P.K. Subban

Get your game notes: Bruins at Habs

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Montreal Canadiens hosting the Boston Bruins starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Tonight marks the 894th meeting between Boston and Montreal, regular season and playoffs (the most meetings between any two teams in NHL history). The Canadiens have won five straight regular-season meetings in the series (Mar. 3, 2013-present), following a Bruins five-game win streak (Nov. 21, 2011-Feb. 6, 2013).

• New Canadiens winger Thomas Vanek (traded from the N.Y. Islanders on March 5th) has registered 61 points (30 goals, 31 assists – both most for him against any team) in 53 career games against Boston including a goal and four assists in four games this season vs. the Bruins. Vanek has averaged 1.15 points/games when facing Boston, his highest total against any team in the league (min. 10 GP).

• Bruins winger Jarome Iginla scored his 550th career NHL goal on Sunday, moving him into sole possession of 26th place on the all-time goals list. Five players ahead of him saw action for Boston.

source:

• The Bruins are 7-0-3 in their last 10 road games, their longest road point streak since going 6-0-5 (11 games) in January 2004. They have not lost a road game in regulation to an Eastern Conference team since Dec. 28, when they fell 4-3 in Ottawa.

• The Bruins, the Eastern Conference’s highest-scoring team (3.16 goals/game), have gotten an NHL-high 42 goals this season from nine different defensemen (only Washington has had goals from more d-men – 10). The Canadiens (2.44 goals/game, third-to-last in East), on the other hand, have seen just four different defensemen score 19 goals, fewest among any team’s blueline corps.

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• When leading at the second intermission, the Bruins are 31-2-0 and the Canadiens are 28-0-3. The B’s have scored a league-high 82 goals in the third period this season and allowed only 44 (second-fewest in NHL to St. Louis – 43), a league-best +38 goal margin. The Habs are even (52 for, 52 against), 14th-best.

• Led by goaltender Tuukka Rask (an NHL-high six shutouts), Boston has shut out its opponents seven times this season (T-2nd most in the NHL) and leads the league in team save percentage (.924). The Bruins have allowed 1.80 goals/game during their five-game win streak and 2.14 goals/game since the Olympic break (seven games).

Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

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Hot take: the Pittsburgh Penguins probably won’t deal with a goalie controversy going into Game 7.

(Ugh, that’s a failed hot take … you can’t use “probably” in those things, right?)

Matt Murray was fantastic at times during Game 6, much like his counterpart in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s net in a 5-2 win. Granted, there were some tense moments during the Bolts’ late-game push:

Much has been made about experience, especially from those calling for Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in this series. It’s telling that the praise Murray draws sure sounds like what you’d expect from a “veteran.”

“He has a calming influence,” Sullivan said. “He doesn’t get rattled. If he lets a goal in, he just continues to compete. That’s usually an attribute that usually takes years to acquire that, and to have it at such a young age is impressive.”

Thanks in part to Murray’s efforts in Game 6, he’ll get a chance to prove his resolve in something new: a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.

Once again, his teammates seem pretty confident in this elimination situation.

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

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The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

Read more about Game 6 here.

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

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The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

What if that offside goal counted?

Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

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Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

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With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.