The Pittsburgh Penguins notched their 15th straight victory by beating the New York Islanders 2-0 on Saturday, overcoming an early injury to Sidney Crosby.
Pittsburgh moved within two games of the NHL record streak of 17 wins set by the 1992-1993 Penguins team led by Mario Lemieux.
Pittsburgh went 15-0-0 last month, the first perfect month in league history. The Penguins also won a franchise best 12 straight at home.
In other key games, a Nazem Kadri hat-trick led Toronto over Ottawa, Minnesota got back on the winners’ list with a shootout victory over Los Angeles, Montreal moved three points clear atop the Northeast Division by defeating the New York Rangers, Edmonton’s Taylor Hall scored three goals in a win over Vancouver and Philadelphia ended a four-game skid by beating Boston.
Pittsburgh’s goals both came in the third period from Matt Cooke and James Neal.
Crosby skated off the ice with a towel covering his mouth after a slap-shot by teammate Brooks Orpik deflected off a stick and hit the NHL’s leading scorer in the face just 1 minute, 28 seconds into the game. Crosby, who immediately fell to the ice and tossed his stick in the air, did not return.
Another head injury for Crosby has to concern the Penguins. The team captain has missed considerable time in the past two years because of concussions.
Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul scored to supplement Kadri’s hat-trick as the Maple Leafs cruised to a 4-0 win over the Ottawa Senators.
James Reimer made 31 saves for the Maple Leafs, who led 1-0 after the first period and 2-0 after the second, before Kadri scored twice in the opening five minutes of the third period to put the game away.
Minnesota’s Mikko Koivu scored in a shootout as the Wild bounced back for a win after having their seven-game winning streak ended, defeating the Los Angeles Kings 4-3.
Koivu also had two assists in regulation. Matt Cullen and Zach Parise scored in regulation for the Wild.
Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter and Justin Williams scored for the Kings, who blew a two-goal lead.
Montreal’s Michael Ryder and Tomas Plekanec scored in the first period to set up the Canadiens’ 3-0 win over the New York Rangers.
Carey Price made 34 saves and Brendan Gallagher also scored for the Canadiens, who swept their three games against New York this season.
The Rangers, the NHL’s lowest-scoring team, again failed to find the net.
Edmonton’s Taylor Hall set an Oilers record for the fastest hat-trick to start a game, netting three times inside 7:53 — almost five minute quicker than Wayne Gretzky’s effort in 1986 — in their 4-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
Ladislav Smid also scored for the Oilers, who are in a four-team tie just one point behind eighth seed St Louis in the Western Conference playoff race.
The Canucks had their six-game winning streak ended.
Philadelphia won their first game in five by beating the Boston Bruins 3-1.
Mike Knuble and Matt Read scored, while Ilya Bryzgalov made 33 saves and Ruslan Fedotenko added an empty-netter for the Flyers, who are last in the Atlantic Division, but only four points off the Eastern Conference’s last playoff spot.
Nathan Horton scored for the Bruins, who had won their previous four against the Flyers.
San Jose’s Logan Couture scored the lone goal in the shootout to give the Sharks a fourth straight win, beating the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2.