Get your game notes: Penguins at Blue Jackets

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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.

Bolts close gap on struggling Bruins in playoff race

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Well, that was quite a third period.

For the Boston Bruins, it was disastrous. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it propelled them to a critical victory in the playoff race.

Nikita Kucherov completed the hat trick with a pair of goals in the final period and Jonathan Drouin scored what would eventually be the winner, as Tampa Bay snapped its own three-game losing streak in a 6-3 victory, putting the Bolts within three points of the final wild card spot — held by the Bruins — in the Eastern Conference.

The Drouin goal — his 18th of the season but first since Feb. 19, a span of 13 games — is probably one Tuukka Rask would like back.

Drouin teed up the slap shot from the faceoff circle, beating Rask under the left arm.

And just like that, the Bruins have lost four consecutive games. On Saturday, they face the New York Islanders, another team looking to catch Boston in the wild card race.

Read more: Remember this stretch if Bruins settle for a wild card spot (or worse?)

The Islanders are only two points back of Boston.

Despite the win, there was bad news for the Lightning during this game, as defenseman Jason Garrison left with an injury.

From NHL.com:

The play occurred behind the Lightning goal, Garrison appearing to get his left leg rolled up from behind by a Bruin. Garrison had to be helped off the ice by Anton Stralman and Brayden Point and headed back to the Bolts’ locker room.

The team announced during the second intermission that Garrison sustained a lower-body injury. He did not return to the game.

Video: Ovechkin rocks custom skates for Russian Heritage Night

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As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.

On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.

He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.

From CSN Mid-Atlantic:

The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.

Video: Crosby slash leaves Methot’s finger bloodied and injured (Updated)

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Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.

He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.

The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.

There was no call on the play.

Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.

Show me the money! Nylander sets Leafs rookie record with latest assist

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Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.

Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.

That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus:

Not bad.