Get your game notes: Capitals at Flyers

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Philadelphia Flyers hosting the Washington Capitals starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• The Flyers host the Capitals for the first time since Nov. 1. The 7-0 score matched the Flyers’ worst home defeat since the Oct. 21, 1971 (Los Angeles), and was the Capitals’ largest margin of victory in a road shutout since Oct. 29, 1991 (Pittsburgh, 8-0). The two teams combined for 164 penalty minutes, highlighted by a goalie fight between Ray Emery and Braden Holtby.

• Since he entered the NHL in 2005-06, Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin has seven game-tying goals in the final minute of regulation, more than any other player. Two of those goals came in the past week: vs. Tampa Bay on Dec. 10 (goal scored at 19:27 of the third period) and vs. Philadelphia on Dec. 15 (19:12). The Capitals eventually won both of those games in shootouts. (Elias Sports Bureau)

• Alex Ovechkin has seven multi-goal games this season, as many as the Flyers team combined. (Tye McGinn, Vincent Lecavalier, Jakub Voracek, Brayden Schenn, Matt Read – 2, Sean Couturier)

• Flyers center Claude Giroux needs two goals to reach the 100-goal milestone for his NHL career. The second-year captain has scored nine goals in 18 games vs. Washington, his best goals-per-game average vs. any team (minimum seven games).

• The Capitals have won a league-high eight games in the shootout in 2013-14 (8-3 record), but all three of their losses have come on the road (2-3). The Flyers are one of only two teams (St. Louis) that have not gone to a shootout on home ice this season.

• On Sunday, Flyers winger Michael Raffl became only the second Philadelphia rookie to register three assists on the road in the past 20 seasons. (Matt Read was the other, during the 2011-12 season.) The 2014 Olympic hopeful for Austria had only three assists coming into the game. (Elias Sports Bureau)

• The Flyers have been penalized an NHL-high 200 times this season and been shorthanded 138 times this season (2nd-most in the NHL). They have killed 115 of those opportunities while a man short (T-most, with Los Angeles). The Capitals’ power-play efficiency (24.4%) ranks 2nd in the league.

• When Capitals winger Troy Brouwer and Flyers wingers Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek all played in their 400th career games on Sunday, it marked the first time in the modern era that a trio of players in the same game hit the 400-game milestone. Mikhail Grabovski, who missed the game due to flu-like symptoms, is hopeful to play career game #400 tonight. (Elias Sports Bureau)

• Since he entered the NHL in 2007-08, Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom is tied for fourth among all players for most assists, and second in power-play assists.

source:

Rangers punch playoff ticket to wrap up night of clinched spots

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The New York Rangers weren’t ecstatic that Chris Tierney‘s 4-4 goal sent their game to overtime against the San Jose Sharks, but either way, getting beyond regulation punched their ticket to the playoffs on Tuesday night.

For the seventh season in a row, the Rangers are in the NHL’s postseason. They fell to the Sharks 5-4 in overtime, so they haven’t locked down the first wild-card spot in the East … yet. It seems like a matter of time, however.

The Rangers have now made the playoffs in 11 of their last 12 tries, a far cry from the barren stretch where the Rangers failed to make the playoffs from 1997-98 through 2003-04 (with the lockout season punctuating the end of that incompetent era).

New York has pivoted from the John Tortorella days to the Vigneault era, and this season has been especially interesting as they reacted to a 2016 first-round loss to the Penguins by instituting a more attacking style. The Metropolitan Division’s greatness has overshadowed, to some extent, how dramatic the improvement has been.

This result seems like a tidy way to discuss Tuesday’s other events.

The drama ends up being low for the Rangers going forward, and while there might be a shortage of life-or-death playoff struggles, the battles for seeding look to be fierce.

Oilers end NHL’s longest playoff drought; Sharks, Ducks also clinch

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There’s something beautiful about the symmetry on Tuesday … unless you’re a Detroit Red Wings fans, maybe.

On the same night that the longest active NHL playoff streak ended at 25 for Detroit, the longest playoff drought concluded when the Edmonton Oilers clinched a postseason spot by beating the Los Angeles Kings 2-1.

The Oilers haven’t reached the playoffs since 2005-06, when Chris Pronger lifted them to Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.

In doing so, other dominoes fell. Both the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks also punched their tickets to the postseason.

The Sharks, of course, hope to exceed last season’s surprising run to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks continue their run of strong postseasons, even as their Cup win fades to the background ever so slightly. All three teams are currently vying for the Pacific Division title.

The Western Conference’s eight teams are dangerously close to being locked into place, as the Nashville Predators, Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues are all close to looking down their spots as well.

Want the East perspective? Check out this summary of Tuesday’s events from the perspective of the other conference.

Craig Anderson took his blunder hard – probably too hard – in Sens loss

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Members of the Ottawa Senators were quick to come to Craig Anderson‘s blunder (see above) in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, and it’s easy to see why.

It’s not just about his personal struggles, either. When Anderson’s managed to play, he’s been flat-out phenomenal, generating a .927 save percentage that ranks near a Vezina-type level (if he managed to play more than 35 games).

Goaltending has been a huge reason why Ottawa has at least a shot of winning the Atlantic or at least grabbing a round of home-ice advantage, so unlike certain instances where teams shield a goalie’s failures, the defenses are absolutely justified.

Anderson, on the other hand, was very hard on himself.

You have to admire Anderson for taking the blame, even if in very much “hockey player” fashion, he’s not exactly demanding the same sort of credit for his great work this season.

It’s official: Red Wings’ playoff streak ends at 25 seasons

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When we look back at the 2016-17 season for the Detroit Red Wings, it will be remembered for some said endings.

It began without Pavel Datsyuk. We knew that their last game at Joe Louis Arena this season would be their last ever. And now we know that Joe Louis Arena won’t be home to another playoff run.

After 25 straight seasons of making the playoffs – quite often managing deep runs – the Red Wings were officially eliminated on Tuesday night. In getting this far, they enjoyed one of the greatest runs of longevity in NHL history:

Tonight revolves largely around East teams winning and teams clinching bids – the Edmonton Oilers could very well end the league’s longest playoff drought this evening – but this story is more solemn.

EA Sports tweeted out a great infographic:

“Right now it’s hard to talk about it, because you’re a big reason why it’s not continuing,” Henrik Zetterberg said in an NHL.com report absolutely worth your time.

Mike “Doc” Emrick narrated a great look back at Joe Louis Arena here: