* More than half of Saturday’s 14 games start before 7 p.m. ET, including two airing on ABC and ESPN+ as well as one featuring NHL scoring leader Connor McDavid looking to extend his overall and road point streak to 15 and 17 contests, respectively.
* Saturday also marks Dustin Brown Night at Crypto.com Arena, with the Kings set to unveil a statue of their former captain and retire his No. 23 in a pre-game ceremony.
* Evgeni Malkin (463-737—1,200) collected two assists Friday and became just the fourth active player to reach the 1,200-point milestone.
* Vladimir Tarasenko found the back of the net in the opening three minutes of his Rangers debut and joined a short list of players to accomplish the feat with the club.
SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTED BY LIGHTNING-STARS, CAPITALS-BRUINS ON ABC, ESPN+
Saturday’s slate features two matinees airing on ABC and ESPN+, with the Lightning (33-16-2, 68 points) squaring off against the Central Division-leading Stars (30-13-10, 70 points) at American Airlines Center followed by the Capitals (27-20-6, 60 points) vying for a victory versus the League-leading Bruins (39-7-5, 83 points) at TD Garden.
* Tampa Bay, which blanked Colorado on Thursday, is set to contest its second straight Stanley Cup Final rematch. The Lightning defeated the Stars in the 2020 Final to capture their second Cup in franchise history (also 2004), which also marked the club’s first of three consecutive appearances in the championship series.
* A total of 21 players who dressed at least one game in the 2020 Final remain with Tampa Bay or Dallas (min. 1 GP in 2022-23): Zach Bogosian, Erik Cernak, Anthony Cirelli, Victor Hedman, Alex Killorn, Nikita Kucherov, Pat Maroon, Brayden Point, Mikhail Sergachev, Steven Stamkos and Andrei Vasilevskiy for the visitors as well as Jamie Benn, Denis Gurianov, Joel Hanley, Miro Heiskanen, Roope Hintz, Joel Kiviranta, Esa Lindell, Jake Oettinger, Joe Pavelski and Tyler Seguin for the hosts. Lightning forward Corey Perry appeared in all six contests with the Stars, which included scoring the double-overtime winner in Game 5.
* Boston can become the fastest team in League history to reach 40 wins in a season, eclipsing the current mark set by the 2015-16 Capitals (40-9-4 in 53 GP). Eight players who dressed at least one game with Washington during that campaign remain with the team (min. 1 GP in 2022-23): Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, T.J. Oshie, Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson.
* Ovechkin (28-29—57 in 63 GP) has scored 28 career goals versus the Bruins, which is tied for 16th among all players in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68). Should he tally twice Saturday, Boston would be the 14th franchise that Ovechkin has scored 30 or more goals against (also WPG/ATL, TBL, CAR, PHI, FLA, NYR, NYI, TOR, BUF, PIT, NJD, MTL & OTT).
ROAD TO 2023 STADIUM SERIES CONTINUES FOR HURRICANES
The Hurricanes (34-9-8, 76 points) return to action when they put the NHL’s longest active win streak on the line (7-0-0 since Jan. 19) against the Rangers (30-14-8, 68 points) – winners of four straight. Saturday is one of Carolina’s three games remaining on the schedule before it faces Washington in the 2023 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series at Carter-Finley Stadium on Feb. 18.
* Sebastian Aho (Rauma, Finland) enters Saturday on a six-game goal streak and sits one contest shy of matching the second-longest stretch in franchise history (Ray Ferraro: 7 GP in 1988-89 w/ HFD). Should he find the back of the net in the 2023 Stadium Series, he would become just the fourth Finnish-born player to score in an outdoor game following Kasperi Kapanen (2023 Winter Classic w/ PIT), Rasmus Ristolainen (2018 Winter Classic w/ BUF) and Erik Haula (2016 Stadium Series w/ MIN).
* Everything you need to know about the League’s 28th franchise to appear in an outdoor game can be found in our latest #NHLStats Pack as well as our Interactive Information Guide.
LOS ANGELES SET TO HONOR BROWN BY UNVEILING STATUE, RETIRING HIS No. 23
Dustin Brown, who captained the Kings to their two Stanley Cup championships (2014 & 2012) and is the franchise’s all-time leader in games played (1,296 GP), will be honored by the club when Los Angeles unveils a statue of him and retires his No. 23 at Crypto.com Arena on Saturday.
