Madison Square Garden

Tonight on Versus: Sharks look to bite toothless Rangers

The Sharks come rolling into New York City on Halloween night with a five game win streak and dressed up like the nasty, Western Conference finalists they were a year ago. They square off tonight on Versus (7 p.m. ET) against a Rangers team dressed up like the “man without a face” coming off a brutal choke job of a loss against Ottawa on Saturday, a 5-4 shootout loss that saw the Rangers blow a 4-1 lead in the third.

To say the Rangers need a win tonight to get their mojo back would be an understatement. Most of their game against Ottawa saw the Rangers play strong and saw their offense led by Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards (three points apiece) show why they’re the featured act in New York. Defensive breakdowns and inability to handle pressure and help out Henrik Lundqvist, however, did them in. Scoring goals was their issue before Saturday and leaving Lundqvist hung out to dry gave everyone flashbacks to just about every Rangers game the last two years, but seeing the roles reversed is unnerving to all.

If the Rangers think they’re getting a reprieve from the streaking Sharks, they’re dead wrong. San Jose has been getting it done thanks to Joe Pavelski’s seven goals and 11 points this year, both leading the team. The return of Martin Havlat has sparked the Sharks as he’s had points in four of his five games this season (all Sharks wins) and has five assists in all.

The rest of the Sharks offense is as balanced and scary as ever with the usual suspects like Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Logan Couture teaming up with Ryane Clowe, Dan Boyle, and Brent Burns. Top that off with Antti Niemi playing well in goal and you’ve got a team that looks like one of the beasts in the West.

With the Sharks on fire and the Rangers flopping around looking like fish out of water, all while they await the return of Sean Avery, it could be a feeding frenzy for San Jose if the Rangers don’t get it all figured out tonight.

BREAKING: Flames fire head coach Bob Hartley

Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley gives instructions during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Saturday, March 5, 2016. The Flames won 4-2. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Associated Press
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The Calgary Flames have decided to move on from head coach Bob Hartley. The team made the announcement via their Twitter account on Tuesday morning. Associate coach Jacques Cloutier has also been informed that he won’t be back next season.

Hartley and the Flames surprised many last year when they won 45 games and made the postseason. Hartley was awarded the Jack Adams Trophy as the league’s top coach.

What a difference a year makes. Unfortunately for the Flames, they won just 35 games in 2015-16 and finished 26th in the overall standings.

More details to come.

Kris Letang will have a hearing for hit on Marcus Johansson

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Many expected it to happen and now it has. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety confirmed that Penguins defenseman Kris Letang will have a hearing for his hit on Caps forward Marcus Johansson in Game 3.

After Brooks Orpik was suspended three games for this hit on Olli Maatta in Game 2, many people are expecting a similar outcome for Letang. It’s important to note that there are certain similarities between the two hits, but there are also some key differences.

Both victims definitely took shots to the head, there’s no doubt about that, but to say that the hits are identical isn’t accurate. First, although Letang’s hit appears to be late (0.6 seconds after the puck is gone is considered late), it isn’t as late as Orpik’s hit on Maatta. Another key factor to consider is that unlike Maatta, Johansson returned to the game.

Letang was given a two-minute penalty for interference on the play.

TSN hockey insider Bob McKenzie breaks it down perfectly:

A decision is expected to be made later on today.

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

Stanley Cup
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The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with three games on Tuesday night. You can catch tonight’s games via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

Tampa Bay at NY Islanders (7:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 3 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

San Jose at Nashville (9:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 3 will be on the USA Network. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Dallas at St. Louis (9:30 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 3 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Here’s some reading material to get you ready for tonight’s action:

Lightning strikes: Bolts even series with Islanders

The Sharks are the only team to grab a 2-0 series lead in the second round

Seguin resumes skating in Dallas, Ruff notes ‘they have flights to St. Louis every day’

PHT Morning Skate: Adam Henrique wants to make NHL 17 great again

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Martin Jones is a calming presence in the Sharks’ net. (Sports Illustrated)

–The Rangers should go after Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. (The Hockey News)

–Some people have pretty wild hockey tattoos. (BarDown)

–Watch the highlights of last night’s game between the Penguins and Capitals. (Top)

–A great piece on how Bruce Boudreau impacted the Ducks and Capitals. (Sportsnet)

–It should be an interesting off-season for the Anaheim Ducks. (Daily Breeze)

Adam Henrique is a funny guy. He took to Twitter to try and get himself on the cover of NHL 17: