Joe Vitale, Marc-Andre Fleury, Carl Hagelin

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:

• In Game 3, Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury became the first goalie in franchise history to post shutouts in consecutive postseason games, and also became only the sixth NHL goalie in the last 30 years to register playoff shutouts on consecutive days (Mike Richter in 1994, Martin Brodeur in 1995, Curtis Joseph in 2001, Brent Johnson in 2002 and Fleury’s current counterpart, Henrik Lundqvist, in 2013). The last NHL goaltender to post three consecutive playoff shutouts was Ilya Bryzgalov for Anaheim in 2006. Pens winger Chris Kunitz was a member of the then-Mighty Ducks squad. Elias Sports Bureau

• Penguins forward Jussi Jokinen scored for the second consecutive night to extend his point streak to seven games this postseason (4-3—7). Jokinen, who registered 21 goals and 57 points during the regular season (both the second-highest figures in his nine-year NHL career, has now found the score-sheet in eight of the Penguins’ nine games this postseason (5-3—8).

• Penguins center Sidney Crosby ended two personal-high streaks with one shot in Game 3. With his second-period goal, he snapped a 13-game goal drought going back to March 30 (when he scored twice vs. Chicago) and also a 13-game postseason goal drought going back to May 22, 2013 (Game 4 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. Ottawa). The Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award finalist ended his goalless streak with his only shot of the game.

• Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped 13 of 15 shots in his 77th career postseason game, which set a new franchise record for number of postseason appearances by a goalie (Mike Richter, 76). The Rangers outshot the Penguins 35-15 in their Game 3 loss. It was their first loss when allowing 15 or fewer shots on goal since Nov. 25, 2001, when Anaheim beat them 3-2. Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma had an assist for the Mighty Ducks in that game.

• The Rangers’ power play continued to come up empty in Game 3, despite getting 10 shots on goal in five chances. The “Blueshirts” are now 0/13 with the man advantage in the series and 0/34 since Benoit Pouliot scored in the first period of Game 2 in their first-round series vs. Philadelphia. After posting an 18.2% conversion rate during the regular season (15th in the NHL), they have converted on only three of 42 postseason power plays (7.1%, worst among the eight remaining playoff teams) while registering 52 shots on goal.

• Second periods in this series have tilted in favor of the Penguins, who have outscored the Rangers 5-0 in the period. Pittsburgh has scored five of its seven goals this series in the middle stanza, including a pair of goals to tie Game 1 in an eventual OT loss, and the game-winning goals in Games 2 and 3. Overall in the playoffs, the Rangers have surrendered 12 second-period goals, most among all playoff teams.

• Ryan McDonagh, who led all Rangers defensemen with a career-high 14 goals and 43 points during the regular season, has no points in 10 games this postseason. Only three players who registered 40 or more points during the regular season have gone without a point in the playoffs, all from eliminated Detroit: David Legwand (51 points), Daniel Alfredsson (49 points) and Gustav Nyquist (48 points).

Kulikov returns to increasingly healthy Sabres lineup

CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 18: Dmitry Kulikov #77 of the Buffalo Sabres in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 18, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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No one’s going to confuse Dmitry Kulikov with Jack Eichel, but the Buffalo Sabres are likely happy to have him back after a long absence, too.

The Sabres have been on an upward trend lately (5-2-2 in their last nine games), and now they get a key defenseman back against the Washington Capitals on Friday night.

Kulikov last played on Nov. 9 and hasn’t recorded a point in 12 games, making for a tough start to his stint with the Sabres. Maybe he’ll begin to get a little more traction with his new team tonight?

He’s far from the only returning Buffalo player, either, as Josh Gorges and Nicolas Deslauriers are also back in the mix. Kulikov is slated to be on the Sabres’ second pairing with Cody Franson.

Buffalo sent Brendan Guhle to the AHL to make room for these tweaks.

With Foligno out sick, Columbus gives Bjorkstrand another shot

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 13:  Oliver Bjorkstrand #28 of the Columbus Blue Jackets lines up for a face-off during the game against the Boston Bruins on October 13, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without captain Nick Foligno because of an illness on Friday, opening up an opportunity for interesting prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand.