* Brown will become the third former Kings player to have a standalone statue outside the venue at Star Plaza, joining Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille. The area is also home to a statue of longtime team broadcaster Bob Miller as well as the Los Angeles Kings Monument, which features Brown alongside other past-and-present franchise icons.
* Brown will be the seventh player to have his number retired by the Kings, following Rob Blake (No. 4), Marcel Dionne (No. 16), Dave Taylor (No. 18), Robitaille (No. 20), Rogie Vachon (No. 30) and Gretzky (No. 99).
* Brown’s franchise-record games played total included 1,158 with current Los Angeles captain Anze Kopitar, which marks the third most by a pair of NHL teammates. Brown, Kopitar and Jonathan Quick contested 15 seasons together dating to when the latter debuted in 2007-08, tied for the second highest total by a trio of teammates in League history.
MALKIN REACHES MILESTONE WITH 1,200TH CAREER POINT
Evgeni Malkin (0-2—2) assisted on two of six Pittsburgh goals to reach 1,200 career points, while Pierre-Olivier Joseph (2-1—3) put up a three-point performance as the Penguins (26-16-9, 61 points) claimed a victory in Anaheim and leapfrogged the idle Capitals (27-20-6, 60 points) for the first Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
*Malkin (463-737—1,200 in 1,032 GP) became the third player in Penguins history to reach the 1,200-point milestone, joining Mario Lemieux (690-1,033—1,723 in 915 GP) and teammate Sidney Crosby (541-930—1,471 in 1,159 GP). He also became the fourth active player to reach the mark.
*Joseph became the third Penguins defenseman in the past 30 years to record multiple three-point games before age 24. The others: Kris Letang (4 GP) and Ryan Whitney (2 GP).
TARASENKO TALLIES IN RANGERS DEBUT AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
In his team debut in front of the Blueshirts faithful, Vladimir Tarasenko (1-0—1) wasted no time in finding the back of the net, needing just 2:49 to score the first of his club’s six goals en route to a Rangers victory at Madison Square Garden.
* Tarasenko, who was acquired by New York from St. Louis on Feb. 9, became the first Rangers player to score in his team debut since Braden Schneider (1-0—1 on Jan. 13, 2022).
* Adam Fox (0-1—1), who became just the fifth defenseman to reach the 50-point mark this season (10-40—50 in 52 GP), recorded his third straight campaign with 40-plus assists and became the fourth blueliner in Rangers history to achieve the feat, joining Brian Leetch (4x), Brad Park (4x) and James Patrick (3x).
GOALTENDERS HIGHLIGHTED IN FRIDAY’S #NHLSTATS: LIVE UPDATES
The latest edition of #NHLStats: Live Updates featured noteworthy performances from Toronto’s Ilya Samsonov and Chicago’s Jaxson Stauber, who both backstopped their teams to victory Friday:
* Stauber made 23 saves to help the Blackhawks earn their sixth multi-goal comeback win of the season, tied with the Canucks, Devils and Ducks for the most among all teams. He became the first goaltender in franchise history to earn a win in each of his first three NHL games.
*Samsonov turned aside all 30 shots he faced to help the Maple Leafs defeat the Blue Jackets in the first game of a back-to-back set between the two clubs. Toronto (32-13-8, 72 points), which bolstered its lead over Tampa Bay (33-16-2, 68 points) for second place in the Atlantic Division, will host Columbus at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday.
NHL PODCASTS WEEKLY ROUNDUP
* NHL Fantasy (Feb. 5): All-Star wrap & Fantasy waiver wire pickups
* NHL @ The Rink (Feb. 8): Brian Boucher joins; Playoff races, Trouba’s style, Mailbag
* La Tasse de café LNH (Feb. 8): Horvat, le premier domino de la date limite des transactions
* The Chirp with Daren Millard (Feb. 9): Keith Tkachuk joins; Stretch run, Deadline decisions
* NHL Fantasy (Feb. 9): Chytil-mania; Horvat, Beauvillier impressions; Guest: Jonny Lazarus
* Jason Robertson‘s rise with Stars latest success for U.S.-born players in NHL
* Dustin Brown ‘very deserving’ to have No. 23 retired, statue unveiled by Kings
* Czechia, Finland to celebrate first Hockey Day in March
* Women in Hockey: Allison Vaughan