Get your game notes: ‘Hawks at Wild

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Tonight on CNBC, it’s the Minnesota Wild hosting the Chicago Blackhawks starting at 9 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Chicago became the only team to win a second-round game (22 games) after giving up the game’s first goal, rallying for a 2-1 win over Minnesota in Game 5. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews scored the game-winning goal in the third period, his NHL-high fourth GWG of the postseason and franchise-high tenth GWG of his postseason career. He became the fourth player in club history to score at least four GWG in one playoff year: Dustin Byfuglien (2010) had five, and Bobby Hull (1971) and Darryl Sutter (1985) had four apiece. (Elias Sports Bureau)

• Since the postseason debuts of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Blackhawks have been in seven playoff series that were 2-2 after four games, including this series. In those series, they have never lost (13-0) in Games 5 or 6, winning one game each at home and away and clinching each previous series in six games. Four of those series-clinching Game 6s were on the road.

Series | Opponent | Game 5 | Game 6
2009 Western Conf. Qtrs. Calgary 5-1 (H) 4-1 (A)
2009 Western Conf. Semis Vancouver 4-2 (A) 7-5 (H)
2010 Western Conf. Qtrs. Nashville 5-4, OT (H) 5-3 (A)
2010 Stanley Cup Final Philadelphia 7-4 (H) 4-3, OT (A)
2013 Stanley Cup Final Boston 3-1 (H) 3-2 (A)
2014 1st Round St. Louis 3-2, OT (A) 5-1 (H)
2014 2nd Round Minnesota 2-1 (H) TBD (A)

• The Blackhawks (6-0) and Wild (5-0) remain the only teams with perfect records at home this postseason. Minnesota has outscored Colorado (8-3 in three games) and Chicago (8-2 in two games) by a combined 16-5 on home ice. This series, the Wild have gotten goals at home from seven different players: Mikael Granlund (2), Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, Justin Fontaine, Nino Niederreiter, Erik Haula and Jared Spurgeon.

• Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (27 saves) outdueled his Wild counterpart, Ilya Bryzgalov (26 saves), in Game 5. The two goalies have each allowed 11 goals and boast comparable numbers over the course of the series (Crawford: 3-2, 2.23 GAA, .913 save%; Bryzgalov: 2-3, 2.21 GAA, .899 save%, shutout). However, home ice has been much kinder for both of them.

• In Game 5, Blackhawks winger Bryan Bickell scored his fourth goal of the series and sixth of the postseason, tying him with Evgeni Malkin and Jussi Jokinen (PIT) for the second-most in the playoffs (Marian Gaborik, LA – 8). Bickell has an NHL-high 15 goals in the past two postseasons (34 games). Seven of those goals have come vs. Minnesota, in two series (10 games).

• In 12 games this postseason, the Wild have registered 109 takeaways and 55 giveaways, for a league-best +54 margin. Three Minnesota players have at least 10 takeaways: center Mikko Koivu, winger Nino Niederreiter (11 each) and defenseman Marco Scandella (10). Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa leads all individual players, with 15 takeaways, while only registering two giveaways, for a league-best +13 margin.

The Buzzer: Thornton moves up all-time scoring list; Kings snap six-game losing skid

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Players of the Night:

Brian Elliott looked solid in Philadelphia’s overtime win over the Capitals, as he turned aside 27 of 28 shots. This was the first time in eight games that the Flyers netminder allowed fewer than three goals in a game, but he’s still been victorious in three of his last four outings.

• How about that goalie duel between Connor Hellebuyck and Anders Nilsson. The Jets won the game, but both goaltenders were fantastic during this all-Canadian matchup.

• Sticking with the goalie theme, Aaron Dell was fantastic between the pipes for in San Jose’s win against Anaheim. Even when starter Martin Jones comes back from a lower-body injury, Dell should continue to be a factor for the Sharks.

• Sharks forward Mikkel Boedker had a solid night at the office, as he racked up two goals and an assist against the Ducks. That’s impressive considering he only had 12 points on the season coming into tonight’s action.

• The Kings’ power play isn’t a player, but it came to play tonight against the Rangers. Los Angeles got three goals on the man-advantage from Jake Muzzin, Michael Amadio and Tanner Pearson. Those three power play markers helped them snap their six-game losing skid.

Highlights:

Poor Markus Granlund never saw Hellebuyck coming:

That’s a pretty sweet shot from Kevin Labanc:

Here are two pretty sweet backhand passes leading up to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare‘s goal:

Alex Ovechkin scored a power play from his favorite spot on the ice:

Non-called Penalty of the Night:

That’s a pretty dangerous hit by Dmitry Orlov on Claude Giroux. No boarding call?

