Just like that, the Chicago Blackhawks are in striking distance of the Central Division crown, and head coach Joel Quenneville hit another striking milestone.
By edging the struggling Nashville Predators by a score of 3-2, the Blackhawks won their eighth straight game, which is now easily the longest active run in the NHL.
(The Florida Panthers finally hit a wall in Vancouver last night, after all.)
The bigger news might just be Coach Q’s accomplishment, as he won his 782nd regular season game as a head coach, tying New York Islanders legend Al Arbour for second all-time.
As you can see from this graphic from before this latest win, the gap between second place and first is bigger than Q’s mustache.
Quenneville may find two other numbers more relevant:
Two: That’s the standings point gap between top Central Division team the Dallas Stars and Chicago, although Dallas does have a game in hand.
Three: The three-year contract extension Quenneville signed earlier today.
Maybe the Blackhawks get to bask in the best of both worlds: celebrating their already-impressive highs while possibly authoring new ones.
During a loss that might explain some of Winnipeg’s attendance issues, Tyler Myers made the sort of explain that may provide a prime example of the Jets’ issues with self control.
Either way, Myers received a five-minute major and game misconduct for cross-checking Tommy Wingels late in what was ultimately a 4-1 win for the San Jose Sharks.
You can watch that moment of questionable judgment in the video above.
It drew plenty of criticism from onlookers …
… But do you think supplementary discipline should come Myers’ way?
Wingels might need an extra ice pack after the past two nights, as he also took the worst of a collision with a Sharks teammate on Monday.
Not that long ago, Jack Capuano called for better play from certain New York Islanders.
Maybe Brock Nelson was immune to that criticism, maybe not … but regardless, he had a big night on Tuesday.
Nelson recorded his first career hat trick in helping the Islanders beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2.
You can watch all three goals, including the funky game-winner, in the video above. Nelson grabbed the game-winner in this one, too, so he really stood out tonight.
From the Blue Jackets’ perspective, goaltending might be a bit of a concern:
Penalties hurt at just about any time. They just tend to hurt a little bit more in overtime.
A 4-on-3 overtime power play can be a golden opportunity, as we saw last night when the Canucks spoiled the Panthers’ winning streak. It’s happened again tonight, as Jeff Skinner capitalized on an Evgeni Malkin penalty to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-2 overtime win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
(You can watch the decisive goal in the video above.)
The Penguins grabbed a standings point, yet they find themselves just as much in the thick of the East bubble as ever. The Hurricanes might not be easily dismissed at this pace, as Carolina is now on a three-game winning streak.
Here’s another angle on that tally.
Now, it’s fair to say Carolina got lucky at times as well, as you can see from this lucky Kris Versteeg goal.
The Chicago Blackhawks must strive for an eighth consecutive win without Artem Anisimov in the lineup.
It’s unclear whether Anisimov is a healthy or unhealthy scratch; some believe that it might be related to an illness, as this was a surprising announcement.
The Blackhawks will instead face the Nashville Predators with Richard Panik making his Chicago debut.
More than a few Blackhawks fans take solace in the line that may spring up in Anismiov’s absence, as Teuvo Tervainen looks to line up with Patrick Kane and Artemin Panarin. Yeah, that’s a lot of skill in one trio.