There were only nine games on Saturday as many teams are enjoying their bye week, but there was still tons of exciting action.
Here are five things we learned in the NHL last night.
Islanders continue trend of crushing Rangers, with help from Oilers
A tip of the hat is due in the direction of the Edmonton Oilers as Mathew Barzal, Jordan Eberle and Anthony Beauvillier combined for 12 points (five, four and three, respectively). All of them made their way to the Islanders via the Oilers. In 2015, the Islanders traded Griffin Reinhart to Edmonton in exchange for the 16th (Barzal) and 33rd (which was used to move up to 28 and became Beauvillier) picks in the 2015 draft, and Eberle was obtained in a one-for-one trade in this past off-season sending Ryan Strome the other way.
(Obligatory Strome update whenever Eberle does something: Strome has 17 points in 45 games and Eberle has 34 points in 44 games.)
Barzal’s five-point performance is his second of the season (first was Nov. 5 versus the Colorado Avalanche; five assists). He is the first rookie with multiple five-point games in a season since Marian Stastny in 1982 and the sixth rookie in NHL history to achieve the feat.
Galchenyuk joins century club
Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk hit a milestone during the team’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins after he fired a rocket past Tuukka Rask. The marker was his 100th goal of his six-year, 379-game career.
The third-overall pick in the 2012 draft now has 11 goals in 2017-18 and is on pace to finish at 20. He hit a career-high 30 goals in 2015-16, but has failed to continue that scoring prowess since. Last season he was limited to just 61 games and hit the back of the net just 17 times (on pace for 23).
From his draft class, Galchenyuk is behind only Filip Forsberg (taken 11th overall) who has 106 goals in 301 games.
Edmonton Oilers star forward Connor McDavid turned 21 on Saturday, and he celebrated the way he knows best: by putting up points.
In the third period, he picked up an assist on Drake Caggiula’s goal (his second assist of the game) and reached 200 points for his career. And it only took 173 games to do so, making him the third fastest active player to hit 200 points on or before 21 years old, behind only Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos.
Giroux continues to etch name in Flyers lore
Claude Giroux picked up his 194th career goal during the Philadelphia Flyers’ 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils, passing legend Mark Recchi on the all-time franchise scoring list.
The goal was his 628th career point, giving him sole possession of eighth all-time, and he now sits 15 points behind John LeClair. He’s got his work cut out for him, however, if he ultimately wants to be No. 1. That honour is held by the great Bobby Clarke who racked up 1,210 points during his 15-year career. Giroux is in his 11th season.
The special goal was set up by Jakub Voracek who picked up his league-leading 45th assist.
MacKinnon, Avalanche top last year’s totals
It’s no secret that the Colorado Avalanche have improved significantly since last year. It’s also not that hard to do considering how abysmal 2016-17 turned out for them.
Through 42 games this season, the Avalanche have won 23 games. They won just 22 last year.
Not surprisingly, star forward and 2013 No. 1 pick Nathan MacKinnon is enjoying the same kind of rebound. In 82 games last season, MacKinnon scored 16 goals and added 37 assists. On Saturday night, the team’s 42nd game, he scored his 19th of the season, moving him to 53 points on the year — the same amount he had in his entire fourth season in the NHL.