NBC to broadcast 70 NHL regular season games

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The 2013 NHL season promises to be a special one on NBC.

The NBC Sports Group will air 70 NHL regular-season games across NBC and NBC Sports Network this season — that includes 14 exclusive windows (15 games) on NBC, setting a record for the most regular-season windows ever for the network.

Some schedule highlights (All times ET):

Opening Week

NBC and NBCSN will carry seven games during the first week of the NHL season, including a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader on opening weekend (Jan. 19-20.)

Date Away   Home                 Time Network
Sat., January 19 Banner Raising 3:00 p.m. NBC
Sat., January 19 Chicago Los Angeles 3:25 p.m. NBC
Sat., January 19 Pittsburgh Philadelphia 3:35 p.m. NBC
Sun., January 20 Philadelphia Buffalo 12:30 p.m. NBC
Sun., January 20 Chicago Phoenix 10 p.m. NBCSN
Mon., January 21 Detroit Columbus 7:30 p.m. NBCSN
Tues., January 22 Philadelphia New Jersey 7:30 p.m. NBCSN
Wed., January 23 Boston N.Y. Rangers 7:30 p.m. NBCSN


Wednesday Rivalry Night

NBC Sports Network has exclusive coverage of special Wednesday night programming, highlighting some of the fiercest rivalries in the league.

Date Away   Home                 Time
January 23 Boston N.Y. Rangers 7:30 p.m.
January 30 Chicago Minnesota 8 p.m.
February 6 Boston Montreal 7:30 p.m.
February 13 St. Louis Detroit 7:30 p.m.
February 20 Philadelphia Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
February 20 St. Louis Colorado 10 p.m.
February 27 Washington Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
March 6 Colorado Chicago 8 p.m.
March 13 Philadelphia New Jersey 7:30 p.m.
March 20 Minnesota Detroit 7:30 p.m.
March 27 Montreal Boston 7:30 p.m.
April 3 Pittsburgh N.Y. Rangers 7:30 p.m.
April 10 Boston New Jersey 7:30 p.m.
April 17 Buffalo Boston 7:30 p.m.
April 24 Los Angeles Detroit 7:30 p.m.


Hockey Day in America

For the third consecutive year, NBC and NBC Sports Network will dedicate an entire day to the game of hockey. HDIA will feature more than nine hours of coverage, including three games and six teams from some of the most avid U.S. hockey markets.

Time Away   Home              Network
Noon NHL Live NBC
12:30 Pittsburgh Buffalo NBC
3:30 Los Angeles Chicago NBC
6:00 Washington N.Y. Rangers NBC Sports Network


Full Schedule

For the sixth consecutive season, the NHL and NBC Sports Group will utilize flex scheduling, which provides the ability to select from up to four games on Sunday afternoons. At least 13 days prior to the scheduled games, the NHL and NBC will announce which game will air.

NBC 2012-13 NHL regular-season schedule (all times ET, subject to change):

Date Away Home              Time
Saturday, January 19 Chicago Los Angeles 3:25 p.m.
Saturday, January 19 Pittsburgh Philadelphia 3:35 p.m.
Sunday, January 20 Philadelphia Buffalo 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 3 Pittsburgh Washington 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 10 Los Angeles Detroit 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 17 Pittsburgh Buffalo 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 17 Los Angeles Chicago 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 3 Chicago Detroit 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 10 N.Y. Rangers Washington 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 17 Boston Pittsburgh 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 31 Chicago Detroit 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 7 St. Louis Detroit 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 14 Chicago St. Louis 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 21 New Jersey N.Y. Rangers 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 New Jersey N.Y. Rangers 3 p.m.


NBC Sports Network 2012-13 NHL regular-season schedule (all times ET, subject to change):

