1. Jake Guentzel, Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pittsburgh Penguins trailed by three goals after one period on Friday night, and then stormed back for a 7-4 win to hand the Anaheim Ducks their 10th loss in a row. There were a lot of stars in the win for the Penguins (Sidney Crosby was dominant even if he only recorded one point, Tanner Pearson scored two goals, Evgeni Malkin had four points) but it was Jake Guentzel that played a huge role, recording his second hat trick of the season. He scored two goals early in the second period to help the Penguins tie the game, and then added an empty netter later in the game to help put it away. He is now just one goal away from matching his season total from a year ago (22 goals).
2. Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes. Jeff Skinner was back in Carolina on Friday night as a visiting player for the first time (and he scored his 30th goal of the season) but it was Sebastian Aho that ended up stealing the show with a pair of goals in the Hurricanes’ 4-3 win. They were both kind of fluky goals that went in the net off of Sabres defenders, but the Hurricanes will take them as they try to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Aho is now up to 18 goals on the season and continues to be one of the Hurricanes’ best players.
3. Kyle Connor, Winnipeg Jets. The Jets haven’t been playing their best lately, but they have still found a way to win three of their past four games thanks to their 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night. Blake Wheeler scored a goal and recorded his 49th assist, but Kyle Connor was the big contributor for the team with a three point night, scoring a goal and adding a pair of assists in the win. He is now up to 16 goals and 34 points on the season and remains one of the Jets’ most underrated players.
The Carolina Hurricanes continued their season of fun victory celebrations by allowing team captain Justin Williams to go … bowling. Williams also scored a goal on the night.
Phil Kessel gets credit for the game-winning goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins and he absolutely refused to be denied.
How bad were the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night? John Gibson gave up six goals and was by far their best player. In the first period he was making saves like this.
- Jeff Skinner’s goal was his 30th of the season, and the fourth time he has scored 30 goals in his career. He is the first Sabres player to score at least 30 goals in a season since Jason Pominville did it during the 2011-12 season [Sabres PR]
- Bryan Little recorded his 500th career point on Friday night and is the third player in the history of the franchise to record 500 points with it. [NHL PR]
- No player in the NHL has ore points than Johnny Gaudreau‘s 38 since the start of December [Sportsnet Stats]
Carolina Hurricanes 4, Buffalo Sabres 3
Winnipeg Jets 4, Detroit Red Wings 2
Calgary Flames 4, Florida Panthers 2
Pittsburgh Penguins 7, Anaheim Ducks 4
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.