With wins Monday, the Tampa Bay Lightning (17-6-2, 36 points) and Montreal Canadiens (17-7-2, 36 points) rose to the top spot in the NHL standings. The Anaheim Ducks (15-6-5, 35 points) also were victorious to claim sole possession of first place in the Western Conference.
ANAHEIM SITS ATOP WESTERN CONFERENCE Sami Vatanen, Devante Smith-Pelly and Matt Beleskey each scored for the Anaheim Ducks in a 3-2 win against the Boston Bruins. Anaheim improved to 15-6-5 this season and took sole possession of first in the Western Conference with 35 points; they're one point behind Tampa Bay and Montreal for the League's top record.
* Beleskey scored his first game-winner of the season to reach a new career-high with 12 goals.
* Vatanen scored his sixth goal of the season and ranks third among defensemen with 20 points, behind only the Calgary Flames' Mark Giordano (25 points) and T.J. Brodie (21).
* Frederik Andersen made 32 saves for his 11th win of the season while making his career-high 12th consecutive start, the most by an Anaheim goaltender since Jonas Hiller started a Ducks-record 32 straight from Jan. 12 to March 18, 2012.
TAMPA BAY SWEEPS SEASON SERIES VS. RANGERS
The Tampa Bay Lightning won their fourth consecutive game Monday with a 6-3 victory against the New York Rangers, sweeping the season series (3-0-0). It was the third time in 15 days that the Lightning defeated the Rangers after a 5-1 win in New York on Nov. 17 and a 4-3 victory at home Nov. 26. The Lightning improved to 17-6-2 this season, and their 36 points and 17 wins through the first 25 games both are franchise records.
Ben Bishop Goalie - TBL RECORD: 15-3-2
GAA: 2.30 | SVP: .917 * Ben Bishop was in goal for all three wins against the Rangers this season and improved to 8-0-0 with a 1.78 goals-against average, .934 save percentage and two shutouts in his career against them. Bishop is 15-3-2 this season, tying him for the second-most wins in the NHL. * Brett Connolly had two goals, including the game-winner, for the first multigoal and multipoint game of his career. The goal also is his first game-winning goal of the season and the fourth of his career.
* Tyler Johnson had two goals and an assist for his sixth multi-point game of the season. He's second on the Lightning with 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists). Johnson has assists in three consecutive games and leads the Lightning in assists with 18.
* Victor Hedman had three assists for his third multipoint game of the season. It was Hedman's second game with at least three points this season; he had a goal and three assists Oct. 13 against Montreal.
* Steven Stamkos had an assist to extend his point streak to five games; he has three goals and four assists during his streak.
* Prior to the game the Rangers honored Martin St. Louis in a pre-game ceremony featuring current and former teammates for recording the 1,000th point of his NHL career earlier this week.
CANADIENS KEEP PACE WITH WIN OVER AVALANCHE
Max Pacioretty scored his second game-winning goal of the season and the 20th of his career to lift Montreal to a 4-3 victory against the Colorado Avalanche. The goal was Pacioretty's 12th of the season; he leads Montreal in goals (12) and points (20).
* Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais each had their team-leading 11th assists of the season. Defensemen P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov each had a goal and an assist. Subban (16 points) and Markov (12) rank first and second for points among Montreal defensemen, respectively.
* Carey Price made 26 saves to improve his record to 14-5-1 this season. Price ranks fourth in the League with 14 wins, two behind the Nashville Predators' Pekka Rinne (16) for the League lead.
Mark Howe, son of hockey legend Gordie Howe, told the Detroit Free Press on Tuesday that his father had a major stroke Monday and is hospitalized in intensive care.
Gordie Howe, 86, had been staying at his daughter's home in Lubbock, Texas, when he had a major stroke Oct. 26. He was able to walk a bit a week later, but sustained a setback when he had a minor stroke in early November.
Mark Howe also told the Free Press on Sunday that Gordie Howe had been dealing with severe back pain, but a recent epidural had relieved that issue.
Wayne Gretzky was in attendance at Madison Square Garden and received a standing ovation from fans during the second period. … Rangers forward Rick Nash had an assist to extend his point streak to six games; he has four goals and three assists during his streak. … Rangers forward Jesper Fast scored the second goal of his NHL career and has scored in two consecutive games. Fast scored the first goal of his career in the Rangers' previous game, Nov. 29 against the Philadelphia Flyers. … Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad scored his third goal of the season; his 12 points leads all Florida defensemen. Ekblad also ranks first in rookie scoring among defensemen. … The Edmonton Oilers honored Pat Quinn with a moment of silence in a pregame ceremony. … Boston Bruins rookie forward David Pastrnak had his first career NHL assist/point in his third game. … Bruins forward Simon Gagne reached 600 career points with a goal. … Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano, St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko and Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne were named the NHL's Three Stars for the month of November. … Nashville Predators center Filip Forsberg, who led all rookies with nine goals, 15 points and a plus-9 rating in 13 games, was named the NHL Rookie of the Month for November. … New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak, Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan and Calgary Flames goaltender Karri Ramo were named the NHL's Three Stars for the week ending Nov. 30. … The NHL Department of Player Safety fined Wild defenseman Marco Scandella for an illegal check to the head of Blues forward T.J. Oshie.
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