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The Buzzer: Stars and unknowns bolster Blackhawks

Minnesota Wild v Chicago Blackhawks

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 17: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks eyes an opponent before a face-off against the Minnesota Wild at the United Center on December 17, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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Player of the Night: Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche

Mikael Granlund already got his moment in the sun for his second career hat trick, yet you could reasonably argue that he’s the true player of the night.

There were some other strong nights, with Claude Giroux collecting three assists to help the Flyers win, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ three points in a losing effort, and wins being triggered by two-goal nights from Jack Eichel and Alex Radulov.

It was quite a night, and has been quite a season, for MacKinnon, however. His goal and two assists are joined by a +3 rating and five shots on goal. About the only thing he struggled with was faceoffs (7-12).

His goal was pretty nifty:

MacKinnon now has 43 points in 37 games this season. It’s been a blast to observe an already-strong player breakthrough to a star level.

Highlight of the Night: Patrick Kane’s delirious overtime game-winner, and Jeff Glass becoming a first-time NHL-winner at age 32.

How slick is this?

And how sweet is this?

Glass, by the way, joins Ed Belfour in an interesting bit of Blackhawks history, to get you primed for factoids. Also:

Factoids

Frans Nielsen continues to pump his teams up during the shootout.

Did You Know: Jaromir Jagr has played a lot of NHL games. Shocking.

Hey, Josh Bailey’s blossoming can’t be ALL John Tavares, right? The Islanders aren’t complaining either way.

Scores

Sabres 4, Devils 3 (OT)
Senators 5, Blue Jackets 4
Red Wings 3, Rangers 2 (SO)
Flyers 5, Lightning 3
Hurricanes 2, Penguins 1
Wild 4, Predators 2
Jets 4, Islanders 2
Stars 4, Blues 2
Avalanche 4, Maple Leafs 3 (OT)
Blackhawks 4, Oilers 3 (OT)
Ducks 2, Flames 1


James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.