1. Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins
Kessel’s name was all over this game. He assisted on the first of two goals by Kris Letang, scored twice himself in the second period to give the Penguins a comfortable 5-1 lead and then grabbed his fourth point of the night on Sidney Crosby‘s 15th of the season in the third period.
With the Penguins reportedly “testing the market” when it comes to Phil the Thrill, performances like this one only raise the price. More importantly, it gives the Penguins less and less of a reason to trade him. He simply makes the team betters, as PHT’s Adam Gretz wrote on Thursday.
2. Mike Smith, Calgary Flames
Talk about a resurgence. Smith has won five straight starts now after dropping six of his previous.
His latest victory comes in the form of a 31-save shutout in a 2-0 win against the Minnesota Wild. Smith is slowly starting to repair a horrible start to the season. He entered the game with a .884 save percentage and left with a .892, which just goes to show that he still has a ways to go if he wants to own some respectable numbers by seasons’ end.
Still, a five-game heater is nothing to scoff at and it’s helped the Flames open up a three-point lead atop the Pacific Division.
3. Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets
Jones’ overtime winner was the fastest in Blue Jackets history after he potted it 10 seconds into the extra frame for his second of the game.
In doing so, he also helped John Tortorella become the first coach in a long time to win a game behind the bench while wearing a tracksuit.
But back to Jones… his first goal extended his point streak to five games with three goals and four assists in that span.
Other notable performances:
- Brayden Point continues to light the lamp, scoring his 21st of the season to tie Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine for the NHL’s top scorer.
- Elias Lindholm scored both goals for the Flames in their win. He’s on a five-game point streak and has at least a goal in his past three games.
- Gustav Nyquist had a goal and two assists to help the Red Wings to a 5-4 OT win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. His second assist sprung Dylan Larkin in on a breakaway to win it in the extra frame.
- Travis Sanheim‘s first two goals of the season weren’t enough for the Philadelphia Flyers, who lost to Jones and the Blue Jackets in OT.
- Paul Byron scored twice in a 5-2 win for the Montreal Canadiens against the Ottawa Senators.
- Alex Ovechkin‘s goal helped the Capitals secure a 4-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes and put him into a tie with Laine and Point on 21 goals.
- Reilly a three-point effort (a goal and two helpers) as the Golden Knights came from behind in the third period to win 4-3 against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Highlights of the night
Crosby doesn’t care about your tight angles:
This kid is far too good:
Larkin’s OT winner highlight by this head fake:
Red Wings 5, Maple Leafs 4 (OT)
Avalanche 5, Panthers 2
Blue Jackets 4, Flyers 3 (OT)
Penguins 6, Islanders 2
Canadiens 5, Senators 2
Lightning 3, Bruins 2
Capitals 4, Coyotes 2
Flames 2, Wild 0
Canucks 5, Predators 3
Golden Knights 4, Blackhawks 3
Devils 6, Kings 3
Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck