Four things we learned in NHL: Mike Smith joins elite company

Sam Bennett scored late in the third period and the Calgary Flames rallied late to beat the Vancouver Canucks.

A special milestone for a Flames goalie, a second player gets to 20 goals and an unsung hero is making the most of his opportunity with the Oilers.

Here are four things we learned in the NHL.

A special night for Mike Smith

Flames goalie Mike Smith played in his 500th game on Saturday night and it ended in a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Smith, 35, is the 11th active goalie to reach the mark and is now tied with Jeff Hackett for 69th on the all-time list. He has a 208-207-62 record for his career.

Through out his 13-year career Smith has made appearances for the Stars, Lightning, Coyotes and Flames.

This year he hasn’t shown his age, posting a 13-9-2 record with a 2.71 goals against average and .918 save percentage entering Saturday’s action.

Smith’s steady presence has played a big part in the Flames’ push for a playoff spot in the Pacific Division. But as he crosses the 500 game mark, whether Smith can avoid fatigue will be a big factor in their potential post-season success.

Nikita Kucherov joins Ovechkin in 20-goal club

Nikita Kucherov became the second player to hit 20 goals this season when he tied the game 3-3 in the third against the Jets. He’s now only one goal behind Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead.

Kucherov has struggled as late, scoring in two of his last 10 games, but his hot start to the season still has him among the league leaders.

With Steven Stamkos, he’s formed the strongest one-two punch in the league and the Winnipeg Jets had no answer for it on the tying goal.

So it’s fitting then that Stamkos assisted on Kucherov’s goal Saturday, giving him 30 apples on the season. Stamkos now leads the league with 42 points. Second place? Kucherov with 41.

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Jujhar Khaira making most of opportunity with Oilers

Jujhar Khaira has been in and out of the Oilers lineup for three years now but if he has more games like he did on Saturday, he’ll be come a regular.

Khaira had two goals in the 6-2 win, including the game winner early in the second period. So far this season he has five goals and nine points in 16 games.

Khaira and his family will be part of Sunday’s Hometown Hockey broadcast from their hometown of Surrey, B.C. And if you want to learn more about his journey to the NHL, read this fantastic piece from Sportsnet’s David Singh.

Sergei Bobrovsky chasing third Vezina Trophy

Sergei Bobrovsky has already won two Vezina trophies but if his play keeps up, he’ll be picking up a third in June.

Bobrovsky made 35 saves to pick up his league-leading fourth shutout as the Blue Jackets beat the Coyotes 1-0 on Saturday. He now has a 16-7-1 record with a 2.05 goals against average and .930 save percentage.

Among eligible starters, his save percentage is tied with Andrei Vasilevskiy and Corey Crawford for best in the NHL.

Bobrovsky’s strong play has vaulted the Blue Jackets to first place in the league’s best division. With 39 points, Columbus now leads the Metro, but Washington, New Jersey, Pittsburgh and both New York teams are all within five points of them.

The Metro Division playoff race is going to be one to watch all season. Only five teams will ultimately make it, so having Bobrovsky at the top of his game could give the Blue Jackets the edge they need in the race for playoff positioning.

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