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Get your game notes: Blackhawks at Kings

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Los Angeles Kings hosting the Chicago Blackhawks at 9 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• In 2013, Chicago eliminated Los Angeles in double-overtime of Game 5 of the Western Conf. Final at United Center. One year later, the Kings were unable to exact revenge at the same venue. Blackhawks center Michal Handzus scored at 2:04 of double-OT (his first-career playoff OT goal) to help his team stay alive. It marked the fourth straight year the Hawks have won an OT game when facing elimination.

Chicago OT winners when facing playoff elimination, final result in series

Ben Smith Game 6, 2011 Western Conf. Qtrs. vs. VAN Lost in Game 7
Jonathan Toews Game 5, 2012 Western Conf. Qtrs. at PHX Lost in Game 6
Brent Seabrook Game 7, 2013 Western Conf. Semis vs. DET Won series
Handzus Game 5, 2014 Western Conf. Final vs. LA TBD

• The first overtime session of Game 5 featured a 7:56 span (from 8:41 to 16:37) without a whistle. That span included six shots on goal (four by L.A.), eight blocked shots (four by each team), six hits (three by each team), three missed shots (two by CHI), two takeaways (one by each team) and one giveaway (by CHI). In all, the 20-minute period needed all of 26 real-time minutes to be completed.

• For the first time this postseason, the Kings will have a chance to close out a series on home ice. They won their previous two series in Game 7s on the road (at SJ, at ANA). With a win, Los Angeles will join the Eastern Conf. champion N.Y. Rangers as the only teams in Stanley Cup history to win conference finals series after playing the maximum number of games (14) in the first two rounds of the playoffs. However, that task will not be easy. With their win in Game 5, the Blackhawks improved to 5-0 in Games 5-7 of a playoff series this postseason and 12-0 since the start of last postseason. In Game 6s on the road during that span, the defending champions won all three of their games by one goal (4-3 at DET, 3-2 at BOS in 2013; 2-1 at MIN in 2014).

• In Game 5, the Blackhawks’ line of LW Brandon Saad (1-3—4, +4) – C Andrew Shaw (0-2—2, +3) – RW Patrick Kane (0-4—4, +3) combined for nine points. Kane set career playoff highs for assists and points in a game after totaling just one assist in the first four games of the series. He became the first Blackhawks player to collect four assists in a playoff game since April 30, 1990, when Steve Larmer did so in Game 7 of the Norris Division Final vs. STL. (Elias Sports Bureau)

• Kings center Jeff Carter collected an assist in Game 5 to stretch his point streak to six games (5-7—12). He ranks second in these playoffs with 21 points (8-13—21), behind teammate Anze Kopitar’s 23 points (5-18—23). Carter, who has matched his postseason career high in goals, and set career highs in assists/points, has ten points (4-6—10) vs. Chicago, tied with Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (2-8—10) for the most in either of the two conference final series.

• Carter’s linemate, Tanner Pearson, scored his fourth goal of the postseason in Game 5 to extend his point streak to six games (3-4—7). That matches the longest playoff point streak by a rookie in Kings history (Daryl Evans, 1982 and Warren Rychel, 1993). Pearson leads all rookies with 12 points (4-8—12) in 17 postseason games after totaling 7 points (3-4—7) in 25 regular-season games.

• In Game 5, Kings winger Marian Gaborik scored his playoff-leading 11th goal, and is now one goal shy of matching Luc Robitaille (12 in 1991) for the second-most goals by an L.A. player in a single playoffs. Wayne Gretzky had a franchise-record 15 goals during the Kings’ first-ever run to the Cup Final, in 1993.

Shocking: Tortorella emphasizes ‘mental toughness’

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 15:  Team USA head coach John Tortorella answers questions during Media day at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 at Air Canada Centre on September 15, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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Without any clues, if you had to pick one word to describe what John Tortorella might be looking for, what would it be?

There’s a strong chance many would pick “toughness” (or, OK, maybe a variation such as “grit”) and you’d be right.

After a World Cup of Hockey in which Team USA’s pursuit of toughness bordered, at times, on the comical, Tortorella kept the same themes going with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“I think that’s the fine line of winning and losing,” Tortorella told the Columbus Dispatch. “How do you handle yourself in those little situations where it’s, ‘Man, what do (I) give? Or, do (I) give in?’

“I’ve said it from day one, our mental toughness needs to be changed and this is part of the process.”

Specifically, Tortorella was talking about the Blue Jackets going through what the Columbus Dispatch describes as an especially “grueling” practice early on in training camp. But, honestly, it feels like it can be Torts’ request for just about anything hockey-related.

(It would be a refreshing bit of trolling if Tortorella decided to talk about finesse for an entire press conference.)

To some extent, talk of toughness can probably be chalked up to “coach-speak.”

Still, it’s tough not to wonder if the 2016-17 season might serve as a litmus test for Torts’ way of thinking and how it may influence the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Even when it’s not Torts making the decisions or at least dishing out the soundbytes, the Blue Jackets seem fixated on intangibles. Consider how GM Jarmo Kekalainen spoke about character while elaborating on the divisive decision to select Pierre-Luc Dubois over, say, Jesse Puljujärvi.