Date Away Home Time
Sunday, January 20 Chicago Phoenix 10 p.m.
Monday, January 21 Detroit Columbus 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, January 22 Philadelphia New Jersey 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, January 23 Boston N.Y. Rangers 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, January 27 Minnesota St. Louis 8 p.m.
Tuesday, January 29 N.Y. Islanders Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, January 30 Chicago Minnesota 8 p.m.
Monday, February 4 Dallas Colorado 9 p.m.
Tuesday, February 5 Tampa Bay Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 6 Boston Montreal 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 10 New Jersey Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Monday, February 11 Los Angeles St. Louis 9 p.m.
Tuesday, February 12 N.Y. Rangers Boston 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 13 St. Louis Detroit 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 17 Washington N.Y. Rangers 6 p.m.
Tuesday, February 19 San Jose St. Louis 8 p.m.
Wednesday, February 20 Philadelphia Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 20 St. Louis Colorado 10 p.m.
Sunday, February 24 Tampa Bay Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Monday, February 25 Dallas Nashville 8 p.m.
Tuesday, February 26 Boston N.Y. Islanders 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 27 Washington Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 3 Montreal Boston 7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 4 Tampa Bay Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 5 Philadelphia N.Y. Rangers 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 6 Colorado Chicago 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 10 Buffalo Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 12 Philadelphia Boston 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 13 Philadelphia New Jersey 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 17 Buffalo Washington 7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 18 Philadelphia Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 19 Washington Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 20 Minnesota Detroit 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 24 Washington N.Y. Rangers 7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 25 Los Angeles Chicago 8 p.m.
Tuesday, March 26 Philadelphia N.Y. Rangers 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 27 Montreal Boston 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 31 Washington Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Monday, April 1 Colorado Detroit 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 2 Buffalo Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 3 Pittsburgh N.Y. Rangers 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 7 New Jersey Buffalo 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 9 Chicago Minnesota 8 p.m.
Wednesday, April 10 Boston New Jersey 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 11 Pittsburgh Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 14 Detroit Nashville 7:30 p.m.
Monday, April 15 Dallas Chicago 8 p.m.
Tuesday, April 16 NY Rangers Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 17 Buffalo Boston 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 18 New Jersey Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 21 St. Louis Colorado 7:30 p.m.
Monday, April 22 Montreal Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 23 Boston Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 24 Los Angeles Detroit 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 25 Pittsburgh New Jersey 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 TBD TBD 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 TBD TBD 10 p.m.

For guides and channel listings, click here.

Canada women shooting for 5th straight Olympic hockey gold

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Four years is a long time to wait for a second chance. For some, the chance for golden redemption has been much longer.

The United States women’s hockey team has not won Olympic gold since the sport was added to the games in 1998. The Americans have since watched their biggest rival – Canada – take home four straight gold medals.

The drought has hurt most since 2014, when the Americans blew a 2-0 lead in the gold medal game and had the puck clank off the post, just missing an empty-net goal before Canada tied it with 54.6 seconds left in regulation. Marie-Philip Poulin scored again for a 3-2 overtime win , keeping the gold medal with the country that created the sport.

”Not everyone was there in Sochi,” U.S. forward Hilary Knight said. ”We’ve got players who suffered that heartbreak once, maybe twice, and we’ve got players who’ve never felt that. They’re going to play fearless and on their toes regardless. I think all of us are there to win.”

The Americans have won four straight world championships, the last in overtime last April in Michigan . Yet Canada just doesn’t lose in the Olympics . The world’s dominant hockey powers meet in pool play Feb. 15 in a game scheduled so North America can watch at 10:10 p.m. EST on Feb. 14. If the Pyeongchang Games go as four of the past five Olympics have, they will meet again Feb. 22 with gold at stake once more.

”We’ve come up short the last two Olympics, and our ultimate goal is just play our best,” said American Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, a two-time silver medalist. ”If we can do that, we truly believe we can come out on top.”

Things to know about women’s hockey at the Pyeongchang Games:

U.S. DROUGHT

Since winning it all in 1998 in Nagano, settling for silver – and bronze, in 2006 – has been a source of angst for the United States. Katie Crowley was on that inaugural U.S. team and said the drought has been surprising considering the quality of players dressing for the Americans. Crowley, now coach at Boston College, said if she had the answer to what went wrong she’d have three gold medals herself. Now she says it’s up to the current roster.

”Hopefully, they can do something about it,” Crowley said.

PRE-OLYMPIC TUNEUP

The Americans and Canadians played eight games during the fall. The United States won three of the first four, including two to take their third straight Four Nations Cup title . But Canada and coach Laura Schuler were experimenting with a roster of 28 then. Canada won the final four games, with two decided in overtime and one a shutout.

”It’s a good benchmark to see how we’re progressing,” U.S. coach Robb Stauber said. ”It’s extremely tough competition, and I suspect they feel the same.”

Said Schuler: ”Every time we play them, we learn what we’re good at. And we learn where we need to continue to improve.”

GOALIE EDGE

The edge in net goes to Canada: goaltender Shannon Szabados is going for her third gold and Genevieve Lacasse won her first in 2014. Lacasse also had the only shutout during the US-Canada exhibition tour .

