4 things we learned in the NHL: Keith, Seabrook still making history

Chicago Blackhawks defencemen Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith have suited up for 1,000 games together. (Kamil Krzaczynski/AP)

A Russian horror movie, a Chicago celebration 14 years in the making, and a tough night for faces headline the four things we learned in the NHL Tuesday.

What a long, strange trip it’s been

Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook played in their 1,000th game as teammates together Tuesday, becoming the only pair of defencemen in NHL history to have ever done so.

The game itself was forgettable for Chicago — another loss, this time 6-3 at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets — and while Seabrook and Keith’s twilight years in Chi-Town have been, in a word, difficult, that can’t erase what came before it.

Throughout their 14 years together in the Windy City, the pair has collectively suited up in 2,063 regular season games. Keith and Seabrook rank among the all-time leaders in games played for Chicago (Seabrook is tied for second all-time while Keith is right behind at fourth) — an impressive feat to accomplish for any franchise, much less one as storied as the Blackhawks. Most importantly, they’ve captured hockey’s biggest prize three times.

What a run.

This year has been a dismal one for the Blackahawks, but for one night at least, Seabrook and Keith gave Chicago an excuse to reminisce on the not-too-distant good old days instead of staring at where they sit in the standings.

Joining the duo in celebrating games-played milestones tonight were a pair of Atlantic Division rivals. The Toronto Maple LeafsJohn Tavares played his 700th career game while Boston Bruins forward David Krejci suited up for No. 800.

Tavares scored his 19th goal of the season in Toronto’s victory, continuing his personal dominance over the Carolina Hurricanes. In 36 games against them he’s scored 24 goals and added 19 assists. Krejci made his mark as well, picking up three assists in a 4-3 Boston win over the Arizona Coyotes.

A tough night for faces

Sometimes hockey is mesmerizing, sometimes it’s horrifying.

In separate incidents, both Calvin De Haan and David Backes needed medical assistance after being hit in the face. For Backes it was a skate, for De Haan it was a stick, and thankfully neither of them proved to be as bad as they initially looked.

Those aren’t fun to watch, but silver linings can be seen even in ugly moments and for these two it’s easy to spot.

Both players are okay. Backes didn’t miss a period of action, returning to start the second, and De Haan returned to the bench sporting a line of stitches above his left eye. Walking away from incidents like those with just a new scar is as good of an outcome as anyone could hope for.

Alexander Ovechkin is still the stuff of goaltending nightmares

Would you rather face Michael Myers on Halloween night or Alexander Ovechkin on a 2-on-1? Jonathan Bernier is probably taking his chances against Myers.

Ovechkin forced Bernier to the bench after beating him twice Tuesday night, including some deeply unfair shots that were in the net faster than Bernier could think about stopping them. But he wasn’t done there. Halfway through the third period he completed his 21st career hat trick — the final goal coming at the expense of Jimmy Howard.

Maybe Myers is the right choice after all. The Halloween horror only kills one night a year, whereas Ovechkin has been doing it every time he plays. He leads the league in goals this season with 25 after just 30 games. Tuesday also marked his sixth game with two or more goals this season, which gives him 126 such games in his career — the 11th-most in League history.

Los Angeles is running out of defencemen

It was a rough night to be on the Kings’ blue line.

During Tuesday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres, both Drew Doughty and Dion Phaneuf left and did not return. The Kings’ Twitter team responded in perfectly reasonable fashion:

By the time overtime rolled around, the Kings only had four defencemen to trot out and couldn’t come away with more than one point in a 4-3 loss to the Sabres, continuing their season-long trend of losing both games and players.


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