NHL

NHL: 3 stories from Wednesday night

The Maple Leafs earned a gritty victory in Boston, the Jets were outdone at home by the Islanders, and the Flames and Oilers squared off in another edition of the battle of Alberta.

4 Canadian teams were in action

Phil Kessel broke out of his scoring slump to help the Toronto Maple Leafs defeat the Boston Bruins 4-3 in a shootout at TD Garden. (Michael Dwyer/The Associated Press)

The Maple Leafs earned a gritty victory in Boston, the Jets were outdone at home by the Islanders, and the Flames and Oilers squared off in another edition of the battle of Alberta.

Here are three stories from Wednesday night.

Leafs and Bruins go the distance

You can say that this was just another regular season game, but the Leafs' 4-3 shootout win over the Bruins at TD Garden seemed like so much more.

It was a gritty, back-and-forth battle between a pair of teams with a rekindled rivalry dating back to an epic playoff series two seasons ago. 

Aside from halting a two-game losing skid, this win was significant for the Leafs as it kept them above the Bruins in the Atlantic Division standings at least for the time being.

Of course, it is only fair to point out that the Toronto side blew a two-goal lead for the third game in a row, but this time managed to avoid another deflating loss on the road.

Phil Kessel broke out of his scoring slump by netting his first goal since Dec. 16 and a span of six games.

When Kessel ripped a wrist shot past Tuukka Raask for a 3-1 lead midway through the second period, he also reached a milestone by recording his 500th career point. It probably isn't far-fetched to assume that Kessel took enjoyment in doing this in front of the organization that traded him away. 

In the end, it was Nazem Kadri providing the decisive marker in a shootout that went five rounds.

Islanders too much for Jets

Frans Nielsen scored two goals and added an assist to lift the Islanders 5-2 over the Jets at MTS Centre. It was the second loss in a row for the Jets since returning from Minnesota with an overtime victory on Dec. 27. 

Winnipeg's injury woes have been well documented. Zach Bogosian, Mark Stuart, Jacob Trouba, and Toby Enstrom all are missing from the blueline and were recently joined on the sidelines by forward Evander Kane due to a lower body injury. 

Despite their depleted lineup, the Jets have been holding down the fort with a 5-3-2 record over the past 10 games. Whether that pace will be enough for Winnipeg to maintain a wild card spot is the ultimate question, especially while they deal with key absences over the next month.

To this point in the season, the Jets have allowed just 92 goals and rank 6th in the NHL in that category. The play of netminder Michael Hutchinson, who is first among all goalies in both goals-against-average (1.87) and save percentage (.937), has obviously been a huge factor in that respect. 

The challenge for the Jets will be finding a consistent way to generate offense. They are near the bottom of the pack in goals-for with 96 and on average only score 2.47 times per game.

Flames down Oilers, extend winning streak

It took overtime to decide this edition of the battle of Alberta, but Josh Jooris came through with the game-winner as the Flames defeated the Oilers 4-3.

The Flames also got the better of the Oilers on Saturday as part of what now amounts to a four-game winning streak.

Edmonton jumped out to a 2-0 advantage, with Matt Fraser getting his first goal as a member of the Oilers followed by a goal from Jordan Eberle.

Had the Oilers been able to hold on for the win, it would have given them their third winning streak of the 2014-15 campaign. Edmonton won four in a row back in October and also strung together two victories in early November. 

However, Edmonton's two most recent victories were proceeded by losing streaks of 11 and nine games respectively. At least on this occasion, they were able to salvage a point.

As for Calgary, their current winning streak features a pair of victories over the Oilers and Kings and has helped them gain some ground in a jumbled Pacific Division. 

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