Five things we learned in the NHL: Canadiens dominant

Steven Stamkos was all over the ice in overtime, back-checking to save a goal at one end and setting up the winner at the other to lift the Lightning over the Jets.

Most sports fans in Canada were watching the Blue Jays’ attempt to extend their season, but there was also plenty of high-scoring, action-packed hockey going on in the NHL.

Steven Stamkos showed off his back-checking skills and it resulted in an overtime winner, Evgeny Kuznetsov had a coming out party, and shoeless Jiri Hudler may have jeopardized his chances at another Lady Byng trophy.

Here are five things we learned Friday.

Canadiens get one step closer to history…

The Montreal Canadiens are the best team in hockey and it’s not even close. They’ve scored the most goals for, allowed the fewest against and improved to 8-0-0 with a 7-2 blowout win over the Buffalo Sabres. In fact, they’ve only trailed for a total of 2:57 all season. That’s dominance.

Michel Therrien’s group is now just two wins away from tying the NHL record for the best start to a season that the 1993-94 Maple Leafs and 2006-07 Sabres currently hold. The Habs beat the Sabres Friday, and if they can beat the Leafs Saturday, they’ll have the opportunity to tie the record Tuesday on the road in Vancouver. The potentially record-breaking game would take place next Thursday against the Oilers.

Markov has career night…

Not only did the Canadiens move closer to history, Andrei Markov had a career night. The Russian defenceman registered a career-high five points and notched his 500th point with the Canadiens.

Markov wasn’t the only Habs player to light up the score sheet. Six Canadiens registered multi-point games, including Brendan Gallagher, who got more than he bargained for when he went to the front of the net as P.K. Subban wound up for a clapper.

McDavid vs. Ovechkin doesn’t disappoint…

Alex Ovechkin and Connor McDavid are two of the most exciting players to watch, so it’s only fitting that the first time their teams played was one of the most entertaining games of the season. The first installment of “Ovechkin vs. McDavid” didn’t have the type of hype that “McDavid vs. Crosby” (Nov. 6) or “McDavid vs. Eichel” (Dec. 6) will, but it still looked like a game of pond hockey. It was Kuznetsov who stole the show however with five points in a Capitals 7-4 win.

Islanders’ fourth line continues to do its thing…

If you watched Coach’s Corner at all last season, you most certainly heard Don Cherry talk about the New York Islanders’ fourth line of Casey Cizikas, Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck. That trio, which some consider the best fourth line in the NHL, made some noise in a 5-3 loss to the Bruins.

Hudler blows his chance at another Lady Byng Trophy…

If Calgary Flames forward Jiri Hudler is nominated for the Lady Byng Trophy next spring, his fellow nominees can immediately point to Friday’s game against the Red Wings as ground for disqualification. Hudler picked up his first career fighting major when he dropped the gloves with Landon Ferraro. His Lady Byng chances might have decreased, but his street cred went up.

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