Emery and Holtby fight

Get your game notes: Capitals at Flyers


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.


Kane scores OT-winner, caps Islanders’ bumpy start in Brooklyn

Patrick Kane

On paper, it’s the perfect way to kick off meaningful hockey in Brooklyn, as the New York Islanders faced the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

In reality, there were some highs and lows, culminating with Patrick Kane scoring a power-play overtime-winner to give Chicago a 3-2 (OT) win.

The Barclays Center crowd was going to be a big part of the story one way or another, but even by building-opening standards, the audience made some waves.

Indeed, Kane was greeted with some jeers during his first road appearance of the 2015-16 season, though he didn’t sound surprised.

(There were other controversial chants, apparently.)

Speaking of the crowd, it may not have been the greatest turnout:

ESPN goes way, way in depth on how the change of locale was received, by the way.

It wasn’t a perfect night inside the rink, either, as there weren’t exactly rave reviews about ice quality. New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple compared the ice to a “slushy” and “soup,” with an anonymous Islander (or Islanders) describing the conditions as “awful.”

Kane was pretty diplomatic about it, for what it’s worth.


So, no, it was not a perfect night for the Islanders.

They probably envisioned a teeming, perfectly mannered crowd. Management likely expected Jaroslav Halak to be in net, too.

Sometimes breaking ground is often about overcoming those early stumbles, though, and maybe the best review is to parallel the on-ice results: the Isles at least got a point out of it.

Let’s not forget that there are some cool perks that come with this situation, even if the specifics may vary.

If you want even more information/photos/etc., you’d probably do well to check out #IslesOpeningNight.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.