4 things we learned in the NHL: Sens’ Karlsson finding his groove

Chris Stewart scored his eighth goal of the season to help the Minnesota Wild defeat the Ottawa Senators.

Erik Karlsson appears to have found his groove and the Islanders goaltending situation this season isn’t good.

Here are four things we learned in the NHL on Tuesday night.

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Karlsson continues to heat up

Playing outdoors in the NHL 100 Classic appears to have rejuvenated Ottawa Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson.

Karlsson scored twice for Ottawa in a 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Wild. He now has a point in all 11 career games against the Wild, including his first career goal.

The Sens captain’s two goals against Minnesota were his first since Nov. 4 and give him three on the season.

But if his performance against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday at the NHL 100 Classic at TD Place is any indication, Karlsson’s play is turning around. Karlsson had an assist, seven shots and eight blocks against the Habs while playing 32:55 as Ottawa won 3-0.

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Sens attendance woes continue

Ottawa’s poor attendance record this season continued by only drawing 13,804 against the Wild.

The rough showing comes just a few days after owner Eugene Melnyk blasted the team’s fan base on Friday, a day before the NHL 100 Classic in Ottawa.

“Here, we’re fighting every day to sell a ticket, honest to God. When you get to the third round of the playoffs and you’re begging people to buy a ticket, something’s wrong with that picture,” Melnyk told reporters.

Melnyk denied rumours of selling the team although did say that he has options when asked about moving the team to downtown Ottawa.

Canadian Tire Centre is located just outside the city in Kanata, Ont., and prior to their outdoor game, averaged 15,281 fans per home game, according to ESPN.

Maple Leafs scoring droughts end

The Toronto Maple Leafs broke out of their scoring slump of late with an 8-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in a rare afternoon matchup.

The Leafs, wearing commemorative jerseys with “Arenas” on the front (an early name for the team), had scored just four goals in their previous four games.

Mitch Marner led the way for Toronto with a goal and three assists — a career high for points in a game. He was one of four Leafs players that broke out of lengthy scoring slumps.

Marner hadn’t scored in 15 games but broke out in a big way to help Toronto snap a three-game skid. Leo Komarov hadn’t scored in eight games while William Nylander and Connor Carrick were both scoreless in seven matchups.

The game kicked off the second century of NHL hockey and was played on the same date as the first league games in 1917.

Sportsnet’s Luke Fox delved into Toronto’s scoring struggles more here.

Islanders’ Greiss shaky in loss

When the opposition manages just six shots in the first period and follows that up with only four in the second, you would expect an easy night in net for a goaltender.

That wasn’t the case for New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss, who turned away 16-of-21 shots in a 6-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings ended up scoring three goals on 12 third period shots, although one of those goals was into an empty net.

Still, outshooting your opponent 37-22 and losing isn’t good.

Goaltending hasn’t been a strong suit for New York in the last couple years with neither Greiss nor Jaroslav Halak performing well. This season’s numbers haven’t been much better.