Big game for Big 3
Kevin Durant scored 28 points and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson each added 25 points in the Warriors’ win over the Timberwolves on Thursday. It’s the third time this season that Durant, Curry and Thompson have scored 25 or more points in one game, the highest total for any trio of teammates. The only other teammates with more than one such game is DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday.
Westbrook wins a 40-point battle
Russell Westbrook scored 46 points and Bradley Beal scored 41 in the Thunder’s win over the Wizards on Thursday. It was the third game this season in which opponents scored 40 or more points, and Beal was involved in one of the others, when he and the Suns’ T.J. Warren each scored 40 on Nov. 1. The other 40-vs-40 game was by Lou Williams (50) and Kevin Durant (40) on Jan. 10.
Westbrook made 19 of 29 shots, 66 percent, his highest field-goal percentage in any of the 108 regular season or 20 postseason games in which he took 25 or more shots.
Kings win in Miami for first time since 2001
The Kings, who had lost their last 15 games in Miami, defeated the Heat on Thursday after trailing by 12 points in the fourth quarter, for their second win of the season after trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter on the road. The Kings trailed by 10 points in their win at New Orleans on Dec. 8. The only other NBA team with two road wins after trailing by 10 or more points in the fourth quarter this season is Houston.
Hot shooting in Denver
The Nuggets made 60 percent of their shots in their win on Thursday over the Knicks, who made 54.9 percent of theirs. Their combined 57.4 field goal percentage was the third highest in any NBA game this season. The higher marks: Nuggets/Pelicans, 57.8% on Nov. 17; Timberwolves/Pacers, 57.6 percent on Oct. 24.
Hard to say enough about Ovechkin
Alex Ovechkin reached the 30-goal mark for the 13th time in his 13 seasons in the NHL when he scored the Capitals’ second goal in their 4–2 win against the Panthers. He’s the sixth player in NHL history to score at least 30 goals in each of 13 or more consecutive seasons. The others were Mike Gartner (15), Jaromir Jagr (15), Bobby Hull (13), Phil Esposito (13) and Wayne Gretzky (13).
Gartner, Gretzky and Ovechkin are the only players to begin their NHL careers with a streak of 13 or more consecutive 30-goal seasons.
Bobby Hull (in his final 13 seasons with Chicago) and Ovechkin (in all 13 seasons with Washington) are the only players to score 30-plus goals for one NHL team in each of 13 or more straight seasons.
Ovechkin recorded the 500th assist of his NHL career with a helper on the Capitals’ first goal. Ovechkin has been the premier goal-scorer in the NHL since he made his debut in October 2005, but early in his career he was also a fairly prolific assist provider. Over his first six seasons in the NHL (through 2010–11), Ovechkin had the sixth-highest assist total in the NHL and he produced more assists than goals (313 assists, 301 goals in 475 games). He recorded 46–59 assists in each of those six seasons. But in the seven seasons since then Ovechkin has been a shooter not a passer, with nearly one-hundred more goals than assists (287 goals, 187 assists in 495 games) and only 21–36 assists in each season.
One cool cat
Rookie Alex DeBrincat completed his second NHL hat trick with an empty-net goal that wrapped up the scoring in the Blackhawks’ 5–1 win against the Red Wings in Detroit. DeBrincat, who scored three goals in Chicago’s 7–3 home-ice victory against the Ducks on November 27, is only the second rookie in Blackhawks history to produce multiple hat tricks in one season. Steve Larmer had two hat tricks for the Hawks in 1982–83 and he went on to win the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie that season.
Malkin’s 50th multi-goal game
Evgeni Malkin and rookie Dominik Simon each scored two goals for the Penguins in their 6–3 win over the Wild. Malkin’s multiple-goal game was the 50th of his NHL career and Simon’s was his first. Malkin, who has spent his entire 12-season NHL career with the Penguins, is one of five active players with 50 or more multiple-goal games for his current team. The others are Alex Ovechkin (116), Sidney Crosby (79), Steven Stamkos (63) and Corey Perry (57).
Bruins extend odd streak
The Bruins overcame an early deficit yet again in their 3–2 win at Ottawa on Thursday. Boston has earned points in seven consecutive games (6–0–1) despite allowing the first goal in each game, which matches an arcane NHL record. The 1988–89 Flames and 2005–06 Blue Jackets also earned points in each of seven straight games despite allowing the first goal in every game.
Eberle gets Isles a win in desert
Jordan Eberle recorded his sixth game-winning goal of the season for the Islanders in their 2–1 victory against the Golden Knights in Las Vegas. The six game-winning goals are a single-season high for Eberle, who was traded to the Islanders by the Oilers in June last year. (His previous high was five for Edmonton in 2010–11, his first season in the NHL.) Eberle is the first player to score as many as six-game-winning goals for the Islanders in his first season with the team since Pierre Turgeon scored six in 1991–92.
