Get your game notes: ‘Hawks at Kings

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the L.A. Kings hosting the Chicago Blackhawks starting at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• After a four-point performance (3-1—4) in Game 2, Kings center Jeff Carter registered three more points (1-2—3) in Game 3. Carter became the first L.A. player to post 3+ points in consecutive playoff games since 1993, when Wayne Gretzky had back-to-back four-point nights in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final vs. TOR (3-1—4) and Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final vs. MTL (1-3—4). Carter and Gretzky were on the winning side in each of their two multi-point games. (Elias Sports Bureau)

• This series, the Kings’ second line (a.k.a. “That 70s Line”) of #70 Tanner Pearson (0-4—4) – #77 Carter (4-4—8) – #73 Tyler Toffoli (3-0—3) has combined for 15 points (7-8—15), exactly as many as the rest of the Kings’ roster combined (4-11—15). In Game 3, Toffoli scored a goal for the third straight game, becoming only the third rookie since 1992 to score at least one goal in three consecutive conference final or Stanley Cup Final games in one playoff year. (Elias Sports Bureau)

Dwight King: Los Angeles 2012 Western Conference Final Games 1, 2, 3 (four goals)
Chris Kreider:  N.Y. Rangers 2012 Eastern Conference Final Games 1, 2, 3 (three goals)
Toffoli: Los Angeles 2014 Western Conference Final Games 1, 2, 3 (three goals)

• While Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews scored two first-period goals on his only two shots on goal of the game in Game 3, teammate Patrick Kane was kept off the score sheet for the third straight game. Kane, who scored three goals in the second round vs. MIN (including his “Showtime” goal in Game 1 and series-clincher in overtime of Game 6), has zero points, seven shots on goal and a -3 rating vs. L.A.

• In the past three postseasons (2012-2014), Carter has 22 playoff goals, the most in the NHL (Chicago’s Brian Bickell is next, with 17). In the past five (2010-2014), Carter and two other former Philadelphia Flyers have the most goals. All three are playing on one of the teams currently vying for the 2014 Stanley Cup title: Montreal’s Daniel Briere (30), Chicago’s Patrick Sharp (28) and Carter (28).

• The Blackhawks, who went 1-2 on the road in each of their first two series this postseason, would be guaranteed of a losing road record in this series with a loss at Staples Center in Game 4 (or a potential Game 6). The 1969-70 St. Louis Blues were the last team to reach the Stanley Cup Final after posting a losing road record in all of their series leading up. (In a three-round playoff system, the Blues went 1-2 on the road vs. both Minnesota and Pittsburgh, then were swept by Boston in the Final.) (Elias Sports Bureau)

• Through the first two rounds (vs. STL and MIN) and first five periods of the Western Conference Final (vs. LA), the Blackhawks allowed four goals on 50 shorthanded opportunities, for an NHL-best 92.0% penalty-kill efficiency. In their last four periods (the third period of Game 2 and all of Game 3), they allowed three PPG (Carter, Jake Muzzin, Slava Voynov) on five shorthanded opportunities (40.0%).

• Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford has allowed nine goals on his last 45 shots faced (.800 save%) after allowing only one goal on 43 shots to begin the series. Crawford, who was the losing goalie in Games 2 and 3, has only lost three straight playoff games on two previous occasions: Games 1-3 vs. Vancouver in 2011 (his first-career playoff games) and Games 2-4 vs. Detroit in 2013.

• This postseason, Chicago has allowed 23 goals in seven road games (3.29 goals/game). In those games, the Blackhawks are 0-5 when allowing three or more goals; 2-0 when allowing two or fewer. During the 2013-14 regular season, the Blackhawks were 4-11-6 when allowing 3+ goals in a road game; 15-3-2 when allowing two or fewer.

What is wrong with the Sharks?

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Not that long ago, the San Jose Sharks appeared well on their way to winning the Pacific Division title.

On March 14, they had a seven-point lead on both Anaheim and Calgary. Gone is that advantage. Not only have the Ducks surged back into the fight for the division, but the Sharks have lost five in a row and are having a terrible time of late creating any offense.

Their struggles hit a new low Friday with a 6-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, a team with its own flaws and nowhere close to a playoff position.

At one point midway through the second period, the Sharks trailed the Stars by four goals and had only six lousy shots on goal. During this skid, San Jose has scored only five goals.

Earlier this week, members of the Sharks said they weren’t terribly worried about this losing streak. The losses, they had said, were in close games, which is true: San Jose lost three consecutive one-goal games.

“When I look at the losing streak, we dominated some of those games for long periods and found ways to lose. You never like to lose, but I’m not that concerned,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “We’ve got to obviously end it. We’ve got to get healthy. I don’t see a bunch of symptoms of a team that can’t get this fixed pretty quickly.”

This, however, was a blowout. Adam Cracknell recorded the hat trick, pushing his single-season career-high in goals to 10.

The performance at one point forced DeBoer to take a timeout, in which he expressed his displeasure.

Making matters worse for the Sharks: Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic left the game early in the third period and was put under further evaluation. He didn’t return.

The Sharks visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Halak and the Islanders defeat Penguins, move into wild card spot

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Quite a hockey game between the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.

It offered plenty to enjoy — Phil Kessel‘s dominant but unfruitful shift in overtime, a combined 86 shots on goal between both teams, a showcase of skill from the likes of John Tavares and Sidney Crosby, and two strong goaltending performances from Jaroslav Halak and Marc-Andre Fleury.

Josh Ho-Sang, who wears No. 66, which is just fine in the eyes of Mario Lemieux, set up Brock Nelson‘s goal in the second period.

The Islanders and their fans probably aren’t hung up on style points at this juncture of the season. They just care about wins and points in the standings, and those are exactly what New York accomplished with a 4-3 shootout win in Pittsburgh.

Anthony Beauvillier and Tavares scored for the Islanders in the shootout. Halak made 37 stops, including a game-saver in overtime off Matt Cullen. Halak trapped the puck, which was right on the goal line, between his legs on a chance from in front. The play was reviewed but no goal.

The win gives the Islanders 82 points, which is the same total as the struggling Boston Bruins.

However, the Islanders, with one game in hand on the Bruins, take over the final wild card spot in the East for now.

Video: Friday night fights between Bolts and Red Wings

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Not much offense — actually, just one goal midway through the second period as of the writing of this post — between the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday.

But there has definitely been some animosity between the two clubs.

Tempers flared late in the first period, with Adam Erne and Andreas Athanasiou getting involved in a spirited scrap — and Athanasiou unsuccessful in his attempt at the take-down.

The bad blood continued in the second period with Greg McKegg and Anthony Mantha getting involved in a fight, and Mantha — given the instigator — landing a couple of shots with McKegg on the ice.

 

NHL, MLB player unions support U.S. women hockey players’ boycott

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Unions representing NHL and Major League Baseball players are backing U.S. Women’s National Hockey team players’ decision to boycott next week’s world championships because of a wage dispute.

The NHL Players’ Association posted a note on its Twitter account on Friday saying it supports the U.S. players while panning USA Hockey’s bid to stock the team with replacements. The NHLPA says the decision to go with replacement players “would only serve to make relations, now and in the future, much worse.”

Earlier in the day, the MLB Players Association encouraged all women hockey players to stand united behind their national team colleagues.

Read more: USA Hockey says it will not offer living wage, as dispute with women’s national team continues

The Twitter messages were posted a day after USA Hockey announced it would begin gauging interest of replacement players to compete at the tournament, which opens next Friday in Plymouth, Michigan.

Players are seeking a four-year contract that includes payments outside the six-month Olympic period.