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Riding the Zamboni – Saturday, November 13th (early edition)

Let’s take a look at the nine “early” games for tonight. We’ll have a summary of the last two tomorrow.

Philadelphia 5, Florida 2

The Flyers moved themselves one point behind the East (and league) leading Washington Capitals after beating the Panthers 5-2. Both Mike Richards and contract-extended Claude Giroux poured two goals on this one, while Scott Hartnell continued his short-haired scoring streak with another goal.

Detroit 3, Colorado 1

Obviously this isn’t the rivalry it once was – although the Avalanche are starting to get things together by increments – but surely the Red Wings still feel good to beat their foes from Colorado. The other highlight for Detroit fans: Jiri Hudler scored his first regular season goal since the 2008-09 season since he missed last year for cap reasons.

Vancouver 5, Toronto 3

The Maple Leafs provided a valiant effort, but when you’re on what is now an eight-game losing streak, “almost” is basically a slap in the face too. Ryan Kesler posted his second two-goal game of the week in this one.

Montreal 7, Carolina 2

For a semi-decent team, the Hurricanes sure get blown out a lot. This time the Habs were handing out the beating on the strength of Tomas Plekanec’s four points and Carey Price’s 28 saves. Conversely, Cam Ward was pulled for the second straight game.

Ottawa 2, Boston 0

The Senators gained revenge on the Bruins for shutting them out at home by shutting them down at home. It’s the golden rule, hockey edition, as Brian Elliott continued his torrid play with a 31-save shutout.

Buffalo 3, Washington 2 (OT)

It was the Finally Game tonight: Ryan Miller (finally) came back from his injury, the Buffalo Sabres (finally) won a home game and someone (finally) beat the hotter-than-Brooklyn Decker Capitals. Expect Thomas Vanek’s goal to be on many highlight reels … and maybe our Goal of the Night/Week.

Pittsburgh 4, Atlanta 2

Two games doesn’t mean a lot in the grand scheme of things, but for Penguins fans, these two back-to-back wins must be a godsend. Marc-Andre Fleury now has (gasp) two consecutive wins while the notably struggling Evgeni Malkin was involved in every Pittsburgh goal, scoring a hat trick and adding an assist.

Phoenix 5, St. Louis 3

Speaking of huge nights for struggling players, how about Ray Whitney. “The Wizard” was involved in all of the Coyotes goals, with a hat trick and two goals. He almost matched his six point season total in one outstanding night.

Nashville 4, Chicago 3 (SO)

It might not heal the wounds from the Blackhawks’ hard-fought playoff series win, but my guess is that the Predators relish every little victory against their division rivals. Pekka Rinne slightly out-dueled Marty Turco in a game that went to the wire via the shootout.

2016 Lady Byng finalists: Barkov, Eriksson and Kopitar

Slovenia forward Anze Kopitar, left, and Sweden forward Loui Eriksson battle for the puck in the second period of a men's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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The low penalty minutes and high point totals are in, and thus we have the 2016 NHL Awards’ three finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy: Aleksander Barkov, Loui Eriksson and Anze Kopitar.

OK, the actual definition for the award is that it goes “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

Same difference, eh?

Barkov really made a breakthrough this season with the Florida Panthers, scoring 59 points versus just eight penalty minutes. He only has 34 PIM in 191 career regular season contests.

You can see Eriksson and Kopitar representing their respective countries in this post’s main image. Eriksson enjoyed his best (and maybe last?) season with the Boston Bruins while Kopitar hopes to win the 2016 Selke as the Los Angeles Kings’ defensively adept – yet apparently courteous – forward.

It’s unclear who wins this “fight,” but one would assume it wouldn’t be a dirty one.

WATCH LIVE: Game 2 of Islanders – Lightning, Penguins – Capitals

Washington Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie (77) starts to celebrate his goal against Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray (30) and Kris Letang (58) during the second period of Game 1 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday, April 28, 2016 in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with two games on Saturday. You can catch tonight’s games via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

Can Sidney Crosby and the Penguins even things up against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals? Will the Lightning avoid dropping both games at home against the Islanders? We’ll find out on NBC.

NY Islanders at Tampa Bay (3:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 2 will be on NBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Pittsburgh at Washington (8:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 2 will also be on NBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Some reading to get you pumped up:

– The Penguins are keeping chatty Marc-Andre Fleury from speaking to the media(reportedly).

Tom Wilson received a fine, not a suspension, for that knee-to-knee hit.

T.J. Oshie was the difference-maker for Washington in Game 1.

– Don’t expect Steven Stamkos to face red-hot John Tavares anytime soon (or at all, maybe).

Read about the Isles’ Game 1 win

With Eaves injured, Nichushkin will play for Stars in Game 2

Dallas Stars right wing Valeri Nichushkin (43) takes control of the puck in front of St. Louis Blues center Jori Lehtera (12) during the third period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 3-0. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Patrick Eaves won’t be able to play for the Dallas Stars against the St. Louis Blues in their upcoming Game 2.

The last time we saw Eaves, he was leaving the ice by gliding on one foot after being hit by a teammate’s shot. He needed help to the locker room and was seen on crutches according to Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News.

The bad news is that Eaves cannot go. The good news is that the Stars can replace him with a player who boasts considerable offensive skill, as Valeri Nichushkin will take Eaves’ place.

Nichushkin wasn’t very effective in five postseason games so far, failing to score a point and only managed three shots on goal.

Still, if the frenetic pace of Game 1 carries on through this series, Nichushkin could very well make an impact.

Update: the Stars have other options at forward after making recalls:

Sheary’s in for Penguins in Game 2; Kunitz is a game-time decision

Pittsburgh Penguins' Conor Sheary (43) is greeted by teammates Brian Dumoulin (8) and Chris Kunitz (14) after scoring his first NHL goal, in the first period of the Penguins' hockey game against the Boston Bruins, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, in Pittsburgh. Bruins' Brad Marchand is at lower right. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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Both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals might look a little different in Game 2 on Saturday after that blistering Game 1.

As the team down 1-0, it’s not too surprising that the Penguins boast the more significant lineup questions, although they lean toward health concerns rather than performance tweaks.

Conor Sheary was able to return during Game 1 after Tom Wilson‘s controversial knee-to-knee hit, and he appears to be in for tonight’s contest as well. Chris Kunitz isn’t quite a guarantee, as he’s currently labeled a game-time decision.

For what it’s worth, Kunitz himself believes he’ll be in. Whether he plays on Saturday or not, it sounds like Kunitz is taking extra safety measures going forward.

The Penguins stayed vague with Marc-Andre Fleury, merely claiming that he’s making “progress.”

Generally speaking, Matt Murray has been playing well for the Penguins. Of course, the scrutiny will rise if Pittsburgh loses Game 2 on Saturday.

The Capitals are also considering a tweak. CSN Mid-Atlantic reports that Barry Trotz is pondering replacing Dmitry Orlov with Taylor Chorney.

“They told me to be prepared as if I’m going to be playing,” Chorney said. “We’ll just see how it goes.”

As you may notice, Chorney isn’t the only one in wait-and-see mode heading into Game 2, which you can watch on NBC.