Irving and Love hold off Celtics
Kyrie Irving (32 points, 12 assists) and Kevin Love (30 points, 15 rebounds) recorded double-doubles and scored at least 30 points in the Cavaliers’ win over the Celtics on Thursday night. It’s the fourth time in Cavaliers history that they had two players record a double-double and score 30 or more points in the same game. It also happened in 1971 (Walt Wesley and Butch Beard), 1980 in a quadruple-overtime game (Randy Smith and Dave Robisch) and 1991 (Brad Daugherty and Larry Nance).
Thomas is flying like Bird
Isaiah Thomas had another stellar performance in the Celtics’ loss to the Cavaliers, scoring 31 points and handing out nine assists. Thomas has scored 234 points and handed out 54 assists in eight games since coming back from injury on December. The last Celtics player with that many points and assists over an eight-game span was Larry Bird late in the 1989-90 season.
Mavs 12 straight wins versus the Lakers
The Mavericks extended their winning streak over the Lakers to 12 games with their win on Thursday night. That’s the longest winning streak against the Lakers for any team since they moved to Los Angeles to begin the 1960-61 season. The Lakers snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Clippers with a victory on Christmas. Two teams had longer winning streaks against the Lakers when the team resided in Minneapolis. The Celtics won 18 consecutive games against the Lakers from 1957 to 1959, and the Knicks had a 12-game winning streak against the Lakers from 1957 to 1958.
Third quarter magic for Batum
The Hornets outscored the Heat, 31-17, in the third quarter in their win over the Heat on Thursday. Nicolas Batum led the way for the Hornets in that period scoring nine points, grabbing five rebounds and handing out four assists. One night earlier, Batum scored ten points with eight rebounds and four assists in the third quarter in a win over the Magic. Batum has scored 19 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, handed out eight assists and shot 8-for-10 from the field in the third quarter of the last two games combined.
Jazz go fourth
The Jazz outscored the 76ers, 30-9, in the fourth quarter in their win on Thursday night. It was Utah’s largest points differential in the fourth quarter of a game since they outscored the Hawks in Atlanta by 27 points (40-13) in the final quarter on December 20, 2006. Mehmet Okur (12 points in the fourth quarter) and Derek Fisher (11) led the Jazz for those 12 minutes of basketball.
Wild extend winning streak
The Wild extended their franchise-record winning streak to 12 games with a 6–4 victory over the Islanders on Thursday and they also set another club mark as 15 different Minnesota players produced at least one point. (Mikko Koivu, Ryan Suter and Mikael Granlund each tallied two points for the Wild and 12 other Minnesota players had one.) The club’s previous high for most players with points in one game was 14, set in a 6–2 home-ice win against New Jersey on March 10, 2015.
Kane scores 700th point
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane scored goals less than four minutes apart in the third period to turn a 2–1 deficit into a 3 –2 win for the Blackhawks in Nashville. Kane’s game-winning goal was the 700th point of his NHL career. The Buffalo, New York native is the active leader in points among U.S.-born NHL players and the 25th American-born player in NHL history to reach the 700-point plateau. Kane has played 696 regular-season NHL games. The only other active players (regardless of birthplace) who notched their 700th career point in fewer than 700 games are Sidney Crosby (497), Jaromir Jagr (557), Alex Ovechkin (579) and Evgeni Malkin (580).
Matt pumps in three PPGs
Matt Puempel recorded the first hat trick of his NHL career by scoring three goals, all on power plays, to lead the Rangers to a 6–3 win at Arizona. Puempel, who had NHL career totals of six goals and no power play goals entering play on Thursday, is only the third Rangers player in the NHL’s expansion era (i.e., since 1967–68) to score three power play goals in one game. The two other players to do that were Mark Messier (March 22, 1992 vs. New Jersey) and Mike Gartner (Jan. 31, 1994 vs. Pittsburgh), who between them scored over 1400 goals in the NHL (and nearly 400 power play goals). Before Puempel, the last player whose first NHL hat trick included three power play goals was Shea Weber (Dec. 5, 2015 for Nashville at Detroit).
