Tonight on NBCSN: College doubleheader — The battle of Boston and a WCHA showdown

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It’ll be a night filled with college hockey action on NBCSN with a doubleheader that starts off with a classic rivalry out of Hockey East and winds up with a pair of classic programs in the WCHA facing off.

No. 1 Boston College (10-1-0) @ No. 9 Boston University (7-4-0) — 7:30 p.m. ET

One thing you can count on when these Commonwealth Avenue rivals face off is a game you won’t forget. With these two meeting each other in a home-and-home battle this weekend, it’s BU’s chance to defend home ice.

One other thing they’ll be trying to do is prevent BC coach Jerry York from breaking Ron Mason’s all-time wins record against them. York is two wins away from surpassing Mason’s record of 924 and BU’s Jack Parker would love to keep him from it. BC comes into tonight’s game winners of 10 straight.

Who to watch: There’s plenty in this game. BC brings a pair of highly-touted Calgary prospects in leading scorer Johnny Gaudreau and forward Bill Arnold. Also look out for forward Kevin Hayes (Chicago) and defenseman Patrick Wey (Washington). Undrafted seniors Pat Mullane and Steven Whitney will be factors as well. Goalie Parker Milner has been very good this season.

BU has firepower of their own in Panthers prospect Wade Megan (pictured) as well as defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (Boston). Undrafted sophomore Cason Hohmann has been a nice surprise. A pair of freshmen have been holding it down in goal with Matt O’Connor getting more work than Sean Maguire (Pittsburgh) and playing much stronger as well.

University of Wisconsin (1-7-2) @ No. 5 Denver University (9-3-0) — 10:05 p.m. ET

source: Getty ImagesThings haven’t exactly gone Wisconsin’s way this season. Winning just one out of your first 10 games isn’t the way any coach, much less Mike Eaves, wants to start a season. Injuries, NCAA distractions, and coaches taking a leave of absence have all contributed to their turmoil this year.

As for Denver, things were going smoothly until their hot run of five straight wins was interrupted last weekend getting swept by New Hampshire and Yale. They’ll have to put that behind them in their weekend battle with the Badgers lest they want to give a conference rival new life.

Who to watch: For Denver, the man to watch is Kings prospect Nick Shore. He’s the Pioneers’ leading point man with 17 (6g, 11a) and feeding undrafted senior Chris Knowlton, team goal leader with eight, seems to be his thing.

A lot of their production comes on defense with Joey LaLeggia (Edmonton), David Makowski, and Nolan Zajac leading the charge there. Goaltending has been curious for DU with Sam Brittain (Florida), Juho Olkinuora, and Adam Murray all seeing time in net.

Wisconsin will get freshman stud Nic Kerdiles (pictured) back from his NCAA suspension tonight. The Anaheim Ducks prospect comes in highly touted and should help spark a team that desperately needs a pick-me-up.

Kings prospect Michael Mersch will be worth watching as he has eight points this year, all goals. Sabres fans will want to keep their eyes on defenseman Jake McCabe and forward Brad Navin. Goalies Joel Rumpel and London Peterson have split time this year with Rumpel edging him out in play.

Crosby: Penguins ‘probably deserved better’ vs. Senators in Game 6

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If you didn’t know that the Stanley Cup Playoffs can be awfully cruel, then the last week or so of action should make it pretty clear.

The Nashville Predators lost top center Ryan Johansen to a scary ailment few would have seen coming. The Anaheim Ducks fell in both games to the Johansen-less Predators, even after dominating significant chunks of Game 6. At least one Ducks player wondered if the better team won.

Much like in life, “fair” and “deserve” only matter so much. Sports have a scoreboard to serve as the ultimate deciding factor.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have similar thoughts after falling 2-1 to the Ottawa Senators tonight, extending the Eastern Conference Final to a decisive Game 7. You can nitpick questionable penalties and missed chances, but really, how negative can you be after Craig Anderson puts forth a blazing 45-save performance (with no overtime)?

Mike Sullivan and others echoed such thoughts.

” … Obviously, we’re disappointed in the result, but I don’t think we can get discouraged by that,” Sullivan said. “I think we’ve got to take the positives from it, and we’ve got to build on it, and we’ve got to become a more determined team for Game 7.

That’s not the sort of take that’s going to make the Senators angry in Game 7. The tone of the Senators’ discussions was likely very different after they lost Game 5 by a 7-0 score, yet maybe there was similar self belief.

Anderson puzzles Penguins as Senators force Game 7

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Who could blame fans for chanting “Andy” tonight?

The Ottawa Senators said they would choose to fight in Game 6, and Craig Anderson truly battled in this one, refusing to allow this unlikely run to an end on Tuesday. They wouldn’t roll over, even after a 7-0 humiliation in Game 5.

The underrated goalie continued his memorable (and emotional) 2016-17 season with a brilliant performance, making 45 saves to help Ottawa manage a gutsy 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

With that, hockey fans get a true treat: the Eastern Conference will go to a Game 7 on Thursday.

The Senators opted for a “bend but don’t break” strategy for much of the contest, possibly to Guy Boucher’s preference. Even so, the Penguins managed to grind their way to a 1-0 win thanks to another hard-work goal from Evgeni Malkin.

Mistakes would come back to haunt the Penguins, however, as Bobby Ryan broke Ottawa’s lengthy power-play drought to tie things up on a 5-on-3.

With their season in question thanks to a 1-1 tie in the third period, Mike Hoffman sent a booming shot by Matt Murray, and that ended up being all the Senators needed to tie the series 3-3.

Anderson was the standout, but Erik Karlsson was a hero in the way his detractors might not expect.

You can watch Game 7 on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday. The game is also available to stream via the NBC Sports App.

Report: Avalanche get permission to speak with Leafs assistant GM Dubas

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Could one of the most hapless possession teams of this more analytics-leaning era nab arguably the most promising analytics-leaning executive in the NHL?

It’s a reasonable question, as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the Colorado Avalanche asked for and received permission to speak to Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas.

Current GM Joe Sakic recently got a vote of confidence and also cleaned out some of the coaching staff around Jared Bednar, so this is certainly a time of change for the Avalanche.

It will be interesting to see what kind of role Dubas would receive if he did join the fold in Colorado. Would he still be considered an assistant GM, only with more sway with what would likely be a smaller group of decision-makers? Could we see Sakic move up and give Dubas the full GM title (or eventually transition that role to the young upstart)? Might there be some other factor that would qualify as a more “outside the box” idea?

One thing seems clear: the Avalanche might want to be decisive, as demand could be significant for Dubas if he’s even somewhat on the market.

This could be interesting, especially if you’re a nerd for team-building storylines.

Video: Senators score twice to take 2-1 lead in Game 6

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The Ottawa Senators have defied odds during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they’ve done so with what’s often been an ice-cold power play.

They finally struck gold on the man advantage on Tuesday, and at a key moment. The Pittsburgh Penguins were dominating much of the game and pressing for an even bigger edge after Evgeni Malkin made it 1-0.

Maybe the Penguins got overzealous, or maybe officials … finally started making some calls. Either way, the Senators ended up with a 5-on-3 advantage for almost a minute-and-a-half. With that opportunity, Bobby Ryan scored a huge goal for Ottawa on a shot that was both oddly and perfectly placed.

Moments later, Kyle Turris narrowly missed a golden opportunity, so the contest remained tied 1-1.

Despite a late push by the Penguins to finish the second, Game 6 will enter the third period with a 1-1 score.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6

Update: Mike Hoffman‘s booming shot gave the Senators a 2-1 lead in the third. We’ll see if Pittsburgh can tie it up.