Alex Steen

Get your game notes: Flyers at Blues

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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.)

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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.

Report: Sens protesting Kings goal after clock issue

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 10:  Trevor Lewis #22 of the Los Angeles Kings scores a goal on Mike Condon #1 of the Ottawa Senators to take a 3-2 lead as Marc Methot #3 and Anze Kopitar #11 react during the second period at Staples Center on December 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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There was more than one controversial moment during Saturday’s game between the L.A. Kings and Ottawa Senators.

Sens defenseman Mark Borowiecki was given a major penalty for slamming Tyler Toffoli from behind into the boards, causing the Kings forward to undergo the league’s concussion protocol before he eventually returned to the game.

Later in the evening, there was a report from Darren Dreger of TSN that the Senators are protesting the Kings’ third goal of the game, which came with two seconds left in the second period. It was a pivotal moment in the game, as L.A. took a two-goal lead into the third period, before eventually winning 4-1.

Senators coach Guy Boucher didn’t place blame on a clock issue, but instead he put the onus on his team to not get scored on in that situation late in the period.

From LA Kings Insider:

“I’ll be honest with you, at that point for us we’ve just got to shut it down. We keep it at 1, it wasn’t about getting a goal there it was about getting off the ice. We had done the job in the second period, we had looked very good, we had the momentum, we needed to get into the third period with a one-goal lead. We’ve done it so many times this year coming back so I was confident we could come back, so no. I’m not looking at clocks, I’m not looking at penalties, I’m looking at ourselves just doing better.

The Kings now begin a stretch of nine games away from home. They play seven of those games before the holiday break, before resuming the trip on Dec. 28 versus the Canucks. The trip ends the following night in Edmonton.

Video: Unlikely combatants Kucherov and Daley drop the gloves

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Emotions were running high at times during the first period between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, in a rematch of the 2016 Eastern Conference Final.

Unlikely combatants Nikita Kucherov and Trevor Daley dropped the gloves for a spirited scrap early in the first period, after the two got tangled up in front of the Pittsburgh goal.

It’s been an ugly (or disastrous) start for the Avalanche in Montreal

Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar, top, and his team react during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks in Chicago, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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Welcome back, Gabriel Landeskog!

Congratulations on game No. 1,500, Jarome Iginla!

Those are sentiments you probably won’t be hearing from the Colorado Avalanche later on Saturday evening. Yes, they did get their captain back in the lineup from injury. Yes, Iginla was playing in the milestone 1,500th game of his NHL career — certainly an impressive feat in a day when the game is getting younger and getting quicker.

But then, the puck dropped and it all went down the drain for the Avalanche in the opening period. Actually, the opening 10 minutes. Facing the Montreal Canadiens, the Avs found themselves down 5-0 by the 8:41 mark. Of the first period.

Right?

Brian Flynn started the onslaught. Paul Byron got the Habs’ fifth goal.

Shots were at one point 13-2 for Montreal. Perhaps most concerning? This disastrous showing follows Matt Duchene calling out his team for a recent loss and, previous to that, coach Jared Bednar ripping the team for a lack of intensity.

Calvin Pickard got the start in net for Colorado, but he was pulled after giving up three goals on 10 shots. Semyon Varlamov entered the game and quickly allowed two goals on the first three shots he faced.

Hey, remember in November when the Habs lost 10-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets? Well, Montreal was halfway to double digits on Saturday, and the first period wasn’t even at the halfway mark.

As of the completion of this post, Montreal was up 6-0. With 5:30 remaining in the first period.

Video: Borowiecki slams Toffoli from behind into the boards

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Tyler Toffoli reportedly went through the concussion protocol for a portion of Saturday’s game against the Senators, after Ottawa defenseman Mark Borowiecki slammed the L.A. Kings forward from behind into the boards.

The incident occurred less than three minutes into the game.

Borowiecki was given a major penalty for boarding. He received another major, this time for fighting, later in the period after him and Matt Greene dropped the gloves. Now the question becomes: Will Borowiecki face supplemental discipline?

Toffoli missed the remainder of the first period, but returned for the second.

The Kings went on to win by a final score of 4-1.