Kinkaid stops 43 of 44 shots
The Devils’ Keith Kinkaid stopped all but one of the Capitals’ 44 shots on goal in his 2–1 shootout victory in Washington. This is only the fourth time since the team set up shop in New Jersey in 1982 that a Devils goaltender won a regular-season game by making at least 43 saves and giving up no more than one goal. Alain Chevrier notched two wins of that kind for New Jersey (both in 1986–87: 5–1 at St. Louis and 3–1 at Chicago), and in January 2010 Martin Brodeur posted a 1–0 shootout win against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden in which he made 51 saves.
Spooner scores twice
Ryan Spooner scored two goals for the Bruins in their 4–2 win at Buffalo. Spooner’s first goal snapped a 2–2 tie with just under four minutes remaining in the third period and his second goal was an empty netter in the final minute which clinched the victory for Boston. The only other Bruins road game this season in which they had a multiple-goal scorer was their 6–3 opening-night win at Columbus on October 13 when three different players scored a pair of goals for Boston: David Backes, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.
Matthews scores first again
Auston Matthews scored the first goal in the Maple Leafs’ game at Tampa, which Toronto won in overtime on a goal by Nazem Kadri. Matthews has scored 18 goals for the Leafs and nine of them have been the first goal of a game, and each of his last five goals have given Toronto a 1–0 lead. Matthews’ nine first goals are the most by an NHL player this season (Sidney Crosby is second with eight) and a single-season record for a Maple Leafs rookie.
Late magic for the Habs
Phillip Danault scored 39 seconds into overtime to earn the Canadiens a 3–2 overtime win at Florida, after assisting on Brendan Gallagher’s tying goal with 2:37 remaining in the third period. This was the first time that Montreal won a game in which it trailed in the last three minutes of the third period since March 15, 2014, when they tied the score with goals by Brian Gionta (at 17:56) and David Desharnais (at 19:59) then won in overtime on a goal by Francis Bouillon.
Wings rookie scores in OT
Anthony Mantha’s first overtime goal in the NHL gave the Red Wings a 3–2 victory at Ottawa on Thursday. Mantha’s overtime goal is only the fourth by a Detroit rookie in regular-season play since the NHL began using the five-minute OT format in 1983. The others were scored by Steve Yzerman (in October 1983), Darren McCarty (in February 1994) and Henrik Zetterberg (in December 2002).
Blue Jackets extend winning streak to 14 games
Alexander Wennberg scored two goals, including the game-winner, as the Blue Jackets notched their 14th straight win with a 5–3 victory against the Jets in Winnipeg. It is the first multiple-goal game of Wennberg’s NHL career and the fifth multi-goal game by a Columbus player during the team’s current winning streak. The others were by Sam Gagner (Dec. 5 vs. Arizona), Brandon Saad (Dec. 18 at Vancouver), Cam Atkinson (Dec. 20 vs. Los Angeles) and Scott Hartnell (a hat trick on Dec. 22 vs. Pittsburgh). Wennberg is one of three Blue Jackets players to score two game-winning goals during this streak. The others are Nick Foligno and Saad.
Nine points versus Avs for Seguin
Tyler Seguin scored two goals and assisted on one in the Dallas Stars’ 4–2 win over the Avalanche. Seguin has produced nine points in four games against Colorado this season (five goals and four assists, with at least one point in each game). That’s the highest point total by an NHL player versus one team this season. No one else has scored more than seven points against one opponent this season.
Silfverberg scores again
Jakob Silfverberg extended his goal streak to a career-high three games when he tallied what turned out to be the winning goal for the Ducks in their 3–1 victory at Calgary. Silfverberg is only the third Anaheim player to score a goal in each of three consecutive games this season. The others are Rickard Rakell (Nov. 17–22) and Ryan Kesler (Dec. 3–7).