St Louis Blues v Washington Capitals

Get your game notes: Pens at Caps

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

— The Capitals are seeking their seventh consecutive home win for the first time since Dec. 20, 2011-Jan. 15, 2012. Since the beginning of the 2008-09 season, they have the most home wins (133) in the NHL.

— The Penguins have been held to one goal in each of their last three road games. The last time they were held to fewer than two goals in four straight road games was in Sidney Crosby’s rookie season (Nov. 27-Dec. 13, 2005).

— Tonight’s game is the first meeting between the Penguins and Capitals as divisional rivals since they competed in the Patrick Division in 1992-93. On March 28, 1993, Pittsburgh won the most recent intra-divisional clash, 4-1, at the old Cap Centre, behind a goal and two assists from Mario Lemieux.

— Through 21 games, Pittsburgh is averaging 2.76 goals per game (T-11th, Boston and Calgary). Since 1987-88 (25 seasons), the Pens have led the NHL in scoring five times (including 2011-12, 3.33 goals/game; 2012-13, 3.38 goals/game) and have only finished outside the top-five on eight occasions.

— The Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin and the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin bring the best out in one another. In 18 regular-season games between Washington and Pittsburgh in which the talented trio all played, they combined for 27 goals, 76 points and 252 shots on goal. (Elias Sports Bureau)

— Crosby needs two goals to become only the sixth player to score 250 career goals as a member of the Penguins. (Mario Lemieux – 690; Jaromir Jagr – 439; Jean Pronovost – 316; Rick Kehoe – 312; Kevin Stevens – 260).

— The Capitals’ Nicklas Backstrom, who is second in the NHL in assists (19, one behind the Sharks’ Joe Thornton) has the most three-assist games since he entered the league in 2007-08, with 24. Sidney Crosby (22) and Evgeni Malkin (21) rank third and fourth in the NHL during that span. (H. Sedin, 23).

— On Monday, the Penguins’ 25-year-old rookie, Brian Gibbons, became the second player this season to open the scoring of a game with his first NHL goal in his debut. The Oilers’ 24-year-old rookie, Luke Gazdic, also did so in his team’s season opener, on Oct. 1. (Elias Sports Bureau)

PHT Morning Skate: ‘Hawks goalie Scott Darling goes the extra mile to help a stranger in need

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) celebrates with goalie Corey Crawford (50) and left wing Teuvo Teravainen (86), of Finland, after the Blackhawks defeated the Nashville Predators 4-3 in two overtimes in Game 1 of an NHL Western Conference hockey playoff series Wednesday, April 15, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Associated Press
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

–Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling did something incredible for a person in need. (USA Today)

–Sens forward Kyle Turris can relate to what Jonathan Drouin is going through. (Tampa Bay Times)

Matt Duchene built a special bond with a young Avs fan who’s been dealing with cancer. (Sportsnet)

Milan Lucic wrote a letter to Boston for The Players’ Tribune. (The Players’ Tribune)

–Devils fans say “thank you” to former goaltender Martin Brodeur:

–Take a look at Nicklas Backstrom‘s first NHL All-Star game experience. (Monumental Network)

Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

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New Jersey Devils
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The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

More on the statue from the Devils:

The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

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The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game Three
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In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

The Islanders also have a game in hand.