5 things we learned in the NHL: Reaves should have quit while ahead

Ryan Reaves was not messing around with Tom Wilson and the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Washington Capitals.

There were three hat tricks in the NHL on Tuesday, and plenty of action.

A pair of young American stars lived up to the hype in the Battle of the QEW, the Calgary Flames burned the roof off in front of their dads, while Max Domi and Jonathan Drouin continued to flex in Montreal.

Here are some things we learned on a day that began with the NHL opening its arms to Seattle, and ended with a young netminder making a name for himself in the desert.

Ryan Reaves should have quit while ahead

Remember when Evander Kane dropped Matt Cooke and we all rejoiced, for the NHL’s most dangerous head-hunter was just put in his place?

Well, here’s Ryan Reaves sending Tom Wilson through the air, then clowning him after the whistle.

Of Wilson’s many controversial hits, you can’t help but notice how many of them took out members of the St. Louis Blues (three to be exact: Robert Thomas, Sammy Blais, and Oskar Sundqvist).

Whether Reaves – who spent the first seven years of his NHL career with the Blues – was sticking up for old friends or not, he might have gone a bit too far in the second period.

Call it karma if you want, but Reaves’ hit was late, and gave the Washington Capitals a five-minute power play.

You should probably just leave the Blue Jackets Twitter people alone

The wildest game of the night was played in Columbus, where the Blue Jackets jumped out to a 4-1 lead before the Flames rallied for a 9-6 win.

But almost as entertaining as the game itself was watching the Blue Jackets Twitter account handle its team’s meltdown.

When the Flames scored two quick ones to make it 4-3:

At 4-4:

Finally, as the Flames took over:

Jets humming along with hobbled blue line

The Winnipeg Jets haven’t let a rash of injuries to their defencemen stop them from picking up points.

Down Dustin Byfuglien, Joe Morrow, Dmitry Kulikov, and Josh Morrissey (a late scratch), the Jets earned a well-fought victory in Brooklyn, beating the New York Islanders 3-1.

That’s four wins in a row for Winnipeg, which dressed three defencemen on Tuesday that started the season in the AHL.

We’ll soon be in the thick of the dog days of the NHL season, and if a team is good enough to pick up points on the road with those kinds of absences, it bodes well.

It bodes well, indeed.

Hornqvist steals show in Cole Harbour showdown

When the Colorado Avalanche and Pittsburgh Penguins meet, it’s hard not to look at it as a Nathan MacKinnon vs. Sidney Crosby matchup.

That fact mattered not to Patric Hornqvist, who went ahead and set a Penguins record with the fastest hat trick in franchise history.

The two Cole Harbour, N.S., natives were held off the scoresheet in the 6-3 Penguins win, in a bit of a letdown after their previous meeting on Nov. 28 (an Avalanche 6-3 win that featured a Crosby hat trick and a four-point night from MacKinnon).

They’ve now faced each other 10 times in the NHL, and this was the fourth time neither had scored a point in those contests.

Adin Hill exists and is quite something

Have the Arizona Coyotes found their goalie of the future?

Injuries to Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper opened the door for one Adin Hill, who has taken the league by storm.

He made his debut in a relief appearance, stopping all five shots he faced on Nov. 27 against Minnesota. A 29-save shutout of Nashville followed, and he then made 25 stops in a 6-1 win over St. Louis.

The 22-year-old was named the NHL’s second star of the week on Monday, and then turned aside another 25 shots in another 2-1 win, this time against Los Angeles.

The NHL is increasingly a young man’s league, though that hasn’t really translated to the crease, where teams like to groom their goaltenders until they’re absolutely ready to take over.

Raanta should be back soon, and carries a high enough pedigree that the Coyotes net will be his to grab when the time comes. But still, Hill and his .977 save percentage have given fans something to be excited about in Arizona.

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