Get your game notes: Penguins at Blue Jackets


Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Columbus Blue Jackets hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins starting at 7 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• The winning team in the Pittsburgh-Columbus series has come back from a 3-1 deficit in all three games. In Game 3,
the Penguins and Blue Jackets became the first teams in NHL history to play three consecutive games in one playoff
year – in one series or spanning two series – with the winning team having overcome a deficit of two or more goals in each game. (Elias Sports Bureau)

• In Game 3, Penguins center Evgeni Malkin became the sixth player in Penguins history to register 100 career postseason points when he assisted on Jussi Jokinen’s game-winning goal. Malkin was the fourth-fastest Pens player to reach that milestone, needing 86 playoff games. (Elias Sports Bureau)

• Four of the most prolific offensive players on the Penguins team, Sidney Crosby, Malkin, James Neal and Kris Letang have a combined zero goals this series. This prolongs a collective postseason goal drought by the quartet that goes back to Game 5 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinal series vs. Ottawa. The four notoriously went without a goal or assist in the Eastern Conference Final vs. Boston.

• The Blue Jackets have registered 164 hits through three games (54.7/game), second-most among all teams this postseason (Los Angeles – 169). Of the 12 players league-wide with 16 or more hits, four are on Columbus: Brandon Dubinsky (22 – most in the NHL), Derek MacKenzie (18), Blake Comeau (17) and Boone Jenner (16).

• Penguins defenseman Paul Martin has recorded two assists in each of the first three games of this series. Martin, who is tied for the NHL lead with six assists (with Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon), became the first Penguins player to record three consecutive multi-assist playoff games since Hockey Hall of Famer Paul Coffey did so in four straight contests in April 1989. (Elias Sports Bureau)

• Almost half (14) of the 33 points the Penguins have registered this series have come from defensemen, led by Martin and Matt Niskanen (four). No other team has more than 11 points from blueliners. The Blue Jackets’ Jack Johnson leads all defensemen with three goals, one in each game.

• The Penguins are playing in their eighth consecutive best-of-seven series (since 2010) in which they hold home-ice advantage. This series marks the fifth time they’ve split the first two games, and all five times, they’ve won Game 3 on the road. They are 2-2 in the previous Game 4s. Last season, they defeated the N.Y. Islanders 5-4 in overtime in Game 3, then lost Game 4 by a 6-4 count.

• The Penguins, who tied Washington for the NHL lead in power-play efficiency (23.4 percent) during the regular season, lead all postseason teams with 17 power-play opportunities. They have scored on three of those opportunities, but have also allowed an NHL-high two shorthanded goals to the Blue Jackets.

Kings GM says Mike Richards went into ‘a destructive spiral’

Mike Richards

The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.

Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.

Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.

“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”

Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:

  • He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
  • Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
  • The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.

… Yeah.

Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.

Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?

Coyotes exploit another lousy outing from Quick

Jonathan Quick
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Despite owning two Stanley Cup rings, there are a healthy number of people who aren’t wild about Jonathan Quick.

Those people might feel validated through the Los Angeles Kings’ first two games, as he followed a rough loss to the San Jose Sharks with a true stinker against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.

Sometimes a goalie has a bad night stats-wise, yet his team is as much to blame as anything else. You can probably pin this one on Quick, who allowed four goals on just 14 shots through the first two periods.

Things died down in the final frame, but let’s face it; slowing things down is absolutely the Coyotes’ design with a 4-1 lead (which ultimately resulted in a 4-1 win).


A soft 1-0 goal turned out to be a sign of things to come:

Many expected the Kings to roar into this second game after laying an egg in their opener. Instead, the Coyotes exploited Quick’s struggles for a confidence-booster, which included key prospect Max Domi scoring a goal and an assist.

It’s worth mentioning that Mike Smith looked downright fantastic at times, only drawing more attention to Quick’s struggles.


After a troubled summer and a failed 2014-15 season, Los Angeles was likely eager to start things off the right way.

Instead, they instead will likely focus on the fact that they merely dropped two (ugly) games.