5 things we learned in the NHL: Is the Blackhawks dynasty dead?

Semyon Varlamov made 44 saves, and the Colorado Avalanche extended their lead in the wild-card race in the Western Conference with a 5-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday. The loss eliminates Chicago from playoff contention.

The hottest player on the Toronto Maple Leafs keeps rolling in a milestone game, the best player on the Edmonton Oilers proves why he’s considered such and a second-overall pick continues to produce in his second home.

And is the dynasty over?

Here are five things we learned in the NHL:

Blackhawks bow out

For years, the Chicago Blackhawks sat in the cellar of the NHL. It was an Original 6 franchise that was sporting the worst Stanley Cup drought in the league.

Then things changed.

They drafted the likes of Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane – all three of whom were in the NHL’s top 100 list in 2017 – revitalizing the impoverished club, which went on to become a playoff monster since its first of three Cup wins in 2010.

Then things changed, again.

On Tuesday night, the Blackhawks got crushed by the Colorado Avalanche – the same Avalanche that finished with a dreadful 48 points one year ago – by a score of 5-1, eliminating Toews and Co. from the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08.

While the changing of the guard may have happened after the Pittsburgh Penguins picked up Cups in consecutive years, there’s room for one new face in the playoffs this year.

JVR scores in 600th game

Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk has been on a tear over the last week.

On Tuesday night, the 600th game of his career, he found the back of the net twice as the Leafs were in Tampa to take on the Lightning. The goals were the 31st and 32nd of his season – stretching out his career high – through 72 games. He has now recorded at least two goals in three of his last four games for a total of seven.

Good timing considering the 28-year-old is in a contract year.

McDavid continues to cement self as one of Oilers’ best

The Oilers crushed the Carolina Hurricanes to the tune of a 7-3 lopsided victory.

While it wasn’t Connor McDavid who carried the team like he traditionally does – Leon Draisaitl did with four points – he picked up an assist giving him 90 points on the season.

In the process he became the sixth different player in Oilers history to reach the marker in consecutive seasons.

He joins Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri and, of course, Wayne Gretzky.

Seguin continues to show he’s found his place in Dallas

The Leafs stole headlines when they made a trade with the Boston Bruins for Phil Kessel that included a pick that turned into Tyler Seguin.

The Bruins, in turn, shocked the hockey world by giving up on the 21-year-old Seguin, dishing him to the Dallas Stars in 2013 (a trade which the Bruins now have nothing to show for).

Seguin has flourished ever since.

On Tuesday against the Washington Capitals, the 26-year-old scored his 39th goal of the season giving him 70 points on the year.

The Brampton, Ont., native has now registered 70 or more points in each of his five seasons in Dallas. In his three campaigns with the Bruins he failed to ever eclipse 67 points, only getting more than 32 in one of them (although one was the lockout-shortened season).

Kopitar in midst of career year

Anze Kopitar has long been an elite player in the league while playing for the Los Angeles Kings, and now at the age of 30 he has reached a new career high in points.

Kopitar picked up an assist on the lone Kings goal during their 2-1 overtime loss against the Winnipeg Jets, giving the Slovenian 82 points on the season. For the first time in his career, Kopitar is – surprisingly – a point-per-game player.


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