Get your game notes: Penguins at Rangers

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

• Since signing a seven-year, $59.5 million contract extension on Dec. 4, Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is 2-3-1, with a 3.42 GAA and .878 save%. During that span, he has allowed 18 goals, including three or more in five consecutive starts. Only the Stars’ Kari Lehtonen (six) has a longer active streak of allowing 3+ goals.

• Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is among the NHL’s elite in all four major goaltending categories this season: wins (19, ranked 1st), GAA (1.98, 7th), save percentage (.925, T-9th) and shutouts (3, T-1st). However, his numbers on the road are notably weaker than at home.
Home: 13-2-0 1.63 GAA .943 sv% 1 shutout
Road: 6-6-1 2.39 GAA .899 sv% 2 shutouts

• Penguins center Sidney Crosby has scored 20 goals in 44 career games vs. the Rangers. However, the “Blueshirts” have kept Crosby without a goal in 11 straight meetings, the longest active streak of any team against the Penguins’ captain. St. Louis (7) is the only other NHL team that has shut out Crosby in more than five games. (Elias Sports Bureau)

• The Penguins are 9-1-0 in their last 10 games, the lone loss a last-minute, 3-2 defeat to the Bruins on Dec. 7. In their last nine games (8-1-0), they have outscored their opponents by a combined 30-12.

• The Penguins lead the NHL in power-play efficiency (26.5%) and are 2nd on the penalty kill (87.4%). They are the only team ranked in the top-five in both special-teams categories, and one of only three that are ranked in the top-ten in both (Montreal, Nashville).

• The Penguins enter tonight’s game with a 19-8-1 record vs. Eastern Conference teams and are 11-4-0 within the Metropolitan Division. No NHL team has more wins within its own division or conference.

• Rangers center Brian Boyle has gone without a goal in 19 straight games. That’s his third goal drought lasting 19 or more games since the end of the 2010-11 season, when he tallied a career-high 21 goals.

• Heading into action on Dec. 17, the Penguins had 170 man-games lost this season due to injury (2nd-most in the NHL to Anaheim – 181). To compare, the Rangers had 65 (7th-fewest in the league).

• With injuries to Kris Letang, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik, Rob Scuderi and a suspension to Deryk Engelland, the Penguins are trotting out five defensemen with a combined 139 games of NHL experience and 28 points. The veteran presence along the Pens’ blueline is held by Matt Niskanen (445 games, 134 points).

source:

Crosby: Penguins ‘probably deserved better’ vs. Senators in Game 6

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If you didn’t know that the Stanley Cup Playoffs can be awfully cruel, then the last week or so of action should make it pretty clear.

The Nashville Predators lost top center Ryan Johansen to a scary ailment few would have seen coming. The Anaheim Ducks fell in both games to the Johansen-less Predators, even after dominating significant chunks of Game 6. At least one Ducks player wondered if the better team won.

Much like in life, “fair” and “deserve” only matter so much. Sports have a scoreboard to serve as the ultimate deciding factor.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have similar thoughts after falling 2-1 to the Ottawa Senators tonight, extending the Eastern Conference Final to a decisive Game 7. You can nitpick questionable penalties and missed chances, but really, how negative can you be after Craig Anderson puts forth a blazing 45-save performance (with no overtime)?

Mike Sullivan and others echoed such thoughts.

” … Obviously, we’re disappointed in the result, but I don’t think we can get discouraged by that,” Sullivan said. “I think we’ve got to take the positives from it, and we’ve got to build on it, and we’ve got to become a more determined team for Game 7.

That’s not the sort of take that’s going to make the Senators angry in Game 7. The tone of the Senators’ discussions was likely very different after they lost Game 5 by a 7-0 score, yet maybe there was similar self belief.

Anderson puzzles Penguins as Senators force Game 7

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Who could blame fans for chanting “Andy” tonight?

The Ottawa Senators said they would choose to fight in Game 6, and Craig Anderson truly battled in this one, refusing to allow this unlikely run to an end on Tuesday. They wouldn’t roll over, even after a 7-0 humiliation in Game 5.

The underrated goalie continued his memorable (and emotional) 2016-17 season with a brilliant performance, making 45 saves to help Ottawa manage a gutsy 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

With that, hockey fans get a true treat: the Eastern Conference will go to a Game 7 on Thursday.

The Senators opted for a “bend but don’t break” strategy for much of the contest, possibly to Guy Boucher’s preference. Even so, the Penguins managed to grind their way to a 1-0 win thanks to another hard-work goal from Evgeni Malkin.

Mistakes would come back to haunt the Penguins, however, as Bobby Ryan broke Ottawa’s lengthy power-play drought to tie things up on a 5-on-3.

With their season in question thanks to a 1-1 tie in the third period, Mike Hoffman sent a booming shot by Matt Murray, and that ended up being all the Senators needed to tie the series 3-3.

Anderson was the standout, but Erik Karlsson was a hero in the way his detractors might not expect.

You can watch Game 7 on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday. The game is also available to stream via the NBC Sports App.

Report: Avalanche get permission to speak with Leafs assistant GM Dubas

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Could one of the most hapless possession teams of this more analytics-leaning era nab arguably the most promising analytics-leaning executive in the NHL?

It’s a reasonable question, as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the Colorado Avalanche asked for and received permission to speak to Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas.

Current GM Joe Sakic recently got a vote of confidence and also cleaned out some of the coaching staff around Jared Bednar, so this is certainly a time of change for the Avalanche.

It will be interesting to see what kind of role Dubas would receive if he did join the fold in Colorado. Would he still be considered an assistant GM, only with more sway with what would likely be a smaller group of decision-makers? Could we see Sakic move up and give Dubas the full GM title (or eventually transition that role to the young upstart)? Might there be some other factor that would qualify as a more “outside the box” idea?

One thing seems clear: the Avalanche might want to be decisive, as demand could be significant for Dubas if he’s even somewhat on the market.

This could be interesting, especially if you’re a nerd for team-building storylines.

Video: Senators score twice to take 2-1 lead in Game 6

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The Ottawa Senators have defied odds during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they’ve done so with what’s often been an ice-cold power play.

They finally struck gold on the man advantage on Tuesday, and at a key moment. The Pittsburgh Penguins were dominating much of the game and pressing for an even bigger edge after Evgeni Malkin made it 1-0.

Maybe the Penguins got overzealous, or maybe officials … finally started making some calls. Either way, the Senators ended up with a 5-on-3 advantage for almost a minute-and-a-half. With that opportunity, Bobby Ryan scored a huge goal for Ottawa on a shot that was both oddly and perfectly placed.

Moments later, Kyle Turris narrowly missed a golden opportunity, so the contest remained tied 1-1.

Despite a late push by the Penguins to finish the second, Game 6 will enter the third period with a 1-1 score.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6

Update: Mike Hoffman‘s booming shot gave the Senators a 2-1 lead in the third. We’ll see if Pittsburgh can tie it up.