Player Of The Night: Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers
Sean Couturier is no longer just a good defensive center. He is now a good defensive center that has suddenly turned into a force offensively and has been one of the best two-way players in the NHL this season.
Couturier scored two more goals for the Flyers on Sunday afternoon (his second consecutive two-goal game) as he continues what has been a breakout season.
With still half of a season to play, Couturier has already set new career highs for goals (23 — previous career high was 15) and points (42 — previous career high was 39). He has been especially dominant in recent weeks with eight goals and four assists in the Flyers’ past nine games.
Between Couturier, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek the Flyers have three of the top-16 scorers in the league.
The Flyers have been an incredibly streaky team this season and have now won three of their past four games to stay in the thick of an increasingly tight playoff race in the Eastern Conference’s Metropolitan Division.
Highlight Of The Night
Actually, let’s just watch all five of the goals from the Columbus Blue Jackets-Florida Panthers shootout because they were all pretty slick.
Fight Night In Detroit
After losing back-to-back games the Tampa Bay Lightning bounce back on Sunday night by picking up a 5-2 win in Detroit over the Red Wings to help extend their lead in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy.
It was also a pretty intense game, especially in the first period, as the two teams dropped the gloves twice, with some unlikely players deciding to fight.
First Dylan Larkin fought Brayden Point (with Larkin skating away bloodied), then Tomas Tatar dropped the gloves with Yanni Gourde. Gourde also scored a pair of goals in the win.
Here is a look at both fights which came just two minutes apart.
Factoid Of The Night
Evgeni Malkin scored the game-winning goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday night, capping off one of the most thrilling games of the NHL season to this point. It was also a noteworthy goal because it was his 12th career overtime goal, moving him into sole possession of first place on the Penguins’ all-time list, ahead of some guy named Mario Lemieux. It was also a pretty slick goal. You can see it by clicking here. [NHL PR]
— Nikita Kucherov is back in a tie (with Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals) for the NHL’s goal-scoring lead with 27 goals. He is also running away with the scoring title.
— William Karlsson, the most unbelievable story on the unbelievable story that is the Vegas Golden Knights, scored his 22nd goal of the season in his 41st game. In 173 NHL games before this season he scored 18 goals. The Golden Knights won again, because of course they did, to extend their lead in the Western Conference.
— Karl Alzner scored his first goal for the Montreal Canadiens in their 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Perhaps an even bigger deal for the Canadiens: Max Pacioretty scored for the second game in a row. He had scored just one goal in the 22 games before that, including a 13-game goal drought. Players that score 35 goals every year just do not suddenly lose it like that. He will be fine. He will still score a lot of goals.
Philadelphia Flyers 4, Buffalo Sabres 1
New York Islanders 5, New Jersey Devils 4
Chicago Blackhawks 4, Edmonton Oilers 1
Winnipeg Jets 4, San Jose Sharks 1
Washington Capitals 4, St. Louis Blues 3
Columbus Blue Jackets 3, Florida Panthers 2
Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Detroit Red Wings 2
Pittsburgh Penguins 6, Boston Bruins 5
Vegas Golden Knights 2, New York Rangers 1
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.