In today's game between the Washington Capitals and the Boston Bruins, neither team had anything to play for in the standings with both teams having secured their playoff seeds.
But there were milestones to chase, and tones to set as the NHL's second season gets started later in the week.
In a tightly contested match, the Boston Bruins eventually would triumph in a shootout and emerge as 4-3 victors in the final game of the season for both teams.
Once regulation expired, Caps coach Bruce Boudreau's feelings about the result of this match could be summed up by the players he sent out in the shootout: Boyd Gordon and Matt Bradley took the first two shots instead of Nick Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin.
It was a fun, fiesty game, featuring several Capitals players trying to reach milestones.
Alex Ovechkin entered--and left--the game with 50 goals on the season. He began the day tied with Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos for the league lead and one goal ahead of Sidney Crosby. He would not add to the total, so the best he can do is finish tied as the season goal leader.
He also came in--and finished--three points behind Henrik Sedin for the overall scoring leader title.
"Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose, so congrats to Sedin," Ovechkin said. "He deserved it. He played great. We all tried, but some get it, some don't."
"It doesn't take away from the year he had," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He didn't get any points today. Sometimes you just can't dig it up to do it. Boston looked to me like their whole concern was not to let Alex score. So we'll get back to normal. I'm glad the whole race thing is over."
The "other Alex", winger Alexander Semin, did reach a personal milestone, netting his 40th goal of the season for the first time in his career to start the scoring in the first period. With the goal he reached 300 points in his NHL career.
Another Capital set a team record. Defenseman Jeff Schultz became the first player in Washington Capitals history to lead the league in plus/minus rating, finishing plus-50 for the season.
Semyon Varalmov made 31 saves on 34 shots.
Jason Chimera had an interesting game as well. Early in his 500th NHL game, he was bumped into Boston goalie Tim Thomas by a Bruins defenseman. Thomas overracted and went swinging at Chimera, landing several catching gloves to Chimera's head before the scrum ended the wild swinging.
Thomas recieved four minutes for roughing, while Chimera--incorrectly--got a goalie interference call.
Later, Chimera recieved a 10-minute misconduct for skating in Thomas' general direction. He must have said something that referee Marc Joannette took offense to, because the action was neither threatening nor menacing.
The Capitals finish the 2009-2010 season with a franchise record of 54-15-13, their first ever President's Trophy for the NHL's best regular season record.
The final day of the regular season also brought excitement in Philadelphia, where the elimination game between the Flyers and the New York Rangers went to a shootout. The Flyers won the game when Olli Jokinen of the Rangers could not convert with the third shot.