With a busy weekend ahead, Friday night was relatively quiet with only eight teams taking to the ice.
Don’t let the number of games fool you though, we had an exciting night of hockey with the Winnipeg Jets thrashing the Carolina Hurricanes 8-1 and the Anaheim Ducks demolishing the Canadiens 8-2.
And maybe the most exiting of all (at least for Bolts fans), the Canadiens loss sees the Tampa Bay Lightning clinch the first 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff spot.
Minnesota Wild v Florida Panthers
Aleksander Barkov set a Florida Panthers record with five assists as he helped Sam Montembeault get his first NHL win, a 6-2 thrashing of the Minnesota Wild.
The previous record of four assists had been achieved eight times, most recently by Thomas Vanek on March 14, 2017.
Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and three assists, Mackenzie Weegar and Mike Matheson each scored twice and Evgenii Dadonov had three assists, ending the Panthers’ six-game losing streak.
Montembeault, who was playing his second game (he made 22 saves in an overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday), made 25 saves for Florida, who are 9pts behind the Montreal Canadiens.
J.T. Brown and Marcus Foligno scored for Minnesota, who saw their point streak end at eight games. They remain 3pts ahead of the Arizona Coyotes for the second wild card in the Western Conference.
Devan Dubnyk, who was coming off a 25 save shutout against the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday, was pulled after the first period after allowing three goals on seven shots. Alex Stalock made 19 saves in relief.
Sharks v Wild – Monday, March 11th (8pm – NBCSN)
Red Wings v Panthers – Sunday, March 10th (5pm)
New Jersey Devils v Washington Capitals
The Washington Capitals won their sixth consecutive game, 3-0 against the New Jersey Devils.
Andre Burakovsky scored for the third game running, Nicklas Backstrom and Lars Eller also scored, and Braden Holtby made 25 saves for the Caps, who moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division, breaking a tie with the New York Islanders.
It was Holtby‘s third shutout of the season and 35th of his NHL career, tying Olaf Kolzig for the franchise record. He has five shutouts against the New Jersey Devils.
John Carlson, who registered an assist on Backstrom‘s goal, is one assist away from becoming the third Caps defenseman with consecutive 50 assist seasons.
The Devils, who were 0-for-6 on the power play, have lost five in a row and have scored two or fewer goals in six of their last 7. Mackenzie Blackwood made 33 saves.
Devils v Rangers – Saturday, March 9th (7pm)
Jets v Capitals – Sunday, March 10th (7pm)
Winnipeg Jets v Carolina Hurricanes
The Winnipeg Jets moved into first place in the Central Division with an 8-1 pounding of the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
Laurent Brossoit made 28 saves for the Jets, who are a point ahead of the Nashville Predators (who play the Canes on Saturday) in the Central.
Andrew Copp scored twice, Nikolaj Ehlers had a goal and two assists for the visitors. Kevin Hayes, Blake Wheeler, Ben Chiarot, Kyle Connor and Adam Lowry all scored for the Jets, who had thirteen players register at least 1pt, seven of which had a multi-point game.
Greg McKegg scored the hosts’ only goal and Curtis McElhinney allowed eight goals on 29 shots in just his third regulation loss in his past 14 starts (10-3-1).
Nino Niederreiter was minus 6, the worst rating in Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers history, Sebastian Aho was minus 5.
Carolina have lost two in a row after a five-game win streak. They’re tied in points with the Montreal Canadiens, who have played one more than the Canes, for the first wild card from the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes are also 2pts behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division.
Jets v Capitals – Sunday, March 10th (7pm)
Canes v Predators – Saturday, March 9th (8pm)
Montreal Canadiens v Anaheim Ducks
Carey Price was denied the chance to set the Montreal Canadiens record for wins by a goalie when the Anaheim Ducks set a season high for goals in an 8-2 victory.
Price, who remains tied with Jacques Plante for most wins in Montreal history (314), matched his NHL career-high by allowing eight goals on 29 shots.
Cam Fowler became Anaheim’s all-time leader in points by a defenseman with an assist on Troy Terry‘s goal. It was his 265th NHL point, moving him past Scott Niedermayer.
Terry had two assists, Adam Henrique scored twice, Devin Shore and Corey Perry each had a goal and an assist, Max Jones scored his first NHL goal, and John Gibson made 35 saves for the hosts.
Shea Weber had a goal and an assist and Paul Byron scored the other for the visitors, who are two points ahead of Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card from the East. They are also tied in points with the Carolina Hurricanes for the first wild card.
Montreal’s loss was Tampa Bay Lightning’s gain, the result saw the Bolts clinch the first spot in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Due to scores (and their own amazing hockey this season) favoring Tampa, they will now finish no lower than third in the Atlantic Division.
Red Wings v Canadiens – Tuesday, March 12th (7pm)
Kings v Ducks – Sunday, March 10th (10pm – NBCSN)
ALL TIMES U.S. EASTERN