7 things we learned in the NHL: Fired up Flames

Karri Ramo stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced as the Flames beat the Lightning 3-1.

The Flames begin 2016 with two wins in a row, the Panthers padded an unlikely lead, a pair of superstars get Ruff treatment, and more in 7 things we learned in the NHL.

Flames on fire following calendar flip

The Calgary Flames had won nine of 11 games in December before falling in consecutive contests to close out 2015.

The fire’s been reignited to start 2016.

Calgary won its second straight game with a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday night. Karri Ramo appeared to be in line to record back-to-back shutouts before Steven Stamkos found the back of the net with less than two minutes left in the third period.

Flames captain Mark Giordano totaled two assists to give himself four points in his last three games. Giordano, who struggled to find the scoresheet through most of November, has 15 points in 15 games since Dec. 1.

The Flames currently sit in third place in the Pacific Division.

Panthers padded Atlantic Division lead

The Florida Panthers extended a franchise-record winning streak to 10 games with a 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres.

With the Montreal Canadiens falling to the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday, the Panthers now own a five-point lead in the Atlantic Division. Florida also owns the league’s best goals-against per game mark at 2.13.

What a stingy bunch of cats.

Eichel has eyes in the back of his head

Little went right for the Sabres in a lopsided loss to the red-hot Panthers, but rookie of the year candidate Jack Eichel did turn in one of the evening’s most impressive assists.

Eichel went no-look to teammate Ryan O’Reilly, who buried his 16th of the season.

Eichel is up to 13 goals and 26 points in 40 games.

Granlund can beat you in the blink of an eye

Zach Parise‘s fourth career hat trick powered the Minnesota Wild past the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 Tuesday night.

Nick Foligno cut the Wild’s lead to one goal with just seconds remaining in the game. Mikael Granlund would require just two seconds to restore the two-goal lead, sending the puck into an empty net off the ensuing faceoff.

The two goals two seconds apart tied an NHL record.

Lindy Ruff has his own definition of superstar treatment

The New York Rangers pounded the Dallas Stars to the tune of 6-2 Tuesday night.

It was the Stars’ third consecutive loss. Head coach Lindy Ruff sent a message to his squad by benching superstars Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn for the remaining 12:10 of the third period.

Benn, the Stars captain, was quick to fault himself for the club’s poor performance.

“It’s pretty much embarrassing,” Benn told reporters at Madison Square Garden. “I played a terrible game and let my teammates down.”

Dallas will look to snap its three-game skid when they host the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

Sill should hear from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety

Washington Capitals forward Zach Sill may find himself staring at some supplemental discipline for his hit from behind on Boston Bruins defenceman Adam McQuaid Tuesday night.

Sill sent a vulnerable McQuaid into the boards, bouncing his head off the glass with the hit. No penalty was called on the play.

McQuaid left the game and did not return.

Hellebuyck came up big for Jets

Ondrej Pavelec may not have a No. 1 goaltender job to come back to when returns from injury. Connor Hellebuyck has effectively stolen No. 1 duties in the Jets’ net.

The rookie made 43 saves in the Jets’ 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators Tuesday. The Jets were outshot 44-18 and lost the shot-attempts battle 76-36 (all situations), according to war-on-ice.com.

You need a great goaltender to win games like that. The Jets appear to have one in Hellebuyck.

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