1) Max Pacioretty, Vegas Golden Knights
The slightest mistake during three-on-three overtime hockey could be costly and Pacioretty benefitted from a poor Dallas Stars line change on Friday evening. Defenseman Shea Theodore sent a beautiful stretch pass to help No. 67 get behind the Stars skaters and have a clean breakaway. Then, Pacioretty forced Ben Bishop to leave the crease before performing a highly-skilled maneuver in the Golden Knights’ 3-2 victory.
2) Valeri Nichuskin, Colorado Avalanche
The goal Nichuskin scored was nothing spectacular in Colorado’s 3-1 against New Jersey, but the play he made to receive the puck in the neutral zone was impressive. While skating up ice and looking to his right, Nichuskin blindly received a puck on his backhand, before gaining momentum and entering the offensive zone. Without the highly-skilled play, the Russian forward never would have had the scoring opportunity.
3) Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
Benn showed why he is one of the premiere power forwards in the NHL late in the third period to help the Stars force overtime against the Golden Knights. Dallas’ captain raced to the corner after a faceoff to control a loose puck before sending it over to Tyler Seguin. Then, Benn boxed out William Karlsson in front of the Vegas net and positioned himself to redirect Seguin’s pass to even the score at two and help the Stars earn a point in the OT loss.
Valeri Nichushkin keeps on finding ways to hit the back of the net. pic.twitter.com/Wxlmegn5te
— NHL (@NHL) December 14, 2019
Other notable performances from Friday
Pavel Francouz, Colorado Avalanche
The Czech goaltender made 37 saves in his ninth win of the season and fifth victory in his last six appearances. Several NHL teams are starting to adopt a two-goalie philosophy and Francouz is proving to the Avalanche that he is worthy of more playing time even when Philipp Grubauer returns to the starting lineup.
Highlight of the night
Nathan MacKinnon faked a slap shot and delivered a perfect touch pass to set up Gabriel Landeskog in the slot to open the scoring for the Avalanche.
Nathan Mackinnon (@Mackinnon9) and @GabeLandeskog92 run the power play exceptionally well. pic.twitter.com/MdFRjDCJyz
— NHL (@NHL) December 14, 2019
Taylor Fedun opened the scoring in his return to the Stars’ lineup and has collected a point in seven of his nine home games this season [NHL PR].
The Golden Knights own the best record in NHL history by a franchise through its first 100 regular-season road games in terms of wins, points and point percentage [NHL PR].
- The Avalanche are the only NHL team with 10 wins at home and 10 wins on the road so far this season
MacKinnon reached the 50-point mark in his 32nd game of the season, one fewer than when he hit the milestone in 2018-19 (33 GP) [NHL PR].
- Stars defenseman John Klingberg is expected to be available Saturday after he missed Friday’s game due to a family illness.
[RELATED: Devils keep Hall out of lineup as trade rumors continue]
Golden Knights 3, Stars 2
Avalanche 3, Devils 1
Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.