1. Anthony Duclair, Ottawa Senators. This had to be a satisfying game for Duclair. He showed John Tortorella and the Columbus Blue Jackets that he does, in fact, know how to play the game by scoring three goals in a 4-3 win for the Ottawa Senators. That performance includes the game-winning goal in overtime. The 24-year-old Duclair now has 18 goals in 33 games this season and is on pace for more than 40 goals this season. Read all about his day here.
2. Bryan Rust, Pittsburgh Penguins. With Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Brian Dumoulin, Nick Bjugstad, and Patric Hornqvist out of the lineup the Penguins have more than $35 million in salary cap space sitting in the press box at the moment. They still keep finding ways to win. They picked up a 5-4 shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings in Saturday thanks to another huge game from Rust. He scored two goals and picked up an assist in regulation, then scored the game-winning goal in the shootout. Rust now has 12 goals and 22 total points in only 19 games this season for the Penguins. He has always been one of their most versatile — and valuable — players, and he is showing why this season.
3. Eric Staal, Minnesota Wild. Staal has been on a roll for the Wild and thanks to his two-goal effort in Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, he now has six points in his past five games and is up to 999 for his career. That means with one more point he would become only the 89th player in NHL history to hit the 1,000 point milestone. The Wild are one of the league’s hottest teams since the start of November with a 12-3-5 record in their past 20 games. They were 4-9-0 before in October.
Other notable performances from Saturday
- David Pastrnak extended his lead in the NHL goal-scoring race with a pair of goals in the Boston Bruins’ 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers. He now has 28 goals on the season and is five ahead of Jack Eichel.
- Warren Foegele scored two goals for the Carolina Hurricanes, James Reimer stopped all 32 shots he faced and Dougie Hamilton scored against his former team in a 4-0 win over the Calgary Flames.
- Anthony Beauvillier was the overtime hero for the New York Islanders as they topped the Buffalo Sabres.
- The New Jersey Devils gave Alain Nasreddine his first NHL win as a head coach while the Taylor Hall watch continues. Read all about it here.
- Frederik Andersen stopped 36 out of 37 shots as the Toronto Maple Leafs sent the fading Edmonton Oilers to their fourth consecutive defeat. It is the 200th win of Andersen’s career.
- Jonathan Bernier backstopped the Detroit Red Wings to their second consecutive win as they hold off the Montreal Canadiens.
- Mika Zibanejad‘s two goals are not enough for the New York Rangers as they drop a 4-3 shootout decision to the Anaheim Ducks.
- Ben Bishop turned aside 37 out of 38 shots to help the Dallas Stars crush the Nashville Predators.
- Evander Kane and Logan Couture both record two points as the San Jose Sharks get a much-needed win over the Vancouver Canucks. It is the first win for Bob Boughner as head coach of the Sharks.
- Tyler Bozak scored two goals as the St. Louis Blues stunned the Chicago Blackhawks. Read all about it here.
Highlights of the Night
Timo Meier finishes a great passing play for the San Jose Sharks with an absolute rocket of a shot to beat Jacob Markstrom.
Now THIS is p̶o̶d̶r̶a̶c̶i̶n̶g̶ goal scoring! @MeierTimo | #SJSharks pic.twitter.com/dmSdHv20rP
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) December 15, 2019
Jonathan Quick has really struggled the past two years, and it came in a losing effort in Pittsburgh on Saturday, but this series of saves in overtime is pretty ridiculous.
In case you forgot, Jonathan Quick is still not human ?#GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/Z50eEvG0KZ
— LA Kings (@LAKings) December 15, 2019
Garnet Hathaway score with some style for the Capitals.
Give this fan a contract
This is a $50,000 shot between periods in Montreal.
50 000$ !!!! ??#GoHabsGo @CoorsLight pic.twitter.com/g5QJZ50svZ
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) December 15, 2019
- The Blues’ comeback is just the second time in franchise history they erased a three-goal third period deficit to win. [NHL PR]
- Zibanejad’s first goal for the Rangers came just 10 seconds into the game, the fastest goal for the Rangers since the 1985 season. [NHL PR]
- Jack Eichel extended his point streak to 16 consecutive games, making it the fourth longest in Buffalo Sabres franchise history. [NHL PR]
- The Wild have earned a point in 12 consecutive home games, the second-longest streak in franchise history. [NHL PR]
- Brad Marchand hit the 50-point mark for the season, the first Bruins player since Adam Oates during the 1995-96 season to reach that mark in 34 or fewer games. [NHL PR]
- Marc-Edouard Vlasic played in his 1,000th career game on Saturday night, making him the 340th player in NHL history to reach that milestone. [San Jose Sharks]
- Foegele’s two goals for the Hurricanes both came while shorthanded, making him the fifth Hurricanes player to ever accomplish that in a game. [NHL PR]
Ottawa Senators 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 3 (OT)
New York Islanders 3, Buffalo Sabres 2 (OT)
Anaheim Ducks 4, New York Rangers 3 (SO)
Carolina Hurricanes 4, Calgary Flames 0
Dallas Stars 4, Nashville Predators 1
Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Edmonton Oilers 1
Minnesota Wild 4, Philadelphia Flyers 1
Detroit Red Wings 2, Montreal Canadiens 1
Washington Capitals 5, Tampa Bay Lightning 2
Boston Bruins 4, Florida Panthers 2
Pittsburgh Penguins 5, Los Angeles Kings 4 (SO)
New Jersey Devils 2, Arizona Coyotes 1
St. Louis Blues 4, Chicago Blackhawks 3
San Jose Sharks 4, Vancouver Canucks 2
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.