1. Elvis Merzlikins, Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets rookie needed only 16 saves to record his second straight shutout in a 2-0 win over the Red Wings. He’s now undefeated in his last eight appearances, the longest win streak by a Blue Jackets rookie goaltender ever. Merzlikins also took over the NHL lead in shutouts with five. According to the NHL, only nine different rookie goaltenders in league history have picked up a win in nine-plus consecutive regular season appearances.
DYK? @Merzly30 is the sixth goaltender to record five shutouts in a span of eight appearances since 1929-30 when forward passing was permitted inside all three zones. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/2SsvMylb42
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 8, 2020
2. Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs forward reached 40 goals for the second time in his career during a 5-4 overtime win over the Ducks. He also added three helpers, including one on John Tavares‘ winner. In tying his career high in goals, Matthews became the fifth player in franchise history to record multiple 40-goal seasons, joining the likes of Darryl Sittler, Lanny McDonald, Rick Vaive, and Mats Sundin.
3. Joel Eriksson Ek, Wild
Down 2-0, the Wild staged a comeback and Eriksson Ek played hero by snapping a 2-2 tie with 25.7 seconds to go with his second of the game.
Joel Eriksson Ek wins it for @mnwild with 25.7 seconds left 😮 pic.twitter.com/F3mXS3xhqt
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 8, 2020
Devan Dubnyk was tremendous with 31 saves, including this late blocker stop on Radek Faksa:
👀👀👀#mnwild Devan Dubnyk robs #GoStars Radek Faksa on the PP. pic.twitter.com/lRlM1ZjIUE
— Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@HeresYourReplay) February 8, 2020
PASSING PLAYS OF THE NIGHT
• Facing his former team, Jimmy Vesey made an impact during a 3-2 Sabres win over the Rangers. He scored what ended up as the game-winning goal and assisted on another. That assist kicked off a lovely sequence that was finished by Sam Reinhart:
Anyone interested in some Sam Reinhart backhand 🔝🧀 action? pic.twitter.com/J5Ttr9H5Is
— NHL (@NHL) February 8, 2020
• Zach Werenski broke the franchise single-season record for goals by a defenseman with his 17th following this excellent set up:
STATS OF THE NIGHT
• Zemgus Girgensons has five goals in eight games at Madison Square Garden since the start of the 2015-16 season. (Jourdon LaBarber)
Congrats to #mnwild forward Zach Parise on playing in his 1,000th NHL game tonight. He is the eighth Minnesota-born player and 347th player in #NHL history to reach the milestone.
— Minnesota Wild PR (@mnwildPR) February 8, 2020
Sabres 3, Rangers 2
Maple Leafs 5, Ducks 4 (OT)
Blue Jackets 2, Red Wings 0
Wild 3, Stars 2
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.