For all the blue collar talk, the Blue Jackets aren’t exactly a cheap team, with the 2016-17 version coming in at a cap hit of about $69 million.

In a multitude of ways, Columbus is paying a premium for intangibles and toughness, with Torts carrying that focus to an extreme. It should be fascinating to see how this all shakes out … even if Sergei Bobrovsky‘s play could ultimately be the real make-or-break factor for the Blue Jackets.

Predators give Laviolette a two-year extension

NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 09:  Head coach Peter Laviolette speaks to referee Kelly Sutherland #11 during the third period of Game Six of the Western Conference Second Round against the San Jose Sharks during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena on May 9, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
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The Nashville Predators have been on a roll lately, and keeping Peter Laviolette around seems like it keeps things going in a positive direction.

The team announced a two-year contract extension for Laviolette during Saturday’s State of the Union event.

During his first two seasons behind the bench in Nashville, the Predators have managed two playoff berths, beating the Anaheim Ducks in the first round during this last postseason trip. The Predators have managed to stay competitive in the Central Division, which is no small task.

With P.K. Subban added to the mix, it makes great sense to retain Laviolette’s services. You never know how a situation will work until it plays out, yet on paper, his system seems like a seamless fit for the star defender.

Nashville’s shown some promise already under Laviolette’s watch, particularly in quietly putting up some promising possession stats. At this moment in time, the future looks even brighter.

It can’t hurt that the guy has a Stanley Cup on his resume, either.

Goalie mask tour: Seinfeld references, tributes and more

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23:  Actor Patrick Warburton attends The Apartment VIP Party on June 23, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Hulu)
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As difficult as it is to believe, it’s October already. You know what that means*; hockey season is rapidly approaching.

Along with stories about guys who might still be a little injured claiming they’re “100 percent” and teams carrying in optimism that will eventually look foolish, we also get fun stuff like new goalie masks.

We’d already seen Petr Mrazek pay tribute to Joe Louis Arena a month ago, but with the preseason in high gear, we’re seeing more masks.

While there will likely be some other fun entries before the games start to count in 2016-17, PHT is kindly saving your delicate fingers a few extra clicks by collecting a few choice masks in one post.

To start things off, Michal Neuvirth paid tribute to late Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider:

Michal Neuvirth knew what he wanted on his new Philadelphia Flyers mask. He wanted it transformed into an epic tribute to the one and only, Mr Flyers himself, Ed Snider🙏🏻. Michal and I we brainstormed together and a plan emerged how to create the painting. I just love to create Storyteller masks📕. I wanted this to be truly special❤️. Put a lot of thoughts into every detail. We wanted it to be subtle and clean design that live and breath Flyers in the core. It was an honor to create this piece. On the side is also the wonderful logo of Ed Snider created by fellow artist David E. Wilkinson. In the design you will also just as always find a painting of the castle from Michal's hometown. Thank you Michal, we have worked together for so many years and it always a joy to create your mask paintings😊🎨 Thank you! #neuvirth @philadelphiaflyers #nhl #DaveArt @nhl #DaveArtCreativity #aflyerforever

A photo posted by David Gunnarsson (@davidofdaveart) on

This Miami Herald video shares Roberto Luongo‘s very-cool concept: the old Panthers cat on one side, the new one on the other. Here’s a shot from George Richards:

(Anyone else get a little John Vanbiesbrouck nostalgia from that lid?)

Thankfully, no birds were harmed in the making of Louis Domingue‘s mask, which features Arizona sports figures from Randy Johnson to more obvious Coyotes choices:

Nitpick: Steve Nash’s hair could have been floppier. Just saying.

Finally, hockey and Seinfeld once again mix better than a black-and-white cookie in Scott Wedgewood’s mask, which features a Puddy reference:

If you want more goalie masks, DaveArt.com’s list should keep you entertained for some time.

* – Barring all-too-frequent lockouts.

Malkin is ‘not happy’ with the way he’s been playing lately

CALGARY, AB - NOVEMBER 7: Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on November 7, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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Evgeni Malkin is back in Penguins training camp after a stint with Team Russia at the World Cup.

Malkin and his team reached the tournament’s semifinal before being knocked out by the eventual champions, Team Canada.

The Pens forward collected three points in four games, but he wasn’t satisfied by his overall performance.

“I need to start now,” Malkin said on Saturday, per the Tribune. “I’m not playing great. I’m not happy with my game at the World Cup. I will play better here and now.”

When he’s at his best, Malkin is fully capable of taking over games. That’s easier said than done in a best-on-best tournament, but those are the standards he’s set for himself.

So, what does he have to do to get back to that elite level?

“Play more with the puck. That’s my game always, if I have the puck and I spend more time with the puck. The last four, five games in the World Cup, I tried to use my partners, but my confidence when I play with the puck.”

The 30-year-old dealt with some injuries last year, but still managed to produce 58 points in 57 games during the regular season and 18 points in 23 games during Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup playoff run.