The Buzzer: Jeff Carter leads Penguins offensive outburst

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NHL Three Stars for Thursday

1. Jeff Carter, Pittsburgh Penguins

The Jeff Carter trade keeps looking better for the Penguins. Pittsburgh moved back into first place in the East on Thursday night with an eight-goal effort, and half came from Carter.

His addition to the Pens at all came as a surprise, but has become one of the better looking deals from the deadline.

His first goal on Thursday came after a video review confirmed it. Then, a few minutes later, he scored on the power play. Carter notched the eighth hat trick of his career in the second period, and he grabbed his fourth to open the third, putting his season total at 16 tallies.

2. Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins

Maybe quietly, Marchand has been racking up points at the end of the season. The Bruins offense overall is playing at a higher level than it has all season.

The addition of Taylor Hall has sparked that for sure, but Marchand, now with 38 assists, has continued to play at an elite level leading the top line. It’s the time of year when he plays best, and he’s continued to do that this season.

3. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs

That’s 40 goals in 49 games now for the league’s leading goal getter. Slice it any way you want, that’s impressive. He’s the first player to reach that mark in as few games in 20 years.

Matthews netted his 40th in the third period of Toronto’s 5-2 win over the Canadiens. He now has goals in five games in a row, going back to April 28. He has six goals in that span.

Thursday NHL Highlights

* Riley Stillman scored his first career NHL goal, and it couldn’t have come at a better time; it earned the Blackhawks the chance to go to overtime.

* Nils Hoglander scored a sweet goal for the Canucks. as they took down the Oilers.

* Thatcher Demko made a sweet save on a late Connor McDavid penalty shot to help preserve the Vancouver win.

Thursday NHL Stats

* Auston Matthews strikes again. The league’s scoring leader scored in his fifth consecutive game, which got him to 40 tallies on the season.

* Cole Caufield finally scored before overtime. That’s the first NHL goal he’s netted that didn’t win a game.

* Alex DeBrincat has a nice little goal scoring streak now with tallies in his last five games after he scored the overtime winner for the Blackhawks.

Thursday’s NHL scores

Bruins 4, Rangers 0
Blackhawks 2, Hurricanes 1 OT
Devils 2, Islanders 1
Penguins 8, Sabres 4
Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 2
Canucks 5, Oilers 3

Marisa Ingemi is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop her a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi.

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