Get your game notes: Avalanche at Devils

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This evening on NBCSN, it’s the New Jersey Devils hosting the Colorado Avalanche starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Tonight, New Jersey tries for its first regulation victory over Colorado since Feb. 26, 2009. The Devils – 25th in the NHL with 2.36 goals per game this season – have scored 5 times in their last 5 meetings with the Avalanche (1-3-1).

• Nineteen of New Jersey’s 56 games this season have reached overtime, tied for the 2nd-most in the league (WSH 21; CHI 19). The Devils have lost 12 of them, including all 8 that have reached a shootout, leaving them the league’s only winless team in shootouts. The Avs are one of seven teams that have defeated New Jersey in the skills contest, on Jan. 16 in Denver.

• Five Avalanche players had multiple points in Saturday’s 7-1 rout of Buffalo, Colorado’s highest goal output in nearly two years (7-1 over Minnesota on March 6, 2012). The Avs – who have scored 16 goals during their 3-game win streak – won’t play at home again until after the NHL’s Olympic break, on Feb. 26 vs. L.A.

• The Devils have killed 33 of their last 36 shorthanded situations with a penalty-kill that stands 2nd in the NHL (87.1% – Penguins, 87.6%). New Jersey hasn’t allowed a power-play goal on home ice since Jan. 7 vs. Philadelphia (15-for-15 since), and along with Carolina is the least-penalized team (8.0 PIM/gm.).

• Colorado, which kicks off a 4-game Metropolitan Division road trip tonight, has a 14-5-1 record vs. the Eastern Conference, including 7-1-1 against Metro Division teams. Tonight is New Jersey’s fourth of five consecutive games against Western Conference opponents (1-1-1 so far). This season, the Devils have 6 wins in 22 games vs. the West (6-10-6).

• Colorado rookie Nathan MacKinnon is riding a 4-game point streak and a 3-game goal streak – both career firsts – following a career-high 3-point night Saturday vs. Buffalo. MacKinnon, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, leads all NHL rookies with 20 goals and 40 points this season. MacKinnon could become the third Avalanche player in the last five seasons to lead the league’s rookies in scoring. In 33 NHL seasons prior to 2013-14, the Quebec/Colorado franchise has had the league’s leading rookie scorer five times:

Player | Season | Team | Pts.

MacKinnon 2013-14 COL 40

Gabriel Landeskog 2011-12 COL 52

Matt Duchene 2009-10 COL 55

Milan Hejduk 1998-99 COL 48

Peter Forsberg 1994-95 QUE 50* (48-game season)

Peter Stastny 1980-81 QUE 109

Tonight’s game features three players, who once finished a season as the league’s top rookie scorer: Landeskog, Duchene, and New Jersey’s Michael Ryder (63 points for Montreal in 2003-04).

• Matt Duchene, one of four Avs selected for the Sochi Olympics (Team Canada), has 26 points in his last 25 games and needs 1 goal for 100 in his NHL career. He would become the 2nd player from his 2009 draft class to reach the century mark (John Tavares, 135 goals).

• Cory Schneider (6-1-2, 1.54 GAA, .952 save% career vs. COL) is expected to start in New Jersey’s nets for the 10th time in 13 games. He is 5-1-3 in his previous 9 starts and has allowed 2 goals or fewer in 8 of them, including his 37-save effort in a 2-1 SO loss Jan. 16 in Denver. Entering tonight, Schneider and Martin Brodeur each have started 28 of the Devils’ 56 games.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?