Dallas Stars v Anaheim Ducks - Game One

Get your game notes: Stars at Ducks

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Anaheim Ducks hosting the Dallas Stars starting at 10 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen made 32 saves in Game 1 (a 4-3 Anaheim victory). The 6’4” Dane became the youngest goaltender (24 years, 196 days) to appear in a playoff game for Anaheim, and only the fourth Ducks goalie to win his NHL postseason debut for the Ducks, following Guy Hebert (1997), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (2003) and current back-up Jonas Hiller (2009).

• In Game 1, Jamie Benn, making his NHL postseason debut after five seasons and 344 regular-season games, scored the Stars’ first postseason goal since May 19, 2008. Before Benn’s goal, only Edmonton (June 19, 2006) and Winnipeg (Apr. 18, 2007) had gone longer than Dallas without a playoff goal.

• Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, the NHL’s second-leading scorer during the regular season (87 points) had one goal and one assist in the series opener before leaving the game with 16.3 seconds left after getting hit in the face with a slapshot. (X-rays came up negative, and he is expected to play in Game 2.) The Ducks improved to 15-1 in the playoffs when their captain has at least one goal and one assist. That lone loss came vs. Ottawa in Game 3 of the 2007 Stanley Cup Final, won by Anaheim in five games.

• In Game 1, Ducks winger Teemu Selanne (43 years, 287 days) became the oldest player to appear in a Stanley Cup Playoffs game since Chris Chelios in 2009. The “Finnish Flash” registered a power-play assist on the eventual game-winning goal by Matt Beleskey in the second period. Elias Sports Bureau

• In his first postseason start since Game 3 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals (with the Atlanta Thrashers), Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen fell to 0-3 in three career postseason starts, with a 5.08 GAA and .861 save%. The Finnish goalie, who led the NHL this season with 65 appearances, has not lost back-to-back starts (regulation or overtime/shootout) since Jan. 18-20. Since that date, he is 6-0-0 in his first start after a loss (personal, not team), with a 2.14 GAA and .919 save%.

• Ducks winger Corey Perry, the NHL’s second-leading goal scorer during the regular season (43 goals), has zero goals in his last 10 playoff games, dating back to the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals vs. Nashville. His last postseason goal came in Game 4 (Apr. 20) of that series, when he scored shorthanded on Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne.

• This season, the Ducks ranked 22nd in the NHL in power-play efficiency (16.0%), just ahead of the Stars (23rd, at 15.9%), and tallied goals with the man advantage in only 32 of their 82 games (T-3rd fewest in the league). However, they broke out in Game 1 vs. Dallas, going two-for-five on goals by forwards Mathieu Perreault and Matt Beleskey.

Just for Men: Sidney Crosby

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People love star athletes because they can do amazing things. Even so, people also often love to see the occasional moment of weakness.

Aside from the occasional injury hiccup, Sidney Crosby‘s been as advertised after being a super-hyped No. 1 overall pick. He has that “Golden Goal,” two Olympic gold medals, a Stanley Cup ring and plenty of individual accolades.

… Yet he can’t really grow much of a beard.

Granted, his facial hair is thicker now that he’s “Sid the star nearing 30” rather than “Sid the Kid,” but no one will confuse him for Brent Burns and his living-in-a-cabin-in-the-woods beard.

For some, especially Crosby-haters, it’s fodder for mockery.

For the rest of us, it’s merely comforting to see that people like Crosby are human and actually have a few flaws.

Game 5 will be ‘the most important game of our lives,’ says Caps’ Beagle

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Not many people expected the Capitals-Penguins series to be over in five games, but there’s a chance that could happen before the end of the week. After their 3-2 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, the Capitals are one loss away from being bounced from the 2016 playoffs.

The Capitals failed to take advantage of the fact that Kris Letang was suspended for Game 4 because of his hit on Marcus Johansson in Game 3. Letang is now set to return for Game 5 which makes Washington’s task even more difficult.

“We didn’t take advantage of it,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said, per NHL.com. “One thing I said to the guys coming into this, and we talked it about it yesterday, was when Kris got his suspension, is that they’re going to rally. Their whole team, their forwards are going to come back. They talked about they didn’t play their best game (in Game 3) and now they have Letang out and everybody had to step up on their side, and I thought they did.”

If you look back at the regular season, the Capitals were head and shoulders above the rest of the Eastern Conference and the league for a good portion of the season. Washington finished 11 points ahead of second place Dallas in the league standings and it looked like they had the team that would finally take them over the hump.

Although things look gloomy, it’s important to realize that the series is far from over. Many NHLers would tell you that the fourth win is always the hardest to come by in a best-of-seven series, and by no means is anyone expecting the Capitals to wave the white flag.

“Whenever you lose a game, it’s obviously an opportunity missed, but it had nothing to do with them missing some of their players,” said Caps forward Jay Beagle, per NHL.com. “We’re looking forward. Our back’s against the wall and the most important game of our lives is coming up.”

Game 5 goes Saturday night in Washington.

PHT Morning Skate: Shane Doan takes a (friendly) shot at the Miracle on Ice

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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.

Shane Doan took a friendly jab at the the movie “Miracle” and the Miracle on Ice. (BarDown)

–The best of the worst Upper Deck hockey cards from 2015-16. (Puck Junk)

–Here’s a list of the top 50 players in WHL history. (WHL)

–Watch the highlights of last night’s game between the Penguins and Capitals. (Top)

–A sad story about how Chris Phillips feels helpless as his hometown of Fort McMurray burns. (CBC)

–“You want to get back into things right away (but) I think these last four or five months have been good for me.” Former Penguins coach Mike Johnston is ready to coach again. (Local XPress)

–Blues forward Jori Lehtera is in a pretty random commercial:

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.