The New York Islanders moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division on Friday with a 2-0 win against the Washington Capitals, giving coach Barry Trotz a victory in his first game at Capital One Arena since guiding his former team to the Stanley Cup in June.
The Islanders won their sixth straight road game and improved to 7-0-0 in the second half of back-to-backs. Thomas Greiss made 19 saves for his second shutout of the season and the 10th of his NHL career. Josh Bailey and Cal Clutterbuck scored in the third period for New York (28-15-4), which leads the Columbus Blue Jackets (28-16-3) and Capitals (27-15-5) by one point.
This is the second time since 1990-91 that the Islanders have led their division at any point after the halfway mark of the season. In 2014-15, they held first place through their 69th game before finishing third.
New York has won four in a row, allowing a total of three goals. The Islanders have allowed an NHL-low 119 goals; at the same point last season, they had allowed 173, the most in the League.
Flames, Penguins, Canucks each find way to win
The Calgary Flames, Pittsburgh Penguins and Vancouver Canucks each went home with two points in back-and-forth affairs:
Flames center Sam Bennett had two goals and an assist for his fifth NHL performance of at least three points in a 6-4 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Scotiabank Saddledome. The Flames tied the game four times (including twice in the third period) before Bennett scored his second goal of the game with 3:54 left in regulation to put Calgary ahead for the first time. The first-place Flames (31-13-5) lead the San Jose Sharks by four points in the Pacific Division. They also lead the NHL with 78 third-period goals.
Forward Phil Kessel‘s power-play goal with 50 seconds left in overtime gave the Penguins a 3-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Pittsburgh (26-15-6) is fourth in the Metropolitan Division but just two points behind the first-place Islanders. Kessel (seven goals, nine assists) is one of six players with at least 16 overtime points since the NHL adopted the 3-on-3 format in 2015-16, trailing only forwards Johnny Gaudreau of the Flames (18 points; seven goals, 11 assists), Artemi Panarin of the Columbus Blue Jackets (17 points; seven goals, 10 assists) and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks (17 points; six goals, 11 assists). Kessel has scored seven of his 10 regular-season overtime goals in 3-on-3 play, two behind Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand for the NHL lead.
Goalie Thatcher Demko made 36 saves in the second game of his NHL career to help the Canucks (22-21-6) defeat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 at Rogers Arena and move into the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. Vancouver is one of six teams separated by one point in the conference standings. Demko is the first goalie in Canucks history to win each of his first two NHL appearances and the second to go 2-0-0 in his first two starts; Frank Caprice won each of his first three NHL starts in 1983-84 after making his debut in relief during the 1982-83 season.
Keller becomes fastest member of Coyotes to reach 100 points
Clayton Keller opened the scoring against the Penguins in the first period with the 100th point of his NHL career. The 20-year-old center has 33 goals and 67 assists in 132 games. Keller required the fewest games to reach the milestone for any Coyotes player since the former Winnipeg Jets relocated to Arizona in 1996-97, besting the previous mark set by Max Domi (154 games). Six players in Coyotes/Jets history have accumulated 100 points in fewer NHL games than Keller, all when the franchise was based in Winnipeg.