FlyersRangers

Get your game notes: Flyers at Rangers

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the New York Rangers hosting the Philadelphia Flyers starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

— The Flyers have lost seven straight games at Madison Square Garden, getting outscored by a combined 28-8. All of those meetings were decided in regulation, and all but one was decided by two goals or more. There are only four current Flyers players left from the team that last won at MSG, on Feb. 20, 2011: forwards Claude Giroux & Scott Hartnell and d-men Kimmo Timonen & Braydon Coburn.

— The Rangers have won four straight games, outscoring opponents 17-8 during that span, while the Flyers five-game win streak was just snapped in a 3-2 loss to the Kings on Monday. Philadelphia is scoring 3.50 goals/game in its last six and allowing 1.83 goals/game.

— Claude Giroux has recorded 54 points (19G-35A) in his last 41 games dating back to December 11; he is 5th in the NHL with 74 points this season. Giroux, however, has not scored a goal at MSG since that February 20th game in 2011 – 0G-2A during the Flyers’ seven-game skid in New York – and has nine points (all assists) in his last nine overall games vs. the Rangers.

  • Giroux has five goals and 12 assists in 11 games in the month of March.
  • The Flyers are 18-2-1 when Giroux scores a goal, 31-12-3 when he registers at least one point.

— Martin St. Louis has three points (all assists) in his 11 games as a Ranger. His 29 goals, 64 points on the season are more than any other Ranger has on the year. St. Louis last found the back of the net on March 1 at Dallas (playing for Tampa Bay) when he scored twice. His current 11-game goal drought is his longest since going goalless in 13 straight from Dec. 23, 2011-Jan. 20, 2012. St. Louis, 15G-43A in 44 GP vs. PHI, is averaging 1.32 pts./game in his career against the Flyers, his second-highest average against any team (1.45 pts./game vs. Vancouver).

— The Flyers are the most penalized team in the league (1,069 PIM) and have the most PK time in the NHL (484:39). They rank 6th in the league in PK at 84.8%, 10th in PP at 19.6% (1,006 PIM against – most in NHL). Philly has gone 24/25 on the penalty kill and 5/23 on the power play in its last six games.

  • New York is 29/31 on the penalty kill in their last 11 games and 3/33 on the power play.

— Ryan McDonagh has 2G-4A during his four-game point streak. The fourth-year Ranger defenseman has 13 goals (t-6th in NHL among D-men) and 29 assists (both career highs) this season. He has tallied 12 points (5G-7A) in his last 12 games; his 42 points are 4th on the team.

— New York has played better on the road this season (23-13-0) than on home ice (17-16-4) & are one of three teams (DET, LA) currently in playoff spots with a higher pt. % on the road than at home. The Rangers have the fewest points at home this season (34) out of the 16 teams currently in a playoff spot.

— Philadelphia has four players with 20 or more goals this season – Giroux (24), Simmonds (24), Jakub Voracek (20), Matt Read (20). New York has only two, and in practical terms, only one: Rick Nash (23) and St. Louis, but all 29 of his goals came with Tampa Bay.

Report: Coyotes arena financing plan in trouble

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 09:  Fans line up outside of Gila River Arena before the NHL game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Winnipeg Jets on October 9, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Jets defeated the Coyotes 6-2.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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More bad news for the Arizona Coyotes in their quest to build a new arena and remain in the Phoenix area.

From the Arizona Republic:

A plan that would provide $225 million in public financing for a new $395 million Arizona Coyotes arena likely does not have the votes to pass the state Senate, key lawmakers told The Arizona Republic/azcentral Thursday.

Sens. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, and John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, said they definitely were going to vote against the plan, while Minority Leader Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix, said there is little support among the chamber’s 13 Democrats. Meanwhile, Senate President Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, said he had “serious reservations” about the plan that would allow the National Hockey League team to build an arena in downtown Phoenix or the East Valley.

It would take at least 16 votes to pass Senate Bill 1149 in the GOP-controlled Senate, where Republicans have a 17-13 advantage. Statements from those lawmakers make it appear unlikely that there is enough support to move the plan to the House.

A vote before the full Senate could occur next week.

The financing plan is being championed by Sen. Bob Worsley, a Republican.

“I’m not a hockey fan but I’m a business guy and I want to save any business of this magnitude from leaving and impacting thousands of jobs,” Worsley said earlier this month, per Arizona Sports. “We would go out of our way in the Legislature to see what we could do if there was a company considering leaving so it’s appropriate to say, ‘what can we do to help?’”

In light of today’s news, Worsley’s words do not bode well for the Coyotes, who have no intention of remaining in Glendale long term.

The team, still holding out hope, told the Republic, “There are a lot of moving parts in this legislative process and everything is malleable and open for discussion until the very end. We will continue to educate lawmakers about a complex project that creates a true public-private partnership and offers the Coyotes an economically viable solution to remain in the Valley for the long term.”

