Nathan MacKinnon

Get your game notes: Avalanche at Wild

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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.

source:

WATCH LIVE: Stanley Cup Final Game 1 – Sharks at Penguins

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 30:  Pittsburgh Penguins fans sit outside of Consol Energy Center prior to Game One of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the San Jose Sharks on May 30, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The wait is finally over. The 2016 Stanley Cup Final is about to begin.

Both the Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks received some time to lick their wounds after three grueling playoff rounds, so expect Game 1 to be fun, even if there might be a subtle bit of rust here or there.

The star power is considerable. The beards are burly (at least on the Sharks’ side). It’s time to get cracking.

Game 1 airs on NBC. You can also stream it via the link below and enjoy some “NHL Live” coverage leading in.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Vlasic on the unenviable task of matching up against Crosby

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 21:  Marc-Edouard Vlasic #44 and Sidney Crosby #87 of Canada look on during the Men's Ice Hockey Semifinal Playoff against the United States on Day 14 of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 21, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
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Plenty of people believe that the San Jose Sharks’ defense is superior to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ personnel, but it’s one thing to be better on paper. When you’re on the ice, against a speedy and talented team, can you really stop the Penguins?

All signs point to sorely underrated Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic drawing the difficult assignment of trying to slow down Sidney Crosby.

Vlasic, a former Team Canada teammate of Crosby (as you can see from this post’s main image), realizes that he’ll have his hands full. In fact, he seems to believe that this will be an even tougher challenge than trying to solve St. Louis Blues sniper Vladimir Tarasenko.

The fantastic all-around defender isn’t exactly expecting to reinvent the wheel in his strategy against Crosby.

“It will be the same as in the first three series,” Vlasic said, via The Hockey News. “We’re playing against the top players on every time – Sid, (Evgeni) Malkin and those types of guys for Pittsburgh. Me and (Justin Braun) will just keep doing what we did, taking away time and space and hopefully it works out.”

The two players have had glowing things to say about each other for some time, but don’t be surprised if this high-level competition turns those happy thoughts into hard feelings.

It stands as one of the matchups to watch in what could be a fresh and fascinating Stanley Cup Final.

Red Wings look to future in net … a future possibly without Howard

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 07:  Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings makes a save against the Boston Bruins during the first period at TD Garden on April 7, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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This summer looks like it could be one of changes for the Detroit Red Wings, even beyond the most obvious storyline of Pavel Datsyuk‘s future.

One area where the Red Wings would like to make some tweaks is in net, namely in trading Jimmy Howard. The Detroit Free-Press points out that GM Ken Holland admitted that moving the former franchise netminder “might be good for the organization.”

It’s reasonable to wonder what kind of market there will be for Howard, whose deal ($5.29 million cap hit through 2018-19) looks pretty tough to stomach on paper.

Maybe it’s best to consider the Red Wings’ options if Howard starts the 2016-17 season off on a strong note, or something of that nature. Perhaps an expansion draft could “solve” that problem if Detroit cannot find any takers?

The Red Wings remain forward-thinking and patient, which likely explains why the Free-Press focuses on their confidence with prospect Jared Coreau.

“In the big scheme of things, he’ll play in Grand Rapids for another year, but now we know he can play a lot of minutes if needed,” Goalie coach Jeff Salajko said. “Jimmy Howard played four years in the minors. We’re not rushing Jared, but he is going to be an NHL goalie, there is no doubt in my mind about that.”

In other words, a pairing of Petr Mrazek and Coreau wouldn’t just be a cost-effective duo … it might just be the Red Wings’ ideal scenario in the not-too-distant future.

Stanley Cup Final referees: McCauley, O’Halloran, O’Rourke, Sutherland

BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 13:  Referee Dan O'Halloran #13 holds up a face-off between the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators during their NHL game at First Niagara Center on December 13, 2011 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Dave Sandford Getty Images)
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From the NHL:

refs

Pretty veteran crew, including three returnees from last year’s final.

Per the NHL, O’Halloran and O’Rourke will call tonight’s series opener from Consol.