Blazers win 10th straight, all with 100+ points
The Trail Blazers extended their winning streak to 10 games with a 115–99 victory over Miami, a run during which Portland has scored at least 100 points in every game. Several other teams have won 10 straight games, all with triple-digit scoring, this season: Cleveland, Houston (twice), and New Orleans. But this is the first time the Blazers have done so since a 16-game streak late in the 1990–91 season. Portland finished that season with the best record in the NBA (63–19), but lost the Western Conference Finals to the Lakers.
Another Westbrook triple-double, even on a mediocre night
It was a marginal triple-double, but Russell Westbrook did it again, totaling 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists in the Thunder’s 106–101 victory over the Kings. Westbrook’s erratic shooting helped keep the game close, as he missed 12 of his 19 shots from the field. It was the 40th of Westbrook’s 99 triple-doubles in which he shot below 40 percent from the field. Only Jason Kidd had more such TDs (47 of 107).
Bucks are sharp in back-to-back wins
After shooting 56 percent from the field in Friday’s victory over the Knicks, Milwaukee made 47 of 81 field-goal attempts (58%) in a 121–103 win at Memphis. Taking advantage of weak opposition? For sure. But the Bucks hadn’t shot 56 percent or better from the field in each of two consecutive games since blowout victories at Bradley Center over the Pacers (137–119) and Lakers (126–94) in 1991. Frank Brickowski was Milwaukee’s shooting star in those games, making 14 of 18 FGAs (78%).
Spurs starters stymied in loss at Houston
The Rockets defeated the Spurs, 109–93, as San Antonio’s starting lineup was limited to a total of 33 points for the second time in eight days. Oddly, the Spurs won the other game, 100–98 against the Grizzlies last Monday. San Antonio’s starters scored as few as 33 points in only two other games over the last 10 seasons.
Derrick White and Bryn Forbes were San Antonio’s co-high scorers with 14 points each on Monday night. The Spurs have lost the last 10 regular-season games in which none of their players scored as many as 15 points, dating back to February 2015, and including four games this season.
A major milestone for Ovechkin
Alex Ovechkin became the 20th player in NHL history to reach the 600-goal mark when he scored his second goal in the Capitals’ game against the Jets on Monday. Ovechkin, who has spent his entire NHL career with Washington, is the sixth player in league history to score 600 or more goals for one franchise, and only the third to do so for a post-1967 expansion team. The most goals for one franchise: Gordie Howe, 786 (Red Wings); Steve Yzerman, 692 (Red Wings), Mario Lemieux, 690 (Penguins), Joe Sakic, 625 (Nordiques/Avalanche), and Bobby Hull, 604 (Black Hawks).
Ovechkin reached the 600-goal plateau in his 990th NHL game. The only other players to do that in fewer than 1000 games were Wayne Gretzky (718), Mario Lemieux (719), and Brett Hull (900).
The opposing team for Ovechkin’s 600th goal was fitting, given that he has scored more goals versus the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets franchise (47 in 63 games) than he has against any other NHL team.
Vesey’s first hat fuels Rangers’ win
Jimmy Vesey recorded the first hat trick of his NHL career by scoring three goals in the Rangers’ 6–3 win over the Hurricanes. Vesey’s first goal gave the Rangers a 2–1 lead early in the second period, and his second goal snapped a 3–3 tie with under eight minutes remaining to play in the third period. The only other player to score two tiebreaking goals in one game for the Rangers this season is no longer with the club. That’s Rick Nash, who did so twice before he was traded to the Bruins last month (Nov. 11 vs. Edmonton and Jan. 18 vs. Buffalo).
The Rangers scored four go-ahead goals in Monday’s game (Vesey 2, Mats Zuccarello 1, Vladislav Namestnikov 1), matching their season high, done twice before. They scored as many as four go-ahead goals in only one game over the previous nine seasons combined (Nov. 21, 2015, a 5–4 overtime win at Florida).
And let’s give a shoutout to Alexandar Georgiev for his 41 saves. Georgiev became the first rookie to make 40 or more saves in one game for the Rangers since Dan Blackburn, who did it four times during the 2001–02 season.
It’s the NHL’s Year of the Finn
Teuvo Teravainen scored his 20th goal of the season in the Hurricanes’ loss to the Rangers. Teravainen is the sixth NHL player born in Finland to score 20 or more goals this season, joining Patrik Laine, Aleksander Barkov, Erik Haula, Mikko Rantanen, and Teravainen’s teammate, Sebastian Aho. That ties the NHL record for most Finnish-born players scoring 20 or more goals in one season, a mark set in 1987–88. The Finnish-born 20-goal scorers that season were Jari Kurri (43 goals), Mikko Makela (36), Tomas Sandstrom (28), Christian Ruutu (26), Ilkka Sinisalo (25) and Esa Tikkanen (23). (Sandstrom was raised in Sweden and played for the Swedish National Team.) A new record for Finnish-born 20-goal scorers could be set any day, as Minnesota’s Mikael Granlund has scored 19 goals this season.
Carpenter, recently on a roll, scores late winning goal
Ryan Carpenter’s goal with 2:40 left to play in the third period broke a 2–2 tie and proved to be the game-winner in the Golden Knights’ 3–2 victory at Philadelphia. Vegas has scored five go-ahead goals in the final 5 minutes of regulation time, tying Calgary for the NHL high this season. The Golden Knights lead the league this season with 11 go-ahead or tying goals in the last 5 minutes of the third period.
Carpenter did not score a goal in the first five games he played for the Golden Knights after they acquired him on waivers from San Jose earlier this season, but he has scored eight goals in 18 games since then, tying Reilly Smith for second most on the team over that span (Feb. 4 to date), behind William Karlsson with nine goals.
Duchene shines for Class of ‘09
Matt Duchene reached the 20-goal mark for the sixth time in his nine seasons in the NHL when he scored the first of his two goals in the Senators’ 5–3 win at Florida. Duchene was the third player selected in the 2009 Entry Draft. The only other players drafted in 2009 or later with at least six 20-goal seasons in the NHL are John Tavares (9), Taylor Hall (6), Tyler Seguin (6), and Jeff Skinner (6).