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NHL Morning Skate for Saturday, February 17, 2018: Jets score six, join Predators atop Central Division; Couturier scores in OT to help Flyers keep pace in Metropolitan; Islanders post second shutout in as many days

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

FRIDAY’S RESULTS

Home Team in Caps

Philadelphia 2, COLUMBUS 1 (OT)

NY Islanders 3, CAROLINA 0

WINNIPEG 6, Colorado 1

DALLAS 2, St. Louis 1

JETS ERUPT FOR SIX GOALS, JOIN PREDATORS ATOP CENTRAL…

Blake Wheeler (2-1—3) and Mark Scheifele (0-3—3) each collected three points to propel the Jets (34-15-9, 77 points) to a 5-2-1 record on their franchise-long 10-game homestand and into a tie in terms of points with the idle Predators (34-13-9, 77 points) atop the Central Division.

* The Jets, who improved to 22-5-2 at Bell MTS Place and sit tied with the Penguins (22-7-1) for the most home victories this season, moved within two of matching the franchise record.

 

Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves to improve to 30-8-8 this season, joining Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (34-11-2) as the only goaltenders to reach the 30-win mark in 2017-18. Hellebuyck also became just the second goaltender in Thrashers/Jets franchise history to post 30 wins in a single season and trails only Kari Lehtonen (34-24-9 in 2006-07) for the franchise record.
* Scheifele, who led all Jets players in scoring last season with 30-52—82 in 79 GP, collected his second three-point game in as many contests (2-1—3 vs. WSH on Feb. 13) and has recorded 2-5—7 in four games since returning to the lineup on Feb. 9.

…STARS ALSO CLIMB CENTRAL DIVISION STANDINGS
Ben Bishop made 28 saves to backstop the Stars (34-20-4, 72 points) to their sixth win in seven contests and into third place in the Central Division.

John Klingberg (0-1—1) – who leads all defensemen in scoring with 7-46—53 in 58 GP – recorded his 200th career point while skating in his 279th NHL game (41-159—200). Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson (272 GP) is the only active defenseman to require fewer games to reach 200 career points and Craig Hartsburg (276 GP) is the only blueliner to reach the milestone faster with the North Stars/Stars franchise.
METROPOLITAN DIVISION CLUBS COLLECT CRUCIAL VICTORIES

The Flyers (29-19-10, 68 points) and Islanders (29-25-6, 64 points) each survived tightly-contested affairs to secure victories in crucial Metropolitan Division clashes:

* Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson tied the game with 3:28 remaining in regulation before Sean Couturier scored his second career overtime goal (also: Jan. 18 vs. TOR) to lead Philadelphia to their fourth straight road win and snap an 11-game skid in Columbus dating to Dec. 27, 2008 (PHI: 0-5-6). The Flyers, who sit third in the division, moved within two points of the second-place Penguins (33-22-4, 70 points) and five points of the first-place Capitals (33-17-7, 73 points).

* The Blue Jackets became the 92nd team to score a game-tying goal in the final 5:00 of regulation in 2017-18 and the 12th to do so in the last 10 days. Teams that score a tying goal in the final 5:00 of regulation this season have a 47-1-44 record, while the team to surrender the late-tying goal holds a 45-6-41 mark.

* Three different players found the scoresheet, including John Tavares’ 30th goal of the season, and Thomas Greiss made 45 saves to record his first shutout of 2017-18 and backstop the Islanders to their second shutout victory in as many days. Tavares, who became the fifth player to reach 30 goals this season, accomplished the feat for the fourth time in his career.

* The Islanders, who leapfrogged the Blue Jackets (29-24-5, 63 points) and Hurricanes (27-23-9, 63 points) into the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, became the first team in NHL history to record shutouts of at least 40 saves on consecutive days and just the third to accomplish the feat in consecutive games. The others: Florida (Mar. 2 – 4, 2008) and Phoenix (Mar. 31 – Apr. 3, 2012).

 

 

QUICK CLICKS

· Panthers to hold blood drive for Parkland shooting victims

· Willie O’Ree to speak at NHL skills weekend in Philadelphia

· Patrice Bergeron draws high praise from former Bruins (via Amalie Benjamin)

· Barry Trotz set to join elite group by coaching 1,500th game (via Tom Gulitti)

· Dustin Byfuglien has solo karaoke party in penalty box

 

SNEAK PEEK AT SATURDAY’S ACTION

 

 

NBC Sports Channel FinderSportsnet Channel FinderNHL Network

 

DIVISION LEADERS LOOK TO FEND OFF CHALLENGERS

All four division leaders are in action as part of Saturday’s 11-game slate with the Lightning (Atlantic), Capitals (Metropolitan) and Predators (Central) looking to strengthen their position in tight races. The Golden Knights, meanwhile, lead all teams in the Pacific Division by at least a 10-point margin.

 

* The Atlantic Division-leading Lightning (39-16-3, 81 points) – who also own the top record in the overall NHL standings – host the Devils at AMALIE Arena with two teams within six points chasing them for the division lead. The second-place Bruins (35-12-8, 78 points) take an 8-2-0 run in their last 10 contests into a game with the Canucks at Rogers Arena while the third-place Maple Leafs (35-19-5, 75 points), who are 9-1-0 in their last 10 contests including five straight wins, visit the Penguins.

 

* The Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals (33-17-7, 73 points), who have taken a point in five straight contests (3-0-2), visit the Blackhawks at United Center. Just three points back are the Penguins (33-22-4, 70 points), who put their 10-game winning streak at PPG Paints Arena – tied for the longest home win streak in the NHL this season – on the line against the visiting Maple Leafs.

 

* The Central Division-leading Predators (34-13-9, 77 points), who host the Red Wings at Bridgestone Arena, had a seven-game point streak (5-0-2) snapped with a 4-3 loss to the Flames on Thursday. Hot on their heels are the Jets (34-15-9, 77 points) and Blues (34-22-4, 72 points), who both sit idle on Saturday.

 

* The Pacific Division-leading Golden Knights (38-15-4, 80 points) – who also own the top record in the Western Conference – host the Canadiens at T-Mobile Arena. With a win, Vegas would match the NHL record for most home wins by a team in its inaugural season.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHLmedia.com