Four things we learned in the NHL: Top-heavy Pacific

The hockey panel talks all things hockey, including Crosby's slash on Methot, Andersen's possible injury and the Islanders looking to trade John Tavares.

• Brock Boeser’s big day
Alex Ovechkin hits another goal-scoring milestone
• Pacific Division is complete chaos

The future seems bright for the Canucks, Alex Ovechkin pulls off another big milestone and four teams compete to win the Pacific Division.

Here are four things we learned Saturday in the NHL.

Canucks get glimpse of future

The last couple of seasons haven’t been much fun for anyone with a rooting interest in the Vancouver Canucks, but if Saturday is any indication, that might not be the case for much longer.

The Canucks’ 2015 first-round pick, Brock Boeser, made his NHL debut in a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild and wasted no time finding the back of the net.

Boeser, 20, signed with the Canucks earlier in the day after his North Dakota team was eliminated from the NCAA tournament on Friday. This season with the Fighting Hawks, Boeser had 16 goals and 34 points in 32 games.

While it’s only one game, Boeser’s play should get Canucks fans excited for the future.


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Senators fail to gain on Canadiens… again

For the third time in the last eight days, the Ottawa Senators failed to gain ground on the Montreal Canadiens. But Saturday’s game was the best of the three, and showed that this rivalry may be as good as it has ever been.

Just look at what happens after this incredible toe save from Carey Price.

Ultimately, Montreal used offence from their defence to get the win. Shea Weber fired an absolute bomb past Craig Anderson in the first period and Andrei Markov added two more of his own later in the game.

The Canadiens have one of the best offensive blue lines in the NHL and that proved to be the edge on Saturday.

Montreal won the season series 3-0-1 and now lead Ottawa by three points for first in the Atlantic Division. At this point, a playoff series between the two would likely only happen in the second round.

Here’s hoping we get seven more games of this.


Ovechkin gets 30 goals for 12th straight season

Alex Ovechkin became only the third player ever to score 30 goals in his first 12 seasons when he fired a signature shot past Arizona’s Mike Smith on Saturday.

Ovechkin joins Mike Gartner and Wayne Gretzky as the only players to accomplish the feat. He now has 555 career goals.

Even in 2012-13, when the season was cut to 48 games, Ovechkin found a way to score 32. While he won’t be getting his fourth straight 50-goal season this year, Ovechkin remains one of the greatest goal scorers of all-time.

But he still doesn’t have a Stanley Cup. So when he was asked about the milestone after the game, Ovechkin showed that at this point of his career, winning when it counts is all that’s on his mind.

Wild, wild West

The Pacific Division has suddenly become completely chaotic, with three teams tied for first place with 91 points.


The chaos comes with a free-falling San Jose Sharks and the suddenly hot Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers colliding with two weeks to go in the season.

The Sharks, who have led the division most of the year, have now lost six in a row and seven of their last 10. On Saturday, the Nashville Predators crushed them 7-2, allowing the Ducks to jump into first in the division by having played one less game.

The Oilers beat the Colorado Avalanche for the second straight game Saturday, giving them six wins in their last seven games. Leon Draisaitl led the way again, giving him 14 points over that same seven game stretch.

And don’t forget about the Calgary Flames, who got a last-second overtime win against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday to move up to 88 points. Brian Elliott has put together a month to remember, and against his former team he kept it going with 29 saves in the win.

Early on it looked like the Sharks would skate away with this division. Now it’s anyone’s guess who will come out on top.

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