Namestnikov scores twice for Tampa
Vladislav Namestnikov scored a pair of goals that helped the Tampa Bay Lightning ice the Flyers, 5–1, in Philadelphia on Thursday. It was Namestnikov’s second multiple-goal game of the season and the 19th multi-goal game by a Lightning player this season. Only the Islanders (24) have more individual multiple-goal games than Tampa Bay this season.
McDonagh waits a while for first goal, scores second in a hurry
Ryan McDonagh scored his first two goals of the season 72 seconds apart in the Rangers’ win in San Jose on Thursday. He became the first Rangers’ defenseman to score two goals in 1:12 since James Patrick tallied twice in 11 seconds against the Devils in 1986.
P.K. Subban extended his goal streak to three games when he scored the first goal in the Predators’ 3–0 win against the Devils in Newark. This is the second time that Subban has scored a goal in each of three consecutive games in his NHL career, having also do so as a rookie with the Canadiens in March/April 2011.
Nashville had only one three-game goal streak by a defenseman over his first 17 seasons in the NHL (1998–99 through 2015–16); that was a three-game skein by Shea Weber in February 2013. But Subban’s streak is the fourth by a Predators defenseman in the last two seasons since then. The others were three-game streaks by Matt Irwin and Roman Josi in 2016–17, and a four-game streak by Mattias Ekholm earlier this season (Nov. 14–20).
Gardiner assists on 3 of 4 goals
Defenseman Jake Gardiner racked up three assists in the Maple Leafs’ 4–1 win at Dallas on Thursday. It’s the third time that Gardiner has recorded three or more assists in one game in his NHL career. He had four assists for Toronto in a game at Colorado in December 2015, and three in the Leafs’ 4–3 win at Ottawa last Saturday. Gardiner is only the third Maple Leafs defenseman in the last 36 seasons to produce three or more assists in a game twice in one calendar month. The other defensemen to do that for Toronto over that span are Brian Leetch in March 2004 and Tomas Kaberle in October 2009.
Schenn extends goal streak
Brayden Schenn extended his goal streak to four games when he scored the winning goal in the Blues’ 3–1 victory over the Avalanche. Schenn’s four-game goal streak ties his NHL career high, done twice before: with the Flyers last season and in December of this season for St. Louis. He’s only the third Blues player in the last 15 years to score goals in four or more consecutive games twice in one season. Alexander Steen had two such streaks in 2013–14, as did David Perron in 2011–12.
Hurricanes keep gathering strength
Justin Williams’ goal at the 9:41 mark of the third period snapped a 5–5 tie and proved decisive as the Hurricanes beat the Canadiens, 6–5. Carolina had taken the lead three times before in Thursday’s game at Montreal (2–0, 4–2 and 5–4) only to have the Canadiens tie the score each time. This was the first time that the Hurricanes scored four go-ahead goals in one game since their 5–4 overtime win against the Islanders in Brooklyn on February 4 last season, and it was the first time they did so in a non-overtime game since their 6–3 victory at Ottawa on Feb. 16, 2015.
Atkinson breaks deadlock
Cam Atkinson’s goal with 3:03 remaining in the third period snapped a 1–1 tie and earned the Blue Jackets a 2–1 win over the Coyotes in Arizona. It was just the second go-ahead goal in the last four minutes of the third period by a Blue Jackets player over the last two seasons. Their other tiebreaking in the final four minutes of regulation time over that span was on Nov. 20, 2016, when Alexander Wennberg scored a go-ahead tally at the 19:06 mark of the third period against the Capitals in Washington.
Davidson notches first two goals of season
Brandon Davidson scored his first two goals of the season for the Oilers in their shootout win against the Flames in Edmonton. Davidson is the second defenseman to score two goals in a game for the Oilers this season; Darnell Nurse tallied twice in Edmonton’s 4–2 win at Arizona on January 12. This is the first time that the Oilers have had more than one multiple-goal game by defensemen in one season since they had four in 2005–06: two by Chris Pronger and one each by Igor Ulanov and Marc-Andre Bergeron. Davidson is the first Oilers defenseman to score two goals in a game on home ice since Sheldon Souray scored twice in a 5–3 win versus Tampa Bay on Feb. 24, 2009.
Two in a row for Lehner
Buffalo’s Robin Lehner posted his second straight shutout with a 4–0 win against the Canucks in Vancouver on Thursday. Lehner, who blanked the Oilers in Edmonton on Tuesday, is the first Sabres goaltender to record two consecutive shutouts in one season since Ryan Miller in 2012 (Feb. 29–March 1, at Anaheim and San Jose). He’s the first Buffalo goaltender other than Miller to post back-to-back shutouts in one season since Martin Biron in January 2003.