Marc-Andre Fleury, Matt Niskanen

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 at 7 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

— The team that’s scored first has lost all five games in this series. In every other series this postseason, the team that scores first is 26-10. After four straight games in which the team down by two goals came back to win in this series, there was no such comeback Saturday in Game 5, a 3-1 Pittsburgh victory.

— Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury bounced back from Game 4 to help Pittsburgh win Game 5, stopping 23 of Columbus’ 24 shots. Fleury has yet to post back-to-back wins in this series and has only won consecutive playoff games twice in the previous three postseasons (2012 ECQF Game 4 and 5 vs. Philadelphia; 2011 ECQF Game 3 and 4 vs. Tampa Bay).

— Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky faced more shots (190) through the first five games of this postseason than any other goalie. In Game 5, last year’s Vezina Trophy winner faced 50 shots, turning away 48 in the loss. Only Chicago’s Corey Crawford has faced more shots in a single game this postseason — 52, in a 3-OT loss against St. Louis in Game 1. For the Penguins, it was the first time since Game 2 of the 2008 ECQF against Ottawa that they had at least 50 shots in a regulation postseason game. In the second period, the Penguins had 21 shots, matching a franchise playoff record for one frame.

— Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma tweaked his lines in Game 5 in order to feature Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the same line. Although neither was able to snap the longest postseason goal-scoring droughts of their careers — Crosby (10), Malkin (9) — they combined for eight shots, their second-highest total of this series since they had nine in Game 2. Crosby added an assist on Chris Kunitz’s power play goal in the second period Saturday, his fifth assist of the series.

— Of the 32 goals that have been recorded in this series, 15 have come via special teams (46.9% – 11 PPG, 4 SHG), the most of any first-round series. In Game 5, Columbus scored on the power play for the second straight game and in the fourth game overall in this series. Dating back to the regular season, Columbus has scored a power play goal in 13 of its last 16 games. The Blue Jackets are now 6-22 (27.3%) on the power play in the series, the third-best mark in the postseason. Boone Jenner scored the power play goal Saturday, while Ryan Johansen had one of the assists. The two are tied for the team lead in power play points—Jenner (2-2—4), Johansen (2-2—4). Jenner, the 20-year-old Canadian rookie, has a point in each game of this series and 11 points in his last 10 games, dating back to the regular season.

— In the past three games of this series, the winning team has out shot its opponent by 21 or more shots.

source:

 

Sharks grind out win, make life difficult for Kings

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If the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings meet again, it will be in the playoffs. If they do so, the Sharks will hold quite a bit of a recent edge.

They defeated them in the first round of the 2016 playoffs and won the 2016-17 season series with the Kings after beating L.A. in a tight 3-2 affair on Wednesday.

During a week where leads have been flimsy and goals came in flurries, this one started off pretty hot. The Sharks generated a 2-1 lead in the first period, and then the two teams exchanged goals in the second, with Joe Pavelski‘s goal ultimately standing as the game-winner.

The Sharks won after a scoreless third period, keeping them in a position to take back first place in the Pacific Division:

1. Ducks – 59 points in 47 games
2. Oilers – 57 in 47
3. Sharks – 56 in 45

San Jose has an opportunity to make up that ground with its games in hand. The Kings, on the other hand, see their margin of error for a wild card spot dwindling:

Second wild card spot: Kings, 48 points in 45 games

Canucks – 48 in 46
Predators – 47 in 44
Stars – 46 in 46
Jets – 46 in 48

The Sharks made life easier for themselves while making it tougher for the Kings. If that’s the end of their interactions for 2016-17, Sharks fans should be quite happy.

Red Wings rally by Bruins in another game that evokes the Eighties

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Things looked pretty grim for the Detroit Red Wings after the Boston Bruins chased Jared Coreau from the net with a quick 3-0 lead. Maybe the Red Wings took note that this has been a weird, high-scoring week in the NHL, because they rallied back and eventually won 6-5 via a shootout.

To recap the zaniest games of each day from this odd few days of hockey:

Monday: The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Washington Capitals 8-7 in an overtime thriller.

Tuesday: The Dallas Stars managed to hold off the New York Rangers in a 7-6 victory. Plenty of weird things happened beyond all of those goals.

Wednesday: Red Wings storm back from that 3-0 deficit to eventually win.

Games like these can be a nightmare for coaches and goalies on both sides, yet Claude Julien was probably especially steamed by this one.

The Bruins were up 3-0, 4-1 and 5-4 but the Red Wings kept fighting back. As a defensive-minded coach, Julien couldn’t have been happy with his team’s play.

(That’s the coach’s answer to slamming a video game controller in a frustrating loss.)

Fitting in with this week’s other wilder contests, there were flurries of goals even beyond the trio that quickly gave Coreau the boot. The Red Wings warped a 4-1 Bruins lead to a 4-4 tie with three goals in a little more than 10 minutes of time.

Adam McQuaid then regained Boston’s lead 21 seconds after it was tied, but the Red Wings didn’t give up. Instead, they applied a ton of pressure in the third period until Gustav Nyquist tied it up with about three minutes left.

Detroit still has a long way to go to protect its remarkable playoff streak, especially when teams like the Bruins can at least salvage “charity points” with losses. If the Red Wings want to make an unlikely push, they’ll need to show the kind of resolve that was on display on yet another wild night in the NHL.

Pavelec makes highlight reel save, gets win in return to Jets’ net

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 28:  Ondrej Pavelec #31 of the Winnipeg Jets dives across to make a first period save against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on March 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Jets 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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With an expiring contract, Ondrej Pavelec’s time with the Winnipeg Jets is nearing an end. Plenty of Jets fans would say, mercifully.

Still, he did return to the Winnipeg Jets net on Wednesday for his first NHL appearance since April 9, 2016, to mostly successful results. The Jets beat the Arizona Coyotes 6-3, for one thing.

Beyond that, it probably felt like a typical Pavelec start for many Jets fans, though some would contest that it would also need to involve a loss.

There were those regrettable moments, like giving up a goal right away:

Even his critics would probably agree that Pavelec does have a knack for making breathtaking saves:

It’s unclear how many more times we’ll see Pavelec play for the Jets (or an NHL team in general). His performance – if given more chances – in the near future may determine that answer.

If nothing else, his 2016-17 debut felt pretty fitting.

Connor McDavid hits the 100-point mark, scores OT-winner (or did he?)

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 08: Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers skates with the puck against the Philadelphia Flyers in the third period at Wells Fargo Center on December 8, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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PHT brings you the hard-hitting math, as you know, so here’s the latest burst: Connor McDavid is more than a point-per-game player.

You see, he scored the 100th point of his promising NHL career, and he did so in just his 92nd career game on Wednesday. Let us remind you that he’s just 20 years old (and he turned 20 on Jan. 13). Yeah.

Point 100 came on via an assist on a Zack Kassian goal as the Edmonton Oilers went up 1-0 against the Florida Panthers.

Here’s the clip:

Update: There’s debate regarding whether McDavid’s overtime-winner should have counted or not, but either way, it’s impressive that he generated a goal and an assist after hitting the 100-point mark. So it’s now 102 points in 92 games.

Here’s that contested goal: