 saves in his 1–0 overtime win against the Devils. Andersen’s 42 saves are the most by a Toronto goaltender in a 1–0 regular-season victory (or 0–0 tie) since Feb. 4, 1970, when Bruce Gamble stopped 42 shots on goal in a 1–0 win against the Blues at Maple Leaf Gardens.
Stamkos ties career high
Steven Stamkos tied his career high for points in one game when he tallied two goals and two assists in the Lightning’s 6–1 win over the Stars. It was Stamkos’ second four-point game this season (he produced one goal and three assists against the Penguins on October 21) and the 10th four-point game of his NHL and Tampa Bay career. That ties the Lightning franchise record for most games with four or more points by one player, a mark Stamkos now shares with Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis.
Fischer scores on power play
Christian Fischer’s power play goal with 9:50 remaining in the third period gave the Coyotes’ their first lead of the night and Arizona nursed its one-goal advantage the rest of the way for a 5–4 win over the Canadiens in Montreal. It’s only the third win in 21 games this season for the Coyotes and it’s the the team’s first win in regulation time. Arizona’s just-ended streak of 20 consecutive games without a 60-minute victory was the longest ever to begin a season by an NHL team, breaking the mark of 19 games by the Calgary Flames in 1999–2000.
The Coyotes got score-tying goals in Thursday’s game from Christian Dvorak, Tobias Rieder and Derek Stepan before Fischer’s game-winning tally. This was the first time that the Coyotes won a game in regulation time after erasing three separate deficits since a 5–4 victory against the Penguins on Jan. 17, 2001.
Zucker scores late game-winner
Jason Zucker’s goal with 2:55 left to play in regulation time was the game-winning goal for the Wild, who overcame a 4–2 deficit with less than seven minutes remaining in the third period to beat the Predators, 6–4. Zucker’s deciding tally extended his goal-scoring streak to five games, which is the longest single-season streak by a Minnesota player since Marian Gaborik scored in five straight games in March/April 2009.
This is only the second time in Wild franchise history that they won a game in regulation time after trailing by two goals in the last ten minutes of the third period. Their other comeback win of that kind was a 5–4 victory against the Islanders on Dec. 9, 2014. Minnesota trailed, 4–2, with just under nine minutes to play in that game but goals by Erik Haula (at 11:03), Thomas Vanek (11:48) and Nino Niederreiter (15:27) earned the Wild a come-from-behind win.
Hellebuyck improves to 10-1-2
Connor Hellebuyck improved his record to 10–1–2 in 14 games this season with a 3–2 shootout victory against the Flyers in Winnipeg. Hellebucyk has set a Thrashers/Jets franchise record for the fewest games needed by a goaltender to reach double-figures in wins in one season, breaking the mark set by Michael Hutchinson for Winnipeg in 2014–15, when he notched his 10th victory in his 16th game.
Schenn stays hot
Brayden Schenn scored two goals and assisted on another in the Blues’ 4–1 win in Edmonton. Schenn has a six-game point streak (matching the season high for the Blues set by Jaden Schwartz) and a league-high total of 14 points over that span (since Nov. 4: 4 goals, 10 assists). Schenn has racked up 25 points in 20 games this season, his first with the Blues. His previous high for points in his first 20 games of a season was 17 for the Flyers in 2012–13.
Landeskog’s first hat trick
Gabriel Landeskog recorded the first hat trick of his NHL career when he scored three goals in the Avalanche’s 6–2 win over the Capitals. Landeskog entered play on Thursday having scored 123 goals for Colorado since he made his NHL debut with the Avs in October 2011. He was the only player in Nordiques/Avalanche franchise history to have scored 100 or more goals for the club but never produce a hat trick for them.
Landeskog’s second goal came on a penalty shot. The only other hat trick in Nordiques/Avalanche which included a penalty-shot goal was by Chris Stewart in Colorado’s 7–3 win against the Blues on March 6, 2010.