Joe Vitale, Marc-Andre Fleury, Carl Hagelin

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:

• 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).

Report: Kings, Richards nearing settlement

Mike Richards
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The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.

You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:

If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.

The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.

Bettman to players: Don’t screw up ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ with drugs

Gary Bettman
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The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.

“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.

“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”

While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.

“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”

Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?