1. Mats Zuccarello, Minnesota Wild. After a pretty miserable start to the season the Wild are starting to get back on track and picked up their fifth win in a row on Thursday by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-4. Zuccarello was the big star for the Wild with three points (his first three-point game of the season) including the game-winner in the third period. His goal came just eight seconds after Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn had tied the game. Things looked bleak for the Wild’s playoff chances in the first month of the season, but their win on Thursday moved them — at least temporarily — into the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.
2. Phil Kessel, Arizona Coyotes. And which team sits on top of the Pacific Division after Thursday’s action? It is none other than the Arizona Coyotes thanks to their 3-1 win in Philadelphia. They have been road warriors this season and now own a 10-3-3 record over their first 16 away games. They used a two-goal effort from Kessel — as well as another great goaltending performance — on Thursday to get their latest win. Kessel has yet to make the big offensive impact the Coyotes were hoping for this season, but he tends to score goals in bunches and maybe this is the start of one of those runs. Arizona is back in action on Friday when Kessel makes his first return to Pittsburgh since the Penguins traded him over the summer.
3. Alexandar Georgiev, New York Rangers. Artemi Panarin scored the game-winning goal in his return to Columbus, but the biggest difference maker for the Rangers in their 3-2 win was their goalie. Georgiev was sensational, stopping 45 out of 47 shots in helping to steal one for the blue shirts. Read all about that game here.
Other notable performances from Thursday
- Petr Mrazek had an eventful night for the Carolina Hurricanes in their 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. He stopped a lot of shots, picked up a shootout win, and got punched in the face. Read all about it here.
- Joe Pavelski scored the overtime winner for the Dallas Stars in their 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
- The Chicago Blackhawks let a 3-0 third period lead slip away in Boston against the Bruins, but Jonathan Toews bailed them out in overtime with the game-winning goal.
- Milan Lucic was finally able to get his first goal of the season for the Calgary Flames. It turned out to be the game-winning goal in a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
- Matt Calvert had a goal and an assist for the Colorado Avalanche in their 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
Highlights of the Night
The Wild looked like the Harlem Globetrotters and the Lightning looked like the Washington Generals on this Jason Zucker goal.
The Colorado Avalanche have their top line back together, and Gabriel Landeskog wasted no time in making an impact in his return to the lineup.
Maybe this is the shot that gets Johnny Gaudreau rolling for the Calgary Flames.
Blooper of the Night
Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk accidentally hip-checked a referee in their 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
- It was a highly competitive night around the league with eight of the nine games being decided by a single goal, including four overtime games. The only game decided by more than one goal was Arizona’s 3-1 win over Philadelphia, and even that was a one-goal game until a late empty-net goal from Kessel. [NHL PR]
- Thanks to Ryan Pulock‘s overtime goal the New York Islanders extended their point streak on home ice to 12 games. [NHL PR]
- Jonathan Toews’ overtime goal in Boston was the 14th of his career in the regular season, moving him into a tie for 10th place on the NHL’s all-time list. [NHL PR]
Chicago Blackhawks 4, Boston Bruins 3 (OT)
Colorado Avalanche 3, Montreal Canadiens 2
Minnesota Wild 5, Tampa Bay Lightning 4
New York Islanders 3, Vegas Golden Knights 2 (OT)
Arizona Coyotes 3, Philadelphia Flyers 1
Carolina Hurricanes 3, San Jose Sharks 2 (SO)
New York Rangers 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 2
Dallas Stars 3, Winnipeg Jets 2 (OT)
Calgary Flames 4, Buffalo Sabres 3
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.