PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 3: Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins is introduced prior to the game against the New Jersey Devils on October 3, 2013 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

Get your game notes: Flyers at Penguins


Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Pittsburgh Penguins hosting the Philadelphia Flyers starting at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• The Penguins led the NHL in goals per game in 2011-12 (3.33) and 2012-13 (3.38). However, scoring is down half a goal (2.88, T-10th) through 17 games of the 2013-14 season. Three of their most dependable goal-scorers are in the midst of significant goal droughts:

Sidney Crosby: 7 games (longest since a career-long 12-game drought, 11/23/11 – 3/22/12)
Evgeni Malkin: 10 games (longest since a career-long 11-game drought, 12/27/09 – 1/14/10)
Pascal Dupuis: 11 games (longest since a 17-game drought, 12/29/11 – 2/5/12)

• Crosby has registered at least one point in 193 of 246 (78.5%) career regular-season games in Pittsburgh. In total, he has 382 points (1.55 points/game) at home.

• The Flyers have scored the fewest goals (31) in the NHL, at a rate of 1.82 per game (29th in the NHL). They have scored two or fewer goals in all but three of their 17 games. Their franchise-lows in each category came in their first two seasons: 173 goals (1967-68) and 2.29 goals per game (1968-69).

• Since the 2004-05 lockout, only three active goaltenders have more wins on home ice in the regular season than the Penguins’ Marc-Andre Fleury. (Note: Recently-retired Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff tops the below-mentioned, with 174 wins.) (Elias Sports Bureau)
1. Roberto Luongo, Vancouver – 163
2. Henrik Lundqvist, N.Y. Rangers – 162
3. Martin Brodeur, New Jersey – 154
4. Fleury, Pittsburgh – 149

• Fleury has 68 wins in his last 100 regular-season starts (68-26-4), the most by an active goaltender in the NHL. Only Ray Emery (tonight’s possible goalie for the Flyers), Tim Thomas, Corey Crawford (all 59), Henrik Lundqvist and Roberto Luongo (58) have more than 58 wins during that span.

• In the Modern Era (1967-present), 212 different players have accumulated 200 or more penalty minutes in a single season. 26 did so for the Flyers (the most by any team) and 13 did so for the Penguins. Two – Dave Schultz and Rick Tocchet – did so for both teams.

• The spirit of the “Broad Street Bullies” apparently lives in Philadelphia. Since 2008-09, the Flyers have led the NHL in number of penalties four times, and in total penalty minutes three times.


DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
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The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.

He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.

He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).

In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.

No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”