”Shannon brings a calmness to our team, for sure,” Schuler said. ”She’s a big physical presence in the net, and obviously has a great history.”

The Americans are bringing a trio of goalies making their Olympic debuts in Alex Rigsby, Nicole Hensley and Maddie Rooney. Stauber played goalie himself and was the goaltender coach before being named head coach last May.

”We have trust in every single one of them, no matter who’s in net,” said defenseman Kacey Bellamy, a two-time silver medalist.

NORTH AMERICAN UPSET?

Canada has won 20 straight Olympic games since losing gold in Nagano. The United States is the top-ranked team in the world – with Canada a close second – while the rest of the world works to close the gap . Finland is No. 3 after beating Canada 4-3 in April in the preliminary round at the 2017 world championships.

KOREAN COOPERATION

South Korea coach Sarah Murray may have the biggest challenge with officials working to add North Korean athletes to her team, 22nd in the world. Although the country has had little women’s hockey success, the South Koreans hope to ride home-ice advantage to a victory – any victory – in the preliminary round. South Korea is in Group B with Sweden, Switzerland and Japan. The South Koreans help open pool play Feb. 10 against Switzerland – sixth in the world.

AP Sports Writer Jimmy Golen contributed to this report.

Follow Teresa M. Walker at http://www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org

Without NHL players, Olympic tournament is ‘wide open’

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When Willie Desjardins coached Canada’s 2010 world junior team stacked with future NHL players Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Brayden Schenn, Alex Pietrangelo and goaltenders Jake Allen and Martin Jones, it took a wild final game with John Carlson scoring in overtime to win the gold medal for the United States.

Just like Canada was the most talented team back then, Russia is likely to have that role at the upcoming Winter Olympics. Desjardins isn’t concerned about that.

”In this tournament, anybody can win,” Desjardins said.

Goodbye, NHL players. Hello, unpredictability.

No NHL participation for the first time since 1994 threatens to upset the traditional world hockey order after Canada has won the past three best-on-best tournaments: the 2016 World Cup, 2014 Sochi Olympics and 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Russia is considered the favorite because it has former NHL players Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk and Andrei Markov, though Finland could make gold its sixth medal in the past five Games or Sweden could win for the first time since 2006.

Coach Tony Granato’s American team was put together with players from European professional leagues, the NCAA and American Hockey League.

”This Olympics is wide open for a lot of reasons,” Granato said. ”Russia’s got the most talented players in the world. They’re going to have the team that steps on the ice with the most talented players. Does that make them the best team for two weeks? No. We all know that. We all know how sports works. All you’re looking for is an opportunity to make the most and be the best that you can be for that period of time.”

Because it’s such a short tournament with three pool-play games, a qualifying round and then quarterfinals, it could come down to which team gels first after limited preparation time. Or maybe another goaltender will pull off what Latvia’s Kristers Gudlevskis almost did when making 55 saves to give Canada a scare in the quarterfinals in Sochi.

”The goaltending matters, too, in an event like this,” NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire said. ”It always matters, but I think in this one, the underdog – if you have an elite goalie – can really do some damage.”

Who’s the underdog? It’s fair to say host South Korea, in its first Olympics in men’s hockey, fits that bill, along with Slovenia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Germany and Norway.

Yet being in a group with Slovenia, Slovakia and Russia is no easy task for the U.S., which boasts 38-year-old semi-retired captain Brian Gionta as its most experienced player. Granato said the U.S. ”has lots of pieces that other teams and countries don’t know about” and wonders if his team will be overlooked.

Mistake-prone play seems likely, though Gionta doesn’t think there will be any lack of sizzle.

”I know there’s been some talk that not having the NHL guys in, you don’t have your high-skilled guys,” Gionta said. ”I think that’s a bad representation of the people that are going over there and competing in these games. There’s a lot of great hockey players.”

ALL EYES ON DAHLIN

One of the most dynamic and offensively talented players is also the youngest: Sweden defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, who’s projected to be the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft in June. Dahlin has 11 points in 29 games playing against grown men in the Swedish Hockey League and had six points in seven games at the world juniors. He’s just 17.

WHO ARE THESE GUYS?

