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NHL: 6 stories from Tuesday night

12/17/2014 03:23 EST | Updated 02/15/2015 05:59 EST
All five Canadian teams in action were playing for something of value, with either streaks or pride on the line and, in some cases, both.

While in Florida, the Panthers and Capitals made it a game to remember.

Here are six stories from a busy Tuesday night.

Leafs putting NHL on notice

The Leafs 6-2 triumph over the Ducks was impressive on many levels. 

First of all, the Leafs extended their own winning streak to six games, while halting the Ducks string of wins at seven.

It was also no secret that this would be a litmus test of sorts for Toronto against an Anaheim team that remains as the NHL's best as far as the standings are concerned. 

Tyler Bozak opened the scoring with his 12th goal of the season on an effort that was assisted by linemates James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel. 

The Leafs were also able to fend off both of Anaheim's power play opportunities and, thanks to 17 saves by Jonathan Bernier, managed to escape the first 20 minutes with a 1-0 advantage. 

Then, less than two minutes into the second period, Joffrey Lupul found the back of the net when he surprised Ducks' goaltender Frederik Andersen with a snap shot from the boards to double the lead. 

The Ducks cut the lead in half on a shorthanded goal by Sami Vatanen, but that was as close as they got.

As the Air Canada Centre crowd roared in delight, Ilya Bryzgalov was sent in to rescue Frederik Andersen in the final frame after he surrendered two goals in quick succession to David Booth and Nazem Kadri that pushed the lead to 4-1. 

Even though the Ducks would strike once more, Kessel added a pair of late goals to put the game out of reach and make the score look pretty. 

Somewhat surprisingly, Toronto and Anaheim both entered Tuesday tied for the league lead with 12 wins when being out-shot by their opponent. So, true to form, the Leafs wrestled away the victory despite being out-shot 42-27.

Of course this becomes an appropriate moment to acknowledge Bernier, who made 40 saves, which ranks second to his season-high 44 stops in a win over the Canucks on Dec. 6.

Just for good measure, the Leafs also improved to 14-0 when they score first. 

With recent wins over the Red Wings (twice), Kings, and now the Ducks, perhaps the Leafs will finally start to shake off the skepticism that has surrounded their recent success in exchange for the possibility of being considered as a legitimate contender.

The Alex Galchenyuk show it Montreal

The 20-year-old had his moment in the spotlight at the Bell Centre as he recorded his first career hat trick to lift the Canadiens to a 4-1 victory of the Carolina Hurricanes.

David Desharnais lured Cam Ward out of his crease and then slid a pass to Brandon Prust who made no mistake in putting Montreal on the board first with his second goal of the 2014-15 campaign.

From there, Galchenyuk took over. He potted the eventual game-winner midway through the second period and padded Montreal's lead with two more goals late in the final frame. 

Carolina was unable to halt a losing streak that has now reached seven games and also find themselves fighting with the Oilers for the distinction of the NHL's worst team.

Meanwhile, the Canadiens have won three in a row and are knocking loudly on the doors of the Lightning and Red Wings who are narrowly above them in the Atlantic Division.

Jets overcome injury woes

The Jets received some good news and bad news on Tuesday. On the one hand, they learned that defenceman Jacob Trouba would be sidelined until February, but on the bright side were given a boost with the return of blueliner Grant Clintsome.

What's important is that it all amounted to a 5-1 thumping of a red-hot Sabres team that saw it's win streak come to an end at four games.

Winnipeg more than doubled it's goals-per-game average (2.38) and recorded more than four goals for just the fourth time this season. 

The Sabres struck for the one and only time on Nikita Zadorov's power-play goal in the final minute of the first period. 

Ondrej Pavelec then slammed the door shut on his way to making 27 saves and benefiting from a flurry of Jets' goals. Centre Mark Scheifele lead the offensive attack for Winnipeg, tallying two goals and an assist. 

The Jets will need to continue to show this type of resolve, particularly at the offensive end, as they are also still dealing with the absences of defencemen Zach Bogosian and Tobias Enstrom.

More of the same for the Oilers

On Monday Dallas Eakins took the fall for an Oilers team that had lost four in a row and 15 of their last 16 outings.

You can add another loss to both elements of that equation after Edmonton suffered a heart-breaking 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Arizona Coyotes.

By moving himself behind the bench to help Todd Nelson transition to the role of head coach, general manager Craig MacTavish only provided himself with a closer view of what remains a work in progress.

Despite saying all the right things about trying to turn their season around, the Oilers were once again on the wrong side of a game decided by one goal.

And although the Oilers have found many ways to lose games this season, this one may be the toughest to digest. On this night, they were sent away in a stunning manner as Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored with 0.3 seconds remaining in overtime.

Yes, the Oilers were able to come away with a point, but it's tough to imagine that consolation prize lifting any weight off their collective shoulders. 

Flames slide hits six games

The New York Rangers certainly did not provide the Flames with the tonic they needed to halt a losing skid that continues to mount, handing the Flames a 5-2 defeat.

In fact, the Flames joined the Canucks and Oilers as casualties of the Rangers recent journey through Western Canada. 

Evidently, the Rangers appear to be finding their stride. They have won four in a row and are slowly but steadily gaining some ground in the Eastern Conference. 

Unfortunately for the Flames, their recent struggles are starting to catch up to them. With just four wins in the past 10 games, Calgary is noticeably trending downwards in the Pacific Division Standings. 

One for the record books

Finally, depending on how much time you have, here is the full video of the longest shootout in NHL history, courtesy of the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals.

But in the category of spoiler alert, it was Nick Bjugstad who played the role of hero for the Panthers, finally providing the decisive marker for a 2-1 victory in the 20th round. 

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