Evgeni Malkin

Get your game notes: Penguins at Rangers


Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the New York Rangers hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• The Penguins’ top line of LW Chris Kunitz (15) – C Sidney Crosby (23) – RW Pascal Dupuis (11) has combined for 18 goals and 49 points this season. To compare, the 18 forwards who have suited up for the Rangers this season have a combined 21 goals and 60 points.

• The Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin has gone eight consecutive games without a goal, his longest in-season drought since the 2009-10 season, when he went 11 straight (Dec. 27, 2009-Jan. 14, 2010).

• The Rangers have held their opponents to two or fewer goals in each of their last seven games, their longest stretch since an eight-game run from Dec. 31, 2009-Jan. 14, 2010. Meanwhile, the Penguins have scored three or more goals 13 times in 15 games (11-2-0), the most of any team in the NHL.

• The Penguins’ Marc-Andre Fleury (10-2-0 record, 1.83 GAA, .929 save%) became the first NHL goaltender to 10 wins this season on Nov. 1, and was honored as the NHL’s 2nd Star of the Week on Monday. Fleury’s hot start matches the best of his career. In 2009-10, he also started 10-2-0, picking up his tenth win on Nov. 3, 2009.

• The Penguins have killed only 16 of 23 power-play opportunities (69.6%) on the road this season, the 3rd-worst road PK percentage in the NHL. The Pens’ overall PK (81.0%) ranks 19th in the league. The last time they finished outside of the top-10 in an 82-game season was 2007-08 (81.0%, 23rd).

• Since the 2005-06 season, Sidney Crosby has the most points in the NHL in November. (Elias Sports Bureau)
1. Crosby (PIT) 126
2. Martin St. Louis (TBL) 110
3. Alex Ovechkin (WSH) 105
4. Ilya Kovalchuk (ATL/NJD) 104
5. Dany Heatley (OTT/SJS/MIN) 103

• Through Nov. 5, Metropolitan Division teams have compiled only 41 total wins in regulation or overtime (ROW), the fewest among the four NHL divisions:

Pacific (7 teams) – 51 ROW (110 games)
Central (7 teams) – 50 ROW (102 games)
Atlantic (8 teams) – 49 ROW (122 games)
Metropolitan (8 teams) – 41 ROW (116 games)

Struggling Sabre Tyler Ennis out with upper-body injury

Tyler Ennis, James Wisniewski
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Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.

Perhaps some of that has to do with health?

Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.

“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”

He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.

WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry (Flyers-Islanders; Blackhawks-Sharks)

Ryan White, Matt Martin
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You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.

Here are the handy links for the two contests.

First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.


After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.


Braun out with upper-body injury; Zubrus to make Sharks debut

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The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.

Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.

“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”

Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.

Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.

Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.

Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer

Johansen calls trade rumblings ‘weird,’ says relationship with Torts is ‘great’

Ryan Johansen
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One day after reports surfaced of Ryan Johansen being at the center of trade talks, all parties involved from Columbus did what they’re supposed to do — downplay the situation.

You can read the denials in full over at the Dispatch, but here’s the gist:

— Johansen said the rumors were “weird” and that he’s “never seen it before.” He also said there were no issues between him and head coach John Tortorella, calling the relationship “great.”

— GM Jarmo Kekalainen wouldn’t address the report, nor would Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt.

— Johansen added he hasn’t spoken to any of Columbus’ management about the trade rumblings.

So there’s that. What’s next?

At this stage of the game, it’s hard not to think about another Overhardt client, Kyle Turris.

Turris, you’ll recall, spent four (mostly) stormy years with the Coyotes before his trade out to Ottawa was orchestrated. Turris eventually told GM Don Maloney “this is not going to work out” with the club, and he was gone.

So, consider the similarities now:

— Turris was 22 at the time of the trade, with four years and 137 games under his belt.

— Johansen is 23, with five years and 291 games.

— Both had contentious contract holdouts with their respective clubs.

— Both are Overhardt guys.

— The Turris trade happened after the Coyotes went from Wayne Gretzky to Dave Tippett as head coach.

— Johansen is already on his third head coach (Scott Arniel, Todd Richards, Tortorella).

For now, these are all coincidences (or a forced narrative, depending what you think of the author).

And, of course, the one big — big — difference between the two is that, at the time of his trade, Turris wasn’t as good or established a player as Johansen currently is. Therefore, logic suggests any Johansen trade would be a lot more blockbuster-y and, therefore, probably more complex.

And as we know, complex deals aren’t easy to pull off.