Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers

Get your game notes: Penguins at Rangers


Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the New York Rangers hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Tonight, the Rangers will become the first team since 1989 to play five playoff games in seven nights. In the 1989 playoffs, the first five games of all eight first-round, best-of-seven matchups were scheduled to be played in seven nights. Two of those series never got to the fifth game in seven nights, however, as Montreal swept Hartford, and Pittsburgh swept the N.Y. Rangers in their first-ever postseason meeting.

• For the fourth time this season, the Penguins will be playing the same opponent on back-to-back nights. On each of the previous three occasions, they either won both or lost both of the games. This will be the Rangers’ second time playing the same opponent on back-to-back nights, both times in the playoffs.

• Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 22 Rangers shots on goal for his 50th career postseason win and seventh career postseason shutout. The latter number established a new franchise record, surpassing the mark that he shared with two-time Stanley Cup winner Tom Barrasso (1991 & 1992) on the franchise’s all-time postseason shutout list.

• Rangers winger Rick Nash (336) and Penguins center Sidney Crosby (274) have combined for 610 career regular-season goals, but their struggles in the playoffs continued in Game 2. Both star players went without a goal, extending lengthy goalless streaks dating back to the 2013 playoffs. (Note: The shifts, time on ice and shots on goal tallies begin immediately following their last playoff goals.)

• The Rangers went 0-for-4 on the power play in Game 2, and have now failed on their last 29 opportunities with the man advantage. Even after starting the playoffs 3-for-8, their current rut has dropped them to 3-for-37 (8.1%) for the playoffs, worst among all remaining teams in the playoffs. The Penguins killed off 20 of 27 power-play opportunities (74.1%) in the first round vs. Columbus, but have bumped that figure up to 80.0% by going 8-for-8 in this series.

• The Penguins, who lead all playoff teams with 36.2 shots per game, outshot the Rangers 71-49 in the first two games of this series (36-27 in Game 1, 35-22 in Game 2). For New York, it is a sharp reversal from Round 1, in which they allowed a first-round low 25.6 shots per game, outshooting Philadelphia in five of the seven games and allowing more than 30 shots only once, in Game 3.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?