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.

Andrew Hammond to start Game 5 for Avalanche

AP
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When the Colorado Avalanche hit the ice in Nashville on Friday night they will be facing elimination. They will also need to rely on their third-string goalie to help get them a win if they are going to extend their season.

The team announced on Thursday that Andrew Hammond will be getting the start, replacing Jonathan Bernier who had to leave Wednesday’s game after two periods with a lower body injury. Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said Bernier’s injury has been a nagging one and that he could still be available off the bench on Friday if needed.

The Avalanche had been starting Bernier because their regular starter, Semyon Varlamov, is out for the remainder of the season due to a lower body injury of his own.

Obviously, this puts the Avalanche in a pretty tough spot. Not only because they have to go on the road against the Presidents’ Trophy winning Predators, but also because they have to turn to a goalie that, including Wednesday’s brief relief appearance, has appeared in just eight NHL games over the past two years. He has faced only 127 shots in those appearances and managed only an .874 save percentage.

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

 Hammond’s career has been a fascinating one to this point.

Late in the 2014-15 season he came out of nowhere as a 25-year-old rookie to lead the Ottawa Senators on an improbable late season run (where Hammond put together a 20-1-2 record) to qualify for the playoffs. Nicknamed “the Hamburglar,” his initial run in Ottawa was highlighted by fans throwing hamburgers on the ice to celebrate his wins.  That run earned him a contract extension with the Senators and a bunch of free hamburgers from McDonalds. It was a crazy year.

After that, though, injuries and a decline in his production have limited him to just a handful of appearances in the NHL.

The Avalanche acquired him from the Senators earlier this season as part of the Matt Duchene trade.

Now he has to jump into the crease in an elimination game.

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Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Predators’ Ryan Hartman to have hearing after illegal check to the head

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Ryan Hartman had a tough night at the office on Wednesday night and will have to answer to the NHL’s Department of Player Safety because of it.

Hartman’s hearing stems from a charging penalty he was assessed after lining up Colorado Avalanche forward Carl Soderberg‘s head with his shoulder at the 4:42 mark of the third period.

Soderberg was forced to leave the game after the play.

Earlier in the game, Hartman tried to line up Sven Andrighetto from a mile out in the second period but missed, prompting the latter to come and give Hartman some business, which included a stick below the belt to Hartman.

The Predators took Game 4 by a 3-2 margin, holding off a third-period comeback attempt from the Avalanche to take a 3-1 series lead.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Seinfeld’s Puddy attends Devils game to ‘support the team’

NJ Devils on Twitter
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The man known affectionately as Puddy (aka actor Patrick Warburton) was in New Jersey last night trying to rile up the Devils prior to Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You’ll remember Puddy, the face-painted Devils fan from the hit TV show Seinfeld, for such lines as, ‘We’re the Devils… The Devils’ and ‘Don’t mess with the Devils. We can beat anybody.’

That’s pretty much it, but he didn’t need to say much else to become an instant cult classic among Devils fans.

Warburton resurrected the character on Wednesdat night, doing his best to get the Devils and their fans amped up prior to the game.

Unfortunately for New Jersey, the tactic didn’t pay off as the Lightning took a 3-1 series lead on the back of a 3-1 win.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

PHT Morning Skate: Ducks wake-up call; Crosby passes Lemieux

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.
• For Ducks, getting swept should be a wake-up call (Los Angeles Times)

• Takeaways: an unlikely hero emerges as Sharks sweep Ducks (San Jose Mercury News)

Sidney Crosby passes Mario Lemieux for Penguins’ playoff points lead (USA Today)

• The Penguins are still too much for the Flyers (SB Nation)

• Hey, Saint Patrick. It’s a sin you missed how Avs refused to quit in 3-2 loss against Nashville. (Denver Post)

• In defying odds, Golden Knights’ success is not so good for sports books (USA Today)

Marc-Andre Fleury‘s ex-teammates with Penguins happy for his success in playoffs (NHL.com)

• Bodog: Golden Knights are Cup favourites (TSN.ca)

• Foligno brothers savouring first simultaneous NHL post-season (Toronto Star)

Blake Wheeler‘s path to being an elite player in the NHL took a winding road (Winnipeg Sun)

• How a financial advisor became the NHL’s only active black official (Sportsnet)

• Bill Peters has the inside track in Calgary, but there’s a lot of local blood to consider (The Hockey News)

• Von Miller just discovered hockey and he is WAY into it (The Loop)

• Humboldt Broncos tribute concert aims to bring in NHL players, alumni (Sportsnet)

• Town puts ‘giant hockey stick on our porch’ in Humboldt tribute (CBC)

• The case for each Vezina Trophy finalist — and a few snubs (The Hockey News)

• Why the Stanley Cup gets names removed every 13 years (Sportsnet)

• Up top, watch how the Penguins are coming alive in the postseason and the energy being displayed by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin should be worrying their opponents.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck