Five things we learned in the NHL: Habs-Blues bring the hate

Blues Robby Fabbri steals the puck and Jori Lehtera picks it up and scores the overtime winner against the Montreal Canadiens.

What started out as a slow-paced NHL season has started to pick up. While John Scott’s participation in the all-star game is in question, it’s got Don Cherry more fired up than usual.

Ryan Johansen’s been moved, Scott’s likely out of the all-star game and Anze Kopitar’s re-signed. There can’t be any more news, right?

Here are five more things we learned in the NHL.

1. Holtby’s streak comes to an end

Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby put together one hell of a streak, going 22 games without losing in regulation. On Saturday, he fell just short of tying Jose Theodore for the franchise record of 23.

Theodore accomplished that feat in 2009-10.

The Buffalo Sabres chased the leading Vezina candidate, scoring three goals on 16 shots and ultimately winning 4-1. The Capitals went 16-3-2 over their last 22 games and remain 16 points up on the second-place New York Rangers.

Meanwhile, Mike Richards made his first appearance with the Capitals after signing a one-year deal with the club. He played 13:01, recording one shot, one hit and winning five of 11 faceoffs. He spoke about his return after the game.

2. Blues-Habs play one of the nastiest games of the year

This one was heated right from the start. Brendan Gallagher crashed creases, gloves were shoved into faces and even Kevin Shattenkirk lost his marbles.

The Blues defenceman served 14 minutes in penalties after a scrum started in front of goalie Brian Elliott.

St. Louis Blues on Twitter

The game also provided the hockey world with perhaps the hit of the year.

The game was also notable for being dubbed ‘Goalie’s Night’ where Blues alumni Mike Liut, Grant Fuhr and Curtis Joseph were honoured. Elliott himself honoured CuJo with a replica mask.

Elliott made a career-high 46 saves and was the first star in a 4-3 OT win, resembling the kind of games Joseph used to play in during his early-90s tenure.

The game had those in attendance on their feet.

3. Henrik Lundqvist makes history

Alex Ovechkin will score 30 goals, Pavel Datsyuk will take less than 10 penalty minutes and Henrik Lundqvist will win 20 games. These are the days of our lives.

Like clockwork, in other words.

Lundqvist became the first goalie in NHL history to record at least 20 wins in his first 11 seasons. Martin Brodeur and Tony Esposito each did it over the course of their careers, though not from the start.

In fact, the Swedish goaltender has won at least 30 games every year with the one exception coming in the 2012-13 (or the 2013) lockout-shortened season. His career numbers are astounding: 359-220-126 with a .921 save percentage and a 2.27 goals-against average.

4. Refs have rough night

Referee Marc Joannette was set to announce that his original call on the ice stood: that the puck was kicked in and did not count. Except Brandon Dubinsky appeared to throw a wrench into those plans.

Do referees take public speaking courses? Because they should. Chalk that up to stage fright.

Things didn’t get better for Joannette, however.

The Colorado Avalanche ended up winning the contest 2-1. Wait. Scratch that. Columbus won 2-1.

Curse you, Marc Joannette!

5. The hockey world loves them some Bowie

Nevermind the hockey world, the world at large mourned the death of legend David Bowie who passed away Jan. 10 after a battle with cancer.

The musical chameleon was an inspiration to many, and not just for his artistic output. Elliotte Friedman appeared on the Marek vs. Wyshynski podcast Monday and had this to say about the beloved musician.

“He made a lot of people feel very comfortable to be different. I think that’s a fantastic epitaph for him because we all know as a teenager how hard it is to be different. I think that’s a great legacy.”

All week, Saturday night included, NHL organists paid tribute by filling arenas with the sounds of Bowie.

RIP Ziggy.

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