4 things we learned in the NHL: Canucks’ Pettersson had a good day

Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson, left, celebrates a goal. (Paul Vernon/AP)

Elias Pettersson had a good day, the Red Wings didn’t, and a hot streak ended.

Here are four things we learned in the NHL Wednesday night.

Elias Pettersson joins elite company

In the words of the poet Ice Cube, today was a good day.

At least, it was if you were Elias Pettersson. On Wednesday he was awarded Rookie of the Month honours, was named an NHL All-Star, and notched his first career hat trick.

In doing so, he became one of only four active players who have scored 40 career points in their first 40 career games. The list is predictably full of starry names. There’s Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Connor McDavid — and now, Pettersson.

There is certainly worse company to find yourself in. But not only did he join that list, he did it in style, completing his hat trick in overtime and leading the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators.

And if that wasn’t enough, the game-winner was his seventh of the season — setting a single-season record for most such goals as a rookie that was once held by Pavel Bure.

New year, same Red Wings

Heading into their matchup Wednesday night against the Calgary Flames the Detroit Red Wings had lost five straight and nine of their last 10 games, with their most recent loss — a particularly painful 4-3 shootout defeat on New Year’s Eve — coming at the hands of the Florida Panthers after leading 3-0.

If the Red Wings’ resolutions for the New Year involved changing that trend, then they can join the masses who’ve also come up short on their 2019 commitments in the year’s first week.

By the final horn, the Flames won 5-3 on the back of Johnny Gaudreau‘s second consecutive four-point game — marking just the third time in team history such a thing happened.

No streak lasts forever

Have you seen the movie A Beautiful Mind? It’s about a math genius named John Nash, played by Russell Crowe, who gradually goes crazy trying to solve nearly unsolvable math problems.

For the first four games of his career, New Jersey Devils goalie MacKenzie Blackwood was that math problem for anyone trying to score on him.

Since being recalled by the Devils on Dec. 17, he had a 3-1-0 record — including two shutouts — while posting a superb .963 save percentage and 1.25 goals-against average over that span.

But just as John Nash eventually figured out his math problem, opposing teams solved Blackwood. He allowed five goals on 40 shots against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night, proving that no streak last forever and no problem is unsolvable.

Award season is in session

If the NHL’s end-of-season awards are their version of the Oscars, then the All-Star selections are hockey’s Golden Globes — a little more light hearted, a little less prestigious, and a lot more full of oddly specific rules influencing who gets in and who doesn’t.

Last night, the league announced those selections and the response was predictably mixed. Some celebrated, some lamented that one player from each team necessarily needed to be chosen, Ovechkin decided to sit out the weekend altogether — resulting in a one-game suspension.

Debating the merits of the rules that led to those reactions is a job for smarter writers, but regardless of where you stand in those debates, a simple through-line exists between Hollywood’s awards and the NHL’s: Some corner of the internet will always be upset.

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