Related: Coyotes still ‘pretty confident’ of finding an arena solution

Weather forecast looks good for Penguins-Flyers

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 01:  Fireworks go off before the start of the 2011 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals at Heinz Field on January 1, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Pittsburgh set a new weather record today, with temperatures reaching a summer-like 76 degrees.

But it’s supposed to cool down considerably tomorrow, with only a chance of showers during the day — good news with the Penguins and Flyers set to play outdoors at Heinz Field.

Game time tomorrow is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET (on NBC).

“It’ll be fun, and what the weather is, because it’s unpredictable, is one of the great intriguing parts of putting on these games,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a radio interview, per the Post-Gazette.

The last time the Penguins played outdoors at Heinz Field, in the 2011 Winter Classic, the threat of rain forced the start time from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Tomorrow’s forecast from The Weather Network:

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Related: How to watch and stream Penguins-Flyers outdoor game

Blues extend Berglund — five years, $19.25 million

Patrik Berglund
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Just a few hours ago, we passed along reports that St. Louis was in extension talks with longtime forward Patrik Berglund.

Now, the deal’s done.

Per the Post-Dispatch, Berglund has signed a five-year extension worth $19.25 million. It’s a $3.85M average annual cap hit, up slightly from the $3.7M he’s making on his current deal.

Berglund, 28, was a pending UFA but made it clear he wanted to stick in St. Louis.

“I would like to still be a Blue,” Berglund said earlier this week, per the Post-Dispatch. “I think everybody in here and upstairs knows that I want to be a Blue, too.”

Berglund has spent his entire nine-year career in St. Louis, emerging as versatile forward that can play the middle or wing. He’s also found the back of the net 17 times this season, and is flirting with matching or surpassing the career-high 22 he scored back in ’10-11.

It’s a fair bit of term and financial commitment for the veteran Swede, who hasn’t cracked 40 points in six years. And there’s reason to suggest Blues fans might be irate dollars are being committed here, rather than in an effort to retain Kevin Shattenkirk.

That said, it’s not entirely surprising GM Doug Armstrong opted to retain Berglund. The Blues have undergone major changes over the last few seasons, jettisoning veterans like Barret Jackman, T.J. Oshie, Troy Brouwer, Brian Elliott and longtime captain David Backes.

With this new deal, Berglund will be in St. Louis through 2022. The only player signed on longer than that is Vladimir Tarasenko.

With this contract inked, attention will almost entirely focus on Shattenkirk. The pending UFA d-man is believed to be on his way out by the Mar. 1 trade deadline.

Habs need to ‘find their confidence,’ and they need to find it soon

Montreal Canadiens coach Claude Julien watches from the bench during the team's NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, in Montreal. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
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All of a sudden the Montreal Canadiens aren’t such a sure thing to make the playoffs.

According to Sports Club Stats, a record of 8-10-3 in their final 21 games would put them in the danger zone. And the way things have been going, you can’t rule it out.

Last night, the Habs dropped a 3-0 decision to the Islanders at Bell Centre. They’re now 7-12-2 in their last 21, and 1-2-0 since Claude Julien took over as head coach from Michel Therrien.

It wasn’t a very fun night for the home team.

From the Montreal Gazette:

The boos started with about five minutes remaining in Thursday night’s game between the Canadiens and the New York Islanders, and they would have been louder if many fans hadn’t already made a beeline for the Bell Centre exits before John Tavares’s empty-net goal put an exclamation point on the Islanders’ 3-0 victory.

Captain Max Pacioretty said he wasn’t surprised by the fans’ negative reaction.

“We haven’t played good enough,” Pacioretty said after the Canadiens’ home record in February dropped to 0-4-1. “They pay good money to come watch us play and they deserve better.”

This morning, Julien juggled the lines at practice, hoping to find some more potent combinations ahead of Saturday’s big game in Toronto. He told reporters afterwards that the team has been better defensively, but now it’s time for the offense to improve.

“I think one of the big issues is probably our neutral zone transition, which hasn’t been very good,” Julien said. “It’s gotta be quick, you gotta have some support, and then you want to cross that blue line with some speed. Teams are going to stand you up; you gotta be able to retrieve those loose pucks.”

He then added, “Our transition game is important, but also the confidence of the players. They need to find their confidence to score goals. Today, we did some drills where they had outnumbered situations and they were able to score some goals.”

The mental state of the Canadiens will certainly be worth monitoring. As everyone knows, Montreal is not an easy market when things are going poorly. Last year’s collapse demonstrated that rather well.

“The more we talk about it, the more fragile we’ll be,” Pacioretty said. “At the end of the day, we’re playing hockey and we’ve played it all our lives. Guys have to find it. I don’t think excuses are possible now, guys just have to find their game.”