Nathan MacKinnon

Get your game notes: Avalanche at Wild


Tonight on CNBC, it’s the Minnesota Wild hosting the Colorado Avalanche at 9 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

— Avalanche rookie Nathan MacKinnon netted the game-winner in overtime and recorded two assists Saturday to bring his postseason point total to 10, which leads the league. His 10 points are also the most by a teenager in his first playoff series in the Expansion Era. All 10 of MacKinnon’s playoff points have come at the Pepsi Center. The 18-year-old Canadian forward is also the second-youngest player in NHL history to score an overtime goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Youngest players to score OT goal, postseason history

1. Don Gallinger (BOS): 17 years, 339 days vs. MTL on March 21, 1943
2. Nathan MacKinnon (COL): 18 years, 237 days vs. MIN on April 26, 2014
3. Patrice Bergeron (BOS): 18 years, 260 days vs. MTL on April 9, 2004
4. Jaromir Jagr (PIT): 19 years, 49 days vs. NJ on April 5, 1991
5. Ryan O’Reilly (COL): 19 years, 70 days vs. SJ on April 18, 2010
Elias Sports Bureau

— Four of five games in the Colorado-Minnesota series have been decided by one goal. (The fifth, Game 2, was a one-goal game until the Avs got an empty-net goal with 15 seconds left). The Avalanche and Wild have now contested 13 one-goal games in their 18 all-time playoff meetings, including 12 of their last 14 matchups. The team that has scored first in the last 10 one-goal games has won seven times.

— Wild forward Zach Parise has a point in every game this series, and his six points (1-5) lead Minnesota this postseason. The 29-year-old has 16 points (6-10) in his last 14 games, dating back to the regular season. Wild defenseman Ryan Suter is set to play in his 50th career playoff game tonight. In Game 5, he had a game-high five blocked shots and 31:31 TOI. Suter leads all skaters in TOI/game this postseason (30:30).

— Avalanche forward Matt Duchene, who led the team in scoring during the regular season (70 pts) but has yet to appear this postseason, participated in Sunday’s optional skate and Monday’s morning skate. The Denver Post reported Sunday night that he is likely to make his 2014 postseason debut tonight, while the Avalanche tweeted today that he will be a game-time decision. Duchene has been out of the lineup since he sprained his left MCL March 31 when he collided with teammate Jamie McGinn just 32 seconds into their regular season game against the San Jose Sharks. Avs coach Patrick Roy said Sunday that if Duchene is cleared to play, he will start on the fourth line and be used primarily on the power play. Duchene has eight points (2G, 6A) in his last 10 games against Minnesota, dating back to the 2013 season.

— Roy pulled goaltender Semyon Varlamov (for an extra attacker) for the third time this series in Game 5, and for the second time it eventually resulted in a win.


‘It was a scary incident’: Colaiacovo returns to Sabres practice after dented trachea

Carlo Colaiacovo
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Carlo Colaiacovo‘s remarkably quick recovery from what appeared to be a serious injury continued on Monday, as he returned to practice roughly 48 hours after suffering a dented trachea.

Colaicovo, who was hospitalized after taking a Viktor Arvidsson cross-check to the throat on Saturday, skated with his Buffalo teammates on Monday in advance of tomorrow’s game against Detroit.

“I feel good,” Colaiacovo said, per the Sabres’ website. “Obviously it was a scary incident and at the time it was pretty painful but it is what it is.

“Right now, it’s not really stopping me from doing much.”

Though he said he’s still feeling pain in and around his throat, Colaiacovo is eligible to return to the Sabres’ lineup tomorrow.

The 32-year-old, who has appeared in 15 games this season, would no doubt like to go up against the same Detroit team that employed him during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, only to buy out his contract at the end of the year.

Couture (fractured fibula) continues skating with Sharks, says return is on schedule

Logan Couture
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Some good news at Sharks practice today — Logan Couture continued to skate with teammates, just one week after returning to the ice from a broken leg suffered on Oct. 17.

What’s more, Couture says he’s on schedule to meet the 4-6 week timetable for return.

“[I’m] where I thought I would be at this point in time,” Couture said, per CSN Bay Area.

While the 26-year-old wouldn’t put an exact date on his return, it’s clear both he and the Sharks are anxious for him to get back in the lineup — especially with the club surging, and Couture having only played in three regular-season contests this year.

Looking ahead, there are some dates worth circling on the ol’ calendar.

The Sharks have a relatively light week. After beating Calgary 5-2 on Saturday, they play just once in five days — Tuesday’s home tilt against the Penguins — before a weekend back-to-back set against the Ducks on Friday and Lightning on Saturday.

The Ducks game is in Anaheim, but the following night’s contest against the Bolts is at the friendly confines of SAP. So that could be a potential date to watch for — but it is worth noting Couture said he’s still hesitant about getting into game action until his first step is back.

“Until then, I’m not going to force my way out there and put myself in a bad spot,” he explained.

Kesler believes Ducks are ‘too good to not be in the playoffs’

Shane Doan, Ryan Kesler

It’s been 24 games for the Anaheim Ducks, more than a quarter of the season, and still they’re having trouble winning.

Friday against Chicago, they surrendered two goals in the last two minutes of regulation and lost in overtime.

Currently, the Ducks sit five points out of a playoff spot with a record of 8-11-5.

Still, forward Ryan Kesler is confident they’ll find a way into the postseason.

“If we keep playing like we are, we’re going to get into the playoffs — this team is too good to not be in the playoffs,” Kesler told The Province ahead of tonight’s home game versus Vancouver.

“We had a bad start and, to be honest, some guys weren’t ready to start the season. There’s a lot of hockey to be played and we’re ready for the challenge.”

To match the 45-30-7 record the Flames squeaked into the playoffs with last year, the Ducks would need to go 37-19-2 over their next 58 games.




Depends who you ask.

Anaheim’s playoff chances will depend a lot on how Pacific Division teams like San Jose, Arizona, and Vancouver finish. The Ducks may need to leapfrog two of those three to get in.

Yes, there’s always the chance four teams from the Pacific qualify, because it’s not like Colorado, Winnipeg, and Minnesota don’t have their problems. Even Nashville you have to wonder about lately. Heck, even Chicago isn’t assured of anything yet.

Bottom line, though, the Ducks have dug themselves a hole, and it’s starting to look a lot like the one the Kings dug last year.

In the NHL, even good teams don’t always climb out.

Related: Boudreau does the playoff math, and it’s no ‘easy task’ for Ducks

Video: Ryan Suter doesn’t seem very happy with his coach


As you can see in the video, apparently Ryan Suter doesn’t like being paired with fellow lefty Jonas Brodin.

The Wild defenseman rather openly questioned the coaching staff’s decision-making today after practice.

“Yeah, I don’t know what they’re thinking,” said Suter. “I need to play with a right-handed defenseman. To give me more options. Neutral zone. Offensively. And even coming out of the D zone, it’s not fair to put a guy on his off side.”

Suter didn’t know if the pairings were just for practice or not. The Wild play tomorrow in Chicago. Minnesota has just one win in its last seven games.

Suter also had something to say about that.

“It does no good to pout and get pissed off at each other,” said Suter. “You’ve got to come together and dig out of this. Now’s when you need leadership more than ever. It’s easy to be a coach and a leader when things are going good.”

Yeo, by the way, has not been very happy with the Wild lately.  In fact, one could go so far as to say he’s been acting pretty “pissed off.”

For example, at today’s practice:

The Star Tribune has more on what went down today.

Yeo, you may recall, went a little “nuts” during a Wild practice last season.