Get your game notes: Wild at Avalanche

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

• The Wild and Avalanche are meeting for the second time in a Game 7 at Pepsi Center in Denver. In 2003, Minnesota’s Andrew Brunette scored at 3:25 of overtime in Game 7 of the 2003 Western Conference Quarterfinals to end the playing career of Avs goaltender Patrick Roy. As a player, Roy was 7-2 at home in Game 7s (including 4-2 for Colorado), and 0-5 on the road (0-3 for Colorado).

• The home team has won all seven games in a playoff series nine times in NHL history, most recently in the 2013 Western Conference Semifinals, won by Los Angeles over San Jose. The last time that the home team won the first six games of a series and lost in Game 7 was also last season, in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, when the N.Y. Rangers blanked Washington 5-0 in the series decider.

• The NHL’s two leading scorers this postseason, Minnesota’s Zach Parise (3-7–10) and Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon (2-8–10), have feasted on their opponents on home ice this series. That is something that bodes well for the Avs’ rookie, who will play Game 7 at home, where he’s scored all 10 of his points.

• MacKinnon, who in Game 5 became the highest-scoring teenager playing in his first playoff series (18 years, 237 days), is tied with Maurice “Rocket” Richard for the most points at home in his first-ever playoff series. The Hockey Hall of Famer registered 10 points in three games at the Montreal Forum for the Canadiens in the 1944 NHL Semifinals. Elias Sports Bureau

• Parise set two Wild playoff records in Game 6, becoming the first Minnesota player to register four points (two goals, two assists) in a playoff game, and the fastest to score a goal (49 seconds into the first period). Since arriving in Minnesota before the 2013 season, Parise has registered a point in 13 of 15 games versus Colorado (regular season and playoffs), and multiple points in five of those 15.

• The Minnesota-Colorado series has featured four one-goal games, including three games settled in overtime. In their last 15 postseason meetings, the Wild and Avs have contested 12 one-goal games. (Seven were won by Minnesota.) Two other times, in Games 2 and 6 of this series, the teams were separated by one goal late, until empty-net goals widened the final margin.

• Four times this series, Avs coach Patrick Roy has pulled goalie Semyon Varlamov (3-3 record, 2.45 GAA, .923 save%) with more than two minutes to go in the third period and down by a goal. The Avs tied the game with the extra attacker in their two comeback attempts at home, and won both in overtime.

• Avalanche center Paul Stastny scored a shorthanded goal in Game 6 for his fourth goal of the playoffs, tied for the NHL lead with Jamie Benn (DAL), Wayne Simmonds (PHI), Justin Williams (LAK) and Vladimir Tarasenko (STL). Stastny became only the 15th player in Stanley Cup playoff history to score goals at even strength, on the power play, shorthanded, and in overtime in one series. He joined his father, Peter, who did it for the Quebec Nordiques versus the Hartford Whalers in 1987. Elias Sports Bureau

The Buzzer: McElhinney with the McShutout, Schenn scores again

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Players of the Night: 

Curtis McElhinney, Toronto Maple Leafs:

McElhinney turned aside all 41 shots that came his way as the Leafs shutout the Edmonton Oilers 1-0. The Leafs backup improved to 3-2-0 on the season and his save percentage jumped from .900 to 9.25. Toronto has now won three straight and six of their past 10.

Brayden Schenn, St. Louis Blues:

Schenn notched his sixth goal in his past four games and extended his goal-scoring streak to four games with a goal 40 seconds into the game. The Blues are now winners of four straight and six of their past 10.

Eric Stall, Minnesota Wild & Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks: 

Both scored twice for their respective teams in an entertaining 4-3 win for the Wild in overtime.

Highlight of the Night: 

Vladimir Tarasenko catches the Sabres defense sleeping in overtime, scoring his first non-empty net goal in nine games:

Factoid of the Night: 

Patrick Kane didn’t score, but his two assists were instrumental in giving the Chicago Blackhawks a victory on Sunday.

Scores: 

Blackhawks 3, Coyotes 1

Blues 3, Sabres 2 (OT)

Maple Leafs 1, Oilers 0

Wild 4, Sharks 3


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Alex Burrows fined $5,000 for roughing

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Alex Burrows won’t be on Dylan DeMelo‘s Christmas card list this year.

Not after Burrows swiped DeMelo in the face with the butt-end of his stick on Saturday night.

