Get your game notes: Flyers at Blues

3 Comments

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the St. Louis Blues hosting the Philadelphia Flyers starting at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• St. Louis is 10 points away from its second division title in the last three seasons (2011-12) after not having won one since 1999-2000. The Blues need eight points in their final eight games for a franchise-record 115, surpassing their mark of 114 in ’99-00. They currently sit three points behind Boston for the Presidents’ Trophy, an award the franchise only won once, in that 1999-2000 season. That season, the Blues were upset in the Western Conference Quarterfinals by San Jose in seven games.

• Tonight’s game pits nine 20-goal scorers (plus another on injured reserve – Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko) from this season, five on each team. The Flyers and Blues are two of the three NHL teams with five or more 20-goal scorers. (Colorado is the other, also with five.)

source:

The Blues’ balanced attack also includes five players with 50+ points: Steen, Oshie – 60, Backes – 56, Schwartz – 53, Alex Pietrangelo – 50. Chicago, Colorado and Pittsburgh are the only other teams with that many (all with five).

• In the last three games, the Blues top line of LW Steen (three goals, three assists) – C Backes (three goals, three assists) – RW Oshie (four goals, two assists) has combined for 18 points. Steen, with a career-high 33 goals this season, is tied for second in the league in game-winning goals (nine), behind Montreal’s Max Pacioretty (10). Backes (27 goals, 259 hits) and Boston’s Milan Lucic (21 goals, 232 hits) are the only players in the league with 20+ goals and 230+ hits this season. In his sixth NHL season, Oshie has set career highs in goals (21), assists (39) and points (60).

• Giroux led the NHL in scoring in March with 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) in 13 games, tied for the most points by a Flyers player in any month over the last 12 seasons (Jeff Carter in Dec. 2008; Jakub Voracek in Feb. 2013). The Flyers are 19-2-1 this season when Giroux scores a goal. Elias Sports Bureau

• Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock, who ranks seventh all-time with 655 wins, needs one win to tie his career single-season high for wins, 51 (set with the eventual Stanley Cup champion 1998-99 Dallas Stars). Hitchcock coached the Flyers for three full seasons (2002-04, 2005-06), helping them to three 100+ point seasons and an Eastern Conference Final berth in 2004, before getting fired eight games into the 2006-07 season.

• On Sunday, Flyers forward Vincent Lecavalier scored his 400th and 401st career NHL goals in a 4-3 shootout loss to Boston. Tonight, he suits up in career NHL game number 1,099. In six career games at Scottrade Arena (all with Tampa Bay), he has no goals and four assists. His team went 2-3-1.

• The Blues are 26-6-4 (.778%) at home this season, second only to Boston (29-7-3, .782%) in home win percentage this season. The Blues are 8-1-2 in their last 11 home games, outscoring their opponents 38-25. The Flyers are 4-1-1 in their last 6 road games, outscoring their opponents 20-16.

• The Blues are 40-2-5 when scoring first and 28-1-3 when leading after the first period, thanks to 67 first-period goals this season (T-5th in the NHL) and a +7 goal differential (67-60). It only gets better for the Blues. They are +30 (79-49) in the second period and +31 (83-52) in the third this season.

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

Leave a comment

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

8 Comments

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

Getty
1 Comment

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

5 Comments

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.