NHL Scores: Patrick Sharp leads Blackhawks rout; Wild continue slide

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp celebrated his birthday with a hat trick, while John Scott scored a goal for the Buffalo Sabres.

It was quite the birthday for Patrick Sharp.

The Blackhawks forward turned 32 on Friday and was the driving force behind Chicago's 7-2 dismantling of the Colorado Avalanchescoring three goals and assisting on another to continue to push him up the NHL's leader boards. After his performance on Friday Sharp is now in the top 10 in goals, points and shots on goal. On a team that has superstars like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa it's sometimes easy for Sharp to get lost in the shuffle, but he's been as consistent and productive as any other player on the team over the years.

Elsewhere on Friday the Boston Bruins blew out the Ottawa Senators, the Minnesota Wild continued their recent slump, and the Pittsburgh Penguins battled back thanks to some nice breaks in the third period to steal one from the Carolina Hurricanes. Even though he didn't play, Evgeni Malkin was quite happy with that development.

All the NHL Scores

Bruins 5, Senators 0

Blue Jackets 2, Devils 1

Capitals 3, Rangers 2

Penguins 4, Hurricanes 3

Maple Leafs 4, Sabres 3

Blackhawks 7, Avalanche 2

Jets 6, Wild 4

Stars 4, Predators 1

Oilers 2, Flames 0

Sharks 4, Coyotes 3

Five Questions

On Friday we asked you five burning questions about the days games. These are your cool, soothing answers.

1. Will another backup goalie stifle the Rangers

Everybody is shutting down the Rangers these days, and Friday night was no different as they were on the losing end of a 3-2 decision in Washington. It certainly wasn't for a lack of chances, as the Rangers peppered Philipp Grubauer with 40 shots but they could only get two behind him. It's been that kind of year for the Rangers. Even when they play well and get chances, nothing goes in.

2. Which Avalanche team will show up in Chicago?

Not only was it the bad Avalanche team, it was the terrible Avalanche team. This game was over from the word go as the Blackhawks rolled to a 7-2 win.

3. Can Pittsburgh overcome yet another injury?

They didn't play well and were probably lucky to come away with one point let alone two, but the Penguins found a way to get another win despite losing another key player, this time playing without top-line winger Pascal Dupuis. The Penguins still managed to score four goals in an overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes. James Neal scored the game-winner in overtime.

4. How can the Wild turn things around on the road?

They didn't figure it out on Friday, losing to the Jets in Winnipeg by a 6-4 margin. This game goth off to a crazy start as the Wild actually chased Jets starting goaltender Ondrej Pavelec in the first period by putting three shots behind him in the first 10 minutes. The problem is the Wild gave up four goals of their own. They never recovered. Minnesota is now just 6-12-3 on the road this season and has won just five of its past 16 games overall.

5. Can the Coyotes score some goals for Mike Smith

They scored three, but it wasn't enough for a win. On the plus side, they at least lost in a more traditional way on Friday night, dropping a shootout to the San Jose Sharks. That sure beats the way they lost before the holiday break when a butt goal got the best of them.

Impact Moment

The one play or moment from Friday that will be making headlines over the next couple of days.

The Rangers lost to the Capitals in regulation, the Blue Jackets beat New Jersey in a shootout for what turned out to be a three-point game, and the Hurricanes gained a point in their overtime loss to the Penguins. Put all together and you now have a four-way tie for the third and final playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division between Philadelphia, the Rangers, Columbus, and New Jersey, while the Hurricanes sit one point back. It's a pile of mediocrity masquerading as competitiveness.

Stat of the Night

Was Friday night perhaps the best game of hockey John Scott has ever played in the NHL? It's certainly possible. He not only scored his second career goal (in his 200th career game) he also finished with three shots on goal. It was just the 15th time in his career he finished a game with more than one shot on goal.

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