From triumphant returns to thrilling overtimes, to a certain team once again falling to a tough opponent, Tuesday night seemed to have it all.
There was even a trade snuck in early in the morning.
Here are five things we learned.
So close, Vancouver
The Vancouver Canucks were slow to get the hang of 3-on-3 overtime last season, losing their first seven attempts in the extra frame before finally getting a win against Edmonton on Boxing Day.
They’ve actually been pretty solid in 2016-17, entering Tuesday’s match against the Nashville Predators with a 5-2 record in OT (and a 4-1 record in the shootout).
And things looked good in this one too, as a late goal by Brandon Sutter tied the game and gave the Canucks some momentum heading into extra time. Then a holding penalty on Mattias Ekholm gave Vancouver a great chance to end the game before it had to go to a shootout.
It… didn’t work out.
Calle Jarnkrok finished off the rare short-handed 2-on-0 to earn Nashville the extra point and spoil another solid night from Ryan Miller, who entered this one with pretty great recent numbers against the Predators.
The Nashville win was celebrated a little extra by a certain former Canucks defenceman.
He wasn’t the only player to face his old team on Tuesday…
He made his return on Tuesday and spoke of the difficulties that come with playing against the only team he had ever known.
“I’m going to try to control myself and my emotions and live in the moment and enjoy the time,” said Backes before the game.
Backes fought his former teammate, receiving an extra two minutes for instigating and a 10 minute misconduct for his efforts.
The 32-year-old had only gotten 17 penalty minutes or more in a game five times in his decade with the Blues, and now he’s done it in the first season of his five-year, $30-million deal with the Bruins.
Oh, and Boston took this one by a 5-3 score.
Boedker finds his touch
From one 2016 UFA signing to another we go, as Mikkel Boedker made his mark in what was undoubtedly his best game since joining the San Jose Sharks on a four-year contract worth $16 million.
The Great Dane doubled his goal total on the season with a hat trick in Edmonton Tuesday night, the fourth three-goal game of his career.
Of his four hat tricks, two have come against Ottawa and now two have come against the Oilers with each team getting burned by him at home and on the road which is… something.
Boedker has largely been a bust with the Sharks so far, though hopefully Tuesday’s performance sparks a return to form for the speedster.
The former Kitchener Ranger has never been a big-time scorer at the NHL level but for $4 million a season, the Sharks are likely counting on more than his 25-point pace so far.
Brent Burns had three points to give him 42 in 41 games so far, moving him into seventh place in the league.
Blackhawks win by one goal again
The Chicago Blackhawks know their way around a one-goal game.
They beat the Detroit Red Wings in overtime on Tuesday, earning their league-leading 17th win by only one goal.
This was a great game in general. The Blackhawks looked dominant at times, but the Red Wings kept fighting their way back into the game—though Chicago’s tendency to not put its opponents away can be frowned upon by the analytically inclined.
The Blackhawks do have a few things going for them, which could perhaps help in tight spots: Star power, an elite goaltender in Corey Crawford, one of the game’s best coaches, and the confidence that comes with winning three of the last seven Stanley Cups.
The team is now 17-10 in one-goal contests.
Chicago has now won its past four games and is just one point behind Columbus for first place in the league.
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Hurricanes have a night
The 19-5-7 Hurricanes don’t often get a whole lot to cheer about, though their record would have them only one point out of a playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.
Attendance hasn’t been great at PNC Arena, but that hasn’t stopped Carolina from becoming quite the dominant team at home.
On the other side of this contest is a cooled-off Columbus squad which has now lost three of its last four.
Regression was coming, but you can bet head coach John Tortorella isn’t pleased with his team giving up five goals in each of the past three losses.