3 things we learned in the NHL: Crosby still has McDavid’s number

Evgeni Malkin talks about the Pittsburgh Penguins beating the Oilers and praises Edmonton as a hockey team.

The NHL’s two premier talents traded quality chances all night long, a fan favourite returned to the ice, and a former struggling powerhouse found its footing.

Here are a few things we learned in the NHL on Wednesday.

Sidney Crosby still has Connor McDavid’s number
In their fourth career head-to-head meeting, and their last this season, Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby once again produced some fireworks for their respective fanbases. The elder generational phenom saw his club emerge victorious once again, though Crosby changed this up by managing to get on the board this time around.

Through their first three meetings, McDavid produced five points while his former idol went pointless. It seemed as though Wednesday night’s meeting was going to go the same route, as the Edmonton Oilers captain had two points to his name heading into the final minute of the second period — one of them, a glorious sequence to set up Leon Draisaitl:

But Crosby made his presence known soon after, turning a missed offensive opportunity from McDavid into a nifty setup of his own, tying the game at 2-2 after 40 minutes:

Don’t think the future Hall of Famer takes these games lightly. In 2016, Crosby penned a piece for Sports Illustrated and shone some light on his thoughts regarding the league’s new crop of high-flying stars.

“As if outrunning the downside of my career wasn’t motivation enough, the new guys coming into the league will surely have my attention too,” Crosby wrote in the piece. “These are the young and hungry guys. The guys that want to be where you are. They’re fast. They’re strong. And with all the young talent throughout the league, it just makes you want to get better yourself.”

The Penguins got a third-period goal from Evgeni Malkin to earn their second win against Edmonton this season, sweeping their season series against McDavid’s club for two straight years.

Devils pivot Brian Boyle is officially back in action
The hockey world rallied around veteran NHLer Brian Boyle in September after the 32-year-old was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia.

The New Jersey Devils finally welcomed Boyle back to the ice Wednesday night, as he made his official return to suit up for the club’s tilt against the Vancouver Canucks.

Boyle comes to New Jersey after stints with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings. He’ll look to provide some veteran leadership for a young, up-and-coming Devils team led by youngsters like Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt.

Captain Serious and the Blackhawks can still dazzle
The Chicago Blackhawks entered Wednesday night on a miserable run of three straight losses, stretching to five losses over their previous six games. Entering a matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers, who rank among the top 10 highest-scoring clubs in the league, it looked like Chicago was set to drop its fourth in a row.

Instead, Chicago came up big in both ends of the rink, putting together a dominant 3-0 victory to right the ship.

Artem Anisimov netted the game-winner by scoring Chicago’s first goal of the night, but it was captain Jonathan Toews who buried the most impressive one, dusting off his silky mitts to capitalize on a breakaway opportunity.

With that goal in the bag, Toews’ season total moves to nine points through 13 games. Rookie Alex DeBrincat got on the board as well, tallying his second goal of 2017-18.

Meanwhile, Corey Crawford shut down the Flyers’ dominant top line of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek – who have amassed a combined 45 points so far this season – to earn his first shutout of the year.