The team tweeted out his linemates as Matt Calvert and Lukas Sedlak as a solid fourth line facing the Detroit Red Wings.

He failed to generate much (zero points, two shots on goal) in three games so far with Columbus this season, receiving about 25 minutes of ice time over that span.

With eight goals and 12 points in 19 AHL games so far in 2016-17, there’s the thought that he could eventually make the next step to becoming a decent contributor for the Blue Jackets.

Perhaps this will constitute his first real step in that direction?

Apparently this is a pretty abrupt situation for the 21-year-old:

Gretzky defends McDavid’s outburst after Manning incident

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - OCTOBER 23: Wayne Gretzky (L) and Dale Hawerchuk drop the puck in a ceremonial face-off between Blake Wheeler #26 and Connor McDavid #97 during the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic hockey game on October 23, 2016 at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Fred Greenslade /Getty Images)
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PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) As the primary target of opponents over his Hall of Fame career, Wayne Gretzky can certainly empathize with the frustration of Oilers star Connor McDavid.

McDavid and Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning jostled all evening long in a 6-5 Edmonton loss. McDavid denounced the tactics of his opponent after the game, claiming Manning intentionally injured him last season; McDavid missed 37 games with a broken collarbone.

“I guess we can put the whole ‘if he did it’ thing to rest because what he said out there kind of confirmed that,” said McDavid, who taunted Manning after scoring the second goal in the Oilers’ loss.

“I think anybody who knows me or who has played with or against me along the road here, knows that I am not that kind of player,” Manning said, according to a statement released by the Flyers. “I am not out there intentionally trying to hurt people. I’m a guy who plays the game hard and I take pride in that.”

Gretzky didn’t mind seeing that fire in McDavid, saying competitiveness is part of what makes the great ones great. And he said the targeting comes with the territory of being a superstar. It was something he and Mario Lemieux dealt with, too.

“And Connor, he’s going to get tested every night, but this is not new for him,” Gretzky said Friday at the NHL board of governors meetings. “He’s been tested since he was a kid and then playing junior hockey and now in the NHL and he’s always responded and done his part.”

Related: McDavid accuses ‘classless’ Manning of injuring him on purpose

Bishop trying not to let contract situation affect his play

TAMPA, FL - JUNE 06: Ben Bishop #30 of the Tampa Bay Lightning looks on against the Chicago Blackhawks during Game Two of the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on June 6, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images)
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Ben Bishop was a Vezina Trophy finalist last season, and that makes it particularly striking to see his numbers a quarter of the way through 2016-17.

After 18 starts, Bishop is 8-10-1 with a .906 save percentage. He got the hook after two periods last night at Amalie Arena, where he surrendered four goals to the Vancouver Canucks in a 5-1 loss.

Last night marked the third time in his last five starts that he’d surrendered at least four goals, and one of the goals he allowed looked like this:

So, do things feel different this season?

“I feel fine,” Bishop said today, per Lightning Insider. “We go back and watch the games and technically it’s all there. There is really no difference from the way I’ve played the last couple of years to now. I don’t like saying this, but it’s been a strange season with goofy goals on tips and bounces, goals off your own players. So I think if you took some of those away, the numbers would be pretty similar to years past. I would like to get the wins a little higher.”

Bishop, of course, is a pending unrestricted free agent who is unlikely to re-sign with the Lightning. Andrei Vasilevskiy appears to be the goalie of the future in Tampa Bay. On July 1, the 22-year-old re-signed through 2019-20.

Vasilevskiy is also 6-2-1 with a .929 save percentage.

So in that regard, it’s a bit like the situation we’re seeing in New York, where Henrik Lundqvist is struggling and Antti Raanta is thriving.

The difference is Lundqvist isn’t going to be looking for a new team anytime soon. Remember that Bishop “was close” to being traded to Calgary in the offseason. He could still end up there in free agency, depending if Brian Elliott bounces back.

Bishop says he’s trying not to let his contract situation affect his state of mind; however, he admits he’d “be lying if I said I never thought about it.”

“It’s definitely there in the back of your head,” he said.

The Lightning host the Penguins on Saturday.

Expect Vasilevskiy to start that one.