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.
Somebody tell the Boston Bruins there’s a goal-scoring crisis in the NHL.
This afternoon, for the 14th time this season, a Bruins game featured at least six goals. The final score was 4-3, as Boston came back to beat the Rangers in a wildly entertaining Thanksgiving Showdown on NBC.
David Krejci scored the winner with 1:43 remaining. Krejci’s goal came just 2:03 after teammate Ryan Spooner had tied it on the power play.
The win was the Bruins’ fifth straight. Though the defensive mistakes remain…
…Claude Julien’s troops have been finding ways to overcome them.
The running and gunning Boston Bruins.
When was the last time you could call them that?
The future of Winnipeg’s goaltending will be on display tonight in Minnesota.
Connor Hellebuyck, the highly-touted prospect that starred for Team USA at the 2015 World Hockey Championships, will make his NHL debut today when the Jets take on the Wild at Xcel.
Hellebuyck is up with the Jets following an injury to No. 1 (or, “No. 1”) netminder Ondrej Pavelec, who’s out until January with a lower-body injury. An AHL All-Star a year ago, Hellebuyck arrived in Winnipeg with great fanfare and it’ll be interesting to see how he responds to the hype and pressure that come along with his first-ever big league start.
For the Wild, Devan Dubnyk‘s in goal.
— Corey Crawford goes for Chicago in Anaheim. No word yet on who the Ducks will have in goal.
— Braden Holtby starts again for Washington, as the Caps host the Bolts. Tampa Bay has yet to name a starter, much like the Ducks.
— Marc-Andre Fleury takes on Sergei Bobrovsky in Columbus tonight, as the Blue Jackets host the Penguins.
— Mike Condon is back in the starter’s role for Montreal with Carey Price sidelined, and his first order of business is a road date against Cory Schneider and the Devils in New Jersey.
— Cam Ward faces Chad Johnson as Buffalo welcomes the ‘Canes.
— The Isles will start Jaroslav Halak in Florida. The Panthers will counter with Roberto Luongo.
— Cam Talbot finally gets back into the starter’s role tonight in Detroit. Jimmy Howard will go for the Wings.
— It’s Ryan Miller versus Antti Niemi as the Canucks take on the Stars in Dallas.
— Even though Jonas Hiller is healthy and Joni Ortio‘s in the minors, Calgary will stick with Karri Ramo in Arizona. The Coyotes are going with their No. 1, Mike Smith.
For the first time since Nov. 5, Zach Parise will suit up for the Minnesota Wild.
The team confirmed today that Parise will be in the lineup tonight at home versus Winnipeg. The 31-year-old forward has missed the last eight contests with a sprained MCL.
The Wild were 7-2-2 before Parise got hurt. They lost the game against Nashville in which he suffered the injury, then went 4-3-1 without him.
“I’m just hoping to get back to form as quick as possible and go from there,” Parise told the Star Tribune. “I’m not thinking I need to score right out of the gate, I just want to play. … We’re still right in the hunt for everything. We’ll be fine.”
The Vancouver Canucks will face a pretty motivated Dallas Stars team tonight at American Airlines Center.
Blame the Ottawa Senators. They were the ones who smoked the Stars, 7-4, on Tuesday.
“It brings you back down to earth,” captain Jamie Benn told the Stars’ website. “You learn that any team can come in here and whip your butt. It was embarrassing for us, especially in our home rink and in front of our home fans. We don’t want that to happen again.”
The Stars have had their way with the Canucks in recent years. The last time Vancouver won in Dallas was Feb. 21, 2013. Since then, victories have included scorelines like 5-1, 4-1, 6-1, and 6-3.
The Stars have already hosted the Canucks once in Dallas this season. On Oct. 29, they fought back from a 3-1 third-period deficit to win, 4-3, in overtime.
Dallas (17-5-0) has yet to lose consecutive games this season.