Burrows got slapped with a $5,000 fine for roughing on Sunday night, the maximum permissible under the CBA. The money is one thing, but Burrows and the Senators have bigger issues at the moment.

It didn’t help the little incident happened in the third period and the game all but over for the Senators. Here’s the slow-mo shot of the infraction:

DeMelo suffered a scratch cornea and narrowly missed a major eye injury, according to Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer. 

DeMelo was in the lineup for the Sharks on Sunday against the Minnesota Wild.

Burrows’ $5,000 goes to the player’s Emergency Assistance Fund.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Is it a slump or is regression setting in for the Winnipeg Jets?

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Might regression be hitting the Winnipeg Jets at the moment?

It’s a question Jets fans are asking themselves after a three-game road trip that produced just a single point and a goose egg in the win column.

It’s the first time the Jets have lost three straight all season. In year’s past, this wouldn’t have come as much surprise, but the Jets have thrown the status quo out the window this season and have sung a different tune.

The analytics would suggest the Jets were due for a fall back to earth.

For most of the season, they’ve been near the bottom of the league in terms of Corsi, with only recently climbing up that ladder with a help of a very lopsided game against the Ottawa Senators.

Regression in goal is also starting to happen, and a lot of Winnipeg’s early-season success had to do with how well Connor Hellebuyck had been playing.

Hellebuyck has been sensational most of the season and his 15-3-4  record supports that. But his save percentage has been trending in the wrong direction lately. In five of his past six starts, Hellebuyck has only achieved a .900 save percentage or better once, and that came in that 5-0 shutout against the Senators.

Nov. 27 vs MIN: .895
Nov. 29 vs COL: .885
Dec. 1 vs VGK: .871
Dec. 3 vs. OTT: 1.000
Dec. 5 vs DET: .844
Dec. 9 vs TBL: .857

The Jets give up a lot of shots, so the odds that Hellebuyck’s early season numbers would survive throughout the year were low.

The sky is by no means falling in Winnipeg. The Jets showed they can go toe-to-toe with the league’s best on Saturday. Overtime has just been the bane of their existence this season with a 0-5 record in free hockey.

The Jets touched the summit of the Western Conference last week, a pipe dream around these parts in recent times. They also possess two of the league’s top point-producers (Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler) and one of the league’s top goal scorers (Patrik Laine), not to mention having a rookie just outside top 10 in rookie scoring (Kyle Connor).

Prior to the road trip, Winnipeg’s power play had scored eight times in 19 attempts.

The Jets have also been largely healthy. Defenseman Toby Enstrom is the midst of an eight-week spell in the press box — and there’s a pending diagnosis coming for Dustin Byfuglien after he left Saturday’s game in Tampa Bay with a lower-body injury — but the Jets gotten by relatively unscathed thus far and managed well when Mathieu Perreault and Adam Lowry missed several games.

The Jets have made too many strides this season to regress too far away from where they are right now. Asking a team to go from outside the playoff line to tops in the division might be asking a tad too much. But with that said, the Jets are simply a good team these days and stacked with high-level talent.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Calgary Hitmen fans make 24K stuffed animals fly during Teddy Bear Toss (Video)

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Congratulations, Vladislav Yeryomenko, you were this year’s Teddy Bear Toss goal scorer for the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen.

Yeryomenko’s goal at 9:36 of the first period during their game Sunday vs. the Moose Jaw Warriors was the sign for Hitmen fans to launch their teddy bears inside the Saddledome. Boy, it sure did rain plenty of fur.

Here’s what it looked like:

And here’s a fan’s eye view:

After a clean up delay of approximately 40 minutes , the game resumed but the Hitmen would fall to the Warriors 6-3. The counting, as you would imagine, took some time, but when they were finished it was announced that an astounding 24,605 stuffed animals were collected, which will go to 60 local charities.

“It’s an unforgettable moment,” Yeryomenko said via the Hitmen website. “It’s possible it can only happen once in your life and it happened to me. I enjoyed the moment of it all.”

There were 23,924 stuffed animals tossed during last year’s game, and the Hitmen hold the record of 28,815 bears, which was set in 2015.

The Hitmen have been holding this event since 1995 and are their fans are the true leaders in tossing those bears. Including this Sunday’s total, the team has collected 347,948 stuffed animals for local charities. Just last weekend the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears held their Toss event and fans there set a team record with an impressive 25,017 stuffed animals hitting the ice.

This once again proves that the Teddy Bear Toss is the greatest promotion in all of sports.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.