Marian Gaborik needed five fingers to count his goals on the best night of his career. Sidney Crosby used all five on both hands to send his fists flying for the first time in the NHL.
What a wild night all over the league, especially in Minnesota where Gaborik put up the NHL's first five-goal game in 11 years and led his club to a 6-3 win over the New York Rangers on Thursday night.
``One time I got five goals when I was playing back home for a pro club back there, but this is just totally different,'' Gaborik said. ``You score five goals in the NHL it's just a totally different experience. To reach it here with these guys in front of our fans is just unbelievable.''
Crosby went a different route, too. There is no surprise when the 20-year-old Penguins captain has a goal and two assists. But when he drops his gloves, everyone takes notice.
He dropped the gloves with Boston's Andrew Ference in the second period of Pittsburgh's 5-4 shootout win over the Bruins, the first time the reigning MVP fought in his 194 NHL games.
Chances are the next one isn't coming soon.
``I don't think so,'' Crosby said after his Gordie Howe hat trick.
``It's not something I'm going to make a habit of, by any means.''
In other NHL games, it was Atlanta 3, Ottawa 2; Montreal 5, Washington 2; Florida 5, Carolina 4; Tampa Bay 2, Toronto 1; St. Louis 3, Detroit 2; Vancouver 3, Dallas 2; and Phoenix 3, San Jose 2 in a shootout.
Gaborik had a hat trick less than 26 minutes into the game and finished with the first five-goal outing since Sergei Fedorov did it for Detroit on Dec. 26, 1996, in an overtime game against Washington. Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux was the last to net five in regulation, on March 26, 1996, versus St. Louis.
With an assist on Pierre-Marc Bouchard's goal, Gaborik tied his career high with six points. That was established on Oct. 26, 2002, at Phoenix. It was his best offensive game since he scored three goals and helped set up another on April 9, 2006, at Colorado.
This one got him carried off the ice by teammates Sean Hill and Keith Carney.
``It was pretty amazing,'' Wild captain Mark Parrish said. ``He was banking 'em in out of the air, scoring on breakaways, skating through everybody with it, making highlight-film goals. My God, he was doing it every which way.
``When a guy like that's feeling it, it gets pretty scary for the other team.''
Michal Rozsival, Martin Straka and Nigel Dawes scored for New York, which fell to 2-5-1 in its past eight.
Crosby helped set up Evgeni Malkin's first of the game 55 seconds in, scored his 16th of the season at 8:26, and then assisted on Malkin's 13th as Pittsburgh jumped to a three-goal edge.
Colby Armstrong had three assists in helping the Penguins take a 4-0 lead they couldn't hold.
Blues 3, Red Wings 2
At St. Louis, Keith Tkachuk and Lee Stempniak scored power-play goals in the third period, and Manny Legace made 34 saves for the Blues, who snapped their four-game slide and ended Detroit's 12-game point streak.
The Red Wings were 10-0-2 since losing 3-2 at Nashville on Nov. 22.
Chris Osgood (15-2-1) hadn't lost since dropping a 3-2 decision at Chicago on Nov. 11.
Valtteri Filppula and Mikael Samuelsson scored for Detroit. Henrik Zetterberg picked up an assist on Filppula's goal, giving him 50 points (25 goals, 25 assists).
Thrashers 3, Senators 2
At Atlanta, Todd White's power-play goal 47 seconds into the third period snapped Ottawa's six-game winning streak.
Atlanta, which ended its four-game skid on Tuesday, beat Ottawa for the first time this season after three losses.
Ilya Kovalchuk scored his NHL-leading 28th goal for Atlanta.
Canadiens 5, Capitals 2
At Washington, Guilliaume Latendresse scored two goals in his return from a benching to lift the visiting Canadiens.
Latendresse, scratched by coach Guy Carbonneau for Montreal's 3-2 loss to Florida on Tuesday, notched the fourth two-goal game of his NHL career _ the second this month.
Montreal won the first of a season-high six-game road trip despite Washington holding a 37-21 shots advantage.
Panthers 5, Hurricanes 4.
At Sunrise, Fla., Brett McLean scored the winning goal, and Florida moved above .500 for the first time this season (17-16-2).
Stephen Weiss, Jozef Stumpel, Olli Jokinen and Radek Dvorak scored for the Panthers, who won their third straight. Tomas Vokoun made 29 saves.
Ray Whitney, Cory Stillman, Erik Cole and Andrew Ladd had goals for Carolina.
Lightning 2, Maple Leafs 1
At Tampa, Fla., Vincent Lecavalier scored with 41.6 seconds left in the third period and rookie Karri Ramo made 31 saves against Toronto.
Jason Ward also scored for Tampa Bay, which snapped a three-game losing skid.
Matt Stajan scored for Toronto, which lost its third straight.
Coyotes 3, Sharks 2, SO
At San Jose, Calif., Shane Doan scored a short-handed goal to tie the game with 41.5 seconds left in regulation and Ilya Bryzgalov stopped all three shots in the shootout to help Phoenix snap an eight-game losing streak to the Sharks.
Peter Mueller scored on the first shot of the shootout for Phoenix, and Bryzgalov made it stand up, stopping Torrey Mitchell on the final shot to clinch it.
Canucks 3, Stars 2, SO
At Vancouver, British Columbia, Daniel Sedin scored twice in the third period and Roberto Luongo made 33 saves, leading the Canucks.
Mason Raymond also scored for the Canucks, who won their second straight since Luongo returned from a four-game injury absence.
Jussi Jokinen and Antti Miettinen scored in the third period, and Marty Turco made 27 saves for the Stars, who had their four-game winning streak snapped.