The Los Angeles Kings extended their mastery of San Jose and moved within a point of the NHL Pacific Division lead with a 4-1 win over the Sharks on Thursday, with goaltender Martin Jones continuing his perfect career start.
Elsewhere, Pittsburgh extended their run of wins to six by downing Minnesota, Alexander Steen’s goal glut continued as St Louis beat Montreal and Dallas scored twice in 15 seconds en route to victory over Vancouver.
Los Angeles’ Jones is a perfect 7-0 to begin his career — conceding only six goals — and made 31 saves, while fellow rookie Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist for the Kings.
Dwight King and Jeff Carter also had a goal and an assist apiece for Los Angeles, who have won eight of the past nine against the Sharks. It is a rivalry that depends heavily on venue, with the home team winning on the past 15 occasions.
Kings captain Dustin Brown was ejected for a knee-on-knee hit on Tomas Hertl in the first period and San Jose’s rookie goalscorer did not return to the game.
Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz scored his 19th goal of the season as the Penguins defeated the Minnesota Wild 5-2.
Sidney Crosby had two assists — extending his league points lead — for Pittsburgh, who effectively ended the contest by jumping out to a 4-0 lead and cruised to a sixth straight victory.
Rookie defenseman Olli Maatta sealed the win when he scored a third-period penalty shot.
Pascal Dupuis and Brandon Sutter each scored for the second consecutive game, while defenseman Matt Niskanen also tallied for Pittsburgh, who have won nine straight at home.
Jason Pominville and Dany Heatley scored for the Wild.
St Louis’ Alexander Steen scored twice to help the Blues beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1.
Steen, who signed a three-year, US$17.4 million extension earlier in the day, already has 24 goals, tying his career high set in 2009-2010.
Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak made 25 saves and improved to 4-0 against his old team.
Chris Stewart, Jaden Schwartz and Maxim Lapierre also scored for St Louis, while Brendan Gallagher scored for the Canadiens, who were playing the first of six successive road games.
Dallas’ Jamie Benn and Colton Sceviour scored goals 15 seconds apart in the first period, leading the Stars to a 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
Erik Cole had a goal and two assists for the Stars.
Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk and Joffrey Lupul scored in the shootout to lift the Maple Leafs to a 2-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.
Troy Bodie scored in regulation for the Maple Leafs, while Martin Hanzal netted for the Coyotes.
Tampa Bay’s Anders Lindback made 28 saves and won in his first game against his former team, helping the Lightning down the Nashville Predators 4-2.
Alex Killorn had a goal and an assist, while the Lightning also got goals from Martin St Louis, Teddy Purcell and Richard Panik.
Craig Smith scored both goals for the Predators.
Detroit’s Daniel Alfredsson scored twice, including a power-play score in overtime, as the Red Wings earned a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames.
Denver’s Maxime Talbot broke a second-period tie with a short-handed goal as the Avalanche beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-2.
Buffalo’s Drew Stafford scored the winning goal in the third period to give the Sabres a 4-2 victory against the Boston Bruins.
Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux scored the tying and winning goals in the final minutes of the third period, rallying the Flyers past the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4.