NCAA Hockey on NBCSN: No. 4 Notre Dame hosts No. 1 Minnesota

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NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 college hockey season tonight when the No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish host the No. 1 Minnesota Golden Gophers at the Compton Family Ice Arena with coverage starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also catch the game online

We may be early in the college hockey season, but Friday night’s matchup between Notre Dame and Minnesota provides a possible NCAA tournament showdown.

Two top-five teams, loads of NHL-drafted talent (25 draftees in all), and two of the best coaches in the game will be on display. Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.

Don Lucia’s Gophers head to South Bend hoping to stay unbeaten this season. With a 5-0-1 record, they’re one of two teams without a loss this season (St. Cloud State the other). After earning a tie and a win against Boston College two weeks ago, the Fighting Irish provide another early-season measuring stick for the Gophers.

Headlining Minnesota’s attack is junior forward Sam Warning. His five goals and 12 points both lead the team and he’s tied for eighth in the country in scoring. Not bad for a guy who wasn’t drafted. Their forward attack is deeper than just Warning.

Junior Kyle Rau (Florida) and freshmen Hudson Fasching (Los Angeles) and Justin Kloos have been steady in their production. The play of Fasching and Kloos have given the Gophers the kind of offense fitting of the No. 1 team in the country.

As for the Fighting Irish, they’re coming off two straight frustrating weekends in which they split with both Minnesota-Duluth and Vermont. While their record sits at 6-0-2, there’s no doubt coach Jeff Jackson wants more from his team. They’ll get the test they’re looking for out of the Gophers.

The Fighting Irish have a more balanced attack with seven players having five or more points early in the season. Freshman forward Vince Hinostrosza (Chicago) and senior forward T.J. Tynan (Columbus) lead the way with eight points each and sophomore forward Sam Herr leads the team in goals with five. On defense, Shane Tayker and Robbie Russo (New York Islanders) have five points each as well. We told you it was a balanced attack.

Goalies

Minnesota sophomore Adam Wilcox (Tampa Bay) has carried the load all season to this point and has been stellar with a 1.64 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage. Expect him to get the call once again for the Gophers.

For Notre Dame, senior Steven Summerhays is their workhorse and he’s been just as good as Wilcox. He’s 6-1-0 this season with a 1.49 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage.

Despite how steady both teams’ offenses have been, you get the feeling Friday’s game could be a showcase in net.

NHL Draftees

Minnesota – Forwards: Hudson Fasching (Los Angeles), Kyle Rau (Florida), Taylor Cammarata (NY Islanders), Nate Condon (Colorado), Seth Ambroz (Columbus), Travis Boyd (Washington), Christian Isackson (Buffalo)

Defense: Mike Reilly (Columbus), Michael Brodzinski (San Jose), Ben Marshall (Detroit), Jake Bischoff (NY Islanders), Brady Skjei (NY Rangers), Justin Holl (Chicago)

Goalie: Adam Wilcox (Tampa Bay)

Notre Dame – Forwards: Vince Hinostrosza (Chicago), T.J. Tynan (Columbus), Austin Wuthrich (Washington), Bryan Rust (Pittsburgh), Jeff Costello (Ottawa), Mario Lucia (Minnesota), Steven Fogarty (NY Rangers), Thomas DiPauli (Washington).

Defense: Robbie Russo (NY Islanders), Stephen Johns (Chicago), Kevin Lind (Anaheim)

Please note: Saturday night’s game between these same teams will be streamed on NBC Live Extra on NBCSports.com at 7 p.m. ET.

The Buzzer: Job of the Hutton

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Players of the Night

  • Carter Hutton has quietly been playing well when used (sparingly) by the St. Louis Blues, but he stepped into the spotlight on Saturday, guiding his team to a 2-0 win against the Winnipeg Jets.

The high-powered Jets fired 48 shots on goal in this one, yet none beat Hutton, who nabbed the ninth shutout of his solid career. The 31-year-old bumped his save percentage up to a whopping .949 so far in 2017-18. He set a Blues record in doing so.

  • On Friday, Jack Eichel collected a hat trick and an assist in a losing effort. Gabriel Landeskog upped the ante one night later – literally – by scoring three goals and two assists in a game his Avalanche managed to lose anyway.

As much attention as Nathan MacKinnon is grabbing (rightfully, as he added two goals to his impressive season so far), this marks the second hat trick of the season for Landeskog. Not bad with it still being 2017, and all.

This was a pretty nasty game between the Avalanche and Lightning, at least at times.

Some key highlights

Technically, you can spell overtime without Alex Ovechkin

(Ovechkin’s already in select GWG company.)

