Five things we learned in NHL: Streaks extended and droughts ended

Paul Byron scored three of Montreal’s ten goals as the Canadiens hammered the Detroit Red Wings 10-1.

The Montreal Canadiens are good again, the Philadelphia Flyers are bad again and the Buffalo Sabres have always been awful.

Here are 5 things we learned in the NHL last night.

Price, Canadiens are back

The Canadiens spent most of the start of their season disappointing fans and flirting with the basement of the Eastern Conference.

When Carey Price went down with an injury for an extended period of time things looked like they went form bad to worse.

But Price is back, and the Canadiens have found some offence.

The 30-year-old goaltender has played in five straight games since returning from injury on Nov. 25 – including a pair on back-to-back nights – and won each of them while allowing just five goals and picking up a shutout.

While it’s not totally surprising that the pucks aren’t going in their own net, it is, however, surprising that they are going in their opponents’. And at a prolific rate at that.

On the anniversary of the infamous 1995 game when the Detroit Red Wings went to Montreal and posted nine goals on all-time great Patrick Roy – chasing him not only out of the game but from the team – the Habs got some revenge.

Montreal posted up a 10-1 win on Saturday night on the back of Paul Byron’s first career hat trick and gives them a total of 24 goals over their current five-game winning streak and sees them sitting in third in the Atlantic Division.

Flyers’ losing streak reaches double digits

After a struggling Tuukka Rask swept aside 28 shots and picked up his first shutout of the season, the Flyers’ loss streak reached 10 games.

The last time they won was on Nov. 9 against the Chicago Blackhawks and they sat comfortably in the Eastern Conference with an 8-6-2 record. Since then, they have been shut out three times, have allowed five goals four times and have lost in overtime or the shootout five times. That includes three defeats in the extra frame in a five-day span.

The next two games on their schedule are both on the road in Western Canada against the Calgary Flames (Dec. 4) and Edmonton Oilers (Dec. 6). If they manage to chalk up losses in both of those they will tie a franchise record with a winless streak reaching 12 games.

In a bizarre turn of events, the Flyers picked up their 10th straight win almost one year ago on Dec. 14 against the Colorado Avalanche. Since then they have been abysmal.

Philadelphia ended the year with just 20 more wins, and in addition to the eight they picked up this season, the Flyers have won just 28 games in their last 76.

Sabres break goal drought

The Sabres were faced with the tough task of facing the Pittsburgh Penguins in consecutive nights while in the midst of a terrible goal-scoring drought.

The entered Friday’s game after having failed to register a single goal in their two previous games against the Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning. They were promptly shut out again.

Surely their goalless streak had to end on Saturday, right?

After the first period, their slump extended to 10 straight periods without a goal. After the second, it moved to 11.

In the final 10 minutes, it looked like the Sabres were going to go four games without managing to put a puck in the net, but at the 11:18 mark of the third period, Jason Pominville managed to put one home and finally get the Sabres on the board, ending Tristan Jarry’s shutout streak at 114:39.

They still lost 5-1, but at least they are heading in the right direction, or at least a direction.

Markstrom can’t buy a shutout

Prior to the start of their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, Jacob Markstrom had gone 127 straight games without recording a single shutout, which is the longest active streak in the NHL.

As the time ticked away in the third period it appeared as though game No. 128 would be his lucky number.

The Leafs peppered the 27-year-old with 36 shots until James van Riemsdyk tipped in a Morgan Rielly shot with under three minutes to play to give the Leafs their only tally of the game.

The streak continues.

Kucherov gets back in goal column

The Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos took the league by storm after their torrid start to the season netted them 73 combined points through 25 games.

But things have cooled off since.

Stamkos had just one goal and one assist over his last five games heading into their tilt with the San Jose Sharks and Kucherov hadn’t scored in six straight games, watching his league lead in goals slowly slip away.

After head coach Jon Cooper decided to split up the dynamic duo to spark some offence Kucherov re-found his goal scoring ways.

The 24-year-old Russian found the back of the net twice in Saturday’s 5-2 win over the Sharks and found himself back leading the league in goals with 19, tied with Alex Ovechkin.

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