Blackhawks chasing NHL playoffs record

I’m sure this record isn’t exactly at the top of their list of
“things to do on the way to the Stanley Cup” but the Blackhawks are a
win tonight away from tying an NHL postseason record with seven straight
road wins.

It’s been a staple of their playoff success this
season, with six of their nine victories coming on the road. Being able
to step into GM Place in Vancouver ang get a big wins was instrumental
in their constant frustrating of the Canucks. Starting their first
series of the playoffs on the road against the Sharks also allowed them
to continue their strong play away from home.

Now that they’re
trying to do the same thing, in San Jose, the Hawks maintain they’re
just focused on winning and it doesn’t
matter where the game takes place:

“I didn’t know
about the record but definitely it’s something that would
be great to achieve,” Marian
Hossa said after practice on Tuesday morning. “The most important
thing is to win the hockey game.”

“You can’t say, ‘Oh well, it was their building, we’ll go back
and win
in ours,'” John
Madden explained. “That’s not the way we approach games.”

The Sharks didn’t exactly have a bad game in Game 1
and hit a wall known as Antti Niemi, a goaltender who had previously
been known as more of leaking dam than an impenetrable force. He’ll need
to do the same in Game 2 if the Hawks hope to tie the record.

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    Video: Pastrnak scores 10 seconds into game vs. Rangers

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    After getting blown out on Tuesday night and having to go with a rookie goalie making his first career start in New York on Wednesday, the Boston Bruins really needed a strong start against the Rangers.

    That is exactly what they got when David Pastrnak gave them an early lead just 10 seconds into the game when he capitalized on a Nick Holden giveaway.

    The play all started right off the opening faceoff when Holden gave the puck away to Zdeno Chara in the neutral zone. Chara quickly moved it along to Marchand who drew both Rangers defenders leaving Pastrnak wide open for a one-on-one chance against Henrik Lundqvist.

    The result: Pastrnak’s fifth goal of the season and an early 1-0 lead.

    Ducks, Lindholm don’t seem to be budging on contract

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    Hampus Lindholm is one of the two restricted free agents still without a contract (Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba being the other) and his absence is having a pretty big impact on the Anaheim Ducks early in the season because they clearly miss his presence on the blue line.

    On Wednesday, Bob McKenzie appeared on NBCSN with Liam McHugh  and offered an update on the situation.

    McKenzie reports that at this point the two sides have not really closed the gap in their current talks, with the Ducks trying to get Lindholm signed to a slighter smaller contract than the six-year, $32.4 million deal Buffalo recently gave to defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.

    Lindholm wants a slightly larger average annual salary because he would be giving up an additional year of unrestricted free agency than Ristolainen did.

    According to McKenzie, the two sides are about $250,000 apart when it comes to yearly salary.

    The 22-year-old Lindholm has 23 goals and 69 assists in 236 games over his first three seasons in the league, including 10 goals and 28 points a year ago.

    In terms of salary the two sides obviously aren’t that far apart, and as McKenzie mentioned with the lines of communication still remaining open it only takes one phone call to change everything. Even with that, it still seems like it’s going to be a tough deal to complete given how long this has gone on and how close to the league’s salary cap the Ducks currently are.

    That is going to be a problem for a Ducks team that has won only two of its first seven games and needs its best defenseman back on the ice.

    WATCH LIVE: Bruins at Rangers

    BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 27:  Ryan Spooner #51 of the Boston Bruins scores a goal against Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers during the third period at TD Garden on November 27, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Rangers 4-3.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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    Original Six rivals face off at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night when the New York Rangers host the Boston Bruins.

    The Rangers come into the game having won two in a row and three out of their past four, while the Bruins were blown out just 24 hours earlier at home against the Minnesota Wild.

    Making matters worse for the Bruins is the fact they are also dealing with some major injury issues  having lost their top two goalies (Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin) to injury. That means they will be giving rookie Zane McIntyre his first NHL start after Malcolm Subban was benched on Tuesday.

    The Bruins will also be without veteran forward David Backes.

    You can catch tonight’s game (8 p.m. ET) on NBCSN or with our NHL Extra live stream.


    More links to get you ready for tonight’s game

    Bruins need a rookie goalie to step up

    Backes undergoes elbow procedure

    Rakell back skating in Anaheim, but no timetable for return

    NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 21: Rickard Rakell #67 of the Anaheim Ducks skates against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on December 21, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders defeated the Ducks 5-2.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    The contract’s signed, the visa issues are sorted and he’s already taken a morning skate.

    Now, all Rickard Rakell needs to do is get clearance.

    Rakell, who 12 days ago signed a six-year, $22.8 million extension, was back on the ice this morning ahead of Anaheim’s game against the visiting Nashville Predators this evening.

    The 23-year-old’s return was hung up by a variety of issues. First, there was the obvious one — he had no contract — and once that was signed, Rakell was in limbo awaiting his visa.

    And he’s still not in the clear.

    Rakell is dealing with the ramifications from offseason abdominal surgery — a procedure related to an earlier appendectomy, that kept him out of the World Cup of Hockey — and is unclear as to when he can make his season debut.

    “I’m just anxious to get back and at least try,” he said, per

    Prior to rejoining the Ducks, Rakell had been working out and skating in his native Sweden, though none of his activity included contact. That will be the next step in his progression.

    Following a lengthy road trip to start the year, the Ducks are now locked into the state of California for quite some time. Tonight’s home tilt is followed by another Friday against the Jackets, followed by a “road” game in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

    From there, the team plays three more times at Honda: Nov. 2 against the Penguins, Nov. 4 against the Coyotes, and No. 6 against the Flames.

    So, there’s a pretty good chance Rakell’s debut will come at home.