Get your game notes: Rangers at Blackhawks


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

• The Rangers are one of only two teams (Detroit) with a winning road record (13-10-0) and a losing home record (8-10-3) this season. They started the season 3-6-0 on a franchise-long 9-game road trip that ended Oct. 26; since then, they have gone 10-4-0, including 3-1-0 in their last four.

• In the NHL, 11 players have a plus/minus rating of +20 or higher. Four of them are Blackhawks: wingers Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and defenseman Brent Seabrook (+22), and center Jonathan Toews (+21). No other team has more than two players over +20 (Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Anaheim). Only one current Chicago player has a minus rating: winger Bryan Bickell (-4).

• The Blackhawks lead the NHL in goals (163) and goals/game (3.62), and their average goal differential (1.00) trails only St. Louis (1.34). However, they have scored two or fewer goals in three of the last four games, going 1-0-2 in those three.

• Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford has lost his last four decisions (0-2-2), dating back to Dec. 3 (he missed 10 games with a lower-body injury). The six-year veteran has done that twice: five straight losses (0-4-1) from Jan. 21-Feb. 10, 2012, and four straight (0-4-0) from Oct. 13-Nov. 7, 2010.

• Blackhawks wingers Patrick Sharp (25 goals – 2nd in NHL) and Patrick Kane (23 goals – T-6th) are the highest-scoring teammates in the league, with 48 goals. Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz rank second (24+23=47), followed by Anaheim’s Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf (24+20=44).

• Alain Vigneault (MTL, VAN, NYR) and Joel Quenneville (STL, COL, CHI) have manned opposite benches 42 times in the regular season during their NHL coaching careers. Vigneault is 18-18-6 against Quenneville-coached clubs.

• Six teams account for the NHL’s top 15 in points. The Blackhawks have four players among that group: Patrick Kane (54, T-2nd), Patrick Sharp (46, T-7th), Jonathan Toews (44, 11th) and Duncan Keith (42, T-14th). Pittsburgh (Crosby, Kunitz, Malkin) has three, while the N.Y. Islanders (Tavares, Okposo), Anaheim (Getzlaf, Perry), San Jose (Thornton, Marleau) and Washington (Backstrom, Ovechkin) each have two.

• Rangers LW Rick Nash has scored more points against the Blackhawks (24-27=51 in 55 games) than against any other NHL team. However, he hasn’t tasted victory against them since Feb. 18, 2011, as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets (0-6-0).

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier
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Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.

Video: NHL drops hammer, suspends Torres for 41 games


One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.

On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.

“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”

The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”

“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:

Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.

Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.

Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.

Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.