Friday
night was an evening to remember in the National Hockey League. We had the top
two teams in the Atlantic Division keep on winning, history in Ottawa and an
epic tribute in Anaheim.

Vasilevskiy
is a Points Machine

Andrei
Vasilevskiy was back in between the pipes for the Tampa Bay Lightning of Friday
night and he kept both of his personal streaks alive. He made 23 saves to extend
his overall point streak to 15 straight games and his road point streak to 11.
Only Tuukka Rask and Sergei Bobrovsky have had longer streaks in the past five
seasons than Vasilevskiy, who has not lost in regulation since Nov. 19.

The 4-3 victory at the Anaheim Ducks was Vasilevskiy’s ninth during the month of January and the 150th of his career. He is just the fourth goaltender in NHL history to win 150 games with less than 250 games played. The other three goaltenders to accomplish this feat were Ken Dryden, Andy Moog and Braden Holtby.

“We’ve
had some special players here but he’s right at the top,” head coach Jon Cooper
said of his starting netminder
.

Vasilevskiy is one game away from tying the franchise record for the longest point streak by a goaltender, which is held by Nikolai Khabibulin. The Lightning will play again tonight at the San Jose Sharks, but it is unlikely Vasilevskiy will play. His next start should come on Tuesday against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Bruins
Benefit from Rask’s Return

The
Boston Bruins got their Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender back on Friday night
and he helped them keep pace with the scorching-hot Lightning. Tuukka Rask made
his first start since Jan. 14 when he suffered a concussion in a 3-0 loss to
the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Rask was very busy in his first game back, making 37 saves in a 2-1 victory at the Winnipeg Jets. His best stop of the night came in the second period when he robbed former teammate Blake Wheeler with this nice glove save.

“I
felt the puck well, but then it was a long break so physically not that great,”
Rask
said after the game
. “I think I’ve played enough hockey that it’s more
mental. You feel those first few shots.”

The
Bruins maintained their five-point lead over the Lightning in the Atlantic
Division with the win. The top two teams in the division still have two games
against each other this season, both to take place in March.

Samsonov
Makes Rookie History

Before
the season started, if we had told you that the Washington Capitals would have
the most points in the league on Feb. 1 despite Holtby’s 3.11 goals-against
average (GAA) and .896 save percentage (SV%), you would have called us crazy. That
exactly where we are and the Capitals can thank rookie netminder Ilya Samsonov
for picking up the slack.

Samsonov made 25 saves in 5-3 win at the Ottawa Senators as the Capitals now lead the league with 20 road victories this season. In fact, they matched the NHL record for earning their 20th road win in the fewest games. They tied their own record which they set during the 2015-16 season when they also won 20 road games in 27 games.

Ilya Samsonov Washington Capitals
Samsonov’s tremendous rookie season continued on Friday. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The
young goaltender made plenty of history himself on the same night where Alex
Ovechkin passed Mark Messier
on the all-time scoring list. He joined Ross
Brooks and George Hainsworth as the only rookie goaltenders to
win 11 straight decisions
.

Samsonov
now has a 16-2-1 record in his 20 games making him just the fourth goaltender
in league history to win 16 of his first 20 games. Andrew Hammond, Brent Johnson
and Dryden are the others who have accomplished this feat. He also improved to
10-0-0 on the road and is one more win away from joining Johnson as the only goaltender
to win the first 11 road games of his career.

Gibson
Pays Tribute to Kobe

Last
Sunday, the sports world lost one of its biggest names when former Los Angeles
Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash. Many players for
the NHL have sent their condolences over the past few days, but Ducks
goaltender John Gibson took it to a whole new level.

Gibson
wore a mask designed by Shell Shock Designs that paid tribute to Bryant. The
amazing artwork featured both of the numbers Bryant wore during his legendary
career. The back featured a silhouette of Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who
also died in the crash, as well as the names of the seven others who lost their
lives in the tragedy.  

A big stick tap goes out to Gibson and Shell Shock Designs for this amazing tribute!