Get your game notes: Flyers at Blackhawks

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

• In the three-plus seasons since Chicago defeated Philadelphia for the 2010 Stanley Cup, each team has used six different goaltenders, including one in common – tonight’s projected Flyers starter, Ray Emery, who went 17-1-0 with a 1.94 GAA last season for the champion Blackhawks. Hawks backup netminder Kent Simpson would add to the Blackhawks’ list if he were to make his NHL debut tonight.

PHI: Sergei Bobrovsky, Brian Boucher, Michael Leighton, Ilya Bryzgalov, Steve Mason, Emery
CHI: Corey Crawford, Marty Turco, Emery, Carter Hutton, Nikolai Khabibulin, Antti Raanta

• In games involving Chicago, Flyers goaltender Ray Emery has a lifetime record of 19-1-1, with a 1.94 GAA, .923 save percentage and three shutouts. He was 17-1-0 as a member of the Cup-winning Blackhawks in 2012-13, and is 2-0-1 against the Hawks as the opposing goalie. At the United Center, he is 11-1-0, with a 2.04 GAA, .915 save% and one shutout.

• The NHL’s First Star for November, Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, has a six-game point streak (two goals, 10 assists), shortly on the heels of a 12-game point streak he had from Nov. 3-27. Only two other NHL players have at least two streaks of 6-plus games this season: the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin (3) and the Sharks’ Joe Thornton (2).

• The Blackhawks are the first NHL team to score at least six goals in two consecutive games this season. Three NHL teams had two-game streaks of that kind last season: the Flyers (Feb. 18-20), Rangers (April 18-19) and Oilers (April 26-27). This is the first time that the Blackhawks have scored at least six goals in two consecutive games since Nov. 3-9, 2008. (Elias Sports Bureau)

• The Blackhawks have not been shut out in their last 100 regular-season games (the NHL’s longest active streak) dating back to since Feb. 26, 2012. The franchise record is 210 games (Nov. 1984-Mar. 1987).

• The Flyers, 0-1-1 in their last two games, are looking to avoid a three-game skid for the first time since Oct. 12-17, the tail end of a four-game losing streak that saw them fall to 1-7-0.

• The Blackhawks, the NHL’s points (49) and goals-per-game (3.58) leaders, are near the bottom when it comes to killing penalties. Having allowed at least one power-play goal in 17 of 33 games, Chicago’s penalty-kill stands at 74.7% and 28th in the league, ahead of only Florida (74.2%) and the N.Y. Islanders (71.3%), teams whose point totals combined trail Chicago’s (49-48). The Hawks’ PK is on pace to be the least efficient of any defending champion in the expansion era:

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Milbury, Jones: Tkachuk walked the walk; Kings’ response was embarrassing

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The Los Angeles Kings got revenge on Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames on the scoreboard on Wednesday. But was that 4-1 win enough?

Mike Milbury and Keith Jones provided a lengthy “overtime” segment on NBCSN that brought about some really fascinating takes on the situation between Tkachuk and the Flames versus Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings.

Watch the full video above, as it’s worth your time.

A few interesting lines if you’re (tsk tsk) skipping it:

Milbury: Believes that Doughty didn’t “do enough,” noting that star players sometimes have to stick up for themselves. On the other hand, Tkachuk showed that he can “walk the walk.”

He also gave the Kings a “C-, D+ if not worse” for their overall response. “Fight your own battles,” Milbury said of Doughty.

Jones disagreed to some extent, believing that Kings teammates won’t look at Doughty differently. But Jake Muzzin? He believes that Muzzin’s frequent defensive partner (at least over the years, maybe not this season) backing down from a fight was an embarrassment.

Spicy stuff.

For what it’s worth, Drew Doughty has one career fight (against Joe Thornton [!] in 2011-2) while Jake Muzzin’s lone bout came against Andrew Desjardins in 2012-13, according to Hockey Fights. Does that mean they shouldn’t have dropped the gloves on Wednesday? Milbury and Jones seem to believe that they should have answered the bell.

For more, check out a collection of the early violent moments and Tkachuk’s attempted shot at Doughty. The Kings win is summarized in greater detail here.

Measure of revenge: Kings delay clinching efforts for Flames, Blues

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Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.

OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.

It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.

Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.

In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.

Seriously, that fight with Deryk Engelland:

That goal included a bit of luck, but hey …

Iginla was named the first star of the contest, and cameras captured his big smile in enjoying a special night. For all the nastiness of that game, it was refreshing to see such a heartwarming moment.

For more on the violence, check out this post on the early stuff and this one on Tkachuk’s missed missile launch on Drew Doughty.

Kings and Canucks will square off in first NHL exhibition games in China

graphic via NHL
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It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.

The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?

“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”

The press conference inspired some jokes tonight.

Some of the best bits came in roping in … Kobe Bryant and David Beckham?

Alrighty then.

Click here for more details.

 

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

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Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.