It seemed every other game in the NHL Tuesday night was either a blowout or a shutout.
The Winnipeg Jets got just what they needed, the Montreal Canadiens got what they really, really didn’t need, and — what do you know? — an NHL trade has paid dividends this season.
Here are five things we learned in the NHL.
1. Ehlers & Wheeler feelin’ it
The Winnipeg Jets have had a pull-your-hair-out kind of year. While they are in the group of death that is the Central division, they were likely hoping for more of a step forward this season. Prior to Tuesday’s game, they’d gone 3-6-1 in their last 10, losing three in a row.
It got so bad that Blake Wheeler got a case of the feels.
All of this is to say that the 5-2 win they recorded Tuesday was exactly what they needed. Nik Ehlers scored his first career hat trick, Wheeler assisted on all three of his goals and Dustin Byfuglien potted two — one a short-handed goal on a 5-on-3 penalty kill, the other came from centre ice.
Ehlers and Wheeler, by the way, are recent linemates.
The 19-year-old Ehlers also made a nice dent in the Jets’ record book.
2. New low for Habs
The lowly Montreal Canadiens just dropped two games in 24 hours to the 30th place team in the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Habs lost 5-2 after losing by an identical score Monday. Adding to the pain was the announcement that Daniel Carr will miss three months with knee surgery, while Max Pacioretty left the game after getting hit with a puck.
Wait, there’s more. Sure, P.K. Subban is used to being booed when on the road but…this doesn’t bode well.
He did, however, say that he deserved it.
And Columbus did all of this without John Tortorella, who was injured in a Blue Jackets practice, behind the bench. Hmmm.
But leave them smiling, they say. The best thing to happen to the Canadiens Tuesday was in warm-ups.
Habs fans right now:
3. Ekblad for MVP
It’s a young man’s NHL and another 19-year-old has been a stud for his playoff-hopeful club. Aaron Ekblad, who helped the Florida Panthers to a franchise-best 12-game winning streak, missed three games with an injury only to see his team drop all of those. And in the three since his return? All Panthers’ victories, including Tuesday’s 5-1 drubbing of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
So many firsts still to come for this former first-overall pick. Like this fight, for instance:
There’s also this 20-year-old you may have heard just signed a six-year contract extension who’s been similarly helpful.
Meanwhile, this not-19-year-old found himself in exclusive company with the Panthers’ win.
4. Puppy love for Crosby
After a slow start to the season, Sidney Crosby has been in fine form.
With a goal Tuesday in a 2-0 win over the New Jersey Devils, he extended his point scoring streak to seven games and now has 21 points in his last 20.
And despite scoring the goal, there was an inexplicable lack of puppy love. The last couple of nights in the NHL have seen two fans rewarded with puppies when their homemade signs asking for a hometown skater to score obligated their loved ones to follow through on the promise.
Crosby said he was down for the puppy challenge and did his part with the goal. Missed opportunity, Penguins fans. Where were you?
5. Perron flies with Ducks, Hagelin marches with Penguins
When David Perron was traded from the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Anaheim Ducks for Carl Hagelin, it was seen as a move that might help two struggling scorers. Perron tallied just 16 points in 43 games with the Penguins while Hagelin recorded just 12 points in 43 with Anaheim.
Since the swap, Perron has two goals and three assists in four games in a new uniform. That’s a point in each game with his new club.
He potted a goal and an assist in the Ducks’ 6-2 victory over the Bruins Tuesday.
Hagelin, meanwhile, set up Phil Kessel with a beautiful pass Tuesday and now has four points in his five games with his new team.
Not bad for a season in which we thought nary a trade would be possible.