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:

 

WATCH LIVE: Capitals at Flyers – Wednesday Night Rivalry

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 21: Tom Wilson #43 of the Washington Capitals checks Brandon Manning #23 of the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center on December 21, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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The latest edition of “Wednesday Night Rivalry” on NBCSN features the Washington Capitals visiting the Philadelphia Flyers.

Both teams have been stumbling a bit here and there. The Flyers only have three wins since Jan. 31, though one of them came in their last game on Sunday. The Capitals lost both games since returning from their bye week.

The cost of struggles are easier for Washington to stomach, naturally. They’d rather make their Metropolitan Division lead insurmountable, but even so, they’re at least three points ahead of everyone else and have played the same or fewer games as their divisional peers.

The Flyers, on the other hand, are fighting for their playoff lives. Right now they’re on the outside looking in.

So both teams want this one, but the desperation level is higher for Philly. We’ll see how that impacts the game on NBCSN tonight. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the livestream.

Pre-game reading: NHLers sound off on poor ice conditions

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— Up top, Danny Briere recalls that famous line brawl between the Flyers and Penguins in the 2012 playoffs. The two Pennsylvania rivals meet again Saturday, outdoors at Heinz Field.

— It has not been a good year for NHL ice, and a number of players are starting to get fed up. For example, Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk, who said, “It’s been awful. I don’t know what it is. Even in our building this year. I thought it was really good [when we came] back for World Cup and right after that for the first little bit. But the last little bit, it’s been so bad. The puck’s all over the place.” Guess we know how he’ll be filling out his survey. (ESPN)

— The days leading up to the trade deadline can be pretty stressful for players who may get moved. And if they do get moved, the days after can be pretty tough, too. “I saw my daughters four days out of three months when I went to Pittsburgh,” said Hurricanes forward Lee Stempniak, who’s been dealt three straight years at the deadline. “When I was traded to Winnipeg, I didn’t see my daughters for the two months or more I was there because of the schedule.” (The News & Observer)

— On the 2017 NHL draft, which may not have the star power of the last two drafts, but will still have some pretty good players available. Especially centers. (USA Today)

— San Jose’s Brent Burns is trying to become only the second defenseman in NHL history to win a scoring title. With 64 points, Burns is only three points back of Connor McDavid for the league lead, with Sidney Crosby in the mix as well. Bobby Orr won the Art Ross Trophy twice, the last time in 1974-75 when he piled up 135 points in 80 games for the Boston Bruins.  (Canadian Press)

— Another Shark, Joe Thornton, is just two assists from 1,000 in the NHL. Only 12 players have accomplished that, with Wayne Gretzky’s 1,963 helpers leading the way. Joe Sakic’s 1,016 are the closest to Thornton’s 998. (The Mercury News)

Enjoy the games!

Bolts rule out Callahan indefinitely following second hip surgery

Ryan Callahan
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Tampa Bay forward Ryan Callahan, who’s only played 18 games this year while recovering from offseason hip surgery, has undergone a follow-up procedure and will be sidelined indefinitely.

The Bolts made the announcement on Wednesday, just hours after a big 4-1 win over Edmonton. Callahan wasn’t in the lineup to face the Oilers — he hasn’t played since early January, when he skated just under 15 minutes in a loss to Philly.

The nature of this ailment has to be concerning.

Callahan, who turns 32 next month, is in the third of a six-year, $34.8 million deal with a $5.8M average annual cap hit. And this lingering hip problem comes on the heels of a disappointing ’15-16 campaign, in which Callahan scored just 10 goals and 28 points — the lowest marks since his rookie campaign.

As such, Tampa Bay is now bracing for an immediate future without a huge part of its leadership group. Captain Steve Stamkos has resumed skating, but there’s no set date for his return from major knee surgery.

Callahan, who’s been an alternate captain in each of the last three seasons, won’t be playing anytime soon either.

 

Kadri ‘not worried’ after Chiarot predicts revenge for big hit (Video)

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Toronto forward Nazem Kadri drew the ire of Jets d-man Ben Chiarot on Tuesday night for a big — albeit questionable — hit in the Leafs’ OT win.

Chiarot was visibly displeased following the game and alluded to getting even.

“It’s not the right time or place to chase him down, but there will be a time down the line,” he said, per Sportsnet. “Might not be this year, might not be next year.

“But there will be a time where the shoe will be on the other foot.”

Today, Kadri responded.

“I’m not worried at all,” Kadri said, per TSN. “I’ll be here for hopefully a few years. But like I said, if that was one of my teammates getting hit like that, I probably wouldn’t be too happy, so I expect that kind of reaction.”

Kadri’s hit, which went unpenalized, drew the ire of Chiarot’s head coach as well. Jets bench boss Paul Maurice was also visibly displeased following the game.

“He’s six inches in the air when he makes contact,” Maurice said, per Sportsnet. “In my mind, from the rear view, the first thing that moves on Benny is the helmet. Didn’t like it.”

Kadri’s been involved in a few high-profile collisions this season. He pasted Sabres captain Brian Gionta in a game earlier this month, and avoided suspension for a controversial hit on Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin back in November.