NHL on NBCSN: Ducks finish road trip against Rangers

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NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the New York Rangers host the Anaheim Ducks at Madison Square Garden at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

The long road home for the Anaheim Ducks is nearly at an end. Their 15-day, 8-game road trip has been a largely successful one (they’re 4-2-1 heading into Monday night’s game) and they’re coming off a 6-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres.

Leading the way for the Ducks have been the usual cast of characters. Corey Perry has a team-high eight goals and Ryan Getzlaf leads the team in points with 16. The surprising leader for them? Mathieu Perreault.

Since coming over in a trade with the Washington Capitals and being reunited with coach Bruce Boudreau, Perreault has five goals and 13 points, good for third on the team. With injuries to Teemu Selanne and Jakob Silfverberg up front, his offensive takeoff has given the Ducks a big lift.

If they plan on closing things out on a high note, they’ll have to do something they haven’t done since 2008: Win at Madison Square Garden. They’re 0-3-0 since then, a span of five years and 270 days.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league that includes Monday and Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $400. Starts Monday at 7:30pm ET. Here’s the link.

Winning on the road is hard enough, but the Ducks face a New  York Rangers team that seems to have gotten their act together.

The Rangers have won three in row, including their last two games at home in which their offense has awoken scoring seven goals in those games. Leading that charge are a pair of players you didn’t think would be doing just that together.

source: Getty ImagesForwards Derek Stepan and Brad Richards each have 10 points and it’s Richards’ five goals that lead the team in that department. Yes, the offense has had its struggles, but Stepan’s breakout of late (he had a hat trick against Carolina) to go along with Richards’ inspired play early on has to make coach Alain Vigneault happy.

One player who’s loved returning home from the team’s month-long nine-game road trip is Henrik Lundqvist. In the Rangers’ three games at MSG this season, he’s 2-1-0 with a 1.02 goals-against average and .964 save percentage. After his brutal start to the season, Lundqvist’s home numbers should inspire the Rangers to really want home-ice advantage in the playoffs.

Injuries

New York: Rick Nash (IR-concussion), Ryan Callahan (IR-broken thumb), Dominic Moore (strained oblique)

Anaheim: Teemu Selanne (IR-jaw), Jakob Silfverberg (IR-broken hand), Luca Sbisa (IR-sprained ankle, may return), Viktor Fasth (IR-lower-body), Matt Beleskey (IR-upper-body), Saku Koivu (IR-head), Sami Vatanen (upper-body, may play), Sheldon Souray (IR-wrist)

Video: This Kane-to-Panarin goal is all sorts of ridiculous

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When people were arguing against Artemi Panarin‘s Calder case, they often discounted his work because of Patrick Kane‘s brilliance (at least when they weren’t focusing on age questions).

It always felt a little unfair to Panarin.

Do we blame a great wide receiver playing with an adept quarterback? Sure, it’s an interesting discussion to have, but it seems fairly clear that there’s a symbiotic relationship between Panarin and Kane.

One could see that plainly in a 1-0 goal for the Chicago Blackhawks against the Pittsburgh Penguins that … admittedly was driven by Kane’s almost audacious creativity and skill.

But still, Panarin has 26 goals this season because he’s really good, too. This season has been a nice showcase for such thoughts, and a reminder that – like most great combinations – they make each other better.

(Seriously though, Kane was out of his mind there.)

‘Old Time Hockey’ video game takes a bit of an early beating from reviewers

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From the sound of things, “Old Time Hockey” is a video game with a lot of heart, but maybe not the skills to make it to the big time.

While “NHL 17” is pumped out by publishing giant EA Sports, this title is very much an independent labor of love by a company called V7 Entertainment. Puck Daddy’s Sean Leahy provided a great interview with the developers here. It’s worth noting that the game reminds one of 8-bit titles in another way: lacking an NHL license, these teams are instead fictional. This isn’t necessarily a drawback as much as it provides the title with its own unique “flavor.”

It’s hard not to get behind a scrappy development, especially in an age where sports video game options are so scarce. Some leagues barely see any licensed games any longer (see: the MLB, which feels woefully misrepresented these days), and the arcade-style that “Blades of Steel” and other old-school games popularized is even tougher to come by.

Combine these factors with an aesthetic inspired by “Slap Shot” and “Old Time Hockey” seems like it could really scratch an itch … except, it sounds like the puck missed the net.

So far, reviews are pretty mixed for the title, which is currently on PC and Playstation 4 (with planned releases on Xbox One and Nintendo Switch).

While there are a few good reviews here and there, the general reception is of disappointment.

A Sporting News review states that “the promising premise falls apart quickly.” Game Informer slams a “slew-footed story mode.” PC Gamer notes that, with EA not releasing an NHL game on that platform since 2008, there was a need here … but it wasn’t met.

Does that mean there’s no fun to be had? Not necessarily, but it’s a bummer that the game might be off the mark, especially since V7 Entertainment seems to have its heart in the right place.

Then again, maybe those who want that “NHL 94” fix merely need to dig a little. As this Vice article points out, there’s still an active community playing the sort of game that scratches the itch that “Old Time Hockey” – perhaps – can’t quite reach.

WATCH LIVE: Blackhawks at Penguins – Wednesday Night Rivalry

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The latest edition of NBCSN’s Wednesday Night Rivalry presents quite the treat: the Chicago Blackhawks at the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Both teams are at 103 standings points and each squad already punched a ticket to the playoffs. Even so, they’re dealing with mini-slumps that they’d like to work out tonight.

For all we know, this could be a preview of what would be one extremely fun, high-profile 2017 Stanley Cup Final. Either way, it’s a showcase of two premiere franchises brimming with star power.

You can watch on NBCSN, online and via NBC Sports App. Click here for the livestream.

Yes, NHL will share protected, available player lists for expansion draft

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We can debate all day how much the NHL, Vegas Golden Knights and others involved really want to do this, but they’re making the right choice with the expansion draft nonetheless. The league will make protected and available players lists available at the same time they’re shared with teams, according to NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika.

(The NHL tweeted out as much, too.)

Could this lead to feelings being hurt or perhaps even certain sneaky deals being scuttled? Perhaps, but those are headaches that management should be expected to absorb.

The bottom line is that an expansion draft is a dream come true for armchair GMs, rumor enthusiasts, fantasy sports fans and … really, just about anyone interested in hockey. It would be a bewildering decision to try to keep all of this information locked down, even for a league that frequently garners a reputation for choosing comfort over entertainment value.

Cotsonika reports that such lists will probably be made available on June 18, though that isn’t set in stone. NHL.com’s Dan Rosen also backs this up as a possible date.

(If you’re the type to take off work if a trade deadline was exciting, you might want to start drumming up excuses/putting aside vacation time/practicing your best “I’m sick” voice just in case …)

Cap Friendly provides a handy timeline for the expansion draft process: