The Wild scored four tying goals – including one off the stick of newcomer Ryan White (1-1—2) – and Mikael Granlund netted the winner just 12 seconds into overtime defeat the LA Kings, 5-4, as Minnesota concluded its season-high eight-game homestand with a 5-2-1 record.
Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk (26 saves) registered his League-leading 33rd win of the season (33-11-3 in 47 GP) to eclipse his career high of 32 from 2015-16 (32-26-6 in 67 GP).
Minnesota overcame four separate one-goal deficits to win for the third time in franchise history. The other instances each were 5-4 shootout victories against the Blues (April 4, 2006 and Feb. 11, 2011).
The Wild (40-14-6, 86 points), who registered their 40th win in their 60th contest of the season, required the fewest games to reach the 40-win mark in the franchise’s 17-year history, shattering the previous mark of 71 games set in 2006-07.
In other NHL news . . .
KUCHEROV POWERS LIGHTNING WITH RARE NATURAL HAT TRICK
Nikita Kucherov (3-1—4) scored three consecutive power-play goals in the second period to register his second NHL hat trick and power the Lightning to a 6-1-2 record in their last nine games.
Kucherov tallied the 10th natural hat trick in franchise history and the first with all three goals scored via the power play. The last player from any team to score a natural hat trick with three power-play goals was Taylor Hall on Feb. 19, 2011 vs. ATL (w/ EDM).
Kucherov, who matched a franchise record for power-play goals in a game, paces the Lightning with 26-32—58 this season (54 GP) including 5-4—9 in his last three games.
PACIORETTY ECLIPSES 30-GOAL MARK IN COMEBACK WIN
The Canadiens faced a pair of two-goal deficits before Max Pacioretty (2-0—2) tied the game with 51.8 seconds remaining in regulation to set the stage for Alex Galchenyuk’s overtime winner as Montreal regained a four-point lead atop the Atlantic Division.
Pacioretty scored his 30th and 31st goals of the season to move into second in the League (behind Sidney Crosby: 34) and reach the 30-goal mark for the fifth time in nine NHL seasons. Elias notes that Pacioretty became just the fifth player in franchise history to record at least four consecutive 30-goal campaigns and the first to do so since the 1980s.
Alexander Radulov (1-3—4) registered the first four-point game of his NHL career, while fellow offseason acquisition Shea Weber tallied two assists. Radulov (15-31—46) and Weber (14-22—36) rank second and third, respectively, in team scoring behind Pacioretty (31-24—55).
NHL TRADE WATCH
After a pair of high-profile deals on Sunday, the trade market continued to heat up as the hours count down to the NHL Trade Deadline on Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET:
- The Capitals acquired defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and goaltender Pheonix Copley from the Blues in exchange for forwards Zach Sanford and Brad Malone, as well as a first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft and a conditional pick(s).
- The Maple Leafs acquired forward Brian Boyle from the Lightning in exchange for forward Byron Froese and a conditional second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.
- The Senators acquired forward Alexandre Burrows from the Canucks in exchange for forward prospect Jonathan Dahlen.
- The Canadiens acquired defenseman Jordie Benn from the Stars in exchange for defenseman Greg Pateryn and a fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.
- The Coyotes acquired forward Teemu Pulkkinen from the Wild in exchange for future considerations.
SCORING, PLAYOFF RACES WIDE OPEN AS FINAL QUARTER BEGINS
The 2016-17 NHL season enters its final quarter during tonight’s 12-game slate. A look at the wide-open scoring and playoff races through 920 of 1,230 games (74.8%):
The race for the Art Ross Trophy is wide open, with Oilers captain Connor McDavid (21-50—71 in 63 GP) leading a group of nine players separated by only 10 points. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who has played in only 54 games this season, ranks second with 34-33—67 followed closely by Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (27-38—65 in 61 GP) – who is 11 points shy of breaking his own single-season franchise record for points by a defenseman – and Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane (24-41—65 in 62 GP), last season’s scoring leader.
A group of five 30-goal scorers are frontrunners for the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, with Crosby leading the way at 34 goals. Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty ranks second with 31, and a three-way tie for third place is shared by Kings forward Jeff Carter (61 GP) along with rookies Patrik Laine (55 GP) and Auston Matthews (61 GP). Laine and Matthews are the first pair of top-two picks from an NHL Draft to each record 30 goals the following season.
Laine and Matthews also share the rookie scoring lead with 30-24—54 apiece as they vie for the Calder Trophy. Laine has already set a Jets/Thrashers franchise record for goals by a rookie and tallied the second-most points by a rookie in club history behind Dany Heatley (26-41—67 in 2001-02; 82 GP). Matthews, meanwhile, needs five goals to break Wendel Clark’s single-season record for goals by a Maple Leafs rookie and 13 points to become the highest-scoring rookie in club history.
First place in each of the League’s four divisions is within reach for a number of teams, with no division leader owning more than a five-point lead on the next-closest club:
The Canadiens (34-21-8, 76 points) hold a four-point lead on the Senators (33-22-6, 72 points), with two other clubs within seven points of the top spot.
The reigning Presidents’ Trophy-winning Capitals (41-13-7, 89 points) own a five-point lead for the first spot in their division, with teams Nos. 2-4 separated by only two points.
The Wild (40-14-6, 86 points) and Blackhawks (39-18-5, 83 points) are separated by only three points in the race for first place.
The Sharks (36-18-7, 79 points) hold a five-point lead on the Ducks (32-21-10, 74 points) and Oilers (33-22-8, 74 points), who share second place – four points ahead of the Flames (33-26-4, 70 points).
The Wild Card Race
In the Eastern Conference, only one point separates the owner of the second Wild Card spot and the first team outside the playoff picture. In the Western Conference, only two points separate the first non-playoff team from the club holding the final Wild Card position.
MONDAY’S RESULTS (Home Team in Caps)
Montreal 4, NEW JERSEY 3 (OT)
TAMPA BAY 5, Ottawa 1
MINNESOTA 5, Los Angeles 4 (OT)
TUESDAY’S ACTION (All Times Eastern)
Washington @ NY Rangers, 7 p.m., SN1, SNO, SNP, TVAS, MSG, CSN-DC+
Nashville @ Buffalo, 7 p.m., MSG-B, FS-TN
Colorado @ Philadelphia, 7 p.m., NBCSN, CSN-PH
Arizona @ Boston, 7 p.m., NESN, FS-A PLUS
Carolina @ Florida, 7:30 p.m., FS-F, FS-CR
Columbus @ Montreal, 7:30 p.m., SNE, RDS, FS-O
Edmonton @ St. Louis, 8 p.m., FS-MW, SNW
Minnesota @ Winnipeg, 8 p.m., TSN3, FS-N
Pittsburgh @ Dallas, 8:30 p.m., FS-SW, ROOT
Los Angeles @ Calgary, 9 p.m., SN1 , FS-W
Detroit @ Vancouver, 10 p.m., SNP, FS-D
Toronto @ San Jose, 10:30 p.m., CSN-CA, SNO
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services