5 things we learned in the NHL: Return of ‘the real Flames’

Watch as Pekka Rinne gets the paddle on a rebound that Max Domi was sure would count for a goal.

Tuesday night featured 10 games and plenty of NHL action.

Patrick Kane extended his point streak to 20 games and is now just one game away from tying Bobby Hull for the Chicago Blackhawks‘ record; Matt Duchene carried his November momentum into December as the Colorado Avalanche defeated the New Jersey Devils; the Florida Panthers scored twice in 13 seconds to chase Jake Allen and defeat the St. Louis Blues; the Vancouver Canucks lost a tough one in overtime to the Los Angeles Kings; and Pekka Rinne made an unbelievable goal-line save on Max Domi (watch, above).

But that’s not all. Here are five things we learned in the NHL on Tuesday night.

Pacioretty’s got the Blue Jackets’ number

The Columbus Blue Jackets just can’t shut down Max Pacioretty. The Montreal Canadiens captain is one of the league’s sharpest shooters, but he brings a little something extra whenever he plays CBJ.

The Canadiens defeated Columbus in all three meetings last season, and continued that dominance Tuesday night thanks to Pacioretty’s late tie-breaker. But get this: Pacioretty has now scored the game-winning goal in four straight victories over the Blue Jackets.

According to Sportsnet Stats, the NHL record for consecutive game-winning-goals against a single opponent is five (Patrick Marleau vs. Ottawa, 2006 to 2010).

The Habs’ victory was also the 700th game of Michel Therrien’s coaching career.

Gudas delivers bad hit on Zibanejad
Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Radko Gudas will likely be hearing from the Department of Player Safety after his hit to the head on Mika Zibanejad early in the third period.

If you watch the hit (below), it appears Gudas drives his forearm right into the head of Zibanejad, who left the game immediately and did not return due to “precautionary reasons.” Gudas was not issued a penalty for the hit.

Gudas was a one-man wrecking crew against the Ottawa Senators Tuesday night. In the second period, Milan Michalek left the game after it looked like he blocked one of Gudas’s shots with his hand. He also did not return, and head coach Dave Cameron said he would be “out awhile” due a hand injury.

The team did not provide an update on Zibanejad, but Cameron did say he’d be “shocked” if the hit is not reviewed.

Also of note from the game: Erik Karlsson‘s point streak was cut off at nine straight games, and 33-year-old former KHLer Evgeny Medvedev became the oldest rookie to record his first NHL goal since 2003 (John Gruden, WSH).

Abdelkader channels his inner Gordie Howe
Tuesday night’s Atlantic Division battle between the Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres was everything a hockey fan could want, complete with plenty of goals, scuffles, overtime and even a shootout.

Justin Abdelkader was a microcosm of the game as he channeled Red Wings legend Mr. Hockey himself for a Gordie Howe Hat Trick.

He started with a goal midway through the first period, added an assist five minutes into the second, and then fought Josh Gorges late in the same frame after sending the Sabres defenceman awkardly into the boards.

He even added an additional goal when he tied the game late in the third to force overtime. It was the first Gordie Howe Hat Trick by a Red Wing since Pavel Datsyuk in October 2010.

Last year’s Flames show up against Stars
Tuesday’s matchup between the Dallas Stars and Calgary Flames looked like it was the perfect storm for the powerful Stars. The Central Division leaders rank atop the league in goals scored per game (3.50) and went into the game just about perfect on the road (10-2-0). The Flames, meanwhile, are allowing an NHL-worst goals-against average of 3.58 this season.

The game was going as planned for the Stars through two periods of play with a 3-0 lead. Then the third period happened.

Those pesky Flames channeled their 2015 playoff selves, scoring three unanswered goals in the third period, including a late game-tying tally from Dougie Hamilton to force overtime. After surviving overtime, Calgary scored on all three shots for an impressive shootout victory at home.

It was the first time they came away with a win after trailing by three goals in the third period since March 2011 against the Oilers. While the Flames certainly haven’t looked like last year’s team so far this season, Tuesday’s rallying cry was a glimpse into that signature never-say-die Flames perseverance we got so used to seeing last spring.

The Flames, who started the season poorly on home ice, have now won five straight home games.

“This is where it starts,” head coach Bob Hartley said after the game.

It’s also interesting to note that the Stars’ three road losses have come against some unlikely teams: Colorado, Toronto and now Calgary.

Penguins finally win in San Jose
The Pittsburgh Penguins arrived for the game in San Jose with a strange stat hanging over their heads: The last time they won a game in San Jose was in 1997. (Yup, that was Marleau’s rookie year.)

Well, they’re winless in San Jose no more after Tuesday’s 5-1 victory. Evgeni Malkin would see to it that his team claim victory, assisting on Phil Kessel‘s game-opening goal and then adding an absolute dandy of a wrap-around in the second frame.

He also assisted on another Kessel goal late in the third, bringing his total to eight goals and five assists for 13 points in his last seven games.

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