It's Day 1 of the NHL's longest break since the start of the season. The three-day layoff for Christmas is a joy for teams in need of recovery, and a disappointment for those in the midst of hot streaks. Three teams during Tuesday's ten-game evening slate saw their streaks continue, for better and worse.
The Dallas Stars now own sole possession of the league's top spot after a 4-0 win at home against the Chicago Blackhawks. Patrick Sharp scored a goal and an assist against his former club to put the Stars at 54 points on the year with 26 wins, two points above the streaking Washington Capitals who did not play Tuesday after their 2-1 victory over the Hurricanes the day before. The dominant victory -- in which Dallas outshot Chicago, 32-20 -- was the Stars' third win in a row.
The Florida Panthers also continued a streak by taking down the Ottawa Senators in a shootout, 2-1, and holding the visitors to just 16 shots. Florida has steadily gained momentum with big wins in the last few weeks. It has lost just once in its last seven games stretching back to Dec. 10.
The Panthers are now third in the Atlantic Division, jumping the Red Wings because of Detroit's one-goal loss Tuesday to New Jersey. Florida is tied with Boston with 42 points and, in more shocking news, is just one point away from eclipsing Montreal for the top of the division.
Speaking of Montreal, the Canadiens have lost five in a row and now have a loose grip upon the Atlantic. Playing the final game of a back-to-back Tuesday, it's easy to excuse their 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild, but the slump, as a whole, is hard to swallow, even if it's not a surprise to see them struggle. Of all the teams across the league, Montreal might be the one looking forward to this break the most to give its stars in Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher more time to heal.
Streaks were also broken Tuesday. The Rangers shook off a three-game losing skid with an overtime win over Anaheim, while the Bruins had their three-game win streak broken by a hungry Blues team in a 2-0 shutout loss.
St. Louis Blues 2, Boston Bruins 0
New York Rangers 3, Anaheim Ducks 2 (OT)
New Jersey Devils 4, Detroit Red Wings 3
Florida Panthers 2, Ottawa Senators 1 (SO)
Minnesota Wild 2, Montreal Canadiens 1
Dallas Stars 4, Chicago Blackhawks 0
3 things we learned
1. Flames win 10th straight at home on Johnny Gaudreau's hat trick
Tuesday was a busy night for one Johnny Hockey. Besides scoring his 100th point to become the Flames' fifth-fastest player to the triple digit mark, Gaudreau also notched his second hat trick of the month to help Calgary to their 10th straight home victory. Two of the three were gorgeous goals, with his last of the evening an empty netter. His second goal was a breakaway that put the game away in the third period.
2. Shane Doan's three-point night lifted the Coyotes over the Maple Leafs
Arizona and Toronto potted three goals in 21 seconds late in the first period. Scoring two of them? Coyote captain Shane Doan, who had three points in Arizona's 3-2 win over the Maple Leafs. It was a big night for the Arizona forward, whose goals turned the tide and kept the Coyotes ahead even as the Maple Leafs pushed late.
3. Turnovers lead to Anaheim's demise in 3-2 OT loss to New York
The Ducks gifted Rangers forward Derick Brassard two goals Tuesday with two terrible turnovers. Brassard had a three-point evening for the Rangers, also assisting on Mats Zuccarello's overtime goal that gave New York its first win since Dec. 15. The second turnover was probably the most egregious by Anaheim, which continues to stumble at the bottom of the league.
All Jaromir Jagr wants for Christmas is his two front teeth after losing them to an accidental high stick against the Senators.
Jagr adorably forgave the offending party, Senators forward Alex Chiasson, with a head pat as the 43-year-old headed to the locker room for repairs.
Jagr forgives you, Chiasson pic.twitter.com/qMhz4BNrze— Stephanie (@myregularface) December 23, 2015
Jagr again delivered brilliance on Twitter after the fact, asking the Big Guy himself for some new teeth so he can eat this holiday season.
Dear Santa, can I get a new teeth for Christmas :) it's going to be tough to eat-good -at least I don't get fat :))) pic.twitter.com/mifGcolCdP— Jaromir Jagr (@68Jagr) December 23, 2015
Stat of the Night
Tarasenko ties Benn again for first in the League in goals, extends his point streak to seven games (six goals, five assists. #stlblues— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) December 23, 2015
The race for the league leader in goals keeps changing hands.