Wall hits break on 10-game tear
John Wall scored 20 points and handed out 12 assists to help lift the Wizards to a victory over the Pacers, punctuating an extraordinary stretch of play by Washington’s point guard heading into the break. Over the last 10 games––during which the Wizards had a 9–1 record––Wall scored 215 points (21.5 per game) and registered 129 assists (12.9 per game).
Only two other players in NBA history––each a Hall of Famer––had both that many points and that many assists over their team’s final 10 games before the All-Star break: Oscar Robertson for the 1964-65 Cincinnati Royals (349 points/134 assists) and Guy Rodgers for the 1966-67 Bulls (218 points/135 assists).
Butler’s clutch free throws cap Bulls’ perfect night from line
The Bulls were 22-for-22 from the foul line––including two clutch conversions by Jimmy Butler with 0.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter––and they needed to be perfect in that category to emerge with a 104–103 decision over the Celtics. That is an NBA record for the most free throws made––without a miss––by the winning team in a one-point game. Chicago broke the mark held by the Trail Blazers, who were 20-for-20 from the line in a 104-103 overtime victory over the Nuggets in January 1994.
Crosby reaches 1000 points, then scores in OT
Sidney Crosby became the 86th player in NHL history to reach the 1000-point mark when he assisted on a first-period goal by Craig Kunitz in the Penguins’ game against the Jets. Crosby needed only 757 games to achieve that point milestone, 12th-fewest of any NHL player and the quickest since Steve Yzerman got there in his 737th NHL game in February 1993. The 29-year-old Crosby is the 11th-youngest player at the time he reached the 1000-point plateau and the youngest since Jaromir Jagr did so at age 28 in December 2000. Crosby, who has spent his entire NHL career with Pittsburgh, is the third player to score 1000 or more points for the Penguins, after Mario Lemieux and Jagr. The Red Wings are the only NHL team with four 1000-point scorers (Gordie Howe, Yzerman, Alex Delvecchio, Nicklas Lidstrom); Pittsburgh is one of seven teams with three, along with the Bruins, Blackhawks, Oilers, Kings, Canadiens and Islanders.
A few hours after Crosby notched his 1000th career point he scored an overtime goal which gave the Penguins a 4–3 win. It was Crosby’s first OT goal this season and the 10th regular-season overtime goal of his NHL career, which ties him with Evgeni Malkin for second-most in Penguins history, one behind Mario Lemieux. There are three current NHL players beside Crosby and Malkin who have scored at least 10 regular-season overtime goals for one team: Alex Ovechkin (Capitals 19), Daniel Sedin (Canucks 14) and Shane Doan (Coyotes 11).
Another multi-point game for Tavares
John Tavares tallied two assists for the Islanders in their 4–2 victory against the Rangers in Brooklyn. Tavares produced only two multiple-point games in his first 35 games this season but he’s racked up 10 multi-point performances in 21 games since then (Dec. 31 to date), which ties him with the Sharks’ Brent Burns for the NHL high over that span.
Shattenkirk’s fourth three-point game
Kevin Shattenkirk assisted on three goals for the Blues in their 4–3 win against the Canucks. It was the fourth time that Shattenkirk tallied at least three points in one game this season (including a four-point game versus Tampa Bay on December 1), which ties Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson for the high among NHL defensemen. Shattenkirk is the first St. Louis defenseman with four three-point games in one season since Chris Pronger had four in 2003–04.
Condon ties mark set by Hasek
Mike Condon recorded his fifth shutout for the Senators with a 3–0 win against the Devils in Newark. Condon began this season with Pittsburgh but he had played only one game for the Penguins when they traded him to Ottawa on November 2. He has tied the record for most shutouts by a goaltender in his first season with the Senators, a mark set by Dominik Hasek, who had five clean sheets for Ottawa in 2005–06 (the only season he played for the club). Condon is the fifth NHL goaltender in the last 20 years to play for more than one team in a season and register as many as five shutouts for a club other than the one he began that season with. The others (all with five shutouts) were Jeff Hackett (Canadiens) in 1998–99, Felix Potvin (Kings) in 2000–01, Mike Dunham (Rangers) in 2002–03, and Devan Dubnyk (Wild) in 2014–15.
Suter ties career high for goals
Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter ended a personal 10-game point drought (his longest since March 2008) when he scored the first goal in the Wild’s 3–1 win against the Stars. It was Suter’s eighth goal this season, tying his career high done three times before (with Nashville in 2006–07, and Minnesota in 2013–14 and 2015–16). Suter has scored 68 goals in his 12-season NHL career. That’s the highest career goal total among active NHL players who’ve never scored 10 goals (or more) in one season. Stars defenseman Dan Hamhuis ranks second with 56 goals.
Lehner makes 23 saves in shutout
Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner recorded his second shutout of the season by making 23 saves in a 2–0 win over the Avalanche. It was Lehner’s 16th victory this season but only the second in which he faced fewer than 30 shots on goal. The other win in which Lehner faced fewer than 30 shots was a 2–1 victory at Minnesota on November 1 in which he turned aside 27 of the Wild’s 28 shots on goal.