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Get your game notes: Rangers at Penguins

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Pittsburgh Penguins hosting the New York Rangers starting at 7 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Tonight marks the start of the fifth all-time playoff series between the Rangers and Penguins. Pittsburgh has had the home-ice advantage in all four previous series, and won all of them. The Rangers have never won the opening game of a series against the Pens, and have only held a series lead once, when they had a two-games-to-one advantage in 1992 before losing the final three games of the series. The Pens are 9-2 all-time in home playoff games vs. the Rangers, outscoring them by a combined 49-34.

• Penguins center Sidney Crosby had no goals and six assists in Pittsburgh’s six-game victory over Columbus in the first round, marking the third (and longest) playoff series of Crosby’s career in which the Pittsburgh captain went without a goal. The Penguins have won two of the three series – including Crosby’s lone playoff series vs. the Rangers, in 2008.

• Goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury (86 career postseason games) and Henrik Lundqvist (74) are first and second, respectively, among remaining goalies in this postseason in career playoff games played. (L.A.’s Jonathan Quick is third, with 57.) Both Lundqvist and Fleury have both played their entire careers with their respective teams. This is Fleury’s 10th season with the Penguins (eighth postseason); Lundqvist’s ninth with the Rangers (eighth postseason).

• The Rangers went 3-29 (10.3%, T-third worst in playoffs) on the power play in the first round and have gone 0-21 in their last 21 opportunities with the man advantage. The Penguins allowed at least one power-play goal in five of their six first-round games vs. Columbus, including four power-play goals (in 13 opportunities) in the last three games.

• Martin St. Louis, who scored one goal in 19 regular-season games as a Ranger following his March 5 trade from Tampa Bay, registered two goals and four assists in the first round against Philadelphia, tied for the team lead with Brad Richards. St. Louis has faced the Penguins once before in the playoffs, when his Lightning pulled off a seven-game upset of the Penguins in the first round of Tampa Bay’s run to the 2011 Eastern Conference Final. St. Louis had four goals and four assists to lead all players in that series, in which Sidney Crosby did not play due to concussion issues.

Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

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Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

Read about that blowout here.

Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

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Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.