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DOWN TO THE WIRE
Five of Friday’s six games saw the game-winning goal scored in the third period or later, with two decided in overtime and another in the final two minutes of regulation:
* Anton Belov scored the tying goal with 1:59 left in regulation – the first of his NHL career – and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2-1—3) potted the decisive marker 1:01 into overtime to help the Oilers overcome a pair of third-period deficits and pick up their second victory in their last three outings.
* Brock Nelson knotted the game early in the third period and Michael Grabner scored the decisive marker 1:46 into overtime to lead the Islanders to their sixth consecutive road victory, their longest such streak since Oct. 5-26, 2001 (6-0-0). The Islanders also improved to 6-1-0 in their last seven games overall, including three straight wins.
* Rick Nash scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:58 remaining in the third period to help the Rangers overcome a pair of one-goal deficits and improve to 3-0-1 in their last four contests. The goal marked the 50th game-winner of Nash’s career, which ranks 20th among active players.
* Nicklas Backstrom potted the tying goal early in the third period and Joel Ward chipped in the game-winner with 8:09 remaining in regulation to power the Capitals to their second victory in as many nights. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Washington leads the NHL with nine wins when trailing in the third period this season.
* Mike Santorelli scored the decisive goal early in the third period to snap the Canucks’ five-game losing streak (0-2-3) and the Blues’ seven-game winning streak. Three of Santorelli’s 10 goals this season have been game-winners, surpassing his career total prior to 2013-14 (2 GWGs in 208 GP).
BOBROVSKY SHUTS THE DOOR
Sergei Bobrovsky made 36 saves to post his sixth career shutout and second of the season in leading the Blue Jackets to their third win in their past four outings. Bobrovsky improved to 4-0-0 with a 1.31 goals-against average and .960 save percentage in his last four starts dating to Nov. 29.
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored his League-leading 32nd goal of the season and added an assist for his 12th multi-point game of 2013-14. He has 27-22—49 in 32 career games versus the Maple Leafs . . . Penguins captain Sidney Crosby posted 1-1—2 to extend his point streak to seven games (5-8—13). Crosby paces the NHL with 25-42—67 in 46 contests this season . . . Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo scored his seventh goal of the season to stretch his point streak to five games (3-5—8) . . . Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth made 32 saves in his first start since Nov. 22 . . . Despite suffering the overtime loss, Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov (22 saves) is 7-0-5 in his past 12 decisions, his longest career streak without a regulation defeat . . . Canucks bench boss John Tortorella coached his 900th NHL game, becoming the 27th coach in League history – and sixth active – to reach that feat . . . The Avalanche completed their season-long, seven-game homestand with a 4-1-2 record . . . The Blues signed forward Ryan Reaves to a four-year, $4.5 million contract extension. The 26-year-old Winnipeg native has 2-3—5 and 65 penalty minutes in 27 games this season.
SNEAK PEEK AT SATURDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Tampa Bay @ Philadelphia, 1:00 p.m., NHLN-US, SUN, CSN-PH
Chicago @ Montreal, 7:00 p.m., NHLN-US, CBC, RDS, WGN
Florida @ New Jersey, 7:00 p.m., FS-F, MSG PLUS
Ottawa @ Nashville, 7:00 p.m., CBC
Columbus @ Winnipeg, 7:00 p.m., CBC, FS-O
Colorado @ Minnesota, 8:00 p.m., ALT, FS-N
Anaheim @ Phoenix, 8:00 p.m., PRIME, FS-A PLUS
Pittsburgh @ Calgary, 10:00 p.m., CBC, ROOT
Detroit @ Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m., FS-D, FS-W
Boston @ San Jose, 10:30 p.m., NESN, CSN-CA
RARE VISITS HIGHLIGHT HNIC GAMES
CBC airs four games as part of its “Hockey Night in Canada” telecast: the Blackhawks face the Canadiens in their first visit to Bell Centre since April 5, 2011; the Senators make their first trip to Bridgestone Arena since Dec. 23, 2010, when they take on the Predators; the Blue Jackets make their first-ever appearance in Winnipeg as they battle the Jets; and the Penguins meet the Flames in their first visit to Scotiabank Saddledome since Oct. 8, 2011.
FLYERS LOOK TO STAY HOT AT HOME
The Flyers (23-17-4, 50 points) look to continue their home dominance when they take on the Lightning (26-14-4, 56 points) in a matinee at Wells Fargo Center. Philadelphia has won its last 10 home games, its longest such winning streak since Oct. 27-Dec. 5, 2003 (11-0-0). Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has won six of its past seven road games and is 8-3-1 in its last 12 overall.