Jakub Voracek, Henrik Lundqvist

Get your game notes: Flyers at Rangers

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

• The Flyers and Rangers face off tonight in their first playoff meeting since the 1997 Eastern Conference Final, which Philadelphia won in five games before being swept by Detroit for the Stanley Cup. The Flyers hold a 27-20 edge in games and 6-4 lead in series; the Rangers’ last series victory over Philadelphia came in the 1986 Patrick Division semifinals (they are 0-3 since).

• This series features two teams that qualified for the playoffs after dreadful starts to the season. The Flyers went through an in-season coaching change, installing Craig Berube to replace Peter Laviolette after the team lost its first three games of the season. The Rangers, in their first year under coach Alain Vigneault, played their season’s first nine games on the road while Madison Square Garden completed a three-year renovation project.

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• Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who signed a seven-year, $59.5 million contract extension in December, experienced a rough first half of the 2013-14 season (through Jan. 6), but picked it up substantially in the second half (Jan. 8 until the end of the season).

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• Lundqvist, who surpassed Mike Richter as the Rangers’ all-time leader in regular-season wins on Mar. 18, has not yet matched the career postseason prowess of Richter, who backstopped the Rangers to the 1994 Stanley Cup.

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• Flyers captain Claude Giroux went the first 15 games this season without scoring a goal (he had seven assists during that span). Giroux then scored 28 goals in his next 67 games and finished with 86 points (28-58=86), third in the league. In four postseasons with the Flyers, Giroux has 55 points (21-34=55), 11th on the franchise’s all-time list; three more points and he’ll pass Eric Lindros (24-33=57) for 10th.

• Rangers winger Rick Nash has led his team in goals in each of his two seasons in New York, since arriving in a trade from Columbus on July 23, 2012. Of Nash’s team-leading 21 goals in 44 games in 2012-13, 13 were scored in the third period; in 2013-14, Nash scored only seven of his 26 goals (65 games) in the third.

• Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds set career highs this season with 29 goals and 60 points. Since arriving in Philadelphia with Brayden Schenn in the June 23, 2011 trade that sent Mike Richards (then the Flyers’ captain) to Los Angeles, Simmonds has scored a team-best 72 goals for the Flyers – 32 of them on the power play.

PHT Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby eyes more history

TAMPA, FL - MAY 24:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins looks to face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Bob McKenzie shares his memories of Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie, who apparently was a big hockey fan. (TSN)

Don Cherry discusses John Brophy’s toughness after the former Leafs coach recently passed away. (Sportsnet)

 

A look at Vincent Lecavalier‘s career. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

The perils of flip-flopping goalies in the playoffs … although it worked out for the Penguins at least last night. (The Hockey News)

Speaking of which, will the Blues get burned for switching back to Brian Elliott in Game 6 tonight? Here’s a preview:

Sidney Crosby has a chance to join a very rare club of clutch goal-scorers if he can win it for Pittsburgh in Game 7:

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.