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.