Shayne Gostisbehere scored both of Philly’s goals, but the antics between Wayne Simmonds and Ben Bishop were the real highlight here:

Speaking of Nathan MacKinnon, this is something else:

Mathew Barzal to Jordan Eberle a combination that torments Darcy Kuemper in overtime and Peter Chiarelli, always:

Finally, Jonathan Gibson flashes the glove in defeat:

Factoids

The Lightning keep piling up different milestones and accomplishments, with Mikhail Sergachev ranking among those today (as Tampa Bay won its seventh in a row):

The cold weather didn’t slow Erik Karlsson down (more on that outdoor game here):

Pekka Rinne‘s really been rattling off some milestones lately.

Scores

Oilers 3, Wild 2
Rangers 3, Bruins 2 (OT)
Blues 2, Jets 0
Islanders 4, Kings 3 (OT)
Hurricanes 2, Blue Jackets 1
Flyers 2, Stars 1 (OT)
Senators 3, Canadiens 0
Capitals 3, Ducks 2 (OT)
Penguins 4, Coyotes 2
Lightning 6, Avalanche 5
Predators 2, Flames 0

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Fight video: Brouwer makes Watson pay for Hathaway hit

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Austin Watson nodded with recognition after landing a questionable hit on Garnet Hathaway on Saturday, as he understood why Troy Brouwer demanded immediate retribution.

And, as you can see from the video above the headline, Brouwer got that bloody payback after beating Watson in a fight.

Watson (who isn’t that far removed from a two-game suspension) was ejected for his hit. It wasn’t the only nasty moment between the Nashville Predators and Calgary Flames, either, as the toxic exchanges included Anthony Bitetto‘s ugly cross-check on Sam Bennett.

(Video or a GIF of Bitetto’s hit will be added if it becomes available.)

Some other penalties reduced some of the advantage for the Flames, but they ultimately still received serious man-advantage opportunities amid all of the violence, and they weren’t able to convert.

The best news is that Hathaway might end up being OK after a scary-looking check. He returned to the game during the third period.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Should Erik Johnson be suspended for ugly play on Namestnikov?

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Vladislav Namestnikov has been the Mikael Renberg equivalent on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Legion of Doom with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov for much of this season, complimenting those two scorers with strong work of his own.

The Lightning were lighting up the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night, perhaps frustrating Erik Johnson and others. Whatever the explanation might be, it was a pretty ugly sight when Johnson slashed and then boarded Namestnikov, earning those two penalties plus a game misconduct.

Plenty of people believe that supplemental discipline would be merited for Johnson’s actions. For what it’s worth, “Names” did return to action in the third period. We’ve seen instances where players return only to be hurt anyway, so we’ll see if the nifty winger sees any delayed issues.

Johnson, 29, was suspended for two games by the NHL back in 2014, but has a generally clean history otherwise.

The Lightning ultimately ended up beating the Avalanche 6-5, as Nathan MacKinnon almost led a rally with two power-play goals.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Senators blank Canadiens in NHL 100 Classic

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One win, even in the frosty outdoors for the NHL 100 Classic, only means so much.

Still, the Ottawa Senators probably experienced some ice-cold relief on Saturday, beating the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 during a tightly defended outdoor bout.

It was 0-0 for much of the game until Jean-Gabriel Pageau tipped an Erik Karlsson shot for the first goal with about five minutes remaining in the second period. Bobby Ryan then capitalized on a rough Jonathan Drouin turnover to make it 2-0, while an empty-netter iced the icy evening for Ottawa.

For a night, it was a fun time, and Karlsson reminded us what all the fuss is about, as he logged a ridiculous 32:55 of ice time. And he seemed to be having a good time doing it.

This night laid the “Canadian” on thick, with Bryan Adams performing during the event, and Gary Bettman posing for photos with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

via Getty

Weird, but OK then.

Generally speaking, things haven’t been that OK for the Senators lately. Such headaches did surface during this frosty-mug-on-ice event, as owner Eugene Melnyk inspired a #Melnykout hashtag on Twitter, not to mention icy barbs like these.

Fair criticisms about the Sens’ bigger picture aside, Ottawa looked nice tonight, with Karlsson shining and Craig Anderson pitching a rare shutout outdoors (shutoutdoors)?

Carey Price generated some nice saves of his own, but couldn’t will Montreal to win in his 10th consecutive start. The Habs rarely got things going against the Senators, seen most easily in Ottawa’s 38-28 advantage in shots on goal.

Nights like these make a bigger impact on fans’ memories and bottom lines, but this marks consecutive wins for the Senators either way. Considering the fact that the Senators hadn’t put back-to-back wins together since they faced the Avalanche in two contests in Sweden, it might not be a big deal, yet it’s far better than the nothing they’ve been coming up with far too often lately.

Also

In other news from the event, Mario Lemieux’s “five goals, five different ways” was named as the NHL’s greatest moment, voted by fans:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.