January 3, 2022
* Matinee madness! Bryan Rust and Evan Rodrigues each scored a hat trick Sunday afternoon as the Penguins prevailed in a wild game at PPG Paints Arena.
* Mika Zibanejad also had a hat trick as the Rangers blanked the defending Stanley Cup champions ahead of their matchup with Connor McDavid and the Oilers Monday.
* Nathan MacKinnon amassed three primary assists in the third period to record his fifth career double-digit point streak during the regular season.
RUST, RODRIGUES RECORD HAT TRICKS IN WILD MATINEE . . .
Bryan Rust (3-2—5) and Evan Rodrigues (3-0—3) each scored a hat trick Sunday as the Penguins piled up eight goals for the first time this season to outlast the Sharks in a 13-goal meeting and extend the NHL’s longest active win streak to eight games.
* Rust became the third different player this season to record a five-point outing, joining Jonathan Huberdeau (1-4—5 on Dec. 2 & 30, 2021) and Anze Kopitar (3-2—5 on Oct. 14, 2021). The last Penguins player to record a five-point game was Evgeni Malkin (2-3—5 on Nov. 27, 2019).
* The Penguins scored six goals in the opening frame and matched their franchise record for the most in a first period, achieved just once prior to Sunday (also Feb. 21, 1976). Pittsburgh has scored more than six goals in any period just three times in franchise history (8 on Dec. 17, 1991; 7 on Nov. 22, 1972 & Feb. 27, 1995).
. . . WHILE ZIBANEJAD ALSO NETS HAT TRICK IN RANGERS’ WIN
Mika Zibanejad scored three of his team’s four goals as the Rangers (21-8-4, 46 points) shut out the defending Stanley Cup-champion Lightning to strengthen their grip on third place in the Metropolitan Division. It marked Zibanejad’s eighth career hat trick and seventh with New York, tied with Rod Gilbert for the second most in franchise history behind only Bill Cook (9).
NOTABLE STREAKS BY No. 1 OVERALL PICKS FEATURED IN LIVE UPDATES
The Jan. 2 edition of #NHLStats: Live Updates features several more notes from Sunday’s seven games, including multiple first overall picks in the NHL Draft extending noteworthy streaks:
* Devils forward Jack Hughes (0-2—2) assisted on the overtime winner by Nico Hischier (2-0—2) and has multiple points in each of his last three games dating to Dec. 29, 2021 (3-5—8). Hischier has found the score sheet in each of his last five games played dating to Dec. 8, 2021 (3-3—6).
* Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon (0-3—3) extended his point streak to 10 games (2-15—17) as Colorado earned its ninth consecutive victory at Ball Arena, one shy of equaling the longest home win streak in franchise history achieved three times previously (1983-84, 1994-95 & 2017-18). The Avalanche (18-8-2, 38 points) moved ahead of the Oilers (18-12-2, 38 points) and Kings (16-12-5, 37 points) to claim the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
* Sam Bennett suspended three games for illegal check to the head
* Zach Sawchenko, former University of Alberta Golden Bears goaltender, makes NHL debut
* Auston Matthews, Max Pacioretty, Thatcher Demko named ‘Three Stars’ for December
* Trevor Zegras named ‘Rookie of the Month’ for December
* Kyle Connor scores overtime winner to reach 150 NHL goals
OILERS LOOK TO SNAP THREE-GAME WINLESS STREAK MONDAY
League scoring leader Connor McDavid (19-34—53 in 32 GP) and the Oilers (18-12-2, 38 points) look to snap a three-game winless streak (0-1-2) when they visit Mika Zibanejad (11-19—30 in 33 GP) and the Rangers (21-8-4, 46 points) at Madison Square Garden Monday.