Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers

Get your game notes: Penguins at Rangers

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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.

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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NBCSN screen
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Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.

Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
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Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.

Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:

Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.

Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.

“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”

Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”

People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.