Bergeron and Crosby

Get your game notes: Bruins at Penguins

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Pittsburgh and Boston meet tonight for the first time since the playoffs. The action can be seen live on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET.

Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

—- With a victory tonight, the Bruins (4-0-0 on the road) can match their best road start in club history, set by the 2010-11 squad that won its first five road games and later the Stanley Cup. The only other times a Bruins team began a season 4-0-0 on the road were in the 1929-30 and 1937-38 seasons.

—- The Penguins have led the NHL in goals per game the last two seasons (3.33 in 2011-12 and 3.38 in 2012-13), and have finished among the top-five in goals in four of the past five seasons. However, through 12 games this season, they rank only 10th (3.08).

—- Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask’s career regular-season statistics vs. Pittsburgh (1-4-0, 2.63 GAA, .903 save%) are far inferior to his marks vs. the other 28 NHL teams (71-44-16, 2.09 GAA, .928 save%). However, the two goals that he allowed in the four-game sweep of the Penguins in the 2013 Eastern Conference Final were the second-fewest given up in a best-of-seven playoff series. (Jean-Sebastien Giguere allowed one goal in the 2003 Western Conference Final vs. Minnesota.)

—- Since the beginning of the 2012-13 season, Penguins top-line forwards Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz have earned points on the same goal 41 times, the third most by any duo in the NHL.
42 – Henrik & Daniel Sedin (VAN)
42 – Steven Stamkos & Martin St. Louis (TBL)
41 – Crosby & Kunitz (PIT)

During that span, the Sedin twins have played together in 61 games, Stamkos and St. Louis 60, while Crosby and Kunitz in only 48. Source: Elias Sports Bureau

—- David Krejci has a seven-game point streak (two goals, eight assists=10 points), the second-longest active streak in the NHL (Henrik Sedin, VAN, nine games).

—- The Penguins snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-1 win in Carolina on Monday. It was the Pens’ first regular-season winless streak of more than two games since they lost six straight, Dec. 29, 2011-Jan. 11, 2012. It was also during that swoon in 2011-12 that the club last lost three in a row at home (the losing streak reached four games). A loss tonight in Pittsburgh would make it three in a row.

—- The Bruins have led the NHL in faceoff percentage the last two seasons (54.5% in 2011-12 and 56.4% in 2012-13), and have been among the top-five in the last four. However, through 10 games this season, they rank only 11th (52.0%). Despite the team’s slight downturn as a whole, Patrice Bergeron remains one of the league’s best (59.5%, 5th in NHL).

—- Ex-Penguins and current Bruins forward Jarome Iginla has seven points over his last four games. That is the most points that Iginla has put up in any four-game span since a nine-point surge from Mar. 6-13, 2012, his last full season in Calgary. Against New Jersey on Saturday, he registered three points (one goal, two assists) in a period (the first) for the first time since Dec. 13, 2007.

—- Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik assisted on all three Pittsburgh goals vs. Carolina, for his second-career three-point game. It was only the second time in franchise history that a Pens blueliner assisted on every goal in a game they won and scored at least

Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks

VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 15: Goalie Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers shares a laugh with teammate Antti Raanta #32 after defeating the Vancouver Canucks 7-2 in NHL action on November 15, 2016 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
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If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.

Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).

Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:

1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:

Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.

Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 01:  Boone Jenner #38 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the go ahead goal against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 1, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.

For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.

They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.

Columbus is now at 16-5-4, giving them 36 standings points. They’re once again in breathing distance of leading the Metro Division when you consider games in hand.

Update: Here’s how the standings look after the Rangers beat the Blackhawks 1-0 in overtime:

1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

That’s a stout division, and the Blue Jackets remain shockingly effective. Then again, with results like these over and over again, it might be time to merely expect such impressive work.

***

For Detroit, it was a rough night. Jonathan Ericsson couldn’t play, Mike Green was a little banged up and Petr Mrazek was pulled for Jimmy Howard. This goal summarized some of their struggles:

Blues blaze through Devils, even in New Jersey

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 09: (L-R) Brad Hunt #77, Robby Fabbri #15 and Vladimir Tarasenko #91 of the St. Louis Blues celebrate Fabri's first period goal against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 9, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.

On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.

It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.

This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.

That’s impressive stuff.

This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:

The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”

Oh yeah, don’t forget about Jake Allen, either.

Leon Draisaitl continues hot streak with silky smooth goal (Video)

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Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”

Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).

Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.

Read more about his rise here.

Update: The Wild were able to shake off that goal, ultimately beating the Oilers 3-2 via a shootout.