Factoids:

That’s a lot of power play goals for Ovechkin:

Joe Thornton keeps movin’ on up:

The Rangers have received some balanced scoring this season:

The Golden Knights simply can’t be stopped. What a season they’re having:

Scores:

Flyers 2, Capitals 1 (OT)

Golden Knights 5, Hurricanes 1

Jets 1, Canucks 0

Sharks 6, Ducks 2

Kings 4, Rangers 2

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Fight Video: Kempe comes to Lewis’ defense by dropping gloves with Smith

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It’s not every day that you see Los Angeles Kings forward Adrian Kempe drop the gloves, but he did so against the Rangers tonight.

Things got chippy at the end of the first period between the Rangers and Kings. As both teams were mixing it up, New York’s Brendan Smith shoved Trevor Lewis from behind. Kempe wasn’t impressed with Smith’s move, so he decided to take matters into his own hands.

Here’s Smith’s shove on Lewis:

And this is the fight between Smith and Kempe:

(h/t: hayyyshayyy on Twitter)

As you can tell from the above video, Smith is the more experienced fighter. Also, Kempe has great hair, but it’s clearly not practical when dropping the gloves.

Thanks to Smith, the Kings got a power play to start the second period. Defenseman Jake Muzzin cashed in on the man-advantage to cut Los Angeles’ deficit to 2-1.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Expansion Golden Knights are officially in first place (Update)

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Just like we all predicted in September, the Vegas Golden Knights are sitting in first place in the NHL.

The Golden Knights’ 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes allowed them to collect their 65th and 66th points of the season, which moved them one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning for top spot in the league (both teams have played 46 games).

PHT’s Adam Gretz wrote a terrific piece about Golden Knights’ amazing first season to date.

It’s only fitting that Vegas got a good amount of production from some of their most pleasant surprises tonight. Jonathan Marchessault, Colin Miller and James Neal also found the back of the net.

As you’d expect, the Golden Knights’ Twitter account is having fun marking this occasion.

“Maybe a little unexpected, right?,” Marc-Andre Fleury said of his team’s success, per NHL.com. “It’s been a lot of fun. We started this team from scratch and chemistry was built very quick between us. Every night, all the guys bring their best effort. I’m proud of our team to be where we’re at right now.”

We’ve had over three months to come to grips with everything the Golden Knights have done, but it’s still amazing to see how some of the players on their roster have produced during Vegas’ inaugural season.

 

43 points in 43 games for Marchessault? 25 goals at the midway point of the season for William Karlsson? Nobody saw those things coming. What makes this even more impressive is that they’ve had to roll four goalies (Fleury, Oscar Dansk, Malcolm Subban and Maxime Lagace).

“Early on in the year, I think we surprised some teams. Now I think every team will get up to play us. It’s just something that will be another test for this group,” Miller told NHL.com.

Now the question is, how far can this pesky expansion team go?

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Struggling Lightning lose Ondrej Palat for indefinite period of time

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The Tampa Bay Lightning have been going through a difficult stretch lately and things got a lot more difficult on Sunday. The team announced that Ondrej Palat is out indefinitely after taking a spear from Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon on Saturday night.

The Bolts, who are on an eight-game road trip, have confirmed that Palat will head back to Tampa on Monday for further testing. He’s accumulated eight goals and 30 points in 46 games this season.

Although the video isn’t the clearest, this is the play that led to the injury:

The injury couldn’t have come at a worse time, as the Lightning have been slumping badly of late. They’ve dropped three games in a row to Calgary, Vegas and Minnesota.

Their once giant lead atop the Atlantic Division has dwindled to three points over the Boston Bruins, who have a game in hand.

“We’re just out of synch, it’s unreal,” head coach Jon Cooper said, per The Tampa Times. “The guys didn’t forget how to play hockey in the last week and a half. We’re just out of synch. One guy zigs, the other guy zags. It’s crazy that in the last week and a half, we kind of lost our swag.”

The Bolts will continue their road trip in Chicago, Nashville and Philadelphia before the All-Star break. On top of their difficult schedule, they’ll also be without number one defenseman Victor Hedman for the next few weeks.

Their spot in the playoffs isn’t in any danger, but the number one seed in the league (Vegas is coming in a hurry) and top spot in the division is in doubt.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.