When the NHL announced it was out of these Olympics, executives from USA Hockey and Hockey Canada were quick to say every team would have 25 great stories. There are players on almost every team who are familiar because they played in the NHL at one point. Most of the rosters are made up of journeymen plying their trade in pro leagues in Europe, such as Czech Republic captain Martin Erat, Germany’s Christian Ehrhoff and Canada’s Ben Scrivens. Americans Troy Terry, Jordan Greenway, Ryan Donato and Will Borgen are currently playing college hockey.

”The tournament in general is going to be built with teams with lots of guys that this is the greatest event for them and they didn’t necessarily think they were going to get this opportunity,” Canada GM Sean Burke said.

BIG ICE

If the Sochi Games proved anything, it was that the international-sized ice that’s 15 feet wider than NHL rinks doesn’t create more offense. The U.S. and Canada built rosters with the bigger ice in mind, prioritizing skating and mobility and playing a more European style. That doesn’t mean European teams won’t have an advantage, but it won’t be such a stark change as when North American NHL players need a few games to get used to it.

OAR PRESSURE

The Olympic Athletes from Russia team is a favorite to win gold, which would be the first since the Unified Team in 1992. But Russia hasn’t medaled since 2002, including a disappointing showing on home ice four years ago. The chance to draw all its players from the Kontinental Hockey League should benefit Russia, which has won four of the past 10 world hockey championships. But something about this stage has made Russia play like less than the sum of its parts before, which makes even a star-studded team beatable.

Follow Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org

The Buzzer: Pacioretty continues hot streak

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Players of the Night:

Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens: Here’s a name you haven’t seen often in these parts this season. But Pacioretty had two goals tonight, the opener for the Canadiens and the game-winner with 1:18 left in the third period to give the Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals. He also added an assist on Montreal’s other goal. Truth be told, Pacioretty has been sizzling lately with six goals and an assist in his past six games.

John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks: Gibson had a quiet night for the most part until the third period, but he was stellar when called upon and made 23 saves, including a second-period beauty (which you will see below) to help his team to a 2-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings.

Highlights of the Night:

James Neal had all the moves to help the Vegas Golden Knights secure a point on the road in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers.

John Gibson got just enough on this puck to redirect it off the post and out for quite the save:

Factoid of the Night:

MISC:

Scores:

Panthers 4, Golden Knights 3 (OT)

Canadiens 3, Capitals 2

Ducks 2, Kings 1


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Henrique, Kesler too much for Quick, Kings in 2-1 Ducks win

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Jonathan Quick did all he could.

The posts behind him helped on a couple occasions, but Quick was everything the Los Angeles Kings needed to break out of their five-game losing streak, which they entered Friday wearing like a ball and chain.

But while Quick was solid in the crease, making 29 saves, the men in front of him couldn’t replicate their goalie’s performance in a 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

The Kings have now lost six straight and just two of their past 10 and are tied with four teams, including the Ducks, who sit on 53 points and just outside the final wildcard spot in the Western Conference.

The Ducks-Kings rivalry has become quite the grind ’em out slugfest over time, and despite their recent downward spiral, the Kings weren’t going to roll over and die when the puck dropped, even if they played 24 hours earlier.

This rivalry doesn’t allow for one team to not show up, despite whatever mitigating circumstances may be available.

And neither team was giving the other any allowances, evidenced by a 0-0 scoreline after 40 minutes.

The Ducks struck first in the third frame as Adam Henrique finally willed a puck behind Quick, who had puzzled Anaheim’s offense for 42 minutes and change.

Henrique’s individual effort on the goal began a few seconds earlier as he won a foot race to the puck to get it into the Ducks’ zone, dove to make sure it stayed there and they got up and went to the net, where he picked up a loose puck that and put it in the back of the net for a 1-0 lead at the 17:55 mark.

That lead was shortlived, however.

The Kings struck back two-and-a-half minutes later as some extended offensive zone time by the Kings resulted in Alex Iafallo flicking a puck up and over John Gibson off a rebound to ruin his shutout bid at 4:48.

The Ducks would get the final say.

Jakob Silfverberg‘s excellent forecheck kept the Kings from clearing the puck out of their zone.

The puck found its way to the point, where Francois Beauchemin unleashed a high point shot that was redirected down and under Quick by Ryan Kesler for the eventual game-winner.

Gibson’s night may have been a little quieter than his counterpart 200-feet away, but he was on point when he needed to be, making 23 of 24 saves, including getting just enough on Iafallo’s second-period shot to steer it off the post and out to keep the game 0-0 at that point.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck