4 things we learned in the NHL: Boyle scores hat trick to remember

Brian Boyle spoke after scoring a hat-trick on Hockey Fights Cancer night in Pittsburgh about the NHL’s initiative in raising awareness and money for the cause and his wife’s role in the league-wide event. (Courtesy: MSG)

Brian Boyle scored his first career hat trick on a night he’ll never forget, Lou Lamoriello joined some exclusive company, Max Domi continued his hot start, and Brad Marchand added to his terrific overtime resume.

Here are four things we learned in the NHL on Monday.

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Boyle has terrific timing

What a special night for New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle.

With his career in jeopardy following a leukemia diagnosis in September 2017, Boyle successfully overcame his battle with cancer and fought his way back to playing in the NHL. Overcoming a life-threatening obstacle of that nature to play hockey on this stage is admirable enough, making the veteran forward’s achievement on Monday nothing short of spectacular.

In his 12th professional season and with his cancer now in remission, Boyle scored his first-career hat trick in just two periods against the Pittsburgh Penguins, on Hockey Fights Cancer night in Pittsburgh no less.

Boyle’s first hat trick in 705 games couldn’t have been scripted any better. This is one of the many reasons why we love sports, folks.

Lamoriello is one of longest-tenured executives in NHL history

The New York Islanders‘ matchup against the Montreal Canadiens marked the 2,400th game managed by Lou Lamoriello.

The 76-year-old joined David Poile and Glen Sather as the only other league executives to reach the 2,400-game mark.

Lamoriello became a general manager with the New Jersey Devils way back in 1987 and 31 years later still finds himself making day-to-day decisions in hockey operations.

To give you some perspective on how much things have changed since Lamoriello became a GM, here are some key events from the hockey world that took place around the time he joined the Devils in April 1987:

Wayne Gretzky won his third Stanley Cup with the Edmonton Oilers.
NHL franchises like the Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques and Minnesota North Stars were still alive and well.
Sidney Crosby was born four months later that August.

It’s safe to say Lamoriello has witnessed a thing or two during his storied career. He’s still effective at his job, too, with his Islanders off to an 8-4-2 start after former franchise icon John Tavares’ departure.

Domi has found his groove in Montreal

For a team many pegged to be well out of contention in pre-season projections, Max Domi is doing all he can to make doubters eat their words.

With a gorgeous assist in a win against Lamoriello’s Islanders, Domi found the scoresheet for the 11th time this season. The 21-year-old has really come into his own so far in 2018-19, failing to record a point in just three of his team’s 14 games so far. Montreal has reaped the rewards of Domi’s play, jumping out of the gates with an 8-4-2 record of its own.

Domi added a goal in the third period to secure his fourth multi-point effort of the campaign.

He’s making the most of his opportunities with a ridiculous 24.1 shooting percentage this season, well above his 9.7 per cent career average. While that may prove unsustainable, it shows the first-year Canadien is firing shots on net with tremendous efficiency early on. That formula is one a pass-first player like Domi can certainly build off.

After struggling through his last two seasons with the Arizona Coyotes, Domi has clearly benefitted from the change in scenery provided by an off-season trade to Montreal, leading the surprisingly competitive Canadiens with 15 points. The young forward is well on his way to a breakout season with Les Habitants.

Marchand ups his game in the extra frame

Love him or hate him, Brad Marchand is one of the game’s top talents as his 85-point production each of the past two seasons indicates. Aside from regularly getting under the skin of his opponents with his agitating style of play, Marchand scores goals with the best of them. When games require overtime and the ice opens up, Marchand’s goal-scoring prowess only intensifies.

Marchand showed off his scoring touch in overtime with the Bruins on the power play, rifling a wrist shot in tight past Stars’ goaltender Anton Khudobin to hand Boston a 2-1 victory. The goal was Marchand’s 13th as a Bruin in overtime, already a franchise-best total.

Marchand is tied with five players for 10th-most overtime goals scored, still well behind Alex Ovechkin‘s all